Chapter 19:

Life is not fair and it does not have to be

Castaway Isle

It was a scale in Sophie's mind, debating the pros and cons. She could be careful and spend some more time bedridden in the plane. Really she expected to spend more time recovering, a lot more time if the last time was anything to go by. Or she could try to unrealistically convince others of her surprisingly quick recovery, the snakes weren't that bad.

Sophie decides on a compromise.

She plays sick, weak and pathetic with teary eyes, begging to be let off the plane.

"I know she's here, please. If I could find her and know she's safe."

If Mattie wasn't playing along too he would roll his eyes in frustration. While he can understand how people fall for this, his sister really was laying it on thicker than he was used to seeing from her. It was like her sense of shame was gone and she was back to how she was in childhood. Hell bent on her way and no one could stop her, even if they didn't know it.

"You really shouldn't be moving much dearie, how about we wait for a doctor to clear you first. Give you a look over to clear you." said the attendant worriedly.

The older woman couldn't just let the snake bite patient go off like that, not when the earlier reactions were so severe. The little girl was definitely not okay yet, she looked so weak and exhausted.

But the sad pleas along with her child-like face made many people feel soft.

Mattie, as a baby faced as he was himself, at least had some height.

"We just want to see if our sister June is here and safe. Actually, I don't feel comfortable with Sophie moving yet either but....we can't just leave June hanging out there. If possible, could I go search for June and bring her back to see Sophie?"

"Oh honey."

The attendant had heard the sibling's story before and while she felt bad, she didn't want the siblings to go through any more disappointing news. It's hard to say in this scrambling crowd of people. She also didn't want this weak little girl to get a shock to her recovering system in case something had happened for the worse. It was already good that she finally woke up and could speak coherently.

"Yes, I think that's something we can do. You really didn't have to stay here all day young man but it's good you're looking out for her sisters." concluded the attendent.

This was as good a solution as any to their prediciment.

"Perfect, then I can trust Sophie in your hands? She's something of a troublemaker as of late."

"Understandable, she'll stay nice safe. Put here till the doctor gets a look."

Sophie understands their concern because really she shouldn't be up and walking yet, the effects of venom were awful. At this point in time it shouldn't have cycled out of the bloodstream yet. Even with a proper dose of anti venom, a full recovery was never this fast. Sophie doesn't know how but she knows she can't let it slip that she's absolutely fine just yet.

"Mattie? "

"Be good and stay here alright. Focus on recovery, I'll find June and we'll come back for you."


it was all very dramatic, not bad for a daytime television segment really. While it pained Sophie that she couldn't go out and look for June directly herself, this was the best option.

She stays here, nice and safe, in case of the venom flares up again as it cycles through her body. Maybe even gain a little more networking and Intel with the right attendants and flight crew members.

Meanwhile, Mattie, who is still completely healthy at this point, goes off to find June at the possible locations she may be at. Enough to let June now they're here, that they've come for her and she's not alone. To god damn help already.

Sophie makes him take his backpack and rations, carrying an extra walkie talkie for their sister.

The walkie talkie system Sophie purchased was a very modern and useful model. By connecting to their phones they could use it to not only call but text each other as long as they stayed within a certain range. Ten miles to text, 20 miles for calling. There was even a group chat function. God knows how much easier things would have been if they had stable communication. A group that would have saved them so many worries and issues.

"Text me when you find her."

"I will, now please for the love of God do not go get into trouble or make trouble or do anything! safe alright. "

"I'm inside the plane Mattie, what the worse I can do?"

"That is a very potentially loaded question and I will not answer that."

Sophie waves him off and falls back down on her makeshift bed of a stretcher on the airline seats, her hammock packed and rolled up by Mattie.

Another staff member, a not so young man in a sweater vest, gave her a cup of instant oatmeal and something to drink. Sophie's first meal since she got bitten. Her stomach should be empty and was weak, ideally, she should start slowly working back up to solid meals again.

She accepts with a tired shy smile, even though she feels it's a waste. A sugared oatmeal packet like this could be spread and feed many people by mixing it with the local vegetation. What a waste.

But it was already cooked and served. She would not waste food and munched down on the too sweet instant luxury. It tasted of artificial apple and cinnamon. Sugar was a luxury, hell anything that wasn't sand, grass and seawater was a luxury.

There was never enough, they never figured out how to make sure there was enough. These passengers were not the most practical people nor the most experienced in basic survival. Food comes from the grocery stores. Shelter, clothing, and tools are bought near anywhere, especially the internet. There were passengers who had never slept a night of their lives outside, had never known what it was like to live without their daily overpriced frappes. Even those that never had to drive, cook or buy their own stuff because they were wealthy enough hire others to do so.

Surprise surprise, there were a few of the super rich on this other flight! What were they doing here, first class or not, and not on their own private jets?

Money really is useless here and for the most part those spoiled millionaires or whatever they died so easily. Too easy without their armored cars and bodyguards to protect them. The funny part was that there were guards but after a few years on the island what would you pay them with? At that point, coconuts were far more useful than all the expensive watches and diamond accessories. There weren't even good hard mining material diamonds, they had cracked and chattered when people tried removing the diamonds to tip tools.

That woman survived though, kudos to her.

Again Sophie could respect someone with skills and grit. Not bad for a rich girl, still didn't like the bitch of course. How old would she be right now? 19? Yeah, that sounds about right.

It might actually be amusing to watch them first fumble with their lives this time. Sophie wasn't necessarily a sadist, she didn't toy with her prey as much as she wanted to make them suffer for what they've done. Even then it was only for a specific list of people, those who had harmed her first.

But the playing field was wide and the competitors still strong and plenty.

It was those who had the most privileged and cushioned lives that handled the island with the most difficulty. At least until they messily died for whatever reason. The lucky ones died early, little to no suffering to be had there. Before that though, they would struggle along as dead weight to the group as a whole. They were often the ones who drained the most resources while contributing the least. Some had never worked a day in their life and lacked the common sense to accept and adapt to their situation.

Even small children were more competent. They could at least gather and assist in small errands while the sick and elderly could weave, craft and act as experienced caretakers. Those who did not know, learned. In the early years everyone had to pull their part in the community.

There was never enough food to satisfy everyone and they were just figuring out their bearings in building a more permanent shelter, finally accepting that rescue was just not coming soon enough. Those who took more than their fair share were detested, but in the early years they did not kick anyone out of the community. That was a mistake.

It was not simply like having a bad apple in the bunch, ready to rot to rest. It was holding insects, parasites and all other sort of pest and vermin eating them from the inside out until the community could hold on no further.

That can't be allowed to happen again. If Sophie could not prevent a repeat of the doomed collective, she would cut ties early and take her siblings away to safety. There was no real safety on this island but she would take wild beasts in the deepest parts of the jungle any day over those human devils.

There was too much to plan and account for, it made Sophie anxious. In the middle of these thoughts, she was interrupted by a new presence coming from behind the flimsy curtain.

"Hello there Miss. Sophie. I am Dr. Manish Parihar, it's good that you've awakened. I've been the one in charge of observing your condition. How are you feeling tonight?"


Another somewhat familiar face from the past appears before her. His unique accented English is even more noticeable, something with a hint to a London prep school education with the base of his native Pakistan.

Sophie plays along as if she's never met this man before. Never read his journals and notes, pouring days over them to decipher and find cures

She does not necessarily lie but exagerates her fatigue, repeating symptoms she should be feeling but currently does not.

Without moniters and blood tests,it is not hard for the old doctor to agree that she needs a lot more rest and hydration. Without a proper anti-venom they did their best to stabilize the girl based on what they had. It was a miracle if her own body could fight it off.

"Is that *cough* uncommon doctor?"

"Yes, typically. At least in the states however when I was a boy, that was just what people did. And sometimes, there was pattern that worked. Tell me young lady, have you ever been bitten by a creature before? Or perhaps stung?"

She purposely hesitates, as if she's struggling and a little fearful to remember.

"Some bees and wasp in the garden and ....yes. A snake, or well snakes. I've been bitten before."

Not a lie.

She's taken that bite in another life. The best lies are the ones based in truth.

"I see, where did this happen? From your age and accent I can tell you were born in the West, but snakes in the Americas seem to have a different property than the kind I was used to as a child."

"In South or south east Asia. My parents are from there and they've taken us to visit family and friends."

"Hmm I see, that may explain a theory I have."

" Where did you grow up Doctor?"

Sophie's voice was naturally a little sweet, when spoken softly it sounded delicate and very young. She sounded like an innocent child curiously asking questions, nothing more, and it worked more often than not.

The doctor laughed lightly and answered as if humoring her, his hometown was a small backwater village in Northern Pakistan. The two then exchanged light stories on their childhoods running barefoot and eating things that most white people found too exotic.

Things Sophie already knew.

Dr. Parihar was old enough to have officially retired but chose not to. He was not too frail nor old, he could still make use of his life-saving skills for another decade or so. He was already elderly but was fit and strong for his age. His spine was already a tad crouched and his dark eyes showed many wrinkle lines around them but his good genetics paired with a humble healthy lifestyle gave his the impression of being more energetic than most middle-aged people decades younger.

Even when he finally chose to retire he would still be regarded as an expert and senior practitioner, especially regarding poison control and internal medicine. That was his specialty.

It just bad luck for the old man to end up on this particular flight. He never even got to enjoy a proper retirement before being doomed to this island. He would die a little over a year and a half in. Sophie didn't feel anything particularly at the casualty, but she did feel that it was a big waste.

As a doctor and a specialized expert, his health should have been prioritized in the community. His expertise could save more lives and ease the ailments of others. In fact, it was his research that realized the method of building up an anti-venom using this unknown breed of snake. After his death, they would greatly rely on his journals to better improve their methods.

But how much better would it have been to ask the man himself? Sophie did not know him very well but from the time he lived, she did not see a bad person. He often gave up his share of food to the children, claiming to fast or that the growing young people needed it more than he did.

There was never enough food.

Though he was old his body was pretty good and spry and some idiot deemed that good enough to put the old doctor into a hunting team. If they had stayed in the outer edges of the jungle perhaps it would not be an issue. Dr. Parihar was actually quite adept at catching and skinning snakes, toads, and giant centipedes despite appearances. It came from his youth growing up in his native lands where snakes and scorpions were the norm. However, this island was not so forgiving and the men who organized the hunts were idiots who thought with their muscles.

They placed Dr. Parihar as support to hunt wild boar! The poor senior was speared to death with the creature's sharp tusks and crushing force!

Not only was it a waste of an expert's life but there were those who not so secretly cheered. They found that having people like the elderly were a burden that couldn't die soon enough. One less mouth to feed meant more food and supplies for them.

Sophie found it a huge waste of their capable human resources. It would be better for idiots like those to die instead. They were more of a detriment to everyone's survival than any snake or rampaging boar.

This old man was useful, very useful so long as he stayed alive. If possible she would like to delay his easily preventable death and have him contribute back further in this life. She could not control his fate but surely they could do better than a year and a half.

Just don't put nonsuitable people into the harsh hunts, what was there so hard to understand?!

Pleased with her progress and recovery, Dr. Parihar left the young lady to her rest. Though he did deem her well enough to make her own bathroom trips, provided she be careful. Even though she was ill, the young lady, young enough to be his own grandchild, was pleasant and strong mind, which made a good impression on him. She reminded him a little of his childhood, and his own elder sister back all those years ago.

Given permission, Sophie gladly went to clean herself with the plane's filtered running water as well as she could. She was already stuck on the plane so there was no need to rush and she was careful of her bandages. A thorough sponge bath had her feeling clean and refreshed, and tested how well her body had truly recovered.

She really was fine, no longer effects at all. For a moment Sophie hazily recalled the insane dream.

The face in the bathroom mirror had black hair so short it didn't matter how messy it got. The face was youthful and soft, not a single scar or scratch to be seen. This was not the face in her nightmares, it did not sing half-mad in spanish lullabies nor have blood still dripping when she tore through her own flesh. Sophie was still in control of herself here.

Quickly she dressed herself into something more comfortable for the night. Even in the protected interior of the plane, being naked made her uncomfortable. It made her vulnerable and open to attack. It's how they preferred her.

Sophie doesn't think about it further.

Back in her corner, in the excuse of a medical bed, Sophie is far from sleepy. To prevent herself from over worrying about everything, about the status of Mattie and June, she finds their stuff. Their carry-ons are tucked overhead and her giant backpack is to corner where Mattie placed it for her. That's how she had fresh clothes to change and soaps to use. Most of their devices are already plugged in and charging from the UBS ports on a nearby plane seat. There was nothing further for her to do than organize her own mind, having a reliable little brother really was the best.

She settled into her bed, earphones plugged in and tablet out. A downloaded encyclopedia on tropical plants wasn't the most exciting read for most people but it was for her. When she started gardening again she had the bad habit of trying to match what she had encountered on the island to actual plants and records. But her therapists had allowed it, an exercise in taking control they called it

Some things could be found after enough time on the internet. Their growing conditions, health benefits, toxicity all that had been recorded on the world wide web. But some species gave no results, they were truely unknown or too difficult to find and classify, just like that breed of yellow gray snake. However if she studied enough she could somewhat place the family or group of the plant. You never know what sort of information would be useful out here in a place without a modern pharmacy or medical supplies. Her pharmacy storage wouldn't last them.

Sophie studied through the night.

Her brother hadn't come back.


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