If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would be the one thing you'd bring with you? If you could bring one person, who would it be? I never gave the question much thought; after all it's only a stupid game you play to pass the time. My brother and I used to play it a lot.
Oh, God. I have to hurry. I have to get this down before it comes for me. I know it's coming, I can feel it. It wants me dead. My hands are shaking as I write this, and tears are slipping from my eyes uncontrollably, smearing the ink from my pen. It's dark. I used to like the dark. Not anymore. God help me, I'm terrified. I have to finish though. I have to...
Brian was my twin brother. Everyone loved Brian. He was funny, friendly, smart, and cute, you name it. I always picked him to be stranded with because if anyone could survive on an island in the middle of nowhere, it would be Brian, and he would be able to joke about it. That's just how he was, he could find the humour in any situation. Almost any situation anyway.
Brian and I looked nothing alike. He had blond hair, I had brown, he had blue eyes, I had green, and he had a grin that could charm a snake.
Still, Brian and I got along better than any other brothers and sisters I know of. Maybe it was because we were twins.
Chrissy was my best friend. She had short hair that she dyed blue-black. People always asked her if she wore contacts because of her violet eyes, and that drove her nuts because she didn't. Chrissy laughed a lot. Some probably found it annoying, or thought she was a ditz because of the way she giggled, but I knew better. Chrissy knew when to be serious, and don't ever call her a ditz to her face or you'll find yourself lying on the ground wondering where the eighteen wheeler had come from. Then she'd just laugh and walk away. I've seen it happen several times. Chrissy was a unique person packing a major backhand. Her parents died when she was twelve.
Randy was Brian's best friend. If I had three words to describe Randy they would be warm, funny and friendly. Randy is... was Mr. Nice Guy, he wouldn't have hurt a fly. He was half Cherokee Indian and he looked it with his black hair and eyes and dark complexion.
So now you know the basics about our little group. The shy one (me), the nice one (Randy), the outgoing one (Brian) and... well, Chrissy can't be stereotyped. We're all eighteen.
So, I guess I'd better get on with the story.
I'm crying again. I can't seem to stop. Funny, I never used to be a crier. I guess anyone would be crying after what I've been through, and the worst is yet to come.
This is how I came to be in this situation.

It was six weeks ago that I entered the contest in a magazine. I was always entering those things even though I never won. Chrissy always told me not to bother.
The headline read "Win a Cruise for Four to a Tropical Island! Five Days of Nothing but Sun, Sand, and Sea!"
The ad went on to describe how you could "Relax in the sun all day and party all night!" the pictures of the island were of beautiful, sandy beaches and clear blue water. So, I entered, thinking I had nothing to lose.
Four weeks later I got a call.
"Is this Allison Winters?"
"Congratulations, Allison! You've won a cruise for four to a beautiful tropical island!"
"Oh, my God!" I shrieked.
Chrissy, who was sitting on the bed next to me, looked up from the magazine she was reading, "What? What's going on? Allison?"
"Is this a joke?" I asked the man on the phone.
"No, it's not, Allison."
I screamed again and grabbed Chrissy's shoulders, "I won the cruise!"
She knew instantly what I meant, and started jumping up and down, screaming.
"Okay, Allison? I need you to calm down for a minute so I can explain it all to you," the man said patiently. I nodded, forgetting he couldn't see me, and shushed Chrissy.
The man explained that I would be leaving in one week, with three people of my choice, on a cruise to an island. The cruise itself would take three days each way, with five days on the island in between. It was a dream come true.
As soon as I hung up, Chrissy and I started jumping up and down screaming again. My parents came in, demanding to know what was going on.
"I won a cruise!" I told them, trying to calm down.
"Allison..." my Mom began.
"I'm serious, Mom. I entered a contest in a magazine, and they just called to tell me I won! They said the tickets would arrive tomorrow."
Mom just stared at us for a second, then looked at my Dad, "You're not kidding?" he asked. Chrissy and I shook our heads. I explained everything the man had told me.
A grin spread across my parents' faces, "Congratulations, Alli. I guess you're going to want to bring friends and not your old parents, hmm?"
I shifted uncomfortably, "Well... I was thinking of bringing Chrissy, Brian and one of his friends. Probably Randy."
My parents nodded. My dad said, "You'd better go tell Brian. He has Randy over and they were complaining about you girls' screaming."
Chrissy and I laughed and ran out of the room and across the hall into Brian's room.
"How would you guys like to go on a cruise to a tropical island in the Pacific?"
Brian and Randy looked up in surprise, "What, did you win the lottery, Alli?" Brian asked, grinning, "That why you were screaming so much?"
"Close," I laughed, and explained again all about the contest.
"You're kidding," Randy said, shaking his head, "I don't believe it. I think my little sister entered that contest. Ha, I can't wait to tell her I'm going. I am going, right Bri? Of course I am, what am I saying? You wouldn't pick anyone else. I would kick your butt."
Brian chuckled, "Oh, yeah. After all, I live in constant fear of making you mad because you play golf while I lift weights. Despite your bloated ego, buddy, yes, you're going."
"Okay, guys, the ship leaves next Saturday at nine a.m."
The guys nodded and Chrissy dragged me out of the room into mine. Then she fell back on my bed and sighed, "Your brother is so cute," she said. I rolled my eyes.
"Don't start, Chrissy." She just looked at me and grinned.
"Okay, Alli, we have a major shopping excursion to go on. New bathing suits, new shorts, new tops..."
I chuckled. Chrissy laughed and jumped up, "Why don't we start now? We can invite the guys."
I shrugged, "If you want to, sure."
So the four of us went to the mall.

That Saturday we woke up at 7:30. Chrissy was sleeping over in my room and Randy was with Brian. We all got ready quickly and my parents drove us to the docks where the luxurious boat was waiting. It was a mid-sized ship called the Anna-Maria. We'd be travelling with other people, but we were the only contest winners.
"Oh my God! Chrissy, do you believe this? We're actually going on a cruise to a tropical island!"
Chrissy squealed, "I know!"
The guys just rolled their eyes, but I could tell they were as excited as we were.
Half an hour later, we were in our cabins on the boat, Chrissy and I in one connected to Brian and Randy's.
Before long, the guys came into our cabin and sat down on my bed. Chrissy and I sat on her bed, "What do you think, guys? I'm freaking. I'm so excited!" I grinned. Brian nodded.
"We noticed, Alli. It's great; I'm excited too. As you can see, Randy's barely restraining himself." Randy had flopped on the bed and stretched out, eyes closed.
"Well, jeez Bri, if you didn't snore so damn much, maybe I'd have gotten some sleep last night," he mumbled. Brian chuckled.
"You sure it was me? You could have been keeping yourself awake. Man, you could have been keeping the whole town awake. You were the one snoring like a foghorn, not me."
Randy groaned, "Alli, want to trade rooms? I can't take another night like last night."
"No thanks, Randy," Allison laughed, "I know how Brian snores. And FYI, it was both of you last night. We could hear you."
Randy opened his eyes; "I do not snore!"
"Yes you do," Chrissy joined in, "Both of you do. The house was shaking."
"Maybe it was you girls," Brian grinned. Chrissy and I threw the two pillows on the bed at them, laughing.
"We don't snore, boys. It was all you."
"I don't have to put up with this abuse! I'm going to my room," Brian said, laughing. He stood up, "You coming, Randy?"
"As soon as I find the energy to move," Randy groaned.
"Get out, Randy," Chrissy and I looked at each other and grinned. We picked the two pillows up off the floor and started whacking Randy with them.
"Ahh!" Randy yelled, covering his face with his arms, "Mercy, please! I'm going, I'm going!" he got up and ran out, followed by Chrissy's and my laughter. I tossed her the pillow and fell back on my bed.
"Well, that was another enjoyable yet pointless conversation with Randy and Bri. How'd we get to talking about snoring anyway?" I asked. She shrugged.
"I don't know. Who cares? Let's go on deck and show off our new suits."
I nodded and started digging through my bag, looking for it. Chrissy just took her top and shorts off- she was wearing it underneath her clothes. It was a two piece suit; the bottom was like little black shorts with a black bikini top that tied around her back and behind her neck. It was simple but effective. Chrissy looked great in it with her black hair and purple eyes.
Mine was similar, but reversed. It was emerald green with a top like a tank top and a normal bathing suit bottom. I was ready in minutes, and we headed out to lie on the deck.
There was no pool, but there was a line of long chairs that you could sunbathe on. So, we stretched out and relaxed.

Three days later, when the boat pulled in, we were all waiting eagerly on the deck. I'd had high expectations, but I was awestruck by what I saw. It was exactly like the pictures that had enticed me to enter the contest. White, sandy beaches stretched the length of the island, blending into clear, sapphire water. I looked down, and realized that I could see the bottom, even as deep as we were. Multi-coloured fish glided by effortlessly.
There were hundreds of people lying out on the beach, but it was not over crowded. There were people in the water too, splashing and laughing. It made me want to jump in right away, regardless of the ship I was standing on. I waited impatiently for the ship to pull into the dock. Then I grabbed my bags, and with Chrissy at my side and the guys behind us (every bit as excited as I was), we ran down the steps and onto the dock.
"Okay, guys, we're looking for the Starfish Resort," I said. We grabbed a cab, and he took us further down the beach to the place we were staying. It was a beautiful place with three pools, an indoor and two outdoors, a hot tub connected to each outdoor pool and palm trees surrounding the place on three sides, the beach on one side. We were escorted to our two rooms.
"Okay, screw unpacking, I'm going to the beach," Chrissy grinned, throwing her bags on the floor. I laughed and agreed, digging a towel and sunscreen out of my bag. I knocked on Brian and Randy's door, and Randy opened it in his swimsuit. I chuckled.
"I guess you had the same idea we did. We'll see you at the beach," I said. Randy grinned.
"See you there. I like your new suit, by the way."
"Oh, thanks, I like yours too," I smiled. He rolled his eyes.
"Uh huh, because it's so unusual, right?" his trunks were just plain black with a small, white Nike sign at the bottom.
"Of course." That's when Chrissy walked by, grabbing my hand and waving to Randy.
"Come on, Alli, lets go!" we laughed and ran down to the beach like little kids.
Down at the beach, I threw my towel on the ground and told Chrissy I was going swimming. She nodded, and lay down on her towel.
I walked waist deep into the water, then dove into the waves. The water was incredibly refreshing, cool but not cold. It was perfect. I swam for a bit, then I put my feet down on the sandy bottom, wrung my hair out, and walked back to my towel. Chrissy had fallen asleep. I debated on whether or not to flick water in her face and decided not to. It would annoy her, and when Chrissy was annoyed it was best not to be in the immediate area. So I lay down, putting my sunglasses on.
I was just dozing when a shadow fell across me. I raised my sunglasses and looked up.
"I'm Trevor," the guy standing over me said, holding a hand out. I shook it.
"Allison," I said warily, sitting up.
Trevor raked his fingers through his dark, damp hair and squinted down at me with ice blue eyes, "Nice to meet you, Allison," he sat down in the sand next to me. I raised my eyebrows. He grinned, "You don't mind if I sit here, do you?"
I shook my head, "Did you come over here for any particular reason, or what?"
He shrugged, "Not really. Just thought I'd say hi."
"Oh. Hi."
He smiled at me and I felt my knees go weak.
Right then, Chrissy woke up, "Alli, do I hear Randy? Tell him to shut up, will you?"
I chuckled, "Chris? I'm not talking to Randy."
"Oh. Who then?"
"Why don't you open your eyes?"
"Ah. Good idea." Chrissy lifted her sunglasses and looked over. She raised her eyebrows, "Hello. I'm Chrissy. Who are you?"
Trevor gave her a movie-star grin and held out his hand, "Trevor."
"Nice to meet you. Why are you here?"
"Just thought I'd introduce myself to you ladies."
"Oh. Well I'm going to go back to sleep now," Chrissy put her sunglasses back down and her head back.
Trevor chuckled, "Where are you from?" he asked me.
"Nova Scotia." I answered.
"Ah, Canadians. I love Canada."
"Me too," I replied.
"So, did you just get here or what?"
"We were on the boat that just arrived."
"You must have headed straight for the beach."
"Of course," I smiled.
He smiled back then looked out at the sea, "Who are Randy and Bri? Boyfriends?"
I laughed, "No. Bri is my brother and Randy is his friend. They should be here any minute." No sooner had I finished the sentence than I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Brian, Randy, meet Trevor," I said, without turning around. Trevor looked back behind us and held out his hand for the third time.
"Nice to meet you, guys."
"You too, Trevor," Brian said.
"Yeah," Randy echoed.
"How's the water, Alli?" Brian asked.
"Beautiful. Clean, cool, perfect."
"Great. I'm going in."
"What about you, Randy?" I asked.
"I'm in. See you later, Alli."
I nodded. After they were gone, Trevor looked at me, "Are you guys close?"
"Me and Bri? Yeah. We're twins."
"Not identical, obviously."
"Nope. Hey, see that little island out there? With the trees?"
Trevor looked "Yeah?"
"What is it?"
"I've been there a few times. It's uninhabited, just jungle and animals, really beautiful. I could take you and your crew out there on my boat if you'd like."
"Seriously?" I looked at him. He nodded. "That'd be great!"
"Hey, Alli, I actually have to go now. I'm sorry. Can I have your phone number, so I can confirm the boat trip and all," he grinned. I chuckled.
"Uh huh. I'm staying at the Starfish Resort. I don't know the number, but I'm room 203."
"I know the number. I'll see you later, okay?" he patted my shoulder and got to his feet. He gave me one last smile and walked away.
"Well, that was interesting," Chrissy said. I looked down at her.
"Going back to sleep, huh?"
"I tried but listening in on you and Trevor was just too interesting. Damn, he's fine."
"Indeed he is," I said, lying back on my towel.

That evening, I was in our room and Trevor called.
"Alli! How does tomorrow afternoon sound for that boat trip? Around four?"
"The one and only."
"Uh, hang on." I covered up the receiver and looked at Chrissy. She was grinning at me.
"Is it him?" she mouthed. I nodded.
"Get the guys," I said, "Ask them if they want to go see a jungle island thing tomorrow at four."
"Gotcha," Chrissy ran through the passage between our two rooms. A second later she came back trailed by Brian and Randy. They looked at me expectantly.
"Okay, guys, Trevor's offered to take us out on his boat tomorrow at four to this island offshore that's totally uninhabited and covered in jungle.
Randy and Brian looked at each other then at me, "Sounds good," Brian said.
I uncovered the phone, "Trevor? Sorry. Yeah, we'd love to go. Can you hold all four of us?"
"Well, sure. Meet me at the dock tomorrow."
"Great. See you then."
"Bye, Alli."
I hung up and looked at my friends. They were staring at me, "What?"
"Alli, didn't you just meet the guy this afternoon?" Randy asked. I nodded, "Don't you think it's weird that he'd invite four virtual strangers on a boat trip to a deserted island?"
I shrugged, "Maybe a little, but it doesn't matter. What could happen?"
Randy's eyes darkened, "Lots of things. But lets not worry about that now. You girls ready to go?" Chrissy and I nodded, "Then come on!"
The four of us walked out of the hotel and down the road, looking for someplace to party.

The next morning, Chrissy and I got up around eleven and knocked on Brian and Randy's door.
Brian answered, "Randy went down to the beach early for a swim. We'll meet you downstairs at eleven thirty. I have to go wake up."
Before either of us could comment on his hair sticking straight up or his sleep filled eyes, he shut the door.
We looked at each other and burst out laughing.
"Don't laugh at me!" Brian yelled through the door. That only made us laugh harder. We could hear him chuckling too.
"See you downstairs, Bri!" I called. Chrissy and I made our way down to the lobby where, surprisingly, breakfast was still out on long tables. There was a massive selection of fruit, bagels, muffins, Danishes, that kind of stuff. Chrissy took a muffin and I had a mango. We sat down at one of the little round tables outside.
"Alli, Chrissy."
We looked up, "Randy, how was your swim?"
"Great. Where's Bri?"
"Still upstairs. He looked like we woke him up when we went to see him."
Randy laughed, "I bet he loved that."
"Oh, yeah," I chuckled, "He's such a morning person. Hey, there's still tons of food in there for breakfast. Grab something and come sit with us." Randy nodded and walked into the hotel lobby.
A few minutes later, he was back holding a cherry Danish, "Sorry. I went up to put my towel away first. Brian must have gone back to bed after you guys woke him up. I covered his face with a pillow, and when he was fully awake and yelling at me to, ah... frig off, I said I was back and I'd see him downstairs after he was dressed. He should be down any minute."
"Randy! I wish I'd been there," I laughed. He shrugged, then looked closely at his Danish.
"Do you think there's any actual cherry in this thing?"
"Probably not," Chrissy said, "You'll just be biting down into about twenty-five different preservatives and chemicals with fourteen-letter names."
He grinned, "Yummy," and took a bite. I rolled my eyes.
Brian walked out of the hotel doors, rubbing his eyes in the bright sunlight. He sat down and gave Randy a dirty look.
"Well, you had to get up some time, buddy."
Brian shook his head and looked at Chrissy and I, "So, Alli, when are we meeting your boyfriend?"
I blushed, "He's not my boyfriend."
"Sure," Brian chuckled, "What time?"
"Four. At the dock."
"Okay. What is that thing?" he pointed to the fruit I was eating.
"A mango," I cut off a piece and offered it to him.
"So, what are we doing today, guys?" he asked, taking the slice of mango.
she said, "Beach this morning, then we'll see how it goes."
Brian nodded. Then he folded his arms on the table and put his head down.
Chrissy poked him. When she didn't get any response, she poked him again.
"Chrissy," Brian said in a warning voice, "Poke me again and I'll take Alli's knife and saw your finger off." She laughed.
"I have no doubt that you would, Bri." She poked him again. He looked up and glared at her. Then he reached for my knife sitting on the table. Chrissy grabbed it and grinned.
"Come on, Alli. Let's get ready to go to the beach."

Half an hour later we were lying on the soft, white sand. I sat up and pulled a pad of lined paper and a pen out of my bag. I always brought a pen and paper with me in case I got an idea for a story. I began to jot down a few points on a main character and plot line. Then I took a drink from the little bottle of pop I'd brought and laid back again.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. I don't know what the guys did all day, we didn't see them until four o'clock, but we spent some time on the beach, went for a walk down the main drag of the town. There were dozens of little shops and things lining the road, exactly the kind of place I could spend hours.
When we arrived at the dock, the guys were waiting but there was no sign of Trevor.
"Alli! Your boyfriend's late!" Brian called, just to bug me.
I rolled my eyes, "How old are you, Bri?"
"Same age as you, Alli."
I turned to Chrissy and started to say something regarding Brian's IQ level, when she pointed out at the water and said, "There he is."
I looked out. Trevor was roaring towards us at the wheel of a speedboat with a portable radio blaring 'Bent' by Matchbox Twenty.
"Can you help me? I'm bent, I'm so scared that I'll never get put back together..."
"I love that song," Chrissy grinned.
"You love every song, Chris," I chuckled. She shrugged.
"Hey, guys! Sorry I'm late," Trevor called, pulling up next to the dock and turning the music down.
"It's okay," Chrissy and I said at the same time. We looked at each other and laughed. Trevor smiled.
"Alright, hop in everyone."
Randy and Brian just jumped in like it was nothing, but I was scared the thing would tip when I got in. I saw the look on Chrissy's face and I knew she was thinking the same thing. We'd never been in a speedboat before. Trevor chuckled and held out a hand to me.
"Don't worry," he said, "It won't sink." I smiled and took his hand, stepping carefully off the dock. Chrissy followed.
I took my backpack (which still held my pen and paper, a now empty plastic bottle and a few other things) and threw it on the floor of the boat, sitting down in one of the padded seats. Chrissy sat next to me.
"Y'all ready?" Trevor asked, looking back. We nodded, "Alright then. Here we go."
Trevor turned away from shore and steered towards the island, gaining speed as we went until I couldn't hear anything over the wind. We went over a large swell and Chrissy and I screamed, Brian and Randy laughed. Trevor looked at me and grinned.
"Having fun?" he yelled over the music and wind. I nodded.
It took only a few minutes at that speed to get to the little island. Trevor pulled up as close to shore as he could, and we jumped out knee deep in water. We were wearing our bathing suits, so it didn't matter if we got wet.
We walked up onto the beach. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The trees and plants about two hundred meters away were such a vibrant, alive green, and we could hear the chattering of monkeys, the squawking of birds, and the buzzing of insects.
The beach was perfect, clean white sand with not a paper wrapper or pop can to be found, and there were dozens of seashells lying along the shore. I picked up a big conch shell off the sand next to my feet and looked at the pretty, delicate pink inside. Randy took it out of my hand and put it up to my ear, "Can you hear the ocean?" he asked.
I grinned and nodded, "But I'm not sure if it's the shell or the fact that we're standing about three feet from the ocean itself."
He smiled and walked behind me. I heard him undo the snap on my backpack and put the shell inside.
"Thanks, Randy."
He shrugged, "No problem."
Then he looked down, muttered something about having to talk to Brian and walked away.
"I think he likes you," Chrissy said, coming up behind me.
"Yes. It's totally obvious," she said, grinning.
"I don't think so, Chrissy. We've known each other since we were little kids. I don't think he sees me like that."
"Why not?"
"I just don't," I looked at her, "I should say something to Bri about you. Maybe he likes you as much as you like him."
"Don't!" she cried.
"Why not, Chrissy?"
"Because if he doesn't, then we'll have to spend the rest of the week here together and it'll be weird. Okay?"
"Alright, but..."
"Okay, how would you lovely ladies like to go for a little hike through the jungle?" Trevor asked, walking up to us, "Brian and Randy said they would but if you two would rather stay here on the beach, it's okay by me."
"What do you think, Chris?" I asked, looking at her.
"Sounds good to me," she said.
"Let's go, then," I smiled at Trevor. He grinned back.
"I'm glad. The animals here are so tame because they hardly ever see people. Sometimes a monkey will come right up to you."
"Cool!" Chrissy grinned.
Trevor nodded and turned around, waving to Brian and Randy. Then he started towards the jungle.
Ten minutes later, we were all wishing we'd stayed on the beach, all except Trevor. He didn't seem the least bit bothered by the constant loud chattering and squawking, the vines slapping all of our faces, or the tree roots poking up to trip us. He seemed to know every tree and root of the jungle by heart. I walked next to him, trying to step where he stepped. I had to grab his arm every few minutes to keep from falling.
Once, Chrissy called, "Look at this guys!" and reached out a hand to touch a small, bright splash of colour hanging on to a tree.
"Don't touch that!" Trevor yelled. She snatched her hand back, startled.
"Why not?" she watched the bright little frog hop away.
"It's poisonous. It's skin is covered in venom. It's its protection. The bright colours are a warning."
Chrissy paled slightly, "Oh."
Trevor smiled, "You okay?" she nodded, "Okay, then, let's keep walking."
Half an hour later, Randy spoke up; "I've got to take a leak. I'll be right back." And he walked into the trees. Trevor mumbled something along the lines of "Be right back," and wandered into the trees in the opposite direction that Randy went. We sat down on various perches ranging from a fallen log to a kind of natural swing made by a vine, glad for the chance to rest.
For the first time since we'd arrived, all the monkeys and birds were silent. Trevor walked out of the trees again a second later, looking puzzled.
"That's weird. I didn't know there was a jaguar on this island. I wonder how he got here."
Randy came back as he was finishing the sentence, "What the hell was that?" he asked, looking at Trevor.
"A jaguar. No reason to be worried, he won't bother us," Trevor reassured us.
Randy looked at him strangely, then shrugged, "If you say so."
We started walking again, until we came to a little clearing.
"Watch this," Trevor walked over to a tree, "Come here, Mika. Come on, don't be scared."
A little black monkey dropped out of the tree. Trevor held out a hand and Mika scampered up his arm onto his shoulder.
"Meet Mika the Monkey," he said, grinning, "Mika, this is Alli, Chrissy, Randy and Brian."
"Oh my God! She's so cute!" Chrissy and I squealed and ran over to him. Mika chittered and cringed back, hiding behind Trevor's head.
"Don't be shy, Mika," Trevor said. The monkey peeked out, "Say hi to the girls."
Mika chittered again, clutching Trevor's shoulder in her tiny hands. Then suddenly, she bolted and flew up the tree behind him at an incredible speed.
Trevor looked behind him, putting a hand to his neck where Mika had scratched him, "Sorry, guys. I guess she's not feeling very sociable today. We should probably head back anyway. It'll be getting dark soon and we don't want to be stuck here overnight with no shelter."
So, we started back. We didn't hear the jaguar again, but it was on all our minds.
Trevor was the first on the beach, and we heard him curse loudly. Chrissy and I looked at each other. The guys ran past us to see what was wrong. We chased them.
"Oh, my God," I groaned. The boat was gone. Trevor had anchored the boat a short way offshore. Trevor cursed again.
"I don't understand it. I know I checked the rope this afternoon. I always do."
I shook my head; "It's not your fault. Maybe something under the water did it."
"Like what, a shark? Or a fish?"
"Maybe some coral or a sharp rock or something cut it."
He shook his head, "No, that rope was an inch thick. Nothing cut or gnawed through it. I must have missed something when I checked it. Or maybe I made a mistake when I tied it."
"So, what do we do?" Brian asked.
"I guess we have to spend the night here," Trevor said, putting his head in his hands. He looked at the four of us, "We don't have to worry about food and water, there's a freshwater stream inland and fruit trees everywhere. Shelter, on the other hand, could present a problem. I guess we'll just have to sleep under the stars. Not really such a bad thing." He tossed the backpack he'd been wearing all along to the ground, "In that bag are matches, among other things like first aid supplies etc. we should be okay for the night."
"What about the jaguar?" I asked. Trevor looked at me.
"Don't worry. He won't bother us. We're too big for him to eat."
"Yeah, not to big for him to bat around a bit," Chrissy muttered. Trevor chuckled.
"Really, don't worry. Randy, do you want to come with me to collect some fruit?" Trevor asked, turning to the unusually withdrawn Randy. He shrugged.
The two of them walked into the trees.
We never saw either of them again.
An hour after they left, I was frantic, "Where are they? Why have they been gone for so long?"
Brian shook his head, "Don't worry, Alli. Trevor seems to know this jungle. I'm sure they're okay."
"I'm going to look for them," I announced, standing up from my spot on the warm sand.
"Don't be stupid, Alli, the sun's going down. It'll be dark soon. Do you really want to be stuck in the jungle at dark?" Chrissy asked, looking up at me. She was sitting curled up, hugging her knees.
"I'll be back before dark."
Brian sighed, "I guess I'll go with you, Alli. Chris, you stay on the beach." Chrissy nodded. Brian got up and followed me into the jungle in the direction Randy and Trevor had gone.
We'd been struggling through the undergrowth for about ten minutes when I stopped in my tracks and screamed.
"Alli! What is it?" Brian, who was a few meters behind me, called. I couldn't stop screaming, but at the same time I couldn't stop looking at the gruesome sight before me.
"Oh, God. Alli, come here," Brian put his arms around me and I turned to face him, finally able to stop screaming. I began to sob. He hugged me, but I could feel him crying too.
In the tree directly in front of us was Randy. He'd been disemboweled, his insides were laying on the ground and intestines trailed from a gash in his stomach. He was saturated with dark red blood. There were flies buzzing around the body and maggots forming. The look on his face when he died was one of shock.
Suddenly, I pulled away from Brian, turned to the bushes at our side and vomited.
I knew the image of Randy's destroyed body lying across that branch is one I will never be able to rid my mind of. It will haunt my dreams forever; eating away at me as the jaguar ate away at him. I gagged again.
"Come on, Alli. Are you okay? Let's go back to the beach now, all right? Come on," Brian was talking to me like you might talk to a small child, but his voice was shaky. He put an arm around my trembling shoulder and led me back along the path we followed.
"What happened? I heard screaming," Chrissy ran up to meet us as we stumbled out of the jungle, "Oh, my God, Alli. What's wrong?"
"Randy," I sobbed, "He's dead." Chrissy's eyes widened. She looked at Brian. He shook his head.
"The jaguar, I think. Oh, God Chrissy, it's horrible. His body..." Brian trailed off and tears started to slip from his eyes again. I continued to sob. Chrissy's eyes were bright with unshed tears. She put her arms around both of us. I stiffened.
Chrissy looked at me. Brian wiped his eyes, "What?" Chrissy asked, sniffing.
"Trevor. Where is he? He was with Randy. Maybe he's still alive."
"Not likely, Alli," Brian said, sitting on the sand. While we were gone, Chrissy had built a fire with the matches in Trevor's bag. Chrissy took my hand.
"Alli, if he were alive he would have come back."
"Maybe he's lost! Maybe the jaguar chased them and they got separated or something. He could be alive! We should look for him. Come on, Chrissy," I pleaded. She sighed.
"Alright, Alli. I'll come. Grab a torch though. It's almost dark."
Brian didn't speak. He was sitting, legs drawn up, staring at the fire. I squatted in front of him.
"Bri, Chrissy and I are going into the jungle to look for Trevor."
He nodded slightly, not taking his eyes off of the fire. I stood again and Chrissy handed me a long stick. I stuck the end in the fire. She did the same with her own, and we started off. We went away from where Brian and I found Randy's body.
Beneath the trees it could have been midnight. We walked along, calling Trevor's name.
Chrissy was getting ahead of me. I started to call her back when I thought I heard something.
It was faint, but I heard a man's voice. It was coming from my left. I walked silently towards the sound.
Something landed on my shoulder. I shrieked and dropped my torch. It went out and I cursed. The thing on my shoulder chittered in my ear.
"Mika?" I whispered. The monkey chittered again. Suddenly she shrieked and took off. I felt a hand on my shoulder and screamed. The hand tightened.
"Brian?" I whispered, "Trevor?" I started shaking uncontrollably when whomever the hand belonged to didn't answer. Because I could see almost nothing, I sensed the man lowering his face so it was almost touching the side of mine. He put his other hand on my other shoulder. I was frozen, terrified. I couldn't move, couldn't run, couldn't scream. I was paralyzed.
"Allison..." he whispered in a deep, throaty voice. I turned my head away and caught a glimpse of the hand clamping my shoulder. I gasped. The fingers ended in razor sharp claws; the hand was covered in fine hair that was more like fur. The fur was faintly spotted. Like a leopard. Or like a jaguar. The man that was holding me was no man.
"Allison..." he whispered again, "What's wrong, Allison? You're shaking. Don't you like me, Allison? I was so sure you did..."
I was breathing erratically, my heart pounding, "Who...?" I choked out.
"Who am I?" the inhuman voice whispered, "You know me, Allison. Or perhaps you don't. Perhaps you just thought you did. I know you. That's all that matters, Allison..."
"Let me go," I gasped, "Please. Please, don't hurt me."
I felt him kiss my cheek and I cringed. He chuckled in the most terrifying way; a way that suggests it is all a game to him, cutting the rope of the boat so we would be stranded here, killing Randy, scaring me to the edge of sanity. That he was just playing with us. He would get us all in his own time. I started to cry softly. He squeezed my shoulders until I cried out in pain, and then he was gone.
Trevor, I thought, It has to be. He knew my name. He knew I liked him. He's some kind of...
"NOOOOO!" the piercing scream shattered the silence of the jungle. Then came a terrible roar. Silence.
"Chrissy," I whispered. Then I screamed it, "Chrissy! Oh, God, Chrissy." I fell to the ground, weeping, "Chrissy..."
Somehow, I found my way back to the campfire and Brian. He was still sitting, staring at the fire. I stood in front of him, feeling strangely detached. I'd stopped crying.
"Chrissy. He killed Chrissy."
Brian looked up, his eyes wide with horror, "Who?"
"Trevor." I sat down and told him about what happened in the jungle. What I thought Trevor was.
"So, you think he's some kind of werewolf, only he changes into a jaguar. A were-jaguar?"
"You don't believe me," I whispered, putting my head in my hands. Tears were once again streaming down my cheeks.
"Alli, I believe you and Chrissy got separated. I believe you dropped your torch. I believe maybe you are in shock and scared and you perhaps saw some things in the dark that weren't there. I believe Chrissy is dead. God, what are we going to do?" he moaned.
"He was there," I said in a low voice, "I know he was. I know it. It was not in my mind."
Brian didn't hear me. He was staring into the fire again. I followed his gaze.
We sat like that for a long time, neither of us talking. Suddenly Brian stood up.
"I'll be right back, Alli. I have to take a leak." I nodded, and followed him with my eyes as he stepped behind a clump of trees about a hundred meters away.
As I watched, I saw a man-shaped shadow glide up behind him. My eyes widened and I began to tremble. When I tried to call out to warn him, I couldn't. I heard a muffled scream then a loud crack. I was shaking so hard, my teeth were chattering, but I couldn't stand and run. I once again felt tears falling from my eyes. Brian was dead. I was alone. I saw eyes reflected in the firelight, and I swear the huge cat grinned at me. It started towards me. The cat body melted away, to reveal...
Randy nodded, a grin spreading across his face.
"You were dead! We saw your body!"
He shrugged, "It was me, but the blood was almost all Trevor's. So were the organs. I'm a pretty good actor, I guess."
"But, your stomach was all cut open."
He laughed, "I knew you wouldn't look too closely. It was just a shallow cut, and I heal when I change."
I stared. He was wearing swim trunks but no shirt, and there was not even a scar where only a few hours ago I'd been sure he was fatally wounded.
"What are you?" I asked.
He looked sad all of a sudden, "Alli, I really wish I could tell you. I was born how I am, I don't know if there is a name for it or not. I am what I am and it is all I know."
"Why?" I whispered, "My God, Randy, why?"
"Why what? Why did I kill them all? Why am I going to kill you?"
I nodded, "And why the games?"
"I was going to stop at Trevor. I really was. But once I started, once I'd gotten a taste of the kill, I liked it. I couldn't stop. You wouldn't believe the feeling of sheer power it gives you, Alli. I'm going to kill you because, well, I can live here forever without anyone disturbing me. You don't know what it was like, Allison, having to hide my true nature all my life in the city. If I let you go, after all you've seen, you'll go and tell people and have this place crawling with hunters. Don't you think I know they'd kill me? I don't want to die any more than you do, but the difference is I have a choice. It was enjoyable, scaring you and Brian and Chrissy. Faking my death, well that was just another part of the game, making you think it was Trevor the whole time."
"Why did you kill Trevor to begin with? Why couldn't you have just hidden in the jungle and waited for us to leave?" I asked, beginning to tremble again.
"Because you wouldn't have just left your dear friend Randy to die on a deserted island. Besides, I just didn't like Trevor. He was asking me questions while we walked in the jungle," Randy's lip curled in a feline snarl, "Did I think you liked him? What should he do to get you to go out with him? I've loved you for a long time, Allison, and he wanted to take you away."
I looked into his glimmering, gold cat's eyes, "I'm sorry Randy. I didn't know."
Randy just stared back, the eerie reflection of the fire in his eyes.
"If you loved me, Randy, you'd let me go," I pleaded.
He looked away; "I'm going to leave you now. Perhaps you should make the last hours of your life count. Do something useful. I will be back."
It was then that I took the paper and pen from my bag and started writing this. An hour and a half ago. I see him in the trees now, his eyes reflecting the fire in the eerie way that cat's eyes do. Now he steps out from among the bushes, impatient for the kill. I close my eyes, and let a final tear fall. I am scared. I have never known true fear until now. I've never felt this paralyzing, cold, heart pounding, gasping, shrieking, wailing terror before, and I hope you never have to feel it. I know I am going to die, and I am trying to accept it. It doesn't stop the fear, though.
I am going to roll up these papers now, and put them in the plastic pop bottle and throw it into the ocean in hope that perhaps someone, somewhere will find it and Chrissy, Brian, Trevor and I, Allison, will be remembered. Goodbye.