You are stranded on a desert island, when another ship wrecks. It brings another, surprise guest. Who is it? How does this change things? What will you do now?
You are stranded on a desert island, when another ship wrecks. It brings another, surprise guest. Who is it? How does this change things? What will you do now?
I stuck the dagger into the bark of the tree and carved out another dash, while it was progressively dulling the precious tool it still had the other side, so no worries, right? Maintaining my sanity is an important factor and honestly if I lost track of the days I’d probably lose it. Ah, but where am I going? Allow me to introduce myself, I’m Edgar T. Bellshire and you’ve just made yourself a rich man by saving me from this retched island!
No no no, when rescue comes I’ll need to maintain my composure. No offering riches right off the bat, that comes later if they’re brigands that intend to maroon me, or maybe a reward for saving me? One mustn’t pinch pennies when their life is saved, I suppose. It’s ironic, I thought survivalism would be a good way to freshen up the life of a third son and maybe earn the Bellshires some recognition as nobility of many talents. “I’ll brave the jagged reefs of the Veridian archipelago and return with the fruits of another world! Be prepared citizens of the civilized world for the grandest undertaking yet!” striking the same majestic hands-on-my-hips pose that I made for the papers. Not a month into the ships journey and the hull grinds against what I can only guess was a jagged reef, and I’M the one to survive the horrid pull of the currents.
What a joke.
Edgar T. Bellshire would never amount to anything, the only reason I managed to survive on THIS blasted island was because of the gear I packed beforehand, and the occasional salvage. The salvage came with a price though, namely the *urp* bodies that washed up with them, some even clinging to the crates and refusing to let go. Those are the bad days, but I must make sure to give the bodies proper burial if only as an apology, and hold out for as long as I can. Maybe the families of the sailors and servants will forgive me if I manage to bring back some sort of treasure for them? Certainly, my brothers would agree money is the salve for all wounds. Feh.
Stay positive Edgar, attitude is half the battle! That’s what mother always said whenever the going got tough for me as a child. Hell, even now she says it! Does that apply to being marooned with no hope of rescue? I mean, they won’t even be expecting me for what, half a year? Ah, best not to think to hard about it. Best to just get back to foraging and holding the rations out. I began gathering some small supplies before I saw it from my encampment, only slightly entrenched in the dense canopied rainforest where I decided was far enough into the jungle for my tastes.
Ah, but if I camped deeper in the forest I would never see such a wondrous sight! A ship, and it’s heading this way! I took my spyglass out and began to marvel while muttering praises. “Oh, joyous Gods! Please accept this humble mortals’ thanks for saving his life, I shall sing your praises for all of – wait.”
I sprinted to the beach as realization dawned on me, waving my hands frantically towards the ship that was steadily approaching. Blast it! “TURN AWAY! IT’S NOT SAFE! TAKE A DINGHY YOU FOOLS! THE REEFS! OH GODS!” I ran across the beach trying to get the point across, but all too late. An audible scraping rang out from the ship, even as the speck it was I could hear and feel the gritting sound at the core of my being. Limply, slowly, I put the spyglass to my eye again and saw the ship in finer detail, as it sunk to the bottom of the hellish landscape known as the ocean. Turning back towards my camp, I went and laid down on some ragged bedding. Fuck foraging, I’m going to lose it here and now if I have to swat a single damnable insect from face. No, I’m resting and there’s nothing that can make do otherwise. What, it’s noon at best? To hell with you! I quickly threw my face into the thin pillow and stretched onto the bed. Drifting off to the chittering of the jungle my mother’s words reverbed in my head.
“Stay positive Edgar!”
I greeted the nighttime sky with a scowl. Frustrated that that wasn’t a nightmare. Well, I probably won’t be able to get any more rest with this mood of mine. Whether hope for salvage or trying to soothe my bellicose temperament, I strolled toward the shoreline. I walked along the shoreline, glancing at the shadowy shapes of debris left to become driftwood or alternatively firewood when I had the energy to haul them back to base.
Absentmindedly, I kicked at a shell, venting my frustrations. I watched as it bounced along the sand until it hit a shadowy figure, still against the sand. Ah, great, time to relive the burials all over again, won’t that be fun. I sighed and shook my head, “Stay positive, Edgar…” and as the sound escaped my lips the figure stirred as if my words woke them from a nap. My first instinct was to scream, which did little to help though it made me feel a little better, some sort of undead monster was not ideal. That’s when the thought hit me, couldn’t somebody ELSE survive a shipwreck, Edgar? You damnable IDIOT why didn’t you try and wait for survivors!
I smacked myself in the head before remembering there was someone currently wrestling with death in front of me. I rushed over to the person, a woman, and lifted her face from the muck and seawater and watched as her body began spitting up seawater and her glassy eyes began to look less dead. I wanted to do more, but having very little in the way of actual aid I simply opted to angle her so that her lungs could expel the seawater in a more expeditious manner. After a few more wracked coughs her eyes lolled in their sockets and she… passed out? Died? I’m not sure, but her chest was still moving so that was probably a good sign. I spent the next 30 minutes or so struggling to carry her back to camp, before being forced to remove the heavy soaked clothing she had on and opted to leave it behind for the moment. Averting my eyes was the best I could do as a gentleman at the moment, unfortunately.
On the way back, the thought occurred to me she would probably be as dehydrated as I was when I first washed up on this little island of horrors. So, I quickly got to work after setting her in the bedding by preparing water the only way I had figured out. I went back to the shore and scooped up some of the salt water in a metal pot I found in one of the crates that washed up with me and some of the drier pieces of wood before heading back to camp. After setting up a makeshift fire using some flint and tinder I created a lattice of tough wet wood slats over the fire and set the pot over it, placing a metal cup inside the middle of the pot and then inverting the curved pot lid to begin dripping condensation into the cup in the middle of the pot.
One of the few “survivalist” things I managed to figure out by mistake, which ended up saving my life. After the wait was over I took the pot by the handles and kept it off the flames to let it cool, and once I was sure I wasn’t going to ruin my fingertips, took the cup of pure water out and went over to my new companion and fed it to her. It was difficult at first, and I ended up spilling a bit of the water while trying to adjust both her and the cup but it worked out in the end.
Unable to sleep still, and unable to help the woman any more than I have, I strolled along the beach looking for survivors. Finding none, I returned to camp as the sun rose and fell asleep on some of the scrap cloth next to the woman.
Come morning I awoke to find the woman missing, and quickly cursed. I hurriedly checked around camp but found nothing, and discovered I was quite thirsty during the check. Deciding against dehydration and the fun that entailed, I pushed the missing woman out of my mind and grabbed my pot, heading to the shore. After exiting the jungle, I noticed smaller footprints in the fine sand and a figure in the distance.
She seemed to have recovered her now crumpled looking outfit that consisted of brown leather breeches and a ragged looking white cotton shirt, typical fare for someone on the sea. From behind I saw she had fiery red hair that ran down her back in curls, looking like a mess, but still nice considering the circumstances. Also to note was that she lacked most of the frailer frame of women I commonly had to subject myself to amongst nobility, looking more like one of the common folk who often had to subject themselves to the pains of actual labor but earning themselves stronger, fitter, physiques in return.
I made my presence loudly known with an audible cough, which earned a swift glance before she returned her eyes to figures dotting the coast.
Bodies, corpses, dead men and women.
They lacked color, and already had a bit of... bloating to them. I tugged at wisps of patchy beard and turned to the fiery haired woman with a look of remorse. She had a stony expression or her face, but there were no tears, only a look of quiet frustration. Unsure of how to proceed, I thought back on my new personal mantra and spoke up, “I know how this looks, and I’m sorry for your loss, but you can’t lose hope, not all is lost. Remember, stay positive and everything will be just fine.” I felt myself mentally frowning, the first conversation after a full month or so of isolation and it was to try and console a stranger over the deaths of her comrades, in front of her dead comrades, while I say, “Oh everything will be JUUUUST fine” great job, Edgar, great job.
Slowly the woman turned to me with that same quiet fury in her eyes, which were blue I noted, and started shouting. “Whot tha fuck did ye just fuckin’ say, ya fuckin’ dirty lookin’ piece of dogshite!?”
Her face began to turn a lovely shade similar to her hair as she continued, “All me fuckin’ friends are dead, their bodies not a few steps away and tha first thing ya think tae say tae me is ‘stay positive’!? ‘s that ‘sposed to fuckin’ help!? Our ship crashes along some shite in tha water and I watch as me fuckin’ friends are dragged beneath the godsdamned currents while I swim fer fuckin’ hours trying tae not die and ye tell me it’s gonna be alright!?” She took a few quick breaths, shaking, and covered her face in her hands, going through something not unlike the break I went through upon first arriving to this island. To my credit I didn’t give any witty retorts or panic, and waited for her to compose herself, offering a rag I luckily had on hand. She took it with muffled thanks, and wiped at her reddened face before turning to me.
She spoke up again, however, her voice was more measured, “I apologize, I didn’ mean most ‘o that.” Most? Regardless, I waved my hand and reassured her, “It’s quite alright madam I, Edgar T. Bellshire, humbly accept your apologies, more importantly we should give your comrades proper burial and concern ourselves with more important matters, don’t you agree?” Ah, to have a conversation again! To practice social etiquette and feel normal once more! Mother was right, just stay positive!
While I mentally rejoiced, she raised an eyebrow and stared at me, “A Bellshire? Are ye tha one boastin’ about crossing tha Viridian? I saw tha papers ‘n had a good laugh at the time but ye were serious it seems.” She grinned, seemingly in respect, before she continued “Me ‘n tha squad were ‘sposed to be headin’ yer way as well. Picked up a legend about some lost treasure in a tomb in a foreign land and thought tha Viridian was a good place tae start. Ye can see where that got us.” Her smile just as quickly faded as she turned towards the sea.
The conversation quickly died, and I quietly suggested putting the bodies in graves. The woman, who introduced herself as Brielle Gallagher, adventurer extraordinaire who belonged to an adventuring team known as Hells’ Highlanders. It explained the accent, along with her rather fiery attitude and competence. She was a ranger by trade, though she didn’t have any magic much to my dismay. After introductions we quickly got to work on putting the dead to rest and making the best of things.
A shovel to bury the bodies, a hatchet to chop wood, which berries made you “Shit yer innards out” Brielle was quite handy. Though she did often laugh at me when I explained how I’d been alive for the month I’d managed.
“Ye couldn’t even catch a fuckin’ BIRD!? Who tha hell raised ya?! Me da’ had me huntin’ ‘n killin’ when I was just a whelp! Hell, ye planned tae survive in tha Viridian jungles like that!” Hells highlander indeed.
In the coming months Brielle whipped the camp into shape, fashioned makeshift bows for the both of us, taught me how to shoot and survive, and generally made the best of things and quality of life greatly improved. We’re still stuck here, but Brielle’s fiery personality and boundless energy has made life here bearable. She still has times when you can tell she misses the adventuring companions she lost, but a display of incompetence from myself, or a horror story of my days amongst the landed elite usually cheers her up.
All in all, things are looking good for the both of us. Mothers advice holds true, I suppose.
Just stay positive, Edgar.
I was sitting on the beach under a shady palm tree when I saw a glimmer in the sky. Assuming it was one of the usual dehydration mirages, I thought nothing of it and continued to stare out at the sea. However, I was brought back to my senses when I began to hear a rumbling, which grew louder and louder until it nearly shook the sand beneath me. Then, when it grew so loud that I had to cover my ears, it crescendoed into a loud BOOM--the earth shook violently beneath me to the point where I fell on my back, and sand sprayed everywhere.
Disoriented, I clambered up and darted my eyes around, dust and debris cleared and I saw a crater in the sand a mere 20 feet ahead of me. I've been stuck on this island for months now, so I figured that if whatever this thing was could kill me it would just be a blessing. I walked right up to it.
Nestled in the crater looked like a round bundle of...aluminum foil? Then it quivered! I stared agape as it began to unfurl, and hot steam emerged from the inside. More and more the outer wrapper peeled away, until it revealed...
FOOD! I've been eating roots and coconuts every day!!! A hot, baked potato might as well have been the end of all my troubles!!!
But then it blinked at me, opening its two bulging, sparkling eyes, and I screamed.
"Hello?" a little mouth opened right beneath the eyes, a nasally voice coming forth. "Are you a...hu-man?"
Everything went black.
When I came to, the potato was hovering over me, quite literally. Its little body was suspended about a half foot off of the ground, and I knew at that moment that I had officially lost it. "You were unconscious for approximately five human minutes" it said, in that same nasally monotone.
Dazed, I just kind of nodded my head. "Why...uh, why are you hear, potato?" I managed to ask, sitting up and smacking my parched lips.
"Firstly, I am a spudnick, please do not use racially insensitive terms. And I am here on a research mission to determine why there is prolonged human activity on this inhospitable landmass," it scanned its eyes across the surroundings: my single coconut tree, a patch of grass, and a whole lot of water."I am beginning to guess that you were not meant to be on this particular landmass."
"Uh, yeah, no I wasn't. I'm kind of here because I was put here." It didn't seem to quite understand that, at least from the blank beady stare it gave me, so I went on,"I got in...uh...trouble. Bad trouble. So people decided to put me here. Dump me here, really."
"I don't understand this human behavior, but no matter. You appear to be devoid of sufficient human fuel, if I may..." it floated off back towards the crater it landed in, and began humming as I heard the metallic crinklings of a potato rummaging around. It popped back out of the hole with some sort of metallic helmet strapped to its hat, and from the top center of it jutted a large bent antennae. And then, with no warning, the spud's eyes glowed a bright red and the antenna thing shot some sort of beam out of it. The little guy then, pretty haphazardly, began spinning around and letting the beam cut up the whole island. I shrieked, squeezing my eyes shut and assuming this was some sort of alien murder-suicide ritual, but death did not take me. Before I even opened my eyes, I felt coolness all around me--not the sweltering muggy heat of the little island. Looking around, we were now in a metal building of some sort, equipped with all sorts of large boxes that glowed and made strange whirring noises. There were comfy looking beds in the corner--actual beds! And best of all, on a table was a display of food that looked like it came right out of a cookbook. I lost my mind, and actually dove into the food, shoveling roast chicken and fresh fruits and thick slices of bread down my gullet til I could barely breathe.
The potato just watched me, with clinical interest. Now sated, I felt ashamed, like a hungry dog that had just been fed by its master. I wiped myself off as best as I could, and meekly looked to the potato,"Thank you....Mr. Spudnick. If it weren't for you I would have been on my way out pretty soon."
"I don't know where you would have possibly gone, there is water on all sides and your tree would have been insufficient to craft a flotation device." It said this completely deadpan, and I burst out laughing--maybe from delirium, maybe just from the sheer happiness of knowing I would live another day. "How can I ever thank you? Really, I will do anything, I don't know what pota--spundnick people do, but whatever I can help with I will seriously offer my services."
"Oh, a human offering of thanks," it muttered,"you are--what is the phrase--you are "welcome"? Well, as you can see this is to be my new research facility and an assistant will be necessary to efficiently run the equipment."
So that's how I started helping out on the POT-4T0 Research Facility, been doing it for at least 5 years now and sometimes we hop on a vessel back up to Russel's (that's the potato) homeland to resupply. Sometimes Russ says stuff like "I will utilize you as biofuel when you near the end of your mortal life", but he insists he is trying to get the hang of "human comedic banter", and I've pretty much gotten used to it. The big taters up top have been telling us that we may need to start an operation on the other side of the galaxy, they said there's a populated planet there that they've just discovered--
I have no ties to this place (I killed over 134 people to sate my never ending thirst for blood so the entire planet knows my name and nobody will let me live anywhere), so I'm ready for an intergalactic adventure!
Catch you on the dark side of the moon!
--Sam "Serial Slasher" Tucker
What do you think?