The island changed Ralph, as he felt himself morphing from the soft english boy into a thin, scorched and stretched creature that stands alone and surrounded by the ghosts of his dead friends and the betrayal of an unloyal tribe. The fair boy was hidden among the black ash of the scorched earth and as his thoughts ran from him Ralph felt himself wish for everything to just stop.
Ralph curled further into himself and buried his tear stained face into his ash covered knees. A distant whoop of on of Jack’s tribe members caused Ralph to quiver in fear and adrenaline to course through his shaking frame.
The rabid search to find Ralph was in full swing and Ralph knew that they were never going to stop until they found him, Jack’s pride wouldn’t allow for anything less than to show total control of the island by executing the former tribe chief.
The familiar pulses of hunger ached and pushed on Ralph’s stomach. Standing up on his unsure legs Ralph creeped along the black ashy clearing towards the edges of greenery in the hope of finding one of those sweet and sticky fruit trees.
Arriving at the greenery Ralph slipped into the brush and forced himself to remain calm as the tribe chorused their whooping voices around the island. As he stalked silent in fear of being discovered Ralph felt his hunger double when he came upon the small tree containing a few bright fruits. Snatching the succulent fruit Ralph hunched down and bit into the fruit, sweet sticky juice covering his hands and flooding his taste buds with flavour.
As the thin boy ate with a ravenous vigour he hadn’t even considered how he looked. The boy was more creature now that human as he sat crouched and covered in black ash that stained his skin and hair Ralph seemed almost like a forsaken demon with his long gangly limbs and sunken eyes and cheeks.
Finished his food and stomach aching with the influx of fruit Ralph licked of the remaining traces of food from his palms Ralph retreated back into the burned remains of the forest and he hunkered down and hid among the carcass of fallen half burned trees and foliage.
Ralph covered himself in the ash and rubbed sticks in his hair as he hid out of sight and tried to imagine his life back home and away from the savage reality he was currently facing.
Hidden away from fear and self preservation Ralph was absent when the naval captain saw the tribes search party from Jack’s tribe and went to see why children were on an uninhabited island. Ralph was absent when the others were rescued.
No one considered their former leader as the feeling and thoughts of being rescued pushed away any thoughts the tribe had of Ralph.
Slowly as Ralph awoke from his dozing rest the silence on the island became deafening, there were the sounds of the all the foreign sounds of the island, the chirping of night birds and crumple of the pigs in the underbrush. But all of the familiar murmur, shouts, conversations of human voices and the crackling of the night fire were all absent and with the familiarity all gone Ralph had no idea where the tribe was and why it was quiet.
The passage of time no longer mattered to Ralph, his thoughts were wild and uncontrolled as he strolled down the beach at a leisure pace. Now tall but no less lanky, Ralph clasped his thin hands together and rubbed them together as a parody of human contact as he looked along the trees for hidden fruit or beach crabs wondering out during the low tide. Scratching at the comforting feeling of itchy bug bites Ralph spotted a hidden fruit in the foliage of a tall lush tree.
Climbing the tree was no problem to Ralph and with the somewhat unripe fruit in his hands the island resident ate the fruit regardless as he peered across the ocean’s horizon, Ralph no longer thought of his home or about people who used to be on the island with him.
The memories of home were faded and key memories were missing, what colour was his father’s eye, di he have horses or ponies, did his mother keep her hair down or braid it, small details that should have mattered little to him but now Ralph wished more than anything he could remember the details so he could recreate and paint the images of what he could remember about the world and his home.
Finishing his fruit and feeling sated Ralph shimmied down the tree and walked down the packed dirt path to his shelter. Covered in old and fragile clothing across his bits Ralph didn’t know why he bothered to stay clothed but some part of him just couldn’t allow himself to shed the wisps that kept himself covered and made him feel a step above the pigs that Jack used to hunt with a bloodthirsty focus that used to send shivers down Ralph’s spine as he thought about when it had once been turned on him.
Ralph still remembered the other boys that used to be here with him, Ralph remembered the small savages that rejected all order so that they could run around after pigs.
Letting out a sigh as Ralph forced his thoughts to turn to a different path, Ralph had thought enough about the other boys for a lifetime.
Arriving at his shelter Ralph crawled into his stick, log and vine woven hut and laid down on cloth scraps, fluffy grasses and other comfy foliage that made up his bed and protected him from the outside. Sometimes the shelter made Ralph feel safe and protected, like if he stayed in his hut and closed his eyes he could forget he existed and get away from the noises and lights of the untamable island as he sunk into the shadows and just, sleep.
It took three days of uneasy silence and sneaking around in the thick brush before Ralph creeped towards the tribes camp and along the beaches in search of the missing savages that hunted him.
When the silence of human voices and warm bodies became apparent Ralph searched the island in a desperation to find someone, anyone. The world felt big and crushing when he realized that he was alone, no others, good or bad to be around and talk to, or to bask in the presence of. The island felt smaller, yet bigger and Ralph felt unprotected in the ruins of camps that used to be filled with young and big kids doing everything from playing to painting their faces for the next hunt.
It took three days before it ever really considered to Ralph that without Piggy’s broken spectacles a fire was an impossible task to complete, the realization left Ralph feeling colder than ever as he hid among underbrush in hope that the tropical plant leaves protected him from the big fat water drops that were plummeting from the sky above and made his fingers feel icy and stiff.
Waking up from the heavy blanket of sleep Ralph grumbled a few curses under his breath as he forced himself to crawl out of his hut to go relieve himself and get some water for his slowly drying throat.
Adjusting his cloth scrap to once again cover his groin Ralph jogged down to the small creek that ran into the ocean and bent down to scoop up some clear and chilled water and drank seven heavy gulps as he realized he was thirstier than he had originally realized.
Drinking his fill Ralph got up and walked towards the beach as he spent another day on the timeless island.
Jack felt himself seething as adrenaline coursed through him as he powerfully strolled across the beach with his tribe at his heels as he searched for Ralph. Scanning the tree line and the large rocks along the sea Jack was about to order that his tribe spread out into the forest when the yell of Samneric brought him out of his planning. Turning to Samneric angrily for breaking his thoughts Jack was prepared to growl at the twin before he listened to the excited cries as everyone turned to what Samneric were pointing at.
“But we didn’t have a fire?”
Turning to the ship that was approaching their island Jack felt the floor of reality drop out from under him. The tribe quieted as they to realized what the ship meant, they were getting rescued.
When the Naval Officer stood in front of Jack and all the others Jack suddenly felt small and powerless despite the fact his face was painted and he had his blood stained spear in a grimy hands.
Ralph wondered sometimes if he was an animal, a mindless creature with only food and surviving on their minds. Sometimes Ralph would remember the large sleek black cats that he read about in his books, panthers and he would pretend to be one. As he climbed trees and made large intimidating noises Ralph could forget about his dark thoughts and the world would seem brighter and less fake.
Crawling slowly Ralph positioned his hands carefully before he lunged at the crimson crab crawling across the sinking beach sand towards the ocean. Managing to avoid the pinches of the strong claws Ralph smashed the crab roughly against a rock until the small creature stopped moving and snapping.
Peeling and ripping off the outer layer Ralph exposed the soft white flesh hidden and ate the twitching crab as he stared out across the never ending blue of the sky and ocean.
Ralph thought about being rescued, but no longer did he expect to be rescued. At this point the boy was aware that being rescued was now a hopeful fantasy instead of a possibility.
But as Ralph ate his food and looked towards the horizon, he never thought that maybe the distant helicopter was anything more than his lost mind showing him what he wanted to see.