Imai Hisashi. That’s my name. I hope I don’t forget it. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how stranded sailors and pirates end up insane when they get found after months or years. I hope I don’t end up like them. I know entries are supposed to start with “1” or something. But it’s technically my third day on this deserted island. Or at least I think it’s deserted…
Our ship got sunk by that freakish storm the other day. I found myself washed up here a couple of days ago. Some of the debris came with me, but no other person. I don’t know if anyone else survived.
So far, I’ve gathered rope, a large part of the fabric from our sails that somehow came out in one piece, and the writing materials I’m using for this. I never knew our crates and barrels were so water-tight. A chest washed up too. Probably from Captain’s cabin. But I haven’t opened it.
Funny thing, a whole crate of rum washed up too. Full bottles and all. I can’t even drink.
Did a bit of exploration. On the first day itself I figured that this used to be a fishing village. Quite hard to miss that fact when houses were lining the shore, the cliffs, and were on stilts. Those right by the beach, at least. For good reason too. The tide comes in quite high. Needless to say I took shelter in one of the beachfront houses when the tide rose on the first night.
Oddly enough, there were no boats. If the inhabitants left the island, I suppose that would explain it. Otherwise… Well, I haven’t seen any dead bodies. Let’s just assume that they took the boats and left the island. Speaking of bodies, no person has been washed up on shore yet.
Anyway, the exploration. I went inland, as far as I could, and found a spring on the way. I guess that’s where fresh water comes from. I went into most of the houses too, to see what I could salvage. There was flint, rusted knives, some clothes, blankets. There’s quite a bit lying around. I suppose the previous inhabitants left in a hurry. Can’t help but wonder why.
Come to think of it, I noticed a cave on the other end of the beach this afternoon, when the tide was low. I thought I saw someone there. Maybe it’s just me.
Found a barrel of apples this morning. A nice surprise. That’ll feed me well enough for quite awhile, assuming they won’t spoil. I’ll have to figure that out.
Key thing today, I went to the cave. There were some things in there, trinkets and stuff. Someone’s definitely been in there recently because I found the Captain’s gold compass in there. I took it. Or rather, I wanted to. But I felt someone staring at me. Fucking creepy. I heard no one. I saw no one.
I left after that. Went fishing. Did miserably. At least I ended up with one fish the size of my palm. Quite proud of that though, actually. At least I have apples to go with that. I should probably eat the bruised ones first.
There’s something strange about this island though. I don’t really want to know what.
Oh, I switched my trousers and shirt for the traditional robes I found in some of the houses. Frankly, they’re more comfortable. But I can see why they’re not worn out at sea. The fabric reaches close to the ground and billows around in the wind. I’d say they’re far too prone to getting wet.
I’m spooked. There was a bag of shellfish and quite a few fishes outside the house this morning. There’s definitely someone else here.
After a week on this island, Imai has found a rhythm for his routine. The surprise food this morning threw him off quite a bit though. What was he going to do for the whole day without the need to search for food? He didn’t really want to explore more either. The knowledge that there was someone else here with him, someone who probably watched his every movement, wasn’t exactly a comforting thought.
In the end, Imai decided to stay in the house and clean up a little more, make things a bit more comfortable. He wondered if he should build a raft or something to try leaving the island. But without the compass, Imai wasn’t sure it was a good idea. Getting lost at sea without adequate supplies would be a much worse fate than staying on this island for the rest of his life.
As night fell, a fire was started in the sunken hearth in the middle of the house. Putting a pot of fresh water over the fire, Imai added in a few strips of the seaweed he found and dried out, along with some of the shellfish that was dropped off at his doorstep this morning. Hopefully the boiling will eliminate any possible toxins.
A full moon rose on the horizon and Imai settled on the walkway right outside the house, bare feet swinging over the edge, just above the water as he set up a fishing rod and leaned back, relaxed. There was no need to catch anything. But having something to do, to anticipate, was better than nothing.
While waiting for his stew, Imai tried to formulate a plan to leave this island. He would definitely have to gather food supplies first, if he wanted to leave on his own. It would be easier if there was a fishing boat still docked somewhere on this small island though. But if a friendly ship came by, and he manages to catch their attention, that would be even easier. Imai wondered if his shipmates were alive. Hopefully they survived. Maybe they did and they were looking for him, or not. Maybe. Hopefully.
The line on the fishing rod unravelled, with the catch on the other end speeding off. Casually, Imai picked it up and started reeling the creature in. It wasn’t too difficult. It wasn’t long before he pulled it out of the water. It was a squid. It’s ink could useful for writing, if that was ever necessary. But he didn’t need more food to keep now. It would just spoil.
Unhooking the squid, Imai threw it back into the water and set his rod down. He hadn’t expected to actually catch something. He shifted, folding his legs in as he stared at the moon. Imai soon got bored though. Humming a shanty he picked up from his time at sea, he stood up and went back in for his stew. Imai quickly ate his fill, but there was still half a pot untouched. He pursed his lips as he put the lid back on the pot. It should still be edible tomorrow.
Imai lay down on the bedding he set a short distance away from the hearth. It took him awhile to figure out how far was too far and how close was too close, but he finally found the right spot. With a satisfied palate, he had intended to go to sleep but the salt from the seafood and the seaweed had him needing a drink. And he didn’t exactly feel like drinking water. He glanced at the untouched crate of rum that sat in a corner of the space.
Without much hesitation, Imai went over to the crate and pulled out a bottle. Popping it open, he sat down on the plank walkway again and started to drink, watching the moon and counting the stars as he did.
Sunlight hit Imai’s eyes as he cracked them open. His head hurt. Why did it hurt? Imai lay motionless, tucked in his bedding as he tried to recall what happened last night. He didn’t remember getting back into bed, but there was a vague memory of drinking from one of the bottles…
As he tried to sit up, his vision swam and a light laughter hit his ears. Imai snapped his head towards the source, making the room spin again as he did. Closing his eyes, he groaned.
“I’ve never met a pirate who barely makes it through a quarter of a bottle,” the voice teased. Forcing his eyes open, Imai squinted as he tried to see who was talking. His aching head immediately felt soothed by the sight before him.
An impossibly beautiful man sat next the hearth, so beautiful that he tugged at Imai’s heartstrings. The man was smiling at Imai, watching him as he rested his chin on an arm placed on the knee of a propped up leg. Imai found himself staring into the man’s dark eyes filled with mirth, his smile drawing him in.
Suddenly, he snapped out of his reverie. Narrowing his eyes in suspicion, Imai asked, “What makes you think that I’m a pirate?”
The stranger hummed in amusement. Cocking his head to one side, he brushed his long dark hair over his shoulder and said, “That brand on the inside of your wrist is telling enough.”
Imai subconsciously shifted his right hand away, keeping his expression impassive as he kept his eyes on the stranger. As pleasing as he looked to his eyes, something didn’t feel quite right.
“Don’t be so uptight,” the stranger coaxed, stretching his legs out, lounging. As the fabric of his long robe shifted, Imai noticed that it shone with an iridescence as it flowed over the stranger’s form, an odd trait for cloth, if that’s what it was made out of.
“Who are you?” Imai asked, his tone level.
“Does it matter?” The stranger smirked at him.
“If you’re going to come into where I dwell, I might as well get to know you,” Imai said, trying to convince the stranger to give up his name.
“You don’t need to know my name to get to know me,” the stranger said, leaning forward with a wider smile. “Besides, I don’t have a name.”
“That’s not possible.”
“Perhaps,” the stranger said. “Perhaps I had one. But if I ever did, I don’t remember anymore.”
Imai continued to stare at him, unsure of what to make of it.
“You, though.” The stranger pointed a slender finger at Imai. “You have a name, don’t you? Tell me?”
“No,” Imai answered. “If I’m not addressing you by name, you won’t address me by name either. There isn’t anyone else to get mixed up with on this island after all.”
The stranger burst out laughing. “How sure are you that we’re the only two people here?”
Imai grew tense. “Are we not…?”
“It’s alright,” the stranger said, waving a hand as his laughter subsided. “You’re right. There is no one else here.”
The stranger’s confirmation didn’t offer much comfort to Imai. He wasn’t even sure that he could trust this person.
“You really won’t share your name with me?” the stranger asked.
Imai shook his head.
A grin appeared on the stranger’s face. His teeth were particularly white. “Afraid I’ll steal your name?” he teased.
Imai shook his head again. “Just so that we’re on equal grounds.”
The stranger’s grin turned into a smirk. “If you say so,” he said, sounding unconvinced as he turned to look out of the entrance of the house, towards the sea.
“Were you the one who left the food outside the house yesterday?” Imai asked. The question has been nagging at him for over a day.
The stranger’s eyes slid towards Imai. Looking at Imai out of the corner of his eyes, the stranger replied, “Of course, who else could it be? Did you enjoy it?”
Cautiously, Imai nodded. “There’s… still a lot I haven’t eaten, actually,” he said. “But thank you.” After a pause, he added, “Still… why would you…?”
“It’s been awhile since I had someone else with me here,” said the stranger. He went back to staring at the sea. “Since you were so bad at spearing fish, I thought you’d starve without help,” he continued, smirking. “Also,” he added, “take it as a thank you for not taking anything from the cave.”
Imai grew tense again, reminded of the hostility he felt when he entered the cave.
“I would appreciate it if you never went back in there,” the stranger said, standing up. Imai remained silent as he began to walk out of the house. Stopping by the barrel of apples, the stranger paused and looked at it intently.
“You can help yourself to them if you want,” Imai offered. “I haven’t figured out how I’m supposed to finish them all anyway. They might just end up going to waste.”
The stranger’s eyes lit up and he picked up an apple. Flashing Imai a smile and a wink, he muttered a soft “thank you” and left, a delighted smile on his face.