The Native – Short Story

The sun was beginning its descent back down towards the East, where it would, in time, become dark again. The rocks in the distance almost fell behind the naturally curved shape of the island, formed by the never-ending crash of waves. Here, where he was standing, the water was quieter, calmer. The lap of the waves was subdued on the smooth wetness of the light brown sand. Not a sign of life was to be seen on the water. The only movement was a pair of gulls that soared smoothly overhead, crying softly as they moved over the shoreline in search of sustenance.

Hungry eyes scanned the sea, but once again they were disappointed. Five weeks! Five weeks since life had appeared to feed the man on shore. The last stew had been made, the last bone broken and cleaned of marrow more that a week ago. Hunger was raging, hunger that a few clams or a small fish could not satisfy.

The man knew there were choices. He knew of the Outside World and all that went with it. Unlike other practitioners of his lifestyle, he had entered it by choice and not by chance. After a time he became unable to change, tied by invisible chains that bound him to disgrace. What had started as a couple of knick-knacks and a picture in a book had become a run away train which could not be stopped.

What was that? The man’s eyes zeroed in on the minor hum in the distance. So slight that it might have been made by an insect, the noise captured all of the watcher’s attention. Yes, it was nearing! Hope glowed in the eyes, hope and a hunger going beyond a body’s physical needs.

The boat came closer, and as it did so he could see, the pilot was a woman, a blond haired, white clothed answer to his hopes. Perfect!

Once the man had thought of taking young, but it occurred to him that they would simply become competition and had given up such thoughts. He had tried out the physical contortions once and had thought it all right, but not worth losing your head over. That one had been a blond, too, and the first day was okay, but the second less so and the aromas were becoming unpleasant. Perhaps he was missing something of the process. Maybe the blond should have been alive.

He shook his head. It seemed doubtful. If that were the case men would go around scratched to pieces. No, it just wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. And he remembered how the taste had suffered, because he had not cut up the body for two days and it had nearly spoiled. Not again.

He tried to project his mind to the approaching woman. Yes, she was coming, she was going to land on this lonely but beautiful beach and once again he would be rewarded for his patience. He smiled, he was his own decoy, for the prey came rushing to him to learn firsthand the lessons of a lost soul.

Long light brown hair sweeping softly over his shoulder, he walked down the beach to meet her.
“Why, hello, I didn’t know anybody was on this island. Is it okay for me to land?”

It had been many, many years since he had spoken and he did not want to risk alarming her. So he simply nodded and smiled his warm smile. She nearly melted at the sight. Sensing his advantage, he moved forward and swept her into his arms. She hungrily returned the embrace.

He didn’t need the knife at his belt. His powerful arms snapped her neck like a child breaking a twig. He carried her to the tree line, and then returned to look for sign of what Outside Tribe she was from. The boat had the word Avon printed on it, but he had never heard of such a place. The boat itself was pliable; filled with air. He loaded it with rocks, paddled it two hundred yards from shore; then slashed it with his knife and swam back to his dinner.

He dragged her to the edge of his fire pit and dropped to his knees beside her. A scurry of movement behind him made him jump, and just in time, for a man came out of nowhere swinging a machete. His swing missed and the tip hit the head of the dead woman.
“Oh, Suzie, NO. I didn’t mean to.” He collapsed beside her, sobbing uncontrollably.

The Native was outraged. How dare this Outside Tribe man come to his beach to steal what he had taken? He roared his disapproval and rushed the foreign intruder. He scored a blow to the man’s temple and laid him out.

This done, he tried to figure out where the Outsider had come from. Aha. On the beach was a board with a sail. It had no keel to speak of so it could come right up to the beach. On the sail was printed an Outside Tribe the Native had seen before. New Jersey. This tribe often stayed at the Point called Pemaquid and sailed the three miles to his island. It had made a good life for the self made cannibal. This was the first time he had ever had trouble with….

No pain came with the swift sound, but when the cannibal looked down; his right arm was missing from the elbow down. He swung around to stare into the wide, open and vacant eyes of the Outsider. The man’s mouth was wide open and a river of drool spilled unheeded over his chest. Again the machete rose, and when it came down the head of the Native from Maine was rolling on the sand. The New Jersey man picked up the forearm and started to gnaw.

Apparently, a new cannibal had just been born.