The forest seemed to be a void of green as I ran through it, a never ending mess of trees and shrubbery. I felt my feet stamp down on sharp sticks and thorns, but I never felt any pain. After dealing with the harshness of this tropical rainforest, the soles of my feet had become hard and sturdy. I doubt even a freshly broken piece of glass could penetrate the rough skin, not that I’d ever get to test it. Each bound I made, I got further and faster towards what I was looking for. I knew how to track animals so this wouldn’t be too hard. Follow the prints, look for broken branches, think like the hunted. I could hear it run as well. It was clumsy and making too much noise.
Suddenly, the thing stopped running. I could have heard its heavy breathing from a mile away but instead of catching up to it, I stopped as well. This chase had barely started; I hadn’t had a lot of fun yet. Survival is also about entertainment, not just nourishment. If I was to survive on this island, I had to keep myself occupied, keep reminding myself that I was alive, otherwise there is little stopping me from falling into madness. I could see it through the trees. It had come unto a clearing and it was now resting, trying to catch its breath. I decided to get a better look at it. I scampered up a tree using my hands and feet as hooks, swinging around the branches, a monkey performing for no-one. I came to a branch that viewed down on the clearing. Now it was looking around, wondering where its pursuer had gone.
Also from my branch, there was a wide gap in the trees. The view sprawled out, showing a blanket of trees, rising and falling with the changing levels of the landscape. Beyond the green, was the blue of the ocean, the ocean that had damned me to this wretched, god forsaken island where I had made my home. Its waves had destroyed my vessel, thrown away my crewmates like rats and then brought me to fester here. Neither heaven, nor hell, I would remain in this limbo until my decaying corpse fertilizes the soil.
I looked back down at my prey. It was still looking around, trying to find me. It was only a matter of time before it would look above and see me. Good, I wanted it to. ‘No run, no fun’ was my motto. As I thought, it began looking up in the trees. Our eyes met. There was a hesitation before it once again bolted off into the forest. I let out a loud “Whoop!” and the chase was back on. As I kept running, I saw herds of animals run quickly into the vegetation, startled by the disturbance that my prey and I were causing in this usually peaceful sanctuary, previously free from the chaos that humankind caused. I saw flashes of all sorts of exotic animals, large and small, but I never paid any attention, I had already locked onto my target and any distractions could prove disastrous.
I stopped again. Silence. It had stopped running again. I couldn’t hear it anymore. No breathing. Nothing. It was hiding from me. I looked around, slowly drawing my makeshift knife that I had crafted from a piece of sharp stone.
“Where are you? Come on. I know you’re there,” I said, not really talking to anyone. Sometimes the sound of your own voice can increase your determination and confidence.
A large thing jumped out of the bushes, coming straight for me. It got me from behind so I wheeled around and jabbed the knife into its side. It screamed in pain and struck me in the head. I stumbled back, dazed, more from the shock than the pain. I saw it scramble away clumsily, due to the wound I had inflicted. I got to my senses in a few seconds, spitting out some blood on the grass. I adjusted my bow on my back. Now it was going to end.
After being injured, the thing was now a lot easier to track. Blood made a trail on the trees and plants as it stumbled over logs. I could just make out the colour of it slowly disappear. I ran along to the side so I could cut it off. It then appeared in the gap in the trees. A perfect opportunity.
I pulled out an arrow and clipped it onto my bow. I pulled the string back, closing one eye to aim. I let go and the arrow flew through the air, whistling as it went. I heard a “thunk”, a painful shout and the sound of a body collapse onto the forest floor. I walked slowly over to my prey, stone dagger in hand to finish it off. I saw it writhing on the floor, the arrow I had shot sticking out the back of its shoulder. It twisted to see the predator that had finally shot it down.
“Broadbent!?” the sailor shouted in confusion.
“Good day, Lieutenant,” I replied calmly. “Nice to see you.”
“What the devil are you doing?” I squatted down next to him.
“Surviving, sir. Surviving.” I raised the dagger and before he could cry out in protest, I brought it down into his throat.
Dinner is served.