Dear readers and followers: Please accept my apologies for the lapse in time between chapters. Life has been a little hectic here. My anticipation is that this story will be published each week until its conclusion.
If you missed or want to catch up on previous chapters please view the Fiction Page
The hours turned into days and the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months. The daily routine remained stagnant. Bruce would venture off into the forested areas and bring back fruits and roots he could scrounge up. He had fashioned himself a spear and a bow and arrow; however his skills were not adequate to catch anything. It took days to dig a hole and cover it with ground coverings to see if he could trap something larger.
When the weather started turning warmer, Bruce would venture off in the beach direction. He learned how to fish and dig for crabs. His water system had grown quite effective and they were never in need of fresh water.
Nicole’s mental status never improved and every morning Bruce had to remind his mother where they were and how they got there. There had been one occasion where he returned to camp to discover that she had wandered off. It took him the greater part of the afternoon and early evening to locate her. She was sitting on the beach watching the waves.
“Mom, you can’t just wander off like this,” He scolded her.
“Oh Bruce! I decided to go the beach. It is such a beautiful day. I told your father to meet us here and we could have a bonfire together.”
Thinking quickly, Bruce said, “Mom, I just spoke with Dad and he is not going to make it before sunset. He is stuck at work.”
“Oh sure he is!” She exclaimed. “That man has more excuses not to spend time with his family than anyone I know. His work has always come first in his life and the family has always been second or even third.”
“I am sure that he would love to be here right now,” Bruce answered. “But some things cannot be avoided.”
“Bruce, I never told you this before, but it is time you knew. Your father is so absorbed with work that even missed your birth. And it wasn’t so much that he missed the actual birth as that no one could even locate him for two days. He claimed that he was in a meeting, but no one we spoke with had seen him. I have had this feeling for quite some time that your father has been hiding something from me. Now that he has missed this special occasion as well, I am sure of it.
“If I have ever asked you of anything before, please consider this request the most important. Please find out what your father has been hiding.”
Bruce wrapped his mom in a hug and gently said, “I will.”
One week later Bruce came back to camp to discover that Nicole was missing again. He retraced his steps from the previous week, thinking she had gone back to the same spot on the beach, but she wasn’t there. When the daylight evaporated he began to panic. He circled back to the camp numerous times, looping through the forest, the beach and down by the cliffs. He could not locate her. He looked out at the ocean and said, “Mom, where are you?” It was then that he saw a light down the beach.
Bruce doubled back to the camp, just to make sure she wasn’t there, and then headed towards the light. He had no idea what it was or where it was coming from. He also realized that he had not ventured down to the shore at dark before so for all he knew it had been there the entire time they had been stranded.
As he approached the illumination, he heard chanting. Nothing that he could make out, but it was definitely human in nature. He moved away from the shore and headed towards the cover above it. Walking cautiously, as he did not want to make any noise, he soon saw the embers from a fire flashing in the sky. He peered over the ridge to see a huge fire blazing. There were several people dancing around the fire, chanting in some language he did not recognize. All of the people, men and women alike, were naked and had their faces painted with white markings. Seated behind the fire he saw a man with a necklace made of shells. He also had white markings on his face, but his were different from the dancers. Seated next to him was a younger man with similar markings and necklace constructed of smaller shells. Then next to this man he saw his mother.
Nicole was smiling and talking to the man to her left. Bruce had not seen her smile is such a long time it took him by surprise. She did not seem to be in any distress or danger. He watched for a while longer and decided she was safe and went back to the shelter for the night. The following morning he went back to the same spot and there was no sign of any life. Whoever had occupied that space the evening before had retreated into their day time abodes.
Bruce remained near that spot throughout the day; hunting and foraging as he went. He discovered a different type of fruit on that area of the island. It was bright purple with a thick outer shell. The only reason he knew it was fruit is that he saw one piece on the ground that had split open. The inside of the fruit was a green melon like substance with large purple seeds. He watched ants and bugs crawling all over it and surmised that it must be sweet. He found a whole piece and carefully opened it. Pulling it closer to his nose to smell it he was overwhelmed with a fruity essence he had never experienced before. Carefully scooping out a piece and placing it in his mouth he was overcome with sensations on his tongue he was unfamiliar with. His tongue had literally come alive! He continued to gather more pieces of fruit, storing them in a safe place for his retreat.
As the sunlight began to diminish, he heard rustling nearby. Taking cover he watched as the gathering from the previous evening reconvened. Nicole came skipping down a path, laughing and chatting away. She was not restrained in any manner; therefore Bruce decided she was indeed safe. She certainly was happier with her captors than she had been in the shelter with him.
Once again Bruce returned to the shelter for the night. He thought long and hard about what to do. With Nicole not relying on him for food and shelter he had the opportunity to explore more of the island and see if there was a way off. But there was a major part of him that did not want to abandon his mother.