Chapter 12:

You're still lost but it doesn't matter.

Castaway Isle

The first night is not the hardest, not for them.

It would a terrifying night of uncertainty and darkness, of uneasy attempts at sleep. Everyone would be too shocked, too confused by the new situation to even think of ambushing them so Sophie rests easy.

They have their hammocks set up, a cleanish palm frond floor, and a mosquito-repelling fire crackling. A rather comfortable space for camping. They even tied a wire of vines and thin branches around their circle to trip and warn of any possible intruders.

Just because Sophie could rest easy doesn't mean she can do without being prepared.

Mattie doesn't dare call her crazy when she breaks and burns pieces of long wood into a point, a makeshift spear.

As overly worried as she appeared to be these were all good ideas. He could see the benefits and use to everything and though he wouldn't say it out loud he felt very secure with his sister here to guide them.

He does not know exactly where June is right now but he doubts she's this comfortable.

"Are you going to change Sophie?" he asks.

Usually, his sister likes to wear nothing but shorts and a Tshirt when she sleeps. He himself wasn't too different but he doubts this is the place for that. That's why Sophie's response surprises him.

"Yeah sure, go get ready for bed Mattie."

"....Aren't we supposed to be prepared for a big scary death island?"

"That would be good but we have time, nothing will happen these first few nights. Go ahead and get comfy, we won't always be so lucky and it's important to rest well. Just keep your pants or whatever on and ready to go."

Sophie herself was already unbuckling her boots and looked unbothered and she rummaged around for a pair of sweatpants.

It was another thing that she learned in therapy, how not to let her anxiety eat her alive. True she was still fearful and worried about many things, but writing them down had helped and stewing over it would do her more harm than good. If she wanted to be healthy enough to protect her siblings she had to keep in tip top shape. Rather than anymore ruminating over her fears, it was better that she do some strengthening exercises or relaxed her mind.

They had been watching naturalistic and survival guide videos together for over an hour after their evening meal and setting up the wires around their impromptu campsite. It was a good time and the mats kept them from getting dirty. Sophie forced Mattie to go through 45 minutes of core exercises followed by some standard push-ups and cool-down stretches.

"We should probably push back eating till after working out." contemplated Sophie as she bit into her rations of protein bars.

"Isn't this a waste of oh I don't know, food and energy?"

"Come on Mattie, you know better than I do you need protein after a workout. You don't need to be feeling sore tomorrow, eat up. Here you can even have a chunk of chocolate, Sophie approved."

"Fuck when did you get to be a health nut?"

After high school, his elder sister only knew of fad diets and even tried being vegan for a while. His younger sister wasn't much better. To see her so ready and willing to keep stuffing her face was a little odd but not unwelcome, it was healthier than starving themselves to fit in a certain dress.

"Common sense Mattie, eat your protein, have a wet wipe and then it's chill time and lights out."

"It's like....8 or 9 or something here."

"Doesn't matter, sleep is important as hell."

"Well alright, wanna watch another video?"

"Fuck yeah I wanna watch another video, come on we can multitask and get your weaving a little tighter."

The first night was not the hardest either but Sophie and Matthew had a much easier time than most.


There was no alarm set but Sophie woke up with the sun none the less. It was part survival habit and part her own anxiety. Most people wouldn't be up for another two hours or so.

If there was anything Sophie could say she enjoyed, missed about the island it was the silence at dawn. The air was crisp and moist with morning dew. Nocturnal predators had already retreated back to their dens and the harshness of the sun wasn't put on full blast yet.

Often this was the only time she had any peace, a semblance of safety, just at the crack of down. This was her most active time to move and get work done in her time on the island. Habits are hard to shake, even after being rescued. Dawn was now when she was most at peace, when she could think clearest and most importantly, ready to get to work.

Mattie was still sleeping of course, bundled in his hammock. Sophie got dressed for the day in the same clothes as yesterday but with a fresh top, primarily to avoid too much suspicion. After lacing her boots, she went off to forage and look for water.

The previous day she had tied a few plastic bags around some lush green plants. By condensation alone, one would be able to get a little bit of water from them. It was an easier method of gathering some morning dew water, there were times she had to walk through tall grasses and wring her clothes to gather a little something to drink.

From hard-earned experience she could identify which plants were poisonous or not and of course, only chose safe plants to gather water from. Later when they went further inland they would discover some easier sources of water, until then every little bit helped. The airplane had a limited amount of water and resources, and they only had a limited time before it ran out.

In this area, they could try to get some young coconuts but Sophie did not want to gather too much attention by climbing or knocking them down yet. She also doubted her current body's strength was sufficient to climb like she once did.

Now at this time of day, with no one awake or watching, she could try her hand at it.

With the additional aid of gloves and a lot of rope, Sophie managed to get up high enough to knock down the fruit clusters of the shortest coconut tree in the area. Her body already felt the strain of the climb. She could not rush and took her time getting back down.

While her mind may know how to proceed this inexperienced body was not yet strong enough to keep up. In the past, she could easily climb a couple of tall trees in an hour without any gear. Now she struggled along for over 20 minutes. This was a good test of her current abilities.

For her troubles, she bagged 7 green coconuts at various stages, only 4 were suitable for drinking from. The rest was a little too old but could be used to make oil along with the brown husks she gathered yesterday.

By the time Mattie woke up, Sophie was already back in camp boiling a pot of dew water with her collapsible kettle. By this time she had already made multiple trips back to forth from their camp to not only bring back the coconuts but also gather firewood and more raw palm fronds.

"What the-"

"Morning to you too sleepy head.

"How are you already up?"

Sophie shrugged, knowing where the confusion was coming from. Prior to the island, she was not an early riser, on the weekends she would sleep well until noon. But in order to adapt, her sleeping habits have already changed.

"You get used to it, besides mom was right. Waking up early really is best for getting work done."

"Uh, sure Sophie, if you say so. I guess that's better..." seeing his elder sister this energetic in the morning was a strange sight but so was the tropical island. He supposed this is just how it will be for now and sniffs the air.

"Is that lemongrass?"

That's when he notices the kettle wasn't boiling just water but stalks of fresh snapped lemongrass.

"You don't have to drink it, actually makes you lose water but I'm feeling my cramps right now so this is fine for me. You can use the stalks to brush your teeth though? It's antibacterial."

"Great to know Sophie, please teach me more about your now infinite survival guide. "

"You'll run out of toothpaste eventually Mattie, tooth decay is no joke."

"Well, at least it's not a tree branch."

He took the offered stick of softened lemongrass and used it in place of his toothbrush, not bothering with his small toiletry bag packed away somewhere. The taste was not unfamiliar to him, lemongrass was a common cooking ingredient in their household. Of course, he preferred a nice clean toothpaste covered electric brush, but humoring Sophie with the stalk was no issue.

He looked around their little campsite taking in the minute differences as Sophie calmly sipped her lemongrass tea out of a traveler's mug. She looked like a picture out a camping magazine, all relaxed against the backdrop of nature.

"So uh, where did the coconuts come from?"

"From the coconut trees silly."

"Yes but those are green and- did you fucking climb the whole tree? Oh my God, you did didn't you? When could you climb trees- you know what never mind I'll just shut my mouth now."

It was too early for him to comprehend this, he'll save this train of thought for later

"Good idea Mattie, would you like me to open one for you? The water bottles definitely aren't enough to keep us hydrated. "

"Open the coconuts?"


"Without a knife?"

He gave her a stare, their knives were still in their luggage. First psychic dreams, then plane crashes and coconut tree climbing. Now his sister will just crack open whole coconuts with her bare hands, okay sure really it's fine this is just his life now whether he believes it or not.

"Yes without a knife, it's actually good that your up and I can show you how to do this just in case you need to. Obviously everything is easier with a machete but if you're ever without you'll know how to get by."

"Did you get a machete in your dream?"

He regretted the question the moment right after he asked. He didn't want to bring up his sister's fears and anxiety again, because whether be believed her story or not it obviously affected her. He didn't want to trigger anything, but Sophie waved him off like it was nothing.

"Most of the time no stole one after a while, don't ask me how. Well, maybe I'll tell you later. For now though-"

Sophie gestured to a fire sharpened stick she had already stabbed into the ground next to a medium large flat stone.

"Um....when did that get there?" Mattie pointed in confusion

"I made it, it's like a coconut station."

"A coconut station?"

"Yes, so when you don't have a knife you can just use a sharp stick. And it's much easier to force the coconut than it is to use the stick. See watch."

Lifting a young green coconut over her head, Sophie jabbed it down over the stick Instead of getting impales the husks of the young cocnut started peeling off in messy chunks. She did this a few more times until all that was left was the tiny shell inside.

"See even without a lot of strength you can get into a coconut without too much effort."

"You just caveman bashed it over a stick!"

"Right, isn't it pretty effective for a stick? And then you just pop the coconut eyes out with a smaller stick and drink the water, just like when we were kids."

Mattie gave up, this time for real.

"Yeah, actually that is pretty good, for a stick. Move over I want to try."

"But I already opened you one.

"Well, then I'm opening another coconut, any technique to this or do I bash it caveman style just like you did?"

"I suppose you angle it?"

"Great, got it."

When in Rome do as the Romans do. In this case, they're going to be seeing coconuts for quite a while as long as they're on this island.

Best get used to it.

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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