I woke up on Disappointment Island but I didn’t fall asleep there. I’m not entirely sure how I got from point a to b but at some point I’m absolutely certain that it happened. The last thing that I remember was closing my eyes as I was driving home. I didn’t crash though. This isn’t one of those stories. I was stopped at some traffic lights and I just, fell asleep and woke up here. I wasn’t kidnapped. It isn’t one of those kinds of stories. Don’t worry. I’m worried. My beard has grown like a tree wanting to entrap snakes that climb too high.
I believe a kind stranger led me home. Carried, you might say. Slung over one shoulder like some terribly clichéd maiden in a story that I wish I’d written. My Hansel and Gretel crumbs were the tobacco that slowly fell out of my poorly rolled cigarettes. I could light my way home. If only I hadn’t lost my lighter nights before when I threw it in a friends face. I always do things like that and wish that I hadn’t. But that isn’t what this is about.
This is about the feeling. This isn’t the beach that I had in my mind. I’d always imagined a tropical beach. I think that’s how everyone see’s their beach. Lonely but beautiful. The beach that the poets told us about. But they preached bullshit and we ate it up without asking why we’d want to be lonely. So I’m asking now but I don’t expect a response considering I’ve been left alone on this desolate place. I’m skipping stones but they don’t seem to end up anywhere. They spin around the island and hit me in the back. I try and build a house with them and it just crumbles. That’s the way all of my stories turn out though isn’t it?
Everything I know of how I got here has been second hand. I found a message in a bottle. But the ink had run and all I was left with was a Rorschach image that I’ve been deciphering for the past week. So I’m sorry if I’m sometimes a little bit jumbled up and jumpy but every time the wind blows the right way I think I hear the sad call of the sirens.
When the wind doesn’t pick up I don’t even bother to listen anymore. I’ve got company though. At the other end of the island was a dog. Just watching from the mouth of a cave. I thought he was going to attack and I wouldn’t have the strength to fight him off. I hadn’t been able to find food or water in two days and was pretty sure that I was as close to death as one can get before you see his teeth and stop wondering why he’s been smiling. Death is a happy time when you welcome it with open arms. There wasn’t any point me eating the message in the bottle. Each sloppy ink stain would only taste like an image that I didn’t want to see.
But this dog kept looking at me. Not baring his teeth or anything, no emotion at all actually. It may have just been a hallucination actually. But the wisest words come from those who have nothing left to say.
So I walked towards the dog and realised that he was stood by a puddle. I knew not to drink seawater. But this wasn’t seawater. I’m not saying it was a magical elixir, it may have just been dog piss. But it saved my life and that’s all I know. Well, I think it saved my life I was still stuck on this island with nowhere to go. But at least I was still breathing and people claim that to be miracle most of the time. I usually class it as miracle. The miracle of humanity and his will to survive even when the odds are stacked.
So, this dog. He didn’t have a collar and I don’t know how he’d survived here so long, or even if he’d actually been here the whole time. Oddly enough it wasn’t a dog that could talk. Which is always a shame in these situations. He looked just like my Rorschach puzzle. But with less teeth and a more positive outlook on life. I’d have liked to hear how he got here as well but we both sit now.
I don’t have to tell him to sit, he just does it. So well trained I’m not sure who is asking who to sit. I’d like to imagine that we’re one and the same but we’re not. He has a much safer grip on the situation and actually knows how to hunt and find water. He doesn’t hunt for me, we’re not the best of friends yet but there’s still time. Well, I hope that there is still time. I’m mostly left with just following him around and eating the grass that he deems to be safe. This seems to be the best way so far. Neither of us look so well. His mane is falling out and my skin has taken the look of the sea that I can’t help but watch every single day until the sun sets. And it always sets cold here and I wish that I had a blanket and I wish that I wasn’t here and I wish that sun would land in my hand sometimes and I could make a new universe based around here.
But back to how I think that I got here. I was in my car and I was taken home. I’d remembered to take my hat and gloves which I’d been wearing the night before. Survival is key. When this stranger got me to my house he couldn’t get in so left me on the doorstep. This is the best that I can figure anyway as I had a rose that was rotting in my front garden pressed through my lapel as some deranged marriage proposal.
Roses don’t grow on Disappointment Island, I’ve tried. Maybe I haven’t been trying for long enough. They haven’t even seen a season change yet. I don’t even know how to plant roses. I’m assuming that you just bury the remnants of the last and hope and pray that the new ones are going to sprout. I’ve always been more interested in the thorns anyway. But I don’t think that you can plant thorns, they’re just there as a hazard and a give away. A poor mans barbed wire but twice as effective because everyone is more scared of nature than they are of man. That’s why there is so much emotion attached to flowers and the act of giving them is like that of firing a gun.
I heard a song before I woke up. Maybe it was in the dream maybe it wasn’t. it was a beautiful song with only the words ‘are you happy’ sung over and over again. I’m not sure. The melody played until I woke up and it was replaced by the wind and the ocean in seashells. As it always is. I still spend hours a day listening to seashells hoping that I’ll find calm but the wind rushing in my ears distracts me and I’m left following a dog around a deserted broken island hoping that my rose will take root and I’ll have something that isn’t brackish water to watch.
I haven’t dared tried to swim home, yet. Even the dog won’t approach the water. He tries to avert his eyes from the ocean as much as he possibly can but he finds it difficult. He wants to find his owner find his rose stop the noise stop the wind. But we can’t so we don’t. By the looks of it there’s a cave at the other end of the island but I’m not sure what monsters are there. Sometimes I think I hear sirens but have only my withered soul to give to them and all they want is my flesh and all I want is to fly away and never land on this island again.
I think I might be dying and I’m not happy.
All I can taste in my mouth is diesel and blood and I’m not sure that they’re connected. If I could get this truck started if I knew what to do with the started motor. This body would up and leave and me and the dog could get home and watch the television playing us pretty pictures until we turned to drink. Until we turned to dirt and earth. And people would see that this rose has taken to ground wound itself around the nearest telephone pole to climb to the light.
There’s blood on my hands from where I’ve been digging my nails too hard into my palms. Which I thought were too calloused to care but they’re not ready to be bricks.
I’m pretty sure we’re close to death now. I’ve taken to making a necklace with every tooth that falls out of the dogs mouth. We take turns bathing in the sun but it’s always night time here. So that doesn’t work. But every nights sleep merely weakens our resolve. We were so beautiful once he wants to eat me now. I can see the way that he is looking at me like I’m not even worthy of the meal. I thought he was licking the blood off of my hands as an act of kindness but now I’m not so sure. I thought I heard him snarl today but that could’ve just been the wind tricking me again. I can never be sure.
I wanted to be beautiful but now I’m broken.
I’ve been digging my own grave today but I’m not sure that it will be needed. When the time comes we’ll walk out into the water and just keep walking. The shock of the salt cleansing my wounds will be enough to kill me I’m sure. So I’ve changed the necklace from a simple act to re forming the smile that the dog may have once shown. We looked so beautiful in those pictures didn’t we? I saw my reflection in the dogs eyes the other day and I’m not sure that I ever want to look again. My eyes are those of the defeatist that we said that we’d never be. There’s a glimmer of hope but that was the waves crashing behind my back with a gull circling.
We never made a fire and I wish that we could spend our days watching the flames dance the way that we can’t anymore. We just lay curled together like two kittens in a basket frightened of the loss of their mother. We press our bodies tight like a beggars hands. I think this is our end days and we’ve prepared for the worst.
I wrote out a message in a bottle for anyone shipwrecked. It’s 8 words, bolded. ‘I tried my best. It wasn’t good enough’. I’m hoping that it works as encouragement but I don’t think that they’ll get that. They’ll just find a man and a dog tightly clasped on a broken beach surrounded by nothing but stones and no mountains with no words spoken. They’ll see why this island was named the way that it was. Or maybe they’ll be blind and just feel the corpses and think that something terrible has happened here.
It wasn’t terrible it was needed and I’m glad I’m no longer in my car at the traffic lights. The lights are much more beautiful here than they ever could be anywhere else. As the darkness descends I realise that my friend has green eyes. I’d never noticed that before. They sharply reflect the sun and give us the Viking burial that we’d both been hoping for.