Authors: Todd Russell
Tags: #fiction, #thriller, #horror, #suspense, #supernatural, #novel, #evil, #psychological thriller, #island, #forbidden, #ocean, #scary, #debut novel, #nightmare, #shipwrecked, #ocean beach, #banished, #romance at sea
Repulsed, she snuck a peek. At first she saw
Then she saw a rotted, severed hand with all
of the skin savagely peeled, chewed, or ripped off. On the ring
finger, only a few grossly-decayed scraps of yellow-brown meat
remained, and they were being swiftly stolen or devoured by
hundreds of tiny black bugs. A unique gold wedding ring lay
innocently amidst the feverish feast, several tiny bugs popped
(Look, Ma. No hands!)
—between the ring and the digit's gnaw
covered bone. She could not suppress her first scream. Or the dozen
Jumping to her feet, she scrambled away. As
she ran, she kept brushing herself off, as if the tiny black bugs
had found their way to her skin. She had to get away. Far away. She
had to get off this crazy island. She maneuvered past, through, and
around plants, vines, and trees; all flying at her as hazy shapes.
Every angle, every level. She dodged. Turned. Circled. All her
maneuvers were executed without stopping.
When at last she could stop—a good half-mile
away from the cave—she broke down on her knees and the tears rained
down her face.
She had recognized that unique gold wedding
ring. She knew the owner, in fact.
While her eyes were closed she imagined her
body had been invaded by tiny black bugs. Her brain throbbed with a
thick black constantly-moving layer of insects, the bugs spiraling
to the center intent on ravishing her thalamus. The hard lump in
her throat was an unsteady bug baseball; hundreds of tiny,
tightly-packed bugs in a perfect, writhing circular shape. And her
heart, oh God the heart! Black bugs moved about the ventricle walls
like grade school children on a Jungle Gym, each beat of her heart
weighted by hundreds of squirming black bugs.
She opened her eyes and screamed again.
The wind rustled the trees, drowning her
She saw jeweler Nile Waters (who should have
been named Jerkwaters), one of the many unscrupulous friends of
Edward's, ass-kissing: "You know quality when you see it, right?
Why fuck around? You, a man of immense power and standing, don't
need the local Joe Blow's ring, you need originality! You have a
reputation to uphold, Ed, you need to wear only the best in fine
jewelry! So, let me have a one-of-a-kind ring made especially for
you. Expensive? Well..".
With an empty, hungry stomach Jessica was
violently sick. She puked until it was not just dry heave, but
And then she closed her eyes again.
And through blackness her imagination
assaulted her, showing a bloody pile of her own vomit crawling with
tiny black bugs.
She staggered away, shaking her throbbing
head, holding her aching stomach and Dick's pocket knife, trying to
shake her disgust and horror.
Before she lost her mind.
She wandered aimlessly for thirty minutes
remembering good times spent with Edward. She loved seeing movies
with him and he made excellent choices: romance, comedy, adventure.
He was the sweetest man when it came to making love, always
willing, gentle, and totally in control of her mind and body. He
could touch her with almost anything and make her shiver in
ecstasy. In many respects a wonderful husband.
But what had he become? Where was the rest of
him? Was only part of his body maimed? Or was the rest of him
And how had his hand gotten there?
Though she had no watch, she would have
guessed by the sun's downward position in the sky it was around
four o'clock. Night was coming.
And she was still alone.
Even though she had no urge to eat, she
decided to seek out some food. Maybe later she would forget about
the bugs and feel hungry.
She hurried on her path to the berries. She
was careful to heed Dick's early warnings—assuming they were not
lies too—about staying on the west side of the island.
Something strange was happening on the east
side of the island. Waiting, it seemed with terrifying patience, to
reveal itself. Dick knew and seemed to want to secret her from what
was happening over there.
But Dick was not the only one who knew what
was over there. Whoever had dropped that green box knew too.
Who? Soviets? U.S Military? Jessica had been
good in World Geography, one of her few classes (the teacher was
good looking) but she didn't recall any tiny islands between Hawaii
and San Francisco which fit this geography. She only knew that this
island was a well-kept secret. She wasn't supposed to be here. She
landed here by mistake and if she didn't find a way, some way off
it she might wind up like Edward.
Or, heaven help her, worse.
She reached the special 75x75 clearing spot
where Dick had brought her to pick berries. She could still see him
holding the poisonous plant, telling her, "eat one of these and you
probably won't be coming home for dinner."
Why did he hit me?
She unhinged his pocket knife with
fingernails once beautiful and long but now ugly, broken and dirty.
She cut one of the poisonous plants and dropped it to the dirt. She
ground it with her foot.
For Edward. Herself.
Edward, what did this to you?
A sinister thought crept across her brain.
What if Dick put it there? A cruel, callous act. Could Dick have a
cold, evil side? Why didn't he just break Edward's death to her in
the beginning? It would have been so much easier. Instead, Dick was
nice to her, making the situation almost bearable.
Guilt washed over Jessica. She didn't even go
looking to see if Edward had washed ashore. She'd believed that she
was the only survivor of the LADY STANTON. But maybe Edward had
washed ashore on the east side of the island. Jessica had only
thought of herself and how bad it was for her but not what might
have happened to her husband.
She thought she would start crying for
Edward, herself, maybe even Dick again until a voice stopped her
like a concrete wall.
"Well I'll be GODdamned," the voice said.
The horror returned, swooped down and crawled
like the tiny black bugs victimizing her flesh.
Because the voice was not Dick's.
T.C. was her first thought, he looked exactly
like T.C. from those old re-runs of Magnum P.I. He was very big,
very strong-chested, and dark black. Only when the black man opened
his mouth she realized it was not the warm-hearted T.C. For inside
the huge black man's mouth, there was not a fine set of whites
(like T.C.'s) no, there was decayed emptiness. Red gums with no
teeth. The black man's bulging body was half-naked, only his penis
covered by a bush.
And the most frightening man she'd ever
"You must be a mirror-ahge," the man
chuckled, flexing his rippling muscles as he came toward her. "I
ain't seen no mirror-ahge pussy for years."
"Stay away from me."
"Oh, and a spicy mirror-ahge at that." The
man smiled with crazy eyes. Insane eyes. He flexed again. He held
up a hand that could crush Jessica's face like a pop can.
"Just—just stay away from me."
He approached, beaming brighter.
She backed away. Into the poisonous
"You mirror-aghe, you must be. I must touch
you. The best looking mirror-ahge I ever seen."
He came closer.
She took one more step and fell into the
plant, getting tangled. Cornered. Trapped. She put Dick's pocket
knife out in front of her.
"Stop or I'll, I'll—"
"You'll what?" his eyes seemed to smile,
blinking with a craziness all their own. This man was insane.
"Lay one hand on me and I'll cut you."
"Ow." he yelped, removing his slashed hand.
Blood quickly oozed out of the nasty cut. Oozed off his hand and
dripped on the dirt.
Drip. . .drip. . .drip.
mirror-ahge." He reached
behind and brandished a knife of his own. A sharp, shiny buck
knife. "The last motherfucka who cut me, I bled the bastid. Bled
the bastid real slow."
She threw Dick's knife at the man's face and
shot to her feat. The pocket knife, result of a bad but lucky toss
stuck into the black man's shoulder and he yelped in pain again. It
gave her just the time needed to get untangled and move ahead a
She ran and he pursued.
"I get you, mirror-aghe. I get you!"
There was so much rage and hate in the man's
words that her heartbeat tripled.
Now she was being hunted.
"I get you!" the black man kept screaming. He
was close, almost on her heels. She knew she could never outrun
him. Chances were he knew the island, the surrounding landscape as
good as, if not better than, Dick. She had to use her size
disadvantage and crawl under places her attacker would have trouble
navigating through as swiftly. On open ground she would be
"SOMEBODY HELP ME!" Jessica screamed, ducking
under a five-foot high branch and rolled into a waist high layer of
And kept rolling.
She was on a steep decline that fell roughly
Something cracked in her legs. She feared it
to be a broken bone but it was just the use of weary bones, a
delayed skeletal-firecracker from earlier. Footsteps pounded
through the ravine after her. Toward her. Closer. The black man was
swearing, using vile, terrible, obscene words.
Dizzy, she climbed to her feet. The ravine
spun, refused to clear, held her still.
Heavy footsteps pounded closer. Closer. He
was saying he was going to skin her like his last victim, skin her
down to the bone. No one slashed—
—and lived to tell about it.
Still dizzy, yet knowing that any second
Bobby would be upon her, she dashed out, her hands thrust in front
of her like insect feelers.
Bobby was right behind her.
She tripped. This time it was a rock jutting
out of the ground, not Edward's hideous hand.
"I SEE YOU," The black man laughed. She
struggled to get to her feet again. Her body, especially her
muscles, couldn't get it together.
Come on, body, move, this
isn't break time!
The black man caught up with her.
He grabbed her violently. He could have
snapped her arms and maybe that was one of his intentions. He
thrust her to the ground and pressed the shiny buck knife to her to
cheek. She eyed the fierce metal blade, terrified.
His blood trickled down his knife hand and
landed on her shoulder and the ground.
Drip. . .drip. . .drip. . .
"You too good looking a bitch to let go." His
voice was hot as molten lava, his grip like a bear trap.
"Please. . .don't."
"See, I don't think you a mirror-ahge no
more." His chipped, dirty fingernails bit into her wrist. "I bet
you like it in the ass, huh?"
"Please leave me—"
He slapped her so hard her face went
"SHUT YOU MOUTH."
Cold, heart stopping silence.
"What's your name?"
"I'm Bobby." His eyes shone madly. He stuck
the tip of the buck knife to her lips. "When I done fuckin' you
with my cock, I'm gonna fuck you with
She shuddered. Closed her eyes.
"Gonna bleed your pretty ass."
He forced her eyes open, forced her to stare
into the abyss. She could see flesh sizzling fires burning in the
man's eyes. The light of a thousand ghoulish nightmares. This man's
life was riddled with horrors, his soul long since tagged and
condemned to eternal damnation.
He put his hand on her neck. Squeezed. "Make
a move on me, and I bleed that pretty ass right now."
"I—I won't m—move."
"No, no, you won't" He laughed, satisfied.
"I'm alreadv creaming for you."
She winced in pain. He loosened his grip on
her neck. She imagined the terror of being raped, every woman
thought about this at one time or another, but her fantasies never
started as bizarre as this reality.
Bobby set the buck knife above her head, out
of her reach, untied his tribal-like underwear, and was naked. His
purple crown was as large and rocky as his muscular body.
"No. . .please. . .don't."
"That's what I like hearing. Sound just like
a pretty hoe!" Bobby giggled. He reached for her red blouse, pulled
it up. Pulled down her strawberry-colored panties.
"No, PLEASE NO!"
He touched her vagina with cold, poking
fingers. "You look sooo sweeeeet."
She felt the vomit building, the dry heave
filled with blood and imaginary squirming black bugs.
With his hand cupped tightly around her
throat, he opened his mouth, his tongue slithering across his lips.
He took his hand with the slash and smeared some of his blood on
her chest. He rubbed it in with sickened excitement.
He knelt very slowly between her legs, mouth
wide and she screamed again.
He stopped and said: "Go on, pretty, scream
away. No one fucking hears you scream here. NO ONE."
He started to kneel again, tongue flickering,
cool hands holding her pinned. Then something went wrong.
His eyes bulged. His face turned to an
expression of raw shock. His hands tensed and let go.
He fell over, dead. There was a sharpened
tree-spear sticking out of the back of his skull. Blood and brain
matter sprayed in a thin stream out of Bobby's skull. His eyes
locked wide open, taking his death plunge with a memory of what
he'd almost violated.
Jessica trembled. She touched her blouse with
shaky fingers and covered herself. Staring at the blood spraying
out of Bobby's skull, she remembered Dick's words.