A Sudden Crush(8)

By: Camilla Isley


“So do you think we will find it?” I ask.

“Find what?” Connor repeats, perplexed.

“The water.”

“Ah.” He pauses. “The monkeys are here, and that’s a good sign. If they can survive, it means there’s fresh water on the island.”

“So should we go look into the jungle?” It could be the perfect excuse to search for Liam.

He looks at me sharply. It feels like he’s heard that last comment from inside my head. But if he guessed what I was thinking, he doesn’t let on. He just says, “Easy, kiddo.”

“I’m not a kid, or a kiddo, or a bimbo for that matter,” I burst out again. This man has the power of getting on my nerves as quick as lightning. “At least I have the decency to call you names only inside my head!”

He stops working and stares at me intently. For a moment I’m scared he’s about to slap me, but instead he throws back his head and roars with laughter.

“I’m happy to see you’re enjoying yourself,” I say acidly.

“I will give you that, Anna—you’re funny,” he mocks me in between chuckles.

“I wish I could say the same,” I sulk. When he’s done snickering, I add, “so, if you don’t want to go into the jungle, what do we do now?”

“The first thing you should do is find or make some sort of hat and cover that pretty head of yours. The sun is mild now, but in an hour or so it will be scorching.”

“I can make a hat. I learned how to make one out of palm leaves when we were on vacation in Florida. Liam wanted to go jet skiing, but I didn’t care to jump on one of those monsters, so I went to the hat workshop at our resort.”

“Good for you,” Connor replies, unimpressed. “Go get started.” He’s probably happy he’s found a way to get rid of me. “Cover yourself up as much as you can. It’s good you’re wearing long pants. Even if you get hot, don’t take them off.”

I snort. “As if.”

“Don’t worry, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

I mentally take note to add cockiness to his many “positive” traits.

“If you come across things that could be useful or that came from the plane, pile them up,” Connor the Caveman continues with his list of directives. “We need to make an inventory of what we have; see where we’re at before we go into the vegetation.”

I nod. “Got it.”

Even if he is an arrogant troll, I’m okay with him taking charge. He seems to know what he’s doing, and he’s definitely more of an expert at this survival thing than I am.

“Take another coconut,” he adds, opening one and passing it to me. “You’ll need the fluids.”

“Thanks.” I take it from him.

“And I made this for you.” Mr. Ogre also hands me a small dagger made in the same fashion as the axe. “It’s not as good as a real knife, but it’s better than nothing.”

“Oh, ok. Thank you,” I say, surprised and a bit worried. “Do you think I’ll need to use it?”

“Well, if you want to cut palms—”

“Ah right, sure.” I was already imagining myself fighting to the death with tribes of cannibal savages.

“If the monkeys get aggressive, don’t you try to stab them or fight with them. Just run in the water—they don’t like it, and they won’t follow you there.”

“How come you’re such an expert on monkeys?”

“It’s basic knowledge. Just do as I say, will you?”

“Mmm, ok,” I agree, shifting weight from one butt cheek to the other while sipping at my coconut.

“Something else I can do for you?” He raises one cocky eyebrow at me.

Thank goodness I don’t care for dark hair or brown eyes, I tell myself. “Do you think the monkeys will get aggressive?” I ask.

“Macaques are not dangerous per se, and they’ll hardly kill you, but they’re territorial and they bite. Even the smallest bite could get infected, and since we’re not exactly high on medical supplies it could get nasty.”

“I will keep that in mind. See you later.” I wave goodbye as I get up to walk toward our “landing” site.

“And stay in the shadows. The last thing I need is for you to get sunstroke,” he shouts after me.

“I will,” I yell back, not turning around. Connor the Caveman, you worry too much.





6


Manny


When I reach the border of the rainforest, I take a final sip from the coconut. I carefully lay it down on a flat rock, and then I search for a palm that would suit my purpose. I select the best-looking tree, grab the greenest frond, and yank it with force.

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