Because that’s what you are. A stranger - you don’t know me, and I don’t have the slightest inkling of who you may turn out to be. Either way, seeing as you are presently reading my message, no doubt overwhelmed by the discovery of such a phenomenon, I should bestow you the pleasure of hearing my name. It’s Jack, Jack Merridew. Does it ring a bell? No? Well, you see, I am stranded on an island - a deserted island. A bunch of boys are here with me, and we’re fending for ourselves. We have been for what seems like ages. Ralph, he’s chief out of all of us. He thinks he’s all that, shoving his nose where he ought not be shoving it, always interfering with everything - save for the hunting, of course... for I am hunter, and leader of the hunters. But besides him, there is a good, large group of big’uns, ones who listen to what I have to say, and boys who are at my command - because, did I forget to mention, I am hunter? A constant litter of littluns squirms around us, confused and harried in their extreme youth, easily manipulated, as well. Some of them are regular fraidy-cats, ever-jumping at the twitch of a bush, hyperventilating at the shriek of a bird in the distance, yelping irregularly in the still of night, disturbing my rest. They are wary of a beast - a clawing, growling, feral being, that supposedly lurks in the depths of the humid jungle we call home. I tell them, over and over, that there’s nothing to fear, they’re just being dumb kids, but do they pay me mind? No. They listen to the consolations of their beloved Ralph. But soon they’ll change their tune, because I, Jack Merridew, will become chief of the island before you know it. And there’s nothing anyone, least of all you, can do about it. Let me show you why.
First off, I should have been the leader. I reckon that I am a prime choice, if you will. I’m one of the oldest and wisest, after all. I know how to make people do what I want, whatever I want. Usually. At the first assembly that we boys held, there was a vote - who is going to be chief, who will be our leader, who? They took a vote. Hot blood was pounding in my ears - yes, yes, pick me, me! - and sudden disappointment, as little hands were counted off and I was shunted aside, to make room for the new leader, golden-haired Ralph. Fury - an emotion I’d never felt before. It was pulsing through me, I could feel it in my veins and in my heart, pounding against the walls of my brain, beating me up inside, telling me to rebel, don’t accept this rubbish! It took all I had to maintain it. I realized I was holding my breath and turning a slow, deep radish red. I let out the breath, and the unexpected and unexplained mutiny flowed out of me. Yes - I’m fine. Ralph made me head hunter, that is enough. I am in charge of humans, they will do what I want. And they do - the hunters are at my command. But... I want more.
I never knew I had such raw power, not until that moment. The way my body moved, sinewy and young, tensed but flexible. I crouched, inching forward, breathing heavily. Dirty, scarred feet padded as silent as anything over the crusty, dank jungle floor. The muscles in my back rippled. Pulse, sounding in my ears, a drum beat that nobody could hear but that I could follow. Its muted rhythm urged me on, pushed me past physical boundaries of fatigue or disorientation. That moment, it was everything. Breath quickened in and around me. Felt the dryness in my throat. Energy and power, it was coursing through me. Nostrils flared - I could smell it. Eyes darted - prey spotted. Wait - wait for the right moment. Wait... wait... pounce. All drive released at that second. Arms pumped, legs propelled, heart banged, and unexplained passion consumed me. Push - I pushed myself harder, faster, my whole being concentrated, overwhelmed in a fierce craving, greed. Closer now, closer... leap. I was on top, dominating, claiming the kill as my own. Stabbing downward, over and over. Stab, stab, stab, gush, stab, gush. Screams and shrieks pierced the before-undisturbed silence of the meadow. Excitement and a strange heady feeling pushed me on - kill, rip, tear, stab. Suddenly, it was over. I looked down. Red - it was everywhere. The marred and mutilated flesh under me belonged to the pig that we were hunting. The sow, rather. A stab of fear gripped me - what had I done? Frantic eyes surveyed the scene, my mind calculating. Think it out, logically. Nobody will ever know - it’s not your fault, you needed meat... to eat, that’s right, the kids needed food. And you have the power. Yes... I, Jack Merridew, have the power.
Indignation, rage. I stared at the leader’s face. Smooth, young, handsome under a film of filth and grime. No - I refuse to listen to you, you with your unnecessary rules and guidelines - redundant here in the wild. Cotton in my ears, I possess no empathy. The children, my companions, flock in a sea around me. No, not companions. Rather, minions. Pawns. There it was again - that feeling, lusty, heady, untraceable. Waves and waves of it crashed over me. A new being was roused, a fierce, dangerous predator. I scream, absorbed by my own strength and power, and indicated that it was time. Other smaller, higher cries mingled with my own, linked in a bizarre chorus, a sick song of depravity; savagery. All other emotions consumed. The fiery passion burns everything in its path. Kill the pig, cut its throat, spill its blood. Over and over, chant, dance, scream. Thunder crashed, darkness gathered, blotting out light, numbing the senses. Chant, dance, scream. Chant, dance... kill. Kill the pig, cut its throat, spill its blood. We frolicked and moved to a beat that had no name, adhered to a sense that controlled our very beings. Wait - sudden movement. Pause. Where? Confusion ensued. Over there, near the trees. It was the beast. Overwhelming passion, cruel agony, barbarous urge unlike ever before. It drove us, manipulated us. We didn’t understand, we didn’t care. The dance went on, building, building. Suddenly, movement halted; time stopped. A body, crumpled, broken, lay before me. I braced myself, waiting for a piercing regret that I now know will never come. Turned away. Howled at the sky, and the dance began again.
Yes, I am Jack Merridew. I am stranded on an island. Somebody, stranger, whoever you are - don’t come looking. Stay away, stay back. The strength, the power, it is mine. Raw. Uncontrollable. All mine. Rules - broken. But do I care? No. Savage pleasure has begun to course through my veins... is that the sound of a hunt beginning that I hear? Goodbye, dear Stranger, farewell... best stay far away from this living hell.