A Sudden Crush(6)

By: Camilla Isley


“Eek. Eek! Eeeeeek. Eeeeeek. Ook. Hoo, hoo, hoo. Eek, eek!” The monkeys are getting dangerously worked up by all this yelling.

I ignore them and keep calling.

“Didn’t you hear me? I’ve said he’s not here,” the troll repeats, dropping his work instruments and moving menacingly towards me.

“But that’s impossible, he has to be somewhere around here. Liiiaaam.”

“Do you see a plane lying around?” he roars. “As I said, it’s just you and me!”

I take a good look at the surroundings. On one side there’s the ocean. On the other, thick tropical vegetation with some hills visible in the background. And we’re standing on the beach in between. We really are on what looks like the perfect desert island from a movie.

“This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.” I pace in circles in the sand, fear gripping my stomach with a painful tug. Where is Liam? What happened to him?

“How long have we been here?” I ask in a soft, polite voice. I don’t have time to waste arguing with this caveman. I have to find Liam.

He checks his watch. “I think the plane crashed at around three or four a.m. I woke up at six with the first light, and now it’s about eight.”

“Good, we haven’t been here long then. Well, it was nice meeting you—I hope I will never see you again.” I turn around and march towards the trees.

“Where do you think you’re going?” The caveman follows me and forcefully grabs my left wrist to hold me back.

“Let go of me!” I command. “I need to find my husband. He could be injured. He may need my help. I have to go find him. Let me go.”

“You’re not going anywhere,” he announces with finality. He also grabs my other wrist for good measure.

“You have no authority to say what I can or can’t do!” I protest, trying to break free, but it’s no good. He is so much stronger than I am. I’d have a better chance trying to break free of real metal handcuffs.

“Look around yourself,” he hisses, seething with suppressed anger. “I don’t particularly care for you, but I don’t want to be responsible for your death either. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re on a desert island full of wild animals. You have no idea what could await you inside that jungle. And I have a feeling you wouldn’t be so good at surviving on your own.”

“If the jungle was so dangerous, why did you leave me there for two hours?”

“You were asleep and harmless. But if you go around screaming you could get some of the beasts angry or scare them, and scared animals have a way of protecting themselves.”

“But my husband,” I wail, struggling to get free. “He could be dead.” As I say the words, a stone of fear plants itself in my chest. “I have to find him. I have to know.” I utter those last words between body-shaking sobs.

“Listen—” He eases the grip on my wrists but doesn’t let go. “I understand that you’re worried for your husband, but the best thing you can do for him right now is to stay alive. And going into the jungle on your own would be counterproductive.”

“Then come with me,” I plead.

“I don’t think so. Rescue teams are more likely to find us if we stay here.”

“You selfish bastard…you…” I don’t finish. I just cry.

“Calm down, will you?” he says after a while, his tone slightly softer than before.

“How can you tell me to calm down when you won’t help me find Liam?”

“He isn’t here.”

“How can you say that?” I challenge him.

“I don’t know how much you remember about the crash, but at one point there was an explosion that smashed the plane open right beneath us. Our seats were sucked away. I think we survived only because the winds were so strong they carried us around until the tornado or whatever it was spat us out here on this forsaken island. We were lucky the vegetation is so thick it slowed our fall. Anyway, there are no signs of an explosion around us or anywhere nearby. I think we were separated from the rest of the plane altogether. The pilot was trying to pull off an emergency landing before the fuselage ripped. Chances are your husband is with the wreckage of the cabin somewhere else.”

At this point I collapse on my knees and let my torso bob up and down with heavy sobs. My arms are suspended over my head, as the troll still has a firm grip on my wrists.

“If I let you go, do you promise you won’t try anything foolish?” he asks gently.

I nod.

“All right.” He lets go, and I collapse completely on the sand.

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