My mouth and nostrils were filled with wet sand and my cheeks burned from the cuts caused by the raw sharpness of the seashells. I opened my eyes halfway, then I must’ve passed out again. When I woke, I looked out toward the ocean and saw a distant fire, smoke bellowing into the sky as if an offering to the gods. The cargo ship I had stowed away on was burning and sinking fast.
I got up, but instantly fell to my knees. My head was throbbing and I soon realized I had a gash across my forehead above my right eye and another on my left shoulder. I checked myself for other injuries. Finding none, I gathered my wits as I got up. I glanced around before taking my first step on the mushy sandy shoreline. I instantly began to gag when I saw the first dead body. So many bodies had washed up on the beach that day. I called out, but no one answered. They were all dead. Burned and drowned.
I spent a week combing the island, yet found no one; I was alone. I had found some berries and a freshwater stream. At least I had some sustenance until I could get off the island. I had started a collection of wood and twine and had begun to make a raft. I had been hearing strange sounds, but couldn’t place them; and it dawned on me that there were no birds in the trees, no animals at all!
Come on Nathaniel you’re going crazy like your uncle Sam; there has to be animals on this island! Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I carried another pile of wood to my makeshift hut and dropped it. I was exhausted so laid down for a nap and was startled awake by a constant prodding of sticks.
My head, face, neck, back, and legs were all being poked by so many sticks. I opened my eyes and quickly closed them. Don’t be such a scaredy-cat, I hear myself saying. I opened them again and shook my head as if to un-see what was surrounding me. Jesus, were they humans?
I caught a glimpse of the few that had turned around as if they were making room for something else. The back of their heads had faces too. Two-faced creatures leered at me, but it was what I saw and heard next that really scared the shit out of me.
From the distance came the sound of heavy limbs being dragged across the forest floor. Whatever it was, it was enormous. It either dragged its feet or several feet through the undergrowth. The ones standing in front of me would occasionally make a discordant cackle sound and they acted fearful.
The forest sounded like it was being spread wide open with whatever was coming; I could hear leaves and bark being crushed and trees splitting. I could feel my heartbeat in my throat as my body broke out into a sweat and gooseflesh pricked at me like miniature daggers.
I literally fell backwards when the creature came into sight. It was the ugliest sonofabitch I had ever seen. It had eight arms, four legs and two heads with mouths like shark jaws. I could see multiple rows of sharp teeth glistening in the daylight. It was drooling glutinous salvia so profusely that it swayed in strings that hung from its lips and that it spat out in odd directions as it moved. It wore no clothes and appeared to be of no identifying gender.
I had recently turned 22 and regretted having run away from home. I didn’t want to die like this. I shuffled across the ground as I backed up. Then I got onto my feet and took off. I ran toward the beach. Stupidly I chanced a look over my shoulder and didn’t see the hidden rock beneath the sand. I fell face first, but I didn’t get a chance to turn and get up. I felt my ankles being pulled as I was violently flipped over onto my back. I looked up into the glowing yellow eyes of the beast.
A string of curses unravelled from my tongue, like feathers unfurling, as the creature advanced. I got a whiff of death, the kind of putrid smell that unleashes the acid into the back of your throat burning it like the devil shoved his pitchfork down your gullet. I squirmed but it held me strong. I felt my ankles breaking and heard my bones snapping like turkey legs. I suddenly felt heat radiating up my legs and was compelled to see why.
Instantly vomiting at the sight of my own flesh being torn from my legs. I wanted it to be over. I was being skinned alive. I had nowhere to go and wished that the very beach I washed ashore upon would open up and swallow me.
I cursed at the monster again and again. My throat became so hoarse I could scream no more.
I felt great pressure across my arms as it held them outstretched. Using another set of his arms, he began to pull. My flesh grew taunt until, like a frayed garment, they popped as they were ripped from the sockets. My panicked eyes darted everywhere as I threw up rancid bile at the sight of the other creatures gnawing on my arms and the skin from my legs.
I felt a claw drag across my chest as the beast tore me wide open. My organs were now on display, like stew in a bowl, for the beast to feast upon.
I am dead.
For more about the author, Ellie Douglas see Ellie Douglas: Horror Author.