My name is Denver Hooksworth. My friends- Raphael Clearwood and Dr. Clover Longbottom- and I have been washed up on an island. Our ship, The Great Sully, which was on its journey from Southerntown to Notherntown capsized and sank. Many of our comrades died and all of our possessions are lost, save the ones we had on us during the shipwreck. We are the only survivors.
I was the first out of my comrades to awaken. At first, I thought Dr. Clover was dead because he was so pale and that Raphael had a concussion because his head was bleeding. Mercifully, it was only a slight head injury and Raphael told me Dr. Clover always looks pale. However, he can’t walk because his right leg was sprained by fallen debris, so Raphael, being the strongest of us all, is tasked with the job of carrying him wherever he needs to go. I was the only one of us who didn’t sustain any injury but my diary was really soaked. I left it under the sun to dry in high hopes I can write in it again, for the palm leaves I’m using right now aren’t good substitutes to paper.
Raphael woke up before Clover, and having a knife in his boot, (I wonder who keeps knives in their boots) cut strips of his pants to make a bandage for his head wound. Clover woke up later and ordered the both of us to look for big rocks and bring them to the bay. We arranged these rocks to form three huge letters: SOS. Clover thinks rescuers will see it and come save us. I have never been lost before so all I could do was wait and trust someone will look for us.
Unfortunately, a heavy rain started soon after and I don’t know which depressed me most; that our rescuers will not be able to see our Save Our Souls sign or that my diary got soaked again. We were forced to move deeper into the island and find a shade under a canopy of trees. It is here I am writing now, under the moonlight and with ink on palm leaves. I am very cold and hungry. Dr. Clover said we should sleep to regain our strength, then start looking for food tomorrow, which is relieving. I hope Raphael has enough strength to stay awake, for he is on watch duty this night. I am still awake because the crickets are really noisy but my fatigue will soon exceed their disturbance, and I will sleep with a sad heart.
I am on watch duty this night. It didn’t rain today, so the air is warm and I can fully appreciate the beauty of the night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the sky so full of stars before because I’m always in my workroom, writing. I guess I’ll take a break from my books once in a while and go outside to soak in nature’s nightly splendour when I go home. It’s so funny how everything seems bearable, now that I’m on a full stomach. Even the chirping of the crickets is music to my ears.
Today, Raphael killed a rabbit. I never knew he was so skilled at hunting. He called the rabbit ‘game’ and skinned it. Now, skinning a dead animal is the process of removing its skin, or as Raphael called it, ‘hide’. The process was gruesome- I was afraid to watch, as there was so much blood- but I couldn’t let the experience pass me by for I could use it in my writing, sometime.
Dr. Clover still couldn’t walk so he offered to roast the rabbit while Raphael and I searched for fruits, berries and nuts. He ordered us not to eat them, though, because some could be poisonous. It took a series of back and forth trips but Raphael and I gathered as much of them as we could. All the fruits looked really strange and the berries seemed identical, so I was really awed as to how Dr. Clover knew each and every one of them and separated the edible from the non-edible. I made a mental note of learning more about berries when I get home. Only the nuts looked familiar, but I’m allergic, so they were divided between Clover and Ralph.
I must admit, Dr. Clover makes a really good cook for a man. The game was delicious! I was wary of eating the rabbit at first- I have never tasted one before because my wife only cooks healthy, vegetarian meals at home. But Clover made some spices out of leaves he gathered and seasoned the meat so well that the aroma made my mouth water and request for my serving. I would’ve gone for another helping of the fine meat but Raphael said we needed to keep some for dinner, so we ate the fruits and berries instead.
I trust Clover’s leg would get better soon because he made a little medicine out of herbs. He said it would ease the pain on his leg but he’d walk really slowly. “Walking slowly is better than not walking at all” Raphael said, but I think he’s just happy he wouldn’t have to carry Clover around anymore, for I think the grown man is really heavy. We all hope the rescuers will see our sign soon and get us home.
I can hear Clover and Raphael snoring as I watch out for danger on the tree. I also think I hear baboons up here but I’ll check them out tomorrow. My diary is almost fully dry and a little more sun tomorrow will make it good enough to write in again. My heart is happy.
I was right. There were baboons on the tree! As soon as it was daylight, I searched the trees for them and I found a baby one. I was enjoying its company until it threw a rock at me. Angrily, I threw the rock back at it but the smart, little chap ducked and the rock hit a bigger baboon. I wanted to apologise but since baboons don’t speak English, it threw rocks at myself and my comrades and soon, other baboons started raining rocks on us.
We were forced to leave this happy part of the island and I felt a little bit sad about it, but Raphael reassured me, saying, “We were bound to leave there, anyways in search of water.” We were only able to carry a handful of fruits, though, and the new bush rat Raphael killed. Maybe the baboons will take the fruits, nuts and berries we left behind as a compensation for the trouble I caused them. Clover’s leg is a bit better now but he has to lean heavily on Raphael to walk. He also makes marks on trees with a purple paste he made with coloured leaves anytime we stop for a break. I’ll ask him later why he does that.
Right now, we are lying down on soft grass by a waterfall. The journey here was long and treacherous, for we were thirsty and hungry with nothing but the handful of fruits to eat. We could not eat the bush rat because Dr. Clover said eating it would make us parched faster, so the fruits finished quickly. The mosquitoes that swarmed us on our way here were terrible and till now, I find myself scratching my skin from the itch of their bites. At last, when I thought I would give up, I heard the ripple of water from a stream and summoned all my energy to walk to where the source was coming from- this waterfall.
It was such a relief to finally drink water and it is now that I realise we’d been going without water for three days! I mention this to Dr. Clover and he says three days without water is very unhealthy. We were finally able to cook the meat. I asked Raphael if I could try skinning the game and he lent me a hand at it but after a while, I let him do everything because the stickiness of its insides and its smell made me queasy. The meat wasn’t as tasty because Dr. Clover couldn’t find the leaves he could use to make spices here. However, we ate everything because the rat was so small and we were all so hungry. Right now, we have no food left but a good supply of water. I don’t know how to feel about this.
It was evening when we found the waterfall and had our first decent meal today, so everyone was tired. Raphael was the first to sleep because he had the whole journey with majority of Dr. Clover’s weight on him. I wanted to do the night watch but Clover insisted on doing it, saying he was well enough and Raphael and I had done ours already. I didn’t argue because I had to work on transferring my writings on leaves to the paper of my diary- yes, my diary! No more writing on leaves for me. I’m rounding off my work in the last light of evening. My heart is peaceful.
I do not like this part of the island. There is barely any game here and we can’t seem to find fruits, nuts or berries. Raphael thinks this is really strange, because the waterfall should have made these things easier to find. Dr. Clover thinks a big animal might be scaring the game away and told Raphael and I to be careful as we ventured further from the waterfall to find food for us.
We’d been walking for what seemed like hours before we came upon a blueberry bush. At least that’s what I thought it was. The berries had the exact same size and colour as blueberries. “Should we eat them?” Raphael asked, because we were very hungry, and walking back to the waterfall where Dr. Clover was was going to be another tiresome wait. “I don’t know. Clover told us some berries may be poisonous. Don’t you think we should bring them to him to check out?” I ask him. “What’s there to check out? Aren’t you hungry?” “Of course I am.” “I am, too and I’m a hundred percent sure these are blueberries.” I look at them again. They sure looked like blueberries. But watching Dr. Clover separate the poisonous berries from the non-poisonous ones, I know a lot of bad berries look like good ones. “I’m fifty-five percent sure it’s a blueberry.” It was at that exact moment I spoke that my stomach rumbled. “Well, it’s worth a shot. We’d be dead, anyways at the rate at which we’re going without food.” then Raphael took a handful of berries and put them in his mouth.
Nothing happened to him for a few seconds and my hopes were raised. We found food! We found blueberries! As soon as I’m about to take some for myself, Raphael makes a strangled scream and spits out the berries from his mouth. I ask him what’s wrong but his voice come out chocked and when he opens his mouth, I find out his tongue is swollen.
Dr. Clover told us when we walk back to the waterfall later that those were yarnberries and they have the quality of resembling blueberries. He said it takes only a skilled person to be able to tell the difference between the two. He also said Raphael would need medicine to stop the swelling of his tongue but for now, he wouldn’t be able to make more than choked, wordless sounds.
A light drizzle started in the evening and everyone went to bed cold and hungry again. Because I felt bad for Raphael, I decided to take his place doing watch duty this night. I wish I had convinced him against eating those yarnberries. I wish we were sleeping under a shade and not this open sky. I wish we had food to eat. I wish these crickets would be silent and let me write in peace. I wish all our mishaps would come to an end soon. I wish I was at home and in bed with my beloved wife. My heart is longing.
Raphael is sick. Dr. Clover thinks it’s the yarnberries and the sickness wouldn’t be so bad as long as we get medicine. He still has high hopes our rescuers will come. I believe they’ll come because he believes they will, but why is it taking so long? Raphael’s illness is bad for our survival because he’s the only one of us who is good at hunting. After a lot of contemplation, Dr. Clover and I decide to return to the part of the island where the baboons are because we all need to eat and it seems that area has good fruits and nice leaves. “If we can get there, maybe I can make a medicine for Raphael out of the leaves.” Dr. Clover said.
It was sad to depart from the stream and as we had no flasks, we could not carry water with us. Since Dr. Clover’s leg is still healing, I was made to
carry drag the bulky Raphael with me. It seemed as if his legs were lead because he couldn’t even lift them. How poisonous are those yarnberries? Was Dr. Clover telling us everything he knows about their effects? Because it seems Raphael is just getting worse. We use the purple markings Dr. Clover made on the trees to trace our way to the baboon’s paradise. Now, I know what those were for. At the rate at which we were going, it was likely we’d reach there the next day, assuming we stayed on the path.
However, as nature would have it, we were attacked by bees. It was bad enough that mosquitoes were biting us throughout the journey, but I happened to spot a beehive. As ignorant as I was of the wild, I just struck it with a stick so the hive would fall and we’d get honey to eat. I was even too hungry to ask Dr. Clover if that was the right thing to do. So Raphael, Dr. Clover and I were swarmed with bees as soon as the hive broke open and they stung us mercilessly. I don’t think Raphael felt much of the pain because he had been going in and out of sleep ever since I started dragging him but Dr. Clover and I suffered it.
In our attempt to escape the bees, we missed our way and found ourselves in a swamp. I was devastated. This is all my fault. Dr. Clover said no one is to blame, but I can see he is tense, too. We are hungry. We are lost. We are in pain from the stings. But above our personal problems, we are scared for Raphael. He has been breathing heavily and his temperature is rising, despite the cool breeze. I hope he survives… I hope we survive.
Dr. Clover and I are both doing watch duty but I don’t know how long we’d be able to stay awake. So many parts of our bodies hurt but not as much as our hunger pangs, I’m sure. My throat is dry but I cannot drink the swamp water because Dr. Clover said it would make me sick. I really want to go home. I think Dr. Clover is asleep now but I can’t afford myself such luxury because someone has to watch out for danger. I am writing in the night, with the moon as my light. I hope we all survive this terrible island. My heart is anxious.
What is death? How will you know you’re dying? I don’t know how long I’ve been asleep but it’s mid-afternoon now, and Death is knocking on my door. Dr. Clover is telling me not to move but if I’m to die now, I want to die writing.
I’ve been bitten. My vision is blurry, I feel dizzy and I’m drifting in and out of consciousness. To think I’d survive this island for six days and the thing to put an end to my life is not hunger or thirst or cold or bee stings… but the venom of a snake! A snake bit me and now, I’m going to die. My heart is heavy.
I wonder what my wife is doing. I hope… I… hope…
I am in my bed, under my warm duvets. My wife is hovering around me and making a fuss over me writing, but I must write the final details of my friends’ and I’s time on the island before my diary is taken away by an eager writer named Kelly Night, who wishes to publish the misadventures of three musketeers. Now, the musketeers she regards us as are not soldiers who have muskets rather, very good friends. However, I don’t think our adventures were misadventures, as she calls them.
Dr. Clover didn’t earn his title for nothing. Apparently, you can suck out the venom of a snake. He cut a strip of cloth, tied my leg and did just that. I didn’t know he did this at that moment, for I had lost consciousness but now, I know and I’m forever indebted to Dr. Clover for saving my life.
Our rescuers came on the seventh day. I do not know much of what happened that day, as I was still unconscious, but Dr. Clover said he did not get any sleep as he was worried sick for Raphael and me. I do remember waking up sometime, demanding for my diary and wife.
I hear Raphael is better now, after receiving treatment and I, of course, am better for I am writing. At last, that’s where our ‘misadventures’ come to an end and I must rest now, for my heart is at home.