Oh, sorry for the inconsistency. I had to change a character’s name. The man is named Liam, not Mikaio.
Caroline’s scream echoed. A little later, she, Daniella, Liam and Rupert came up. I don’t remember a lot of what happened. I was still really shocked. Voices asked if we were okay. Caroline acted all dramatic and everyone looked at us with confused and sorry expressions. Voices jumbled together. I tried to make them all out.
“Are you girls all right?”
“I wonder why the word ‘ask’ was written there,” a high-pitched voice said.
“I don’t know, but I’ll find the killer!”
“Calm down, and have some sense, boy!” a low voice retorted.
“Maybe people live on this island and weren’t happy to find an intruder,” another voice said.
A whimper. “Natives! Oh, Daniella, how dreadful!” The high voice.
“Come and sit down,” someone said, and took my hand and led me to a place where I sat.
“Caroline, you stay with the girls while Daniella, Rupert and I go search the island for natives. We should always have at least three in a group, so no one else winds up dead. And we should check the community pile to see if any knives are missing,” Liam said.
We were near the site of the previous night’s fire, but we sat in the shade of the trees.
. I put my arms around both my sisters. I didn’t know what else to do to comfort them when I felt the same way they did. Caroline, my sisters, and I sat silently for a long time. Aunt Lorelei is dead was the only thought that went through my mind.
A twig snapped.
“Oh, my goodness, natives! Natives! They’re going to finish us off!” Caroline exclaimed, throwing her arms into the air.
But a native didn’t appear behind Caroline. Liam came up, followed by Daniella and Rupert.
“No, it’s just us,” Liam said.
“Oh, my goodness, Leo! It’s just you!” Caroline said, gasping, jumping up, and grabbing Liam’s large bicep. “I thought for sure that horrendous native came back for another murder!”
Liam rolled his eyes and wrenched her hand from his arm. “From what we can tell, there aren’t natives here,” he said, some of his annoyance with her coming out in his tone.
“What, you mean…?” Caroline said.
“Yes. Someone right here did it.”
I looked around at each person’s face. One of these people killed my aunt? That was even worse than a possessive native killing her.
My sisters and I had survived with these people and we were supposed to be helping each other. How could we do that if we didn’t know who we could trust?
Caroline panted, like she might pass out. “How can we all be safe, Leo?”
“Like I said, always have at least three people present in a group. That way, whoever the murderer is, they won’t take the chance of revealing themself to the third person. And a knife is missing from the community pile.”
“Oh, Leo, it’s so scary! I feel rather faint!” Caroline said, grabbing Liam’s arm again.
“You’ll be fine. And don’t call me Leo. My name is Liam. Anyway,” he said, jerking from Caroline’s grasp. “Is there anything any of us can do for you three right now?” he asked my sisters and me.
“Well, if you want, I could use some help burying my aunt. I don’t want my sisters to see her like that,” I said.
“Of course. We adults can do that. Right, Caroline and Daniella?”
Daniella shrugged, and said, “Yeah, sure.”
“Ugh, do you know how long that would take?” Caroline exclaimed. “That would be so hard!”
“It wouldn’t be hard if you didn’t whine and just dug,” Liam said. “You should come, Caroline. It’ll help toughen you up.”
Caroline looked slightly put out at Liam’s insulting her toughness, but what did she expect? Probably also the fact that Liam had no interest in her, despite her flirtations, upset her. If I was a guy, though, I would have no interest in her either. She was so annoying!
“I could help if you want,” Rupert said.
“No, you stay here. You don’t need to see that again either. You’re only, what, nine?” Liam said, walking backwards in the direction of Aunt Lorelei’s body.
Rupert shrugged and said, “Yeah.”
“Well, I guess we will, to be a help to you in this hard time, Shayne,” Caroline said, making it obvious in her tone that she still didn’t want to. She put her arm around my shoulders, as if she thought that would comfort me.
. I pulled away. She looked at me. “Sunburn,” I said. Also, I didn’t want her touching me.
She ran to join Liam, who turned around and picked up his pace to a fast walk, leaving her. Caroline then tried to converse with Daniella, but Daniella made no motion to talk back. Liam and Daniella were acting really immature. But who would want to talk to a person who irritated the fire out of everyone?
Rupert knelt by the place the fire was the night before. A pile of sticks lay nearby. I guessed someone gathered them last night. He rubbed two sticks together. I rolled my eyes. I doubted he’d actually be able to start a fire.
“I’m making a fire so if any planes pass overhead, they’ll see it and rescue us,” Rupert said.
I couldn’t have cared less about a fire in this sweltering weather, but the idea of planes seeing the fire made sense. I did want to get off this island.To be honest, though, Aunt Lorelei’s death had kind of driven thoughts of getting off the island from my mind.
Actually, Rupert did get a fire started. Then, he joined us. I sat there a while, until I felt like I’d die if I didn’t get water and something to eat.
“Anyone know where we can get some water?” I asked. “I’m so thirsty.”
“Earlier this morning, I explored a bit and found a pool of water. I drank some, and I’m still alive,” Rupert said.
“Great. Where is it?” I said.
“Do you think we’ll be safe?” Natalie asked.
“It’s no safer here than anywhere else on this island. Plus, I don’t think any of you guys killed your aunt, and I didn’t, so the murderer isn’t even with us right now. And we’ll be safe in a group, like Liam said. Besides, we need water,” Rupert said. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
Rupert led us through the trees, past where we slept the night before. The shade of the trees made me thankful; the ground didn’t burn my feet so much. After walking a while, we reached a small, round pool about five yards from the base of the mountain. I looked up at the mountain. A dark hole about 90 feet up looked like a cave. Too bad. No way would I climb that high, otherwise, I’d stay in there. I knelt, cupped water in my hands and drank. It was so refreshing, despite its lukewarm temperature. We all drank some.
When we’d finished drinking, we searched for food. Rupert showed us where he found the berries the day before, and we ate enough to fill us up. Rupert said he needed to add wood to his fire, so he gathered up sticks. Then, we went back to the edge of the trees near the fire and sat in the shade. Rupert went and put the sticks on the fire, and then sat next to Ginny.Ginny and Rupert chatted, but Natalie and I didn’t say much. I didn’t feel like talking, still caught up in the fact of Aunt Lorelei’s death. How would Dad and Mom feel? I longed for them and home more than anything.
Natalie put her head on my shoulder and looked up at me. “Shaynie, I want to go home,” she whispered.
I put my arm around her and leaned my head on hers. “I know. So do I.”
A little later, Rupert said, “Hey, guys?”
“Yeah?” we responded.
“I know you’re really upset about your aunt and I hate to bring it up, but I can’t get this really weird thing out of my mind. Next to her body, there was a word made out of sticks. It said ‘ASK’.”
“That’s weird,” I said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ginny said.
“The only thing I can think is that the murderer wants us to ask who it is. But I’m not asking anyone. I don’t want to be killed. But I guess it would be okay, because I would go to Heaven,” Rupert said.
“How do you know you would go to Heaven?” Natalie asked.
I wondered how she managed to link practically everything to the gospel.
“Umm, I think that if you die as a child you go to Heaven. Or it’s if you’re a good enough person.”
“Well, God made the first people perfect, but they did something wrong. Wrong things people do are called sin. We all sin. And sin can’t be around a perfect God,” Natalie said.
“Hey, I’m not that bad a person,” Rupert said.
“But still, you’ve done at least one wrong thing in your life, right?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Well, because God loves us so much, He came to earth as a baby named Jesus, grew up, and let men kill Him to take the punishment for our sins. But because Jesus is God, he came back to life three days later, and now He’s in Heaven.
“So,” Natalie continued, even though Rupert started doodling in the sand with a stick, not paying much attention to her, “if we believe Jesus is God, came to earth, died for our sins, and came back to life, and we trust Him as the only way for our sins to be forgiven, God becomes our Father. Then one day, whether we die, or He comes back to earth, He’ll take those who have trusted Him to Heaven to live there with Him forever. He loves you, Rupert, and He wants to be your Heavenly Father.”
Rupert didn’t respond.
The adults came back a few hours later. It scared me to know for sure that my aunt’s murderer was in our company. Caroline complained that she would die of thirst if she didn’t get water “right this minute!” So we showed the adults the pool. When we got there, Caroline hesitated. I guess she thought there might be something harmful in the water, but her thirst seemed to overcome her fear, because she took some in her hands and drank.
“I want to see the grave,” Natalie said.
“Are you sure that would be a good idea, sweetheart?” Caroline said.
“I want to see it,” Natalie said, a little more firmly. “It’ll help make it real to me.”
“Of course. You girls can come with me,” Liam said.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it. I already knew Aunt Lorelei was dead. I had seen her body with my own eyes. But my sisters hadn’t. They would probably want me there. So, I got up and went with them after Liam. He led us to the place where I had found the body.
The freshly dug dirt had a cross made of sticks sticking out of it.
“The cross was Daniella’s idea. She thought it would be a nice touch,” Liam said. “Do you want me to say some words?”
I shook my head. Words would do no good. He hadn’t even known Aunt Lorelei. What good were words when my heart hurt so much?
Ginny put both arms around me and her head on my shoulder. Natalie hugged me from the other side. They both were crying.
I wanted to cry too. But that would mean I was weak, wouldn’t it? I didn’t want Liam to see me cry and I didn’t want my sisters to feel like I was weak.
We stayed there for a while, not saying anything.
Then Natalie said, “Well, at least she’s in Heaven. We’ll see her again.”
“How do you know?” Liam said.
“Because she believes Jesus is the only way to Heaven and that He died for her. Do you believe that, Liam?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I should.”
“Well, I’ll pray for you.”
We left the grave and joined the rest of the group back near the water pool.
-Shayne (and MorganAshley)