***Beware the story contains some gory and sacrificial scenes***
The word unlucky is a tricky one. Was it made to describe a person or a scenario? Well, think no further my brilliant scientist family assumed I was unlucky when I became a marketing employee. You should have seen their faces when I went to college; if you didn’t know them you’d think that I’d just killed our cat, in front of their faces. On the bright side, the job I got was at the opposite end of the globe. The Philippines. Sadly, this doesn’t excuse me from family gatherings. So here I am again on yet another trip back to California. Exhausting. The world’s playing a sick trick on me, too. The weather today was nothing short of crappy. Maybe mother nature sided with my family today and wanted to show me how unlucky I am. But, was it a sign of a change in luck? Is this the world telling me I could skip thanksgiving? Nope, probably not. So after a good three-hour delay, I decided to push fort with my intense mission to meet my family. I walked through the plane’s narrow walkway. There is no other word to describe it, but disgusting. It was a sickly brown colour, had a thousand spots, and you guessed it, a lovely mushy texture. Okay, fine I’m exaggerating. But it was horrible. My seat was no better the old raggy cloth sagged down at my weight and made a squeaky sound when I moved. Rude.
After about an hour of sitting on this plane, it started to move. It’s like the world is giving me huge stop signs, but no, it was being weird today and maybe that resulted in my weird behaviour, as well. But, I’m always like this when going home to my family. If that is what you even call them. When I told them I wanted to become a marketing major they laughed at me, pulled me to the road and left me there to sleep for a night. Why? Oh, simply because they said and I quote “you’d need to get used to being a beggar if you wanted to do a job that doesn’t pay”. Such a loving family, right? So here I am trapped in a death device going to hell.
The plane began to move and I had this peculiar feeling. My stomach whirled and I felt like I was about to puke. My hands clutched the armrests. My back pressed against the seat. My eye shut tightly. As the pilot announced, “we are in the sky”.
Nothing could go wrong, right? Wrong. I am afraid of heights. Next to me is a man screaming at his child to not “do that” when he goes to college. If I had any doubt that mental time travel was real, they would surely disappear. Cue awkward laugh. The amazing bond of family never ceases to disappoint me. Well, at least I’ll be prepared when I reach California. Suddenly, my whole world spun. Like literally spun. WE. WERE. GOING. DOWN.
At this moment I felt paralysed. I couldn’t scream. But everything around me seemed to collapse into memories. Children crying in agony as their parents screamed prayers “so help us God” was peppered throughout the haze. And I thought, “this is how I die”. My heart pounded, eyes teared, and palms sweated at the idea of not living until the apology I deserved from my family. But, I knew that no matter how long I lived on this earth they never would.
We hit the water, hard. Headfirst I felt the sharp sting of freezing water. The opposite of the Philippine’s lush warm waves. I was going to die and the worst part was with people who are far too innocent to, children who haven’t lived, and parents who if survived would curse themselves for all eternity. This was insanity.
I knew that the plane was going to sink so I grabbed the nearly 17-year-old child next to me and swam out. When we reached the outside of the death device, aka planes as people call it, the boy was still. No limp. And cold? I reached for his neck to feel a pulse. There. Was. None. I looked around for a place to resuscitate him. To my left, there was an island. It was small and round. I raced for it, naively hoping that I could save this innocent child. While I swam, I thought “Why not me God? Why a child who had so much live?” But, there was no answer. So I continued to swim until my feet met crusty rough sand.
I pressed on his chest in careful precise beats. This child should live. I breathed into his mouth. I did this again, and again, and again. After 10 minutes I began to think that this was hopeless. But, as if the quiet whisper in my head saying “please save this child” was heard, the boy opened his eyes.
After 2 days of walking through the island, surviving solely on berries my mind was running wild. All the green trees that surrounded me seemed to be collapsing after each passing minute. Maybe my faith was to suffer then die? The sun pierced through me like a scorching blade. I was being killed by nature. The flowers I used to adore seduced me and strayed me from my plane. Birds sang songs of death, screeching and cawing at my every move. All my sins seemed to be suffocating me.
I went back to the boy who was huddled on our poorly constructed tent. It had minimal protection. Green leaves draped over two small shrubs and the inside was no better; soil adorned the place where pillows should have been and a measly bowl of berries laid bellow the boy's feet. He looked peaceful. After all of those nights crying, thinking that he could never see his dad again brought strange questions to my mind. Why not me? This child was so innocent.
Weeks passed, I learned to find dead animals and the boy began to speak. He told me stories about his childhood. That his father was poor and wanted him to have a better life. That he wanted to say sorry. That he understood why he was mad. I began to understand this child. It was as if these small bonding times made me understand my childhood more. Made me feel sorry that I moved away from my parents without a simple “I love you”. This boy didn’t only teach me things; he became a brother to me.
But, our luck turned around. Nobody passed by this island and winter was arriving and in a few days time, the cold breeze would assault our fragile bodies.
The boy fell ill. His body is now no more like a paralysed stick. He didn’t have the strength to sit up anymore. He was too skinny to move to a warmer area. And I knew that the worst was yet to come.
As each day passed the boy talked less and less. He started to stutter at first then he just fell silent. Right now I just pray that he dies without too much pain.
You can see it on his face. The fear of death. Every night we I tell him stories of my childhood, and he listens. Right now, he was all the family I had; it was as if every pain he felt I felt too.
After a few days, I couldn’t find food anymore. And it kept getting worse. The darkness seemed never-ending and the cold seemed to battle it in a game of who could last the longest.
One day, my now sickly brother looked at me and said “promise me if I die you willl salvage everything you can from my body and eat it”.
At first, I was disgusted and bursted out in anger. But, as the days went on and the animals that used to come were extinct for the season the thought became more and more appealing. “Ugh, I was disgusting”, I thought.
I came back from my daily hunts and there he was lying limp on the ground with a shard of wood protruding from his chest. “No!”, I screamed.
He. Sacrificed. Himself.
I cried for about half an hour but remembered his will a few days ago. I stared at him with resentment and pain. I questioned whether the world did a complete 180 just to trick me into eating this child.
Irrational thoughts bombarded me until all things good and moral escaped me. I closed his eyes and dug my hand into the mushy flesh. Blood oozed out as the tang of iron hit my nose. My mouth was assaulted with liver, intestines, and muscle. The layers of fat coated my mouth. The organs were soft, silky, and savoury. His skin slid like bile against my throat. “His act shouldn’t be done in vain”, I thought to myself.
“But, was I content? Was I full?”, I thought to myself, yet again. The answer to both questions was no and yes, respectively. But I knew now that I had a new promise to this boy. That I would live out his legacy the right way and apologise to my family for denying them of my love, after all, they wanted what was best for me. Just as this boy’s father did.