I slowly turn around to see Xolani. If I remember correctly, she was the 'tour guide' that Sam had been begging for the last few days to join the exploration of Cashile Kava's main island.
She had a green tank top on with some trousers that she had ripped to make some shorts. She holds something in her arms wrapped in the khaki shirt she was wearing before. She kneels beside me.
"Sit up, I need to assess your wounds," she sighs as she pulls me up, "and rule number one about Cashile Kava. Never rest."
She plucks a strange looking crab creature that was resting on my neck without me noticing it. I sit up abruptly, terrified.
"What was that?" I gasp.
Xolani shrugs as she avoids eye contact.
"I don't know…and I don't think I want to find out either," she answers.
She unwraps the cloth that she held to reveal some plants and berries. She reaches for my shoulders.
"Is your arm hurting?" She asks.
I suddenly realise the harsh pain that creeps down the nerves on my right arm and groan.
"I thought so," Xolani giggles, "you did save my life. I wouldn't expect you to come out unscathed. You're not exactly…what do you call that man…the one with the explosions and the cars and the suits?"
I chuckle a little.
"James Bond?" I respond.
"I don't know, you tell me," she says.
She wraps the cloth around my neck like a sling. She then moves on to tend to my wounds, crushing the berries and applying them to the deep cuts, covering them with the leaves. I hiss at the stinging pain.
"There…just leave it on for a few hours," Xolani says, "it should form a protective layer for your wounds."
I look down at the berries and plants that she used.
"What kind of remedy is it?" I ask, "I've never come across something like this in any of my research?"
Xolani freezes but laughs to ease the tension.
"There are similar plants on the mainland," she answers, "I just put two and two together and experimented."
I accept her answer, not really giving it a second thought. I look out to the sea and sigh.
"So…what do we do?" I ask.
Xolani shrugs as she sits beside me.
"I don't know…" she heaves, "this was what I was afraid of. If we end up stranded here, we are stranded forever. No one on the mainland is crazy enough to want to send a boat out here."
I rub my knees. I had always wanted to come to this island…to finally be able to finish my father's research…but reality is too painful.
"If we stick to the coast, maybe we can find the boat," I mention, "I used to take some woodwork courses in highschool and you look like a crafty person. If we put our minds together we can fix any damages."
"I wouldn't wander freely," Xolani warns, "there is a reason why this place is called The Fool's Graveyard. You can't just walk around and expect small crabs and all that. This place is more dangerous than your British coast. Rule number two. Never wander freely."
She pulls another crab looking creature from my neck and tosses it away. I rub my neck, horrified that I wasn't even able to detect that again.
"So…what do we do?" I ask.
"What would you do when you're stranded on an unknown island?" She responds, "Seek shelter, get food and water, tend to the wounded."
She flicks another creature from my arm.
"We should seek shelter on higher ground," she advises, "the trees look strong enough to stay on. Since your skin has enough salt to attract these creatures, I wouldn't want to stay on the ground."
She stands up and walks up to the trees that mark the coast and the jungle. I gaze at the darkness, swearing I could see the glowing eyes of the jungle, sneering and growling at me.
"I'll get the food and water," Xolani says, "you just rest."
I shake my head in disapproval.
"No…" I say, "I should help. I can't let a lady do all the work."
"You're all battered up," Xolani stops me, "I would prefer not to have you die on foreign soil. You didn't exactly sign a waiver and I don't want to explain to the authorities that you died because you were stupid."
I roll my eyes as Xolani flicks another crab off my face.
"Just get on the trees and rest," she says, "you've already saved my life. Let me save yours. I hate being in debt to people."
She nods as I don't retaliate and she walks off into the jungle. But there is something that shocked me. A large bite mark on the back of her shoulders. It was obvious that she tried to tend to it poorly because she couldn't see properly. There is dry blood around it and you can see that she winces every time she moves her right shoulder. This was a recent wound. I didn’t know whether to stop her or to let her go. But my fear made the decision for me. She disappears into the shrubbery and into the jungle.
I didn’t know Xolani much. She was just the girl that Sam was begging to take us all to the islands. At first she seemed so cold and distant and rather rude but there is a different side to her. Something more caring and nurturing but still so secretive. I knew because my father was the same. She is hiding something.
I see the crab creature crawling up my leg and I swat it away effortlessly.
A few hours later, the sun dips down over the horizon. I had used my basic knowledge to start a fire, trying to keep warm in this cool weather. Xolani finally reappears, her hair messier than before and her clothes more rumpled. She holds in her hand some fruits and she lazily drags a boar behind her.
"You were gone for hours," I heave a sigh of relief, "I was starting to get worried."
"I can't be killed easily unfortunately," she jokes as she tosses the boar towards me, "here, food."
I look down at it in near horror.
"You want me…to eat that?" I utter.
"I couldn't exactly stop by my kitchen and prepare a five star meal for you, princess," Xolani mocks.
"No…no…it's just that…I've never…"
"Been through something like this?"
Xolani looks at me, her dark eyes glimmering in the dim light.
"I get it…" she sighs, "I wouldn't want to be back in the wild…"
"What do you mean by back in the wild?" I question.
Xolani perks up and laughs awkwardly.
"It's metaphorical!" She deflects, "You know, we've come so far as a civilisation. And now we're back to…you know…hunting for food."
Xolani rips out her pocket knife as she starts shaving the skin of the boar.
"You should have some of that fruit," she points to it, "a good source of water and vitamins. You can't drink the water from the ocean…it's too dirty and salty. There are animals that practically want you to drink the water so that you die and they can feed on your corpse. It would be better to get water from the fruits. It's 75% water."
I look at her impressed.
"You know a lot about this island," I mention, "are you sure you've never been here before?"
Xolani shakes her head.
"Just…you know…common knowledge," she says.
"Well…yeah, but…" I start to say.
"In my line of work, I come across plenty of unprepared people so I have to be prepared."
"Let me guess…rule number three, always be prepared?"
"Actually, rule number three, always listen to the locals. They're always right."
"I guess I failed that one too."
"Oh well," she chuckles, "but what is life without some danger?"
"A safe one?" I respond.
"But who wants to be safe and still not know what is ahead?"
I lean back on the sand, thinking about those words. In the distance I hear a primal growl that shakes my bones.
Where on earth are we?
Gracias por leer!
Podemos mantener a Inkspired gratis al mostrar publicidad a nuestras visitas. Por favor, apóyanos poniendo en “lista blanca” o desactivando tu AdBlocker (bloqueador de publicidad).
Después de hacerlo, por favor recarga el sitio web para continuar utilizando Inkspired normalmente.