Fiction Thriller

June 12, 1961

We flew out from Florida today and landed in South America, then sailed for what felt like hours to get to this island. I’ve been told that it’s been discovered so recently they don’t even have a name for it yet! Therefore, as the leader of our team of four, it’s my duty to find something suitable. Maybe South America Jr? Li’l Southy? I’ll keep workshopping names today and see what the others think. Robbie will get a kick out of it, I’m sure, but Big John and Carson will only glare at me. That’s all they’ve done so far on this excursion, but I’m trying not to let their mood spoil mine.

This is, after all, an adventure! I’ve never kept a diary before, but I want my mother to know about all the discoveries I make, especially after I become famous!

It’s not all fun and games, though - we were sent here for a specific mission. We were told to find signs of civilization. This is an unknown area to us, but has it always been unknown to humankind? (See, Mother, I’m already becoming a real-life explorer! Asking the real questions, like that reporter you love so much!)

We’re setting up our tents on the beach now, so I’ll write again tomorrow!

June 13, 1961

It’s a jungle out here. At least, the middle of the island is. The trees tower above even Big John, and their flat, green leaves are bigger than Robbie’s head! Which, I don’t want to sound rude - my mother always hates when I am - is pretty big.

Speaking of being rude, my companions are not as helpful as I thought they would be. Carson keeps talking about possible ways off of the island, Big John just sits there, sulking in silence, and Robbie . . . well, I never thought Robbie would be all that helpful. I sometimes question why Robbie was chosen for this job.

But then again, any discoveries will make me all the more famous, because I will have found them on my own! Mother always says there’s a silver lining to every cloud - you just have to look for it. 

For instance, today, while Carson was screaming at Robbie to “Shut up for one —- —--- minute -” (Mother doesn’t like it when I curse, so I’ll leave those words out), I found a fading yellow flower I’ve never seen before. Its petals were so long they were dragging in the mud, and the bulb inside was enormous, red, and bulging, like a zit just waiting to pop. 

It reminded me of Mother, so I named it after her. (You’re welcome!!)

June 14, 1961

The jungle looks like it gets even more impressive the deeper you go into it, but no one wants to leave the beach area. We’ve stayed on the outskirts of the island ever since we got here, but I don’t know what kind of signs of civilization everyone else is hoping to find in the sand! It seems silly to me. I’m starting to think my companions aren’t in this for the right reasons. I confronted Carson about that today, and he just started laughing and laughing. He laughed so hard his face went red. “The right reasons?!” he’d shrieked.

I think he might be going insane. Which is unfortunate, since we already have to deal with Robbie. Oh, well. I guess Big John is the only one left I can count on, but since he hasn’t contributed much, my hopes aren’t very high.

But that’s okay! Mother always says there’s a silver lining to every cloud - you just have to drink enough to find it.

June 16, 1961

We started hearing voices coming from the jungle last night. Big John went whiter than I’ve ever seen him. Carson’s hands started shaking. Even Robbie fell silent, for once, although who knows what he was thinking.

I don’t know why they were so scared - I only heard my mother.

June 18, 1961

It took a lot of convincing, but I finally got my companions to follow me into the jungle today. Well, I got Robbie to. Carson and Big John adamantly refused. My mother wouldn’t like Carson or Big John. They’re scaredy-cats, not like me. “I didn’t raise a coward,” Mother always says. 

So Robbie and I trekked through thick foliage and dripping leaves until I finally did it - I found signs of civilization! Just like they asked for!

It did make me wonder for a second how they expected me to relay this information to them - they hadn't left us anything we could use to communicate with them, and, as far as I know, they'd taken the only boat back with them - but adventure stops for no one, so onward it was!

It was hidden, so I almost didn’t notice it at first. Creeping vines crawled all over the structure so it almost looked like a part of the trees, but as I was walking by it, an odd glint caught my eye. I turned, and wouldn’t you believe it, there was a doorknob sticking out of the leaves!

Robbie sort of helped me clear away as many of the vines as we could, although he spent most of the time humming to himself and getting distracted by things that weren’t there (what kind of vetting process did they use to pick these guys??). Regardless, about an hour later, we stood and regarded this building that looked older than time, older than me.

It was the house I grew up in.

How exhilarating!! No more sleeping in tents under the blank nothingness of a dark sky, although it was kind of fun at the beginning, because it made me feel like a real explorer. The sky is large, however, and only gets larger at night, large enough to swallow me whole, and how can one be expected to find silver linings when there aren’t any clouds?

I turned the knob and opened the door on squeaky hinges, just like I remembered. Inside, nothing had changed from when I was a kid - well, except for the vines climbing through empty window panes and up the ceiling. But that was really the only difference. I could almost see my mother uncorking another bottle at the chipped, yellowing kitchen counter. The lone, bare bulb above our round table flickered like it always had. The scuffs on the hardwood floor from abruptly screeching chair legs were all there, and so was the dent in the wall from when my mother threw me so hard I broke my arm.

As useless as my companions have been, I decided to let them in on my discovery. I made it back to Big John and Carson (I lost Robbie somewhere along the way, but I’m not too worried. He’ll find us, probably) and told them what I had found.

Instead of shining excitement and wonder, their eyes only reflected flat disbelief. Suffice to say, they did not want to return to the jungle with me.

The sun started to sink, and the voices started whispering to us again. 

Well, Carson calls it “voices.” I only hear one.

June 19, 1961

Big John died last night. Carson thinks I did it, but that doesn’t make any sense. Why would I kill the one person I had hoped would be able to aid my exploration?

Besides, I heard Big John leave his tent last night. As he walked past mine, he was muttering the first and final things he’d ever said on this island: “I should’ve chosen the chair, I should’ve chosen the chair, I should’ve chosen the chair.” Then he drowned himself.

Carson, of course, doesn’t believe me. Which is annoying. We’re still a team, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. I’m not going to lie to my teammate. And let’s be logical about this - Big John was a hitman with the word “big” in his name. I don’t think I could’ve taken him!

But I refuse to let this ruin my day! After all, my mother always says there’s a silver lining to every cloud - you just have to beat the shit out of your son to find it.

I wanted to go back to my house today, but Carson clutched my arm and begged me not to go. Carson is capital “S” Scared. I felt a little bad for him, even though he called me a liar, so I decided to stay in the tents one more night.

June 20(?), 1961

I woke up in the middle of the night. Not to my mother’s voice, because I’ve gotten used to that, but to Carson screaming. I poked my head out of the tent, and what do I see but Carson, eyes bulging, red mouth frothing and wide, being dragged into the jungle by his feet. 

As much as I didn’t like Carson, and as much as he deserved it (he was on death row for murdering eighteen women), I was still disappointed. There’s a whole lot of exploring to do, and I’m just one man! 

But then I saw a person swathed in the shadows of the moonlit jungle, staring at me, and I realized with a start that it was my mother! She was wearing her favorite outfit - a wine-stained nightgown - and her arm was outstretched to me. I heard her whispering, but oddly, her mouth didn’t move. 

I came back into my tent quickly so I could write this down. She wants to take me to the house I found earlier. She didn’t say as much, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find Carson and Robbie there, too.

But I have a secret. She thinks she’s fooled me, but I’m not crazy. I know my mother is dead. I stabbed her forty-two times to make sure. Whatever that thing is, it isn’t my mother.

Like my mother always said, though -

Well, never mind what she always said.

This thing will find out soon enough.

April 25, 2024 14:59

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Laurie Spellman
13:37 May 02, 2024

Whoa that was scary good. Reminds me of Lizzie Borden she too killed her parents but with an Axe.


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Michelle Oliver
15:03 Apr 26, 2024

Well that was dark! A kind of murderous insanity. Good pacing with a gripping twist. Well done


Sydney McKown
16:27 Apr 26, 2024

Thanks so much, I appreciate it!


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