Chapter 30:

Don't wait up, I'll meet you in hell

Castaway Isle

"...Don't fucking pity me, don't you dare fucking pity me." he growled with a hoarse wrecked voice. Used out, screamed out. It sounded both intimidating and brokenly pathetic.

Sophie stared down at the scene in front of her. If it was anyone else, they would be hard pressed to follow his words. But she didn't just pity him, they were too close for that.

A teen boy, smooth dark skin and skinnier than he had any right to be, laid broken on the dirty floor. His cheek was bruising and his neck was molting in awkward spots but it was his lower half that was truly the gruesome mess.

Sophie didn't so much mind the blood, it smelled the same anywhere. But the mix of it in drying semen was nauseating. She was sure the boy felt the same way. He couldn't have been a day over 17 but he looked even smaller, malnourished, and a bit feminine. That's why they targeted him though, he was young and pretty enough.

In a place with a lack of people, young attractive women, in particular, they would make do. Not that there weren't already perverts on the island who preferred this type. Had preferred fucking children.

He was already too young for this, too young years ago, and still too young now. Even at 17, he was hardly that much taller than herself. The years of starvation didn't help in his stunted growth. Sophie had long stopped feeling the depths of pity, this was just life for them.

This too was familiar, the insults. This was just how they spoke, how they coped.

"Come on you little shit, let's get you cleaned up."

"Fuck off, don't you are fucking touch me, I'll rip your throat out I fucking swear it."

"'s not my throat you want to rip...come's a bitch to clean when that shit dries. I got the water warmed up and herbs pasted, then you can sleep like the dead."

"Damn it, I wish."

"Shut up and drink, your throat been used enough."

A flask of water was the most he had all day. With a bucket and a rag, she wiped him down in the most gruesome spots, careful to be gentle where he needed it most. It still made him wince nonetheless, especially on his too sensitive bottom.

"Fucking bitch you would know wouldn't you? Fuck shit, how are you walking? I swear I saw you take it up the ass just this morning."

"....the herbs will help. Come on, before someone comes back."

"Yeah sure. Being that bastard's favorite has its perks, doesn't it?" he choked out after he fed him some water. Gods did he need it. She didn't even mind the sting of his words.

If it still hurts, well that was on her and no one else.

"I'm not his favorite...not for long. But yes, it's...not as bad. Less work I guess.... This is going to hurt."

"Like anything doesn't?"

Sophie hefted the boy up, naked but for a coarse worn blanket that she wrapped around him. Using her shoulder as a support, they staggered out of the filthy hut, somewhere smelling less like blood and sex.

Leon didn't so much mind being seen bare and naked by Sophie, and vice versa. Not like they hadn't seen everything and worse already. He let her clean him up without stabbing her after all. But he appreciated being covered nonetheless, being less vulnerable. Besides, they never looked at each other with those eyes, definitely not in the leering way those filthy animals did.

They stagged elsewhere in the courtyard, into another room of bamboo and straw. Somewhere not exactly away from danger, but it was safe enough.

He hissed in a pained sort of relief when Sophie lowered him into a shallow stone tub, after she removed the hot stones. The heated herbed water felt so good, so relieving that it actually hurt.

For a good while, there was nothing but a relieved silence and held back curses between them.

"....They're going to break his promise. Not that it means shit. They're already aiming for your June you know." Leon rolled his head back, wincing as Sophie cleaned and disinfected the bloody and bruising teeth marks on his neck.

Her hands shook, just for a moment, and she resumed cleaning the mangled neck. Darker reds and purple blooming on already dark skin. The sight could be called erotic to some, if it wasn't so damn violent, so everywhere all over the small boy.

"I don't even know how you kept her protected this long. Fuck, you'd think they just break down the shit door while you were gone."

"....I made a deal. And worry more about yourself, god damn who did you piss off this time?"

"Deal smeal. Who don't I piss off? They don't need a reason to use my ass, or anyone else's for that matter! You know that shit. Fuck, you got any more banana wine ready?"

"I keep telling people that no, the next batch isn't ready yet." despite her words she pulled out a sloppily tied recycled bottle.

The cloudy contents must have been the wine in question because Leon let out a gleeful grin. Reaching out to easily grab the bottle even through the wincing pain.

"You sly bitch, I love you."

"I know you do, now be good and drink this other shit down first. "

Sophie shook a polished coconut cup his way, the contents still warm and even murkier than the wine.

"Oh fuck gods, that tea of yours is foul." Leon whined, tone not unlike a child around medicine.

"If you don't want a damn infection down there or want to even shit the next week you will drink it. There was a fuck lot of blood down there tonight. Gods, did they do you in dry or something?"

"Hmmmmm dry as spit, then complained how it didn't feel as good. Fucking idiots. We make oil for a reason. "

"Someone ought to try fucking them raw."

"I'll drink to that."

And he did, popping the bottle to the sweet moonshine. Palm sap, the secret to getting it to actually not taste like crap was sugary palm sap and very ripe bananas.

A tentative knocking by the rock wall broke the two out from their light chuckles, their comedic coping after the horrible deed that was almost routine at this point. A mousey woman in rags trembled by the wooden doorway.

"Uh- uh- uh um, sorry. Sorry to bother bu-but...Ch-Charlie's looking for yo-you Sophie." wth that she scampered away into the night.

"Well, shit. " breathed Leon, knocking back the wine bottle before handing it back to Sophie. She was somewhat frozen still and kneeling over the tub to tend to Leon's bruised and battered tender body.

"Take a sip bitch, you're gonna need it."

She does, she chugs their shared bottle to get ready for whatever was waiting for her.

Leon pulls her close, so they're forehead to forehead and it stops her shaking.

"I'll see you at dawn, I'll look out for June, but be careful. You can't keep them away for long."

"....I know...but I made a deal."

"...You made a deal with that bastard Charlie. You can last- maybe keep him entertained for a good while longer. I know you got it in you bitch. But you can't keep his cronies happy, they can't touch you anymore. You're the favorite now after all."

She can feel Leon's heat, his still sweaty forehead. She can see deep into his pretty, too pretty fiery brown eyes and feel his fear. Can feel her own fear beat in her chest, she knows he does too.

"Why don't you run?" she whispers. He doesn't have to stay here, he could hide. He was good at hiding.

"And then what? Then what will a little fucker like me do? It's the same everywhere, you said so yourself, there are worse camps. They can't wait to catch me and use me up."

"Run far far away, keep running and never come back to this hell."

Leon wasn't her. Leon could get away still, once he recovers enough.

The bruise on his cheek is nasty, they'll need to rub something on that later. Something to reduce the swelling. There are worse injured but his face is right up in hers, so that's what she focuses on as he gets her to breathe again.

"I'll kill myself. I'll kill myself when left on my own. But running? That's you, Sophie. that's what you want and won't do."


"But you won't run, not when you have June. You can't escape with her in tow....she holds you back."

"That's not true." she hisses.

It shouldn't hurt, it's just words, but it does. She bites down the bile and guilt for every split moment she ever thinks it.

Leon breathes sharply and closes his eyes, his hand soothing her trembling form over the tub. His voice is entirely calm, unsympathetic.

"Go then, go to Charlie and see what you could have run from if you didn't sell yourself for her."

She doesn't wince this time, because it's true. It's all true and she won't regret it if it could save her sister. She just needs to save June....but that just got a whole lot harder.

"I can't run anymore."

"Lies, you can always run bitch. And when you finally do, I'll be glad for it. When you do I'll go too. Gods, would it hurt if we kill a few guys first though, that would be a real party." he darky chuckles.

It wouldn't be their first.

Sophie takes a shaky breath, a hiccup in the back of her throat forcing it's way up. She half sobs it out against Leon's face.

"She's pregnant....I think June is pregnant."

"....I figured. She's been sick lately, real sick."

"It's too obvious isn't it....they already got to her. And she didn't say shit, didn't tell me a damn word. Damn it damn it damn it fuck them all the hell damn it!!!"

He shushes and soothes her angry sobs, and it's hard to tell who was the older one and who was younger. It wasn't often this happened but right now, she was breaking. Without Ryo or her Mattie around, she had no one to support her from behind. No one to rely on, and she refused to cry.

But it was ok if it was Leon. It was okay if it was this child who went through the same hell with her. She leaned her head against his less mangled shoulder, let it drop in the crook of his still to thing collar.

"She was tired of watching you carry it all, she didn't want you to know."

"Fucking shit Leon, and getting herself raped and knocked up isn't any better!"

Even over the stone tub, through the pain that still rocked his body is waves, she shushes and soothes her. He never had a family, but he thinks if he did, this is how they would treat each other.

".....can't you give her what you took? What that old woman taught you?" his tone is flat. Just a question, an option, nothing more.

Sophie had considered it, she really did. She had no regrets taking that medicine because that's what it was. It was medicine to get rid of the parasite in her stomach. It would surely kill her, sooner or later, if she carried it. She took the medicine and got rid of it, and so could June.

But she knew her sister, June wouldn't have it. Couldn't bear to kill the life obviously growing inside of her.

", it's too late. It's too late for her, she's too far along now and...fucking shit. We can't run anymore, I can't take her and run anymore. I need to fucking keep Charlie happy, I need to make sure June makes it through this."

"Fuck that's stupid."

"I'll go mad if I lose her, I'll go insane I just know it."

"Then don't. Kill him, let's kill them all in their god damn sleep and just fucking go."

"I can't she can't-she's too- the rainy season. She'll starve or get captured by someone worse, we can't make it out there. No one can."

A thumping and a crash sound came from the distance. There was shouting and her name was screamed out. Sophie had to go.

"Go- go before he finds you." Leon urges with a hope he never had for himself.

But once again Sophie will disappoint, will settle. Just like they all did.

"...I can't."

".....then go to him. Go do what you need to do."

The teenager presses the moonshine wine against her pale lips and she takes another long sip.


Sophie blinks into the fire. Once, twice, she blinks out of her daze and quickly removes the fish before it became inedible.

She laughs to herself. She hasn't even seen Leon, yet. Hasn't seen a lock of his hair or a whisper of his voice and she's triggered herself down the piss alley that is memory lane.

There really was nothing like bonding with your fellow bitch through the worst of it all.

Maybe she was nostalgic, he was the closest thing she had to friend in those final years, as young as he was. Too young really.

Maybe she was guilty. Leon knew himself just as well as she did. He really did kill himself as soon as he was alone long enough. As soon as he was safe and free, but not from his own mind.

What demons haunted him through his final days? Sophie only half knew them herself, but she knew enough.

She wasn't there for him, lost in her own mind. He knew it just as well, he couldn't help her when she was like that. In the end, they couldn't do anything. They couldn't get away even if they ran.

Fuck had they run, had they tried.

She remembers his voice, hoarse from crying and that stubborn boy never cried. Not even when he was getting beat and fucked for the life of him. She remembers him screaming her name through the fire.

He would have jumped in after her if the others didn't hold him back. She remembers being glad they did because someone deserved to make it out. Someone had to.

She remembers fully intending to die after setting that place aflame.

She remembers how just a few hours before he was so excited, so gleeful at finally succeeding what they had only dreamed about in hushed whispers. Of cutting off that bastard head in his sleep and slitting the throats of his drugged out cronies.

He didn't know she planned to die that night. He didn't know she didn't really send him away to get rid of the evidence, she was the evidence and she was going down with it all. She said she would go mad after June left her, and she was right.

What a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But somehow, she didn't die that night. The fire burned around her, choking her in smoke and heat. Even if she chickened out there should have been no escape, but there was. A pillar collapsed, creating a hole in the wall. A single escape just for her.

She ran, she ran far away and forgot it all in her descent into madness.

But she must have remembered enough. Had enough sense to not attack and kill him when he passed by her part of the woods when she was down there stalking and killing. Sometimes they had the same target, the same monster to hunt.

The younger teen didn't always see her, but when he did it was the same look of conflicting relief and despair that crossed his face. But he couldn't help her, and neither could she help him.

"Hey bitch...brought you some banana wine."

She visited his grave once when she was well enough. It was a plain unadorned thing, and he deserved better. Poured a bottle of moonshine for old times sake and something outrageously expensive, as he deserved.

So much for leaving without regrets huh Mary Beth?

Sophie arranged the cooked food again on a clean banana leaf and made to leave. The brat wouldn't come out just like that, not this soon.

Leon was a foster child essentially, bouncing around place to place and never eating solidly enough. His mother was alive somewhere in Hawaii, but she wasn't in the picture, not fit to raise children. That's why he was on the plane, being shipped here and there all on his own. If Sophie knew him as well as she did, he was keeping himself mostly hidden this whole time. Not interacting with any of the adults if he could help it. The boy was too mentally and physically scarred, even at his current young age.

That was fine, she didn't think she would get her old friend back. That young man was dead and she paid her respects, paid with her grief.

Honestly, Sophie had paid enough in her book. She headed back to the beach, where her family was waiting for her. They were going home for the day, there was too much to be done. Maybe she would start making banana wine though, she suddenly had the craving for the crude moonshine.

Only when she was so far away that even the sound of the jungle rustling with steps could no longer be heard, did someone come out.

A dark skin boy with a messy bowl cut hopped down from the above foliage. His face mostly expressionless but for the tinge of curiosity. He was small, even for his age, which made his small face and large eyes look spookily sunken. Obviously just a child.

He was overdressed in an oversized hand-me-down hoodie jacket but the heat never bothered him, he was used to it since he was little.

When he took it off, he could almost pass as a local from another island in the area. Somewhere actually populated with people.

The boy sniffed the air and sat himself down where the leaf of fish and roasted banana sat. Even as he carefully stuffed his face, he couldn't help but frown.

"Stupid. There's no candy."

It was his first hot meal in days.

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