“I dreamed about Zach. He had always been the greatest brother ever, or so I tried remembering. He was 15 back then. I never had to be strong when he had been alive.”
It was a dark and stormy night. Boom! Thunder shook the earth. A tree five feet away caught on fire. All I could ever remember was being scared, my Ma dying when I was two, and my Pa going away to find another place besides this one. He never came back. Nobody ever came back. With only my six year old sister to keep me company I learned to hunt, survive and stay strong, however the fear always stayed with me. The fear of getting bitten by a shark or sacrificed by the Flins — a tribe of people so crazy they sacrifice one person a year to please their gods. I was a Flin when I was two, but then the Flins decided to sacrifice my annoying sister who had just been born. My Ma couldn’t let it happen so she sacrificed herself for little baby Zoe. My Pa then took Zoe and I to a cave, away from the Flins.
Boom! The second bang brought me back to life. I looked around, scared, the fear having never left me, then I turned around and sprinted east towards the family cave. I suspected the Flins were waiting by the trees of the hammock that Zoe and I slept in. The family cave had at least both shelter from the rain and protection from the Flins. Hah, no more Flin troubles tonight, or so I thought.
When I got to the Ocean it was fully dark. I lifted the vines covering an old canoe with its paint chipped and wood splintered, and then I slid it soundly into the water. I paddled maybe seventy-five or so meters. I stood on a tall rock, however this was no ordinary rock, for it was a hidden cave, the family cave home, except for the two rotting bodies in the back.
I dreamed about Zach. He had always been the greatest brother ever, or so I tried remembering. He was 15 back then. I never had to be strong when he had been alive. He had no fear. I had fear because he had no fear. I remember the shark bit his head off for lunch! I wanted to commit suicide too back then, now that both my mother and brother had died, but Pa held me back. Now with Pa gone on a month long expedition that he did not return from, the only reason I didn’t sacrifice myself to the Flins or jump into the ocean was because I had to look after Zoe. I could not lose another family member or I’d be alone with only the Flins to keep me company. Then it hit me: Zoe! Where was Zoe? Then I snapped awake.
“Where is he, that no good scoundrel, of a trouble maker, of a brother. I swear he is trying to starve me. Well with no dinner I better get to bed,” I told Mango my pet parrot. As I lay down staring at the stars I thought about the huge meal Jack was probably forging as a surprise combination of both dinner and breakfast. I sighed. Nothing was wrong, maybe he was just sleeping with mom and Zach in the family cave. Brrr, that place gave me the creeps. I closed my eyes and counted parrots who looked like Mango. I loved Mango. I dreamed about my last birthday, when my dad went on another expedition and got me Mango. Jack got a knife. Good times, I thought. Good times. Then I was awakened by the sound of crackling fire and the burnt smell of smoke.
I looked down. The Flins were burning the tree! I climbed down just in time but the ape skin I was wearing around my body got slightly burned. I may have escaped the fire but I did not escape the Flins when they piled on top of me, I wanted to bite like a shark, trick like a fox, but I did not because that’s what the Flins did, and no matter if they sacrificed me or my brother, I am not a Flin.
I woke up chained to the ground by a tree stump. This was torture. I knew something the Flins wanted. This was torture at its worst level. I knew this torture. In the five years I was a Flin I went to school where I learned about the Flins’ savage ways. Torture was one of them, and this was the Flins favorite kind of torture.
A crate of ants was placed to the ground on my left. Then the Leader of the Flins, who every Flin just called “Leader,” stood over me and asked me where my father went. I knew I was in trouble as soon as he said that. I had no idea where my father went. My only chance of being set free was to make up a believable lie. However, I had to act like my father told me never to tell where he was going. This meant I would have to survive the first round of torture.
I closed my eyes and shook my head. The Leader let about fifty ants out and poured a jar of honey on me. I never liked honey much. Jack loved it, he said it was sweet. I thought honey was bittersweet. Despite my protests the Flins loved honey, and they loved to use it in this torture. I thought pouring the honey on might actually be more scary then when the ants started to slowly eat me alive. I was wrong. It was just the first few seconds when I thought up a lie to use. I said that my Pa really had never left the island and he was just hiding from the Flins. The Flins did not believe this lie and the Leader poured half the ant farm on top of me. I was too worn out to think and I said the one truth I did know. I blurted out that my Pa was really just trying to find the bigger island.
The Leader stared at me then said, “Ok, I believe you.”
He unchained me and poured a bucket of water on me which took care of the ants but still not the sticky honey. He then said that he would let me go if I promised to become a Flin for the second time in my life.
I said “I’d rather you just find the bigger island, your people can move there and my family can stay on this island.”
“Don’t you get it?” the Leader said, “The bigger island is a myth. Your father was very foolish to go on a suicide mission into shark infested waters.”
“My father was an intelligent man and you know what I think, I think that my father’s going to find that myth of an island and that you won’t even listen to him and my family’s going to live on the bigger island while you Flins starve on this one.”
“Don’t you get it?” Leader interrupted. “I am your family.”
“That’s what you think,” I snarled back. “The Flins are not my family.”
“I am both a part of the Flins and your family, just like you are, Zoe.”
“No you do not get this I am not related to you, Leader.”
“Yes you are,” Leader whispered. “Zoe, I am your Grandfather.”
“Zoe,” I called. “Zoe.” Where is she? I thought. Oh no, the tree was burnt. I climbed up the tree and I saw her hammock with Mango in it, besides that empty. Mango looked sad.
Mango then croaked “You filthy brother, you brother.”
I sighed. These were one of the consequences when your sister had a pet parrot. I said goodbye to Mango because I had a strong feeling I might never see her again. I climbed down the tree and ran off to rescue my sister.
I knew the setup of the Flins camp by heart, for I used to live there. I ran straight into the camp and spotted a whole colony of ants swimming in sticky honey. Hopefully, I thought that was left from when someone stole from the Flin store. I ran, adrenaline pumping through my legs, helping me run faster. I went straight into Leader’s tent. Zoe was in the corner tied up and gagged. She made a tiny shooing motion with her hand. I put a finger to her lips and pulled out the present I had gotten from my father after he went on his last voyage. It was a knife. However it was a very sharp knife, and it was made out of some material that glinted silver in the moonlight. Only Leader had a knife, and his was made of bone.
I struck past the first rope freeing Zoe’s right hand, then I struck down on the knot around her right knee then I cut up the left side and Zoe was free. She hugged me then I pulled her gag away and I screamed, for Zoe’s tongue had been cut off.
The sound of the scream carried throughout the Flins camp and pretty soon we were surrounded. The Flins were preparing a feast because they had decided to sacrifice young Zoe for the second time in her life! I pulled out my knife and made a swinging motion. All the Flins took a couple steps back and then I quickly, unexpectedly spun around and chopped a hole through the back of the hut. Then I ran, pulling Zoe along with me while behind us the splintering hut collapsed.
I knew exactly where to go: the family cave. I knew Zoe would hate it there but it was our only chance to escape the Flins. We ran, the Flins nipping at our heels just like little dogs would. I knew even before we got there we could not ride the canoe, we would have to chance it by swimming in shark infested waters. Then the ocean came into view, and I knew we would never make it. But then I started fighting my eyes. I could not believe what I was seeing. My Pa was waiting for us in a brand new canoe. Zoe and I jumped in, and my dad rushed out and slashed Leader in the chest.
Then the Leader took one last wild swing with his knife and got Pa right in the head. Now both of my parents were dead. Zoe started to cry because she could no longer talk. I then took it upon myself to be strong, the fear no longer haunted me. As we paddled off the island I looked at a map that Pa had left in the canoe. It gave us all the information we needed to find the bigger island. To find a home.