Vera lay still in bed, listening to the wind howl and the waves crash onto the small island. A silent tear rolled down her cheek, for today was the day she would have to kill Matthew. She didn't want to do it, she didn't even know for sure if she COULD do it, but she had to.
She glanced down at a small slip of paper in her hand, and whispered to herself the familiar, menacing words as she had every day for the past year.
"Six go out.
Five come in.
One will lose
The rest will win.
Only one will stay true.
For of the killers
Just one will remain.
The other is forgotten
Lost forever in pain."
Vera pondered these words for the 365th time, but tonight was the first night she really understood them. These were words that fueled her and drained her, and had done so for the past year. She began to figure things out in her head. The elders were Mr. and Mrs. Huckleberry, who were each about 90 years old and were the kind of people who look down upon small children with a fond smile on their face. The youths were Jenny and Joey, who were practically small clumps of energy that ran around the island the whole day long, fighting and playing with each other.
Vera and Matthew were the killers. They were the only ones on this island that could feel real pain and hatred, which was why they were the ones who had to kill the other. Only five people could fit on the ship that was coming, so someone had to go. That someone, as Vera had decided long ago, was Matthew.
There was one main problem. Being isolated on an island or any other dangerous, desolate place that requires teamwork and compliance can sometimes weaken relationships, and can sometimes strengthen them. The whole reason the group was sent to the island was an experiment for the government, they were like guinea pigs trapped in a small cage, or in this case, the island.
In this case, the group's relationships were severely strengthened, and this group of what were once strangers were now as close as family. Which was why it was so hard for Vera to betray someone she had grown to love over the past year. But she had to. Otherwise, she would never make it back to the rest of humanity, her life would not be worth living. "Best to get done with it" she murmured. She pulled on a sweatshirt and stepped out of the small house.
She crept down the sandy shore of the island, holding a long, thin dagger in her trembling hand. Her bare feet made no sound as she moved towards Matthew's hut. She pulled up the curtain of reeds and stood over Matthew's sleeping body. She raised the dagger above his head, and began to bring it down. She stopped. She couldn't do it, it was like killing a brother. She walked back to her own hut, her emotions battling with reality.
She had to kill him or she'd never get off the island, but she couldn't kill a friend. That was her major flaw, doing the right thing rather than the logical thing.
Vera sighed and tried to get back to sleep. Even though it was bright out, it was still early, 4 or 5 o'clock maybe. She listened to the hollow wind and the crying birds for a while, then drifted off into sleep.
Vera awoke to a figure looming over her, a familiar figure. "Matthew" she whispered. "Vera" he whispered back. There followed a long moment of silence while both stared deeply into each other's eyes wet eyes.
"I know why you've come."
"You were at my place. I should be dead right now."
"I couldn't do it."
Matthew said nothing
"Matthew, just-" Vera choked on her tears.
"I have to do it, Vera".
"I'll do it now, I'll get it over with."
"Yes. Please do."
"Sleep well, my dear".
Matthew pulled out a dagger, identical to Vera's, and stared at it for a moment. Then he closed his eyes and stabbed it into her heart, as she gazed up at him. He dropped the dagger and opened his eyes to Vera's dying body. Weeping, he picked her up and held her lifeless corpse in his bare hands. Everything that had happened between the two of them the last year had come to this. Now it was over.
As Matthew discovered, when a group suffers a loss, everyone acts the same, forlorn and quiet. Even the youths, Jenny and Joey, seemed to be gloomy and were not their energetic selves, even though they had no idea what was going on. As they prepared for the next day, they barely talked. The liveliness of the small group and the island had been replaced by tensity and worry.
Matthew felt as if everyone was against him. He moped around all day in a bubble of misery, wishing he had gone rather than Vera. In a way this was selfish, for Vera was in no way suffering, quite unlike her dear Matthew. He stumbled about the island trying to be helpful and doing chores, never forgetting his lost love.
As night fell he dug the grave and placed Vera's cold mass inside the dark pit. He covered it with a thick layer of dirt, then placed wild flowers and vines on it. He carved a simple gravestone with his dagger, the same one he used to kill his loved one.
Here lies Vera Woodshow
Much loved, Much pained
Rest In Peace
Matthew stared at the grave for a few minutes, then turned away and walked back to his hut.
The ship sailed in from the East, with a silhouette outlined by the rising sun of pinks and oranges. The reeds brushed softly against themselves, and as the five survivors boarded the ship, the wind seemed to sing a sad song, a song of remorse, a song of despair.