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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Death · #2292961
Thrown together by disaster, what starts out as a romantic flings ends in violence.
Josie huddled against the cliff wall, thick green flowering bushes hiding her from his view. The humidity in the air coated her flesh, making the shredded remains of her clothes cling to her like a second skin. Her heart pounded so loud in her ears it swallowed the sounds of the surrounding jungle. If she didn’t calm herself down, she would never hear if Ethan was coming.

Four days ago, their small cruise ship went down in a storm. She didn’t know if anyone else survived, but only she and Ethan washed up on the island. At first, it seemed like they would be fine. They built a makeshift shelter on the shore, hoping to be spotted by rescue ships, searched for food and water, and even enjoyed some time together.

Something switched in him, maybe it was the isolation, but he became angry and violent. Now, he hunted her down with the promise of killing her. She didn’t even know why.

A twig snapped, breaking through her fear-induced haze. She peered through the leaves, scanning the nearby jungle.

A sing-song voice floated through the air, “Josie. Jooosieeee. Where are yoooou?”

Her body pressed into the stone so hard that sharp corners bit into her flesh, but she didn’t care. A little bit of pain was nothing if it kept Ethan from finding her.

“Jooosieee,” his voice faded as he moved on, her hiding place undetected for the moment.

When she couldn’t hear him anymore and the birds started cawing, she wiggled from behind the bushes.

Thanks to his crazy antics, she needed to find shelter and something to defend herself with. So far, she’d found a large stick, but what good would a stick do her when he was bigger and faster than she? Torn between obtaining something more brutal and a better hiding place, she decided to seek shelter first. If she could locate somewhere well hidden, perhaps she wouldn’t need a weapon.

Making sure to go in the opposite direction of Ethan’s long faded voice, she trailed along the edge of the cliff until she came to a clear, deep pool of water. A thin waterfall fell from the clip top, feeding the lovely swimming place. While the waterfall appeared too small to hide a cave or anything more helpful, she was confident that somewhere above, she might find shelter and be near fresh water.

Relying on the rock climbing skills she formed in her more civilized life, she scaled the rock face. It wasn’t a difficult climb and she found places to slip her hands and feet. She pulled herself over the ledge and saw in the distance yet another waterfall. This one was a good distance away, she had it fixed in her head that there would be a cave hidden behind it.

Dusting the grunge off her hands, she rose and turned to look out towards the beach. She didn’t enjoy the breathtaking view of the jungle expanse. Out in the open, she felt vulnerable and expected Ethan to spot her. Terrified it might be too late, she spun around and plunged into the welcoming lush green.

The river was easy to follow. At first, it was a placid creature, winding through the landscape. As she continued forward, the water grew agitated. Soon, it surged into a roaring monster, tearing at the rocks in the stream with white rapid claws. Her chest tightened at the hungry clamor. It would whisk her away and beat her to death against the jagged stones. The churning water meant the waterfall couldn’t be too far away.

Eventually, she could hear it even over the yell of the river. It thundered through the trees, almost deafening, but it gave her a sense of comfort. Ethan would not be able to hear her anywhere near the place. When she spotted it, her breath caught in her throat. The massive waterfall was stunning.

The water cascaded from a ledge above a tumultuous pool of water. Vines and tall green plants grew to the very edge of the tumultuous liquid. A narrow goat path climbed the rock face and dipped behind the ear-splitting waterfall. She would have to climb again to reach it.

The climb-up required much more focus than the smaller waterfall. A slippery layer of moisture and spongy moss covered every foothold. The thin layer of sidestep of rock allowed her to shuffle on the goat path. It took her directly behind the waterfall.

Roaring so loud it swallowed all other sounds, the waterfall provided exactly what she was looking for. Her narrow path led right to the mouth of a round cave entrance. She pulled herself into the dark, rocky confines with a huge sigh of relief. The entrance collected puddles of water on the floor. As she explored deeper, less moisture gathered and the rocks muffled the roar to a more bearable sound level.

Suddenly, the light shifted in the entryway. She spun around and a cry strangled deep within her.

Ethan stood there, smiling at her.

“Found you,” he said, his voice full of dark promise.

She didn’t say anything, her eyes darting around the bare cave for something she could use against him.

Of course, there was nothing.

“You could have ended this so much sooner.” He took a step further.

A whimper escaped her as she mimicked his movement backward.

She spat out, “Fuck you!”

“We already did that, remember?” His smile, once so attractive, seemed full of malice. Grinning as he plotted to kill her was just terrifying.

“Why are you doing this? Why?” she asked, fighting back tears but losing.

“Why?” He mocked her in a whiny voice, “Why? Because Josie, I can. Do I need a better reason than that?” He took another step forward.

A plan formed in her mind but she couldn’t wait for him to come further into the cave or it wouldn’t work.

“I didn’t do anything to you.” A sob burst out of her before she added, “But I can change that.”

Barrelling at him, she threw her weight at his midsection. His fingers tangled in her thick brown hair, stumbling backward with their combined weight. They fell out of the entrance, the water pounding against them as they tumbled through the air. It felt like they fell forever but in reality, it was only a few seconds. The impact of slamming into the pool broke them apart. It was only a temporary relief as the current gripped her.
Inside nature’s washing machine, she couldn’t tell which way was up or down. She kicked and struggled to get some bearing, but the water jerked her around. The maelstrom smashed her into a rock, and she cried out, swallowing water. Her head popped up and she choked the water back out, inhaling gagging breaths of air. The water frothed around her, spinning her, then yanked her back under.

Her hands groped around, desperate to grab anything and anchor herself from the vicious river. All she found was her body slammed into another rock. Dazed, she managed another few breaths of watery air, before she was sucked back under.

When her head popped up again, she was closer to shore. Her feet kicked hard in an effort to get out of the violent current.

Her fingers touched rock on the shore, but slid across, filling her fingernails with grit. The second time she reached out, she gained purchase on a half-submerged log. She clung to it with her entire body, feeling the water trying to yank her away from her salvation.

Something caught her ankle, a weight. She cried out as her eyes landed on Ethan. His sandy blond hair hung over his eyes but did little to hide the desperation lining his face. She wanted to kick him off, but the water only gave her enough room to try to drag them both to the shore.

While she wrestled her way toward the rocky beach, he let go and hooked onto the log she found. They dragged their worn bodies onto the shore and lay there for a few moments. Her ribs screamed in protest as she rose into a crouch. Ready to run or fight if need be, she was prepared when Ethan pushed himself to a standing position.

He wiped his hair out of his eyes and came back with a handful of blood. Somewhere in his cruise down the river, he cracked his head above his eye. He stared at the red fluid, shocked by the sight. His gaze dragged up to hers.

Dripping wet, with blood dribbling in rivulets down one side of his face, he truly looked crazed. His lips stretched in a smile, and she took a step back.

“You almost killed us both, very smooth,” he said. “I didn’t think you had it in you. Just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how close you get to someone, they can still surprise you.”

“Like you have room to talk,” she said, wishing for a big stick or something worth brandishing at him.

His smile broadened, right before he leaped at her. His shoulder hit her hard in her jaw, knocking her down beneath him. Sharp rocks dug into her back, causing her to howl out in pain. But, recognition shut the cry off. Her fingers dug around until she found a sizeable stone and she swung it hard into the unwounded side of his head.

He tumbled off her, clutching at his face and groaning. Taking advantage of her sudden release, she rolled over and stared at the monster lying beside her. He was hell-bent on killing her and she didn’t want to die.

The decision was made.

Without a word, she straddled him. He removed his hands from his face, his blue eyes blinking in surprise through the glistening red streaks. She raised the rock over her head with both hands. Understanding dawned in his expression but only as she swung down the rock.

A scream tore from her as she brought it down again, and again, and again.

The pulpy mess below her broke through her adrenaline-riddled haze. She dropped the rock in horror.

She’d become the very monster she tried to escape.

A sob escaped her. Covering her mouth with a blood-covered hand, she staggered to her feet. She stumbled downstream until she found a spot where the water ran slower.

Fighting hysterics, she washed the blood and chunks of gore off her skin and the remains of her clothes. When she felt semi-clean, she began the trek to the second waterfall and to the beach.

She left Ethan for the animals, he didn’t deserve more after what he forced her to become.

Their makeshift shelter still sat in the trees by the shore, all their carefully collected food sitting in a pile beside it. She dug through Ethan’s tattered duffle bag and found the lighter they used for their fire. When she had it burning again, she turned her gaze out to the blue horizon and waited for a rescue ship.

Someone would come. . .
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