Lost and Found

Desert island

 

He had forgotten his name but that didn’t matter to him anymore because at least he wasn’t alone. He was lost, oh yes. The plane had gone down over the Atlantic not more than an hour after leaving Miami and yet all he could see was a vast sea of isolation. He had awakened on an island covered in fine black sand. It bothered him initially, but eventually he grew to enjoy the way the sun cast off of the deep onyx grains.

 

He was convinced this was the source of the orb. He had found it in the sand, perfectly round and black.  It was smooth as glass, dark as oil, iridescent and gorgeous to behold. And it kept him company. So yes, he was lost but not alone. Yet he still wanted to go home…

He resisted all temptation to succumb to cliche and parody and adorn the sphere with a painted smiley face. The sphere was too proud, too graceful for that. The Lost One sat in tatters and bare feet upon the black sand and kept the sphere pristine. It demanded so little, the least he could do was keep it clean.

He knew he was losing weight and should have been hunting the sparse island for food but he didn’t care. He didn’t even care the day another castaway drifted ashore, an old man fresh from a shipwreck. As far as he knew, this man was after his orb and so he proceeded to club him across the head utilizing the very object of his affection. This action troubled him: it had sullied the orb, painted the pristine black with a smear of unworthy red. He quickly washed it in the ocean and then returned to eat. He had food now; the orb had provided him with meat and to decline its offer of fresh flesh would have simply been rude. It tasted rather tangy, and although grateful he would have enjoyed some fresh fish. He did love the taste of fish…

The Lost One was content despite having lost everything in the blink of an eye. A simple mechanical failure on the plane, no doubt. There had been a jolt, a screech, a metallic whine. Not unlike the one he heard now. It startled him.

He jumped up from the shade of the palm beneath which he had been reclining. The arm of the second castaway lie next to him nibbled raw and wet, sallow fat exposed to the unforgiving sun. He cast it aside as the noise continued, now a soft humming. On the beach, the black sand began to shift. Something emerged from beneath, glistening, popping and shifting in impossible geometric shapes even as sinewy flesh stretched forth from the sediment. The Lost One stood slack jawed, orb clutched in chapped and tattered hand. The living thing emerged further and sloughed off the sand. He was reminded of an insect, a large and many angled thing beneath a shining black carapace. It was nearly 12 feet in length, sported a field of writhing antennae and clambered towards the missing man. Behind it trailed a wet, black net of fibrous material which supported a clutch of round, shining orbs.

The Lost One was agape, not at the sight of this eldritch being creeping forth but for the multitude of beautiful black orbs that trailed behind it. He wanted every last one and was determined to have them. Seeing no other course of action, he hefted the black sphere, his first and original savior (and you never forget your first). He emitted a savage cry, his first vocalization since a raw cry of anguish on day one, back when he was truly alone. He thrust the orb down below the shell of the beast into a place where it was soft and mewling. There, he pushed forth and slammed the orb repeatedly, over and over even as the great thing thrashed and protested. In minutes, he was coated with the black ichor of victory and a mighty feast awaited him. He combined the flesh of the great black insect with that of his first kill, the elderly castaway. The result was decidedly fishy and he wept with joy, for he did so love the taste of fish.

He wept with joy but also sorrow for the orb had been battered beyond repair. It rested in great, ragged lumps, tiny black things writhing within. He accepted the sacrifice of the orb and allowed its innards to run free. They crept upon him, the tiny things inside and he giggled as they tickled his worn flesh with spindly little legs and feelers. His laughter grew even more as the massive clutch of black orbs trailing the remains of the creature began to burst open. A fresh wave of life washed forth onto the beach, a cacophony of metallic sounding shrieks and caterwauls.

They clambered forth, past the bleeding body of their own ilk and towards the strange, laughing man. The Lost One accepted his new family with open arms, arms that swept the horde into his own clutches with manic glee. He rested then, against the creaking palms on the island of his own new, little empire.

His new family coated him, spread their webbing upon his chapped flesh until he was indistinguishable from the sand. He rolled onto the beach and lie serenely as his new children engulfed him and began to gently crawl into every available orifice. He accepted them with a full belly and a mind full of optimism and hope.

Bleeding, worn and weathered, the man was still missing, but he was no longer alone. Nor was he lost.

He was just where he wanted to be, needed to be. And it was with his new family that the The Found One embraced his lot in life and succumbed to the warmth even as the little ones swarmed inward and pulled him further and further beneath the black sand.

He was found, he was with family and nothing could be sweeter.
He was home.
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