Chapter 5:

You fill it with things that last, it can't really last.

Castaway Isle

No matter how much time one was given, it wasn't ever really going to be enough. 

While she was in these large stores, pharmacy hopping, Sophie didn't waste the opportunity to buy other supplies to pack away.

In the past, she would love general stores. Big generic chains and small mixes of groceries. All that more. After readjusting to a normal civilian life, out of the hospital and psych wards, it was just an easy sort of place to walk through without breaking down.

That or a girl just likes shopping. 

A large store with many sections but no pressure or intimidation to buy. She would practice being a normal person again by wandering through. These shops or in those public places. Especially when everyone was too busy to accompany her out. Not unlike a dog on a walk. This was after she was deemed well enough by the psychologists and doctors of course.

Something as simple as going to the store may seem like no big deal. But after what she went through? Reassuming a normal life was impossible in the beginning. Even for the monsters who thrived after the island. 

If not for her cousins claiming her, it's likely that Sophie would have been placed in an insane asylum for good. 

She was certainly qualified for it.

Then there were the years of intensive therapy that came after. Only after two years of continuous care and therapy could she manage to control her PTSD enough to live somewhat of a normal life. Sophie knew she was lucky to have the family and community she did waiting for her. If given the opportunity, she would repay them. They deserved that and more.

But first, she needed to focus on surviving. 

Perhaps later, she could give them a phone call or write a goodbye letter, something. Later though, right now was shopping time

There was no way Sophie could afford to skimp on first aid supplies nor food.

First aid kits were bulky and generic but the packaging made them lass much longer. Sport bandages, injury support bands, and other easily packable things were thrown into the cart with the first aid kits.

The survivors were able to use medical supplies from the wreckage of the two planes but it wasn't enough. Nothing was ever enough to last those hellish years.

Thus the more her family had, the better.

At this point, Sophie could say she's a pretty decent impromptu trained jungle medic. You kind of learned the roped after being dangled off a cliff or bitten by one too many pairs of sharp teeth. 

In another life, a long time ago before any crashes, she had taken CPR courses as a student. A bit of things here and there for school. But really, it was the leftover nurses and the veterinarian among the survivors that taught her what she knew.

There was also him... but Sophie rather not think about that for now. 

There was no ill will between them at the end, but he still betrayed her once. She would not allow that ever again.

The majority of the nurses were old and retired. For their bodies to handle the stress and survive as long as they did was a testament to not their health but their will power. If it was these people. even if their time was limited, Sophie would choose them again and again as her first allies.

These seemingly useless bunch.

She was particularly close to one of these retired nurses, a hefty Southern woman by the old-fashioned name of Mary Beth. She was a very tough grandmotherly figure, already 79 at the time of the crash. To hold on to life for 4 more years in those conditions was absolutely remarkable. Mary Beth at least died a peaceful death. Her body was too weak from lack of nutrients, medication, and the extreme tropical temperatures. One night her cranky old sweet heart just finally gave out.

Sophie would forever be grateful to that old woman. Even though she couldn't save her, nor did she plan to, SOphie could at least find her first and give the old nurse an easier last few remaining years. It was also good to have trusted a medical professional on their side. Good to have anyone that wasn't going to stab and sell you out. 

The veterinarian was also a good sort of person, almost annoying so. Extremely useful too. He was a little flirty at the age of 30 but a good man regardless. An absolute angel compared to the 'kings' and 'lords'. 

So were some of the young airline attendants who had sacrificed themselves one by one.

Physically her body was in a big red superstore, shopping for food and supplies.

Mentally her mind was elsewhere, doing her best the remember and select people of notice. Potential allies and of course the opposite, people to avoid.

Even if she did not like a person, even if they would be doomed to die, she could make use of ppl at different points in time. That was fine with Sophie, she would just any advantage she could remember.

After all why else would she be sent back? Why her?

In her present state though, she sped through the aisles. She was looking for dry rations that would last a long time and get them through the hardship and starvation a bit better. At least until they could get a stable source of food set up.

Things like oatmeal, honey, and peanut butter were cheap and had a good shelf life. Her food ration purchases also included a lot of dried beans, nut mixes, jerky, and even protein-rich milk powder.
Long-lasting forms of essential cooking supplies, Ghee, powered butter and things such as bullion cubes, vanilla, and other seasonings.

Even a little of these seasonings would go a long way.

As food and supplies ran out and people were forced to live off the land, even a simple complimentary packet of pepper would be considered extremely rare and valuable.

If anything these things would be worth a lot in future trades.

This was not everything, of course, she had plans to hit up some more specialized markets. As much as she liked her brands of generic superstores, you couldn't get everything there.

Then she picked up some sanitary items.

Things like packs of baby wipes and disinfectant wipes were not sustainable but they were very convenient for cleaning quickly and allowed on planes. She was working in some very tight limits here. They would be especially useful in the early days when people were still gaining their footing on the new unfamiliar island.

Instead of toothpaste and common household supplies, she stocked up on the more space-efficient powders and multipurpose baking soda. A few personal care items such as tubs of Vaseline were also more useful than it seemed. Some bulk solid bars of soap that would not melt easily and cleaned well.

Soap and hygiene, as important as they are to modern people, became something of a luxury item on the island. By the last 4 years, people either used it all up or secretly kept their stashes private. The lard turned lye from wild boar's fat smelled awful, but became all they had.

Sophie and her siblings realistically could live without too much but it would be nice to be more comfortable if they could afford it.

Sophie did not expect to keep very clean or even bathe often, nor did she feel safe doing so yet. Her standards had already been worn down, while it was unpleasant she could stand to live mostly unwashed again.

The soap and cleaning supplies we're not just for comfort but for emergency situations where they have to be clean and sterilized. Dying of infection was no joke either.

There were many people, reckless men mostly, who let a small wound get infected. Something that would be considered a small scratch would fester and puss to the point that it spread. They would get fever and fall ill, eventually, their organs would fail and finally, the infection would kill off the unfortunate host.

Sophie couldn't get enough prescription antibiotics to last them, nor would the pills hold their potency after too long a time. They would have to be careful and stretch out their supplies.

The last thing Sophie would check out here was the electronics section.

But it turned out to be insufficient for her needs. At most, she picked up some waterproof earphones and charging cables.

Then it was time to move onto her specialty markets of choice.

For more dry rations and seasoning, she stopped by her local Asian markets.

There she could purchase boxes of calorie mate biscuits, nutrition gels and other long-lasting goods. Soy sauce, tea, instant drink mix, curry/stew cubes, and other packable goods were also important to buy here.

The island was not devoid of vegetation and edible animals. With her experience they could hunt and gather, thus the need for even more seasonings. One would be surprised how dull and bitter everything seemed to taste after a while without seasoning and spice.

Personally, Sophie found Asian food more to her taste than American things.

In her opinion even if the instant food and seasonings here were more expensive they tasted better, lasted longer and had more variety to choose from. Besides, what did money mean out where she couldn't use it?

Best to just buy what they could now. 

Instant noodles took up too much space in her opinion but that did not stop her from buying a few packs of them. It was easy to explain food items that they could reveal in front of others early on. The soup packets were also potent in seasoning and feeding a large pot of anything. 

Not necessarily healthy, but they would make foraged vegetation and amateur smoked meats more bearable to swallow down. 

They couldn't afford to be too picky with food. No one could.

In the Japanese market, there were a good number of convenient cooking tools and sharp high-quality knives that could not be found elsewhere.

Professional quality chef knives, poultry scissors, and specialty fish knives went into the cart. Being an island, fishing was a good source of food for the survivors.

The unique and seemingly random cooking and other accessories quickly went into her cart. Pill cases and bento boxes for organized storage containers. Vegetable peelers would save them precious meal prep time that could be used elsewhere. Rubber gloves, stainless steel wire ladles, mesh strainers, small bbq nets, and a nonstick quality iron pan were all on her mental shopping list. In a stupid, math problem worthy, amount. 

Tools were more important than weapons in making a life. Making their hell into something actually liveable.

She did not want to lose her humanity again.

It might have been too optimistic to think some supplies in a piece of luggage would prevent that. 

Sophie honestly does not mind the thought of getting her hands dirty again. Her concept of morality is a dirty gray but she didn't want to lose herself, her mind, again. 

Not again.

At this point, she didn't care about saving money. Only what was useful in helping her save her siblings and maybe improve the quality of life while they were trapped on that island. She bought whatever she wanted, opting to buy a little better quality item even for a much higher price.

While rounding back to see if there were any dry food items she missed, heirloom vegetable seeds caught her eye.

This gave her another idea. While she did grab many seeds of vegetables appropriate for growing in hot weather, so also she bought fresh sweet potatoes, taro, and onion shallots. Mung beans and such plants were also easy and extremely quick to grow.

Plants could be wrapped up packed in their luggage. These sort of things grew so well that even clumsy beginners would have no problem growing them in mediocre soil.

It was a better thing still, that she was no beginner.

Gardening was her mother's hobby, and one of her coping therapies of choice that her therapists recommended for her. She did not have her mother's natural green thumb exactly but it wasn't too shabby.

There were wild vegetables and fruit on the island, and Sophie had the advantage of knowledge and experience in finding them. But why would she waste the chance to grow her own with good modern species and easy growing tubers like sweet potatoes?

Having more food, especially crops they were more familiar with would do them no harm. It could very well be what save their asses.  Of course, she was careful to select items that could be regrown from seed or sprout.

Her biggest regret was that she could not pack a shit load more luggage.

There was no time. Together with her brother, they could not reasonably carry them all. They were already risking looking like fat targets. That and they already couldn't carry by themselves what she was planning on packing. But they would make it work. 

Boxes, they were going to need a lot of large boxes and packing tape. Goodbye money. 

Satisfied with the Asian vegetable seeds and tubers she moved on from the market.

Though her body was currently young, she also purchased medicinal patches, traditional medicinal oil, and Asian flu masks both disposable and cloth. Aprons, oil, brushes, from traditional to modern.

Anything that would be useful and long-lasting.

Lunch was on the go, she could not afford to waste time on day 0.

She grabbed something nutritious from the deli section with a liter of tea and checked out everything. Her cart was overflowing with food and gear to the point that the cashier thought she was a young woman getting married and preparing to be a housewife.

Maybe a housewife ready to stock her home in off-grid countryside from the contents of her purchases.

Seeing she has purchased so much, the teenaged bag boys helped carry out and load all her things into her car. Like some little old lady. Of course, Sophie would not refuse anything that would save time.

Not when there really was no time left ticking. 

Popping in another painkiller with a grimace, she ate and drank as she drove to the next shopping destination, the most important one in her mind.

An outdoor equipment gear and camping store. 


This Novel Contains Mature Content

Show This Chapter?