My head was very fuzzy as I woke to the sound of waves gently crashing against a nearby shore. I opened my eyes and quickly shielded them from the blinding sunlight that shone down on me. Drowsy and disoriented, I sat up and looked around. Unconscious next to me were two men who I'd never seen before. They looked similar, with dark hair and pale skin. They were both rather thin with a blue tinge to their lips from lying in the tide for what is assumed to be hours. Several pieces of driftwood littered the surrounding beach and more bobbed with the current of the ocean. Frightened and confused, I slowly stood and began to carefully inspect the people with me. I visually analyzed them a thousand times before I worked up the courage to touch them. The first thing I did was check for a pulse. They were both alive and had a steady heart beat. I then began to check them for any injuries; there were only minor scratches and bruises. As I sat contemplating my next move when one of them began to stir. I quickly stood and backed away in case he tried to attack me. He sat up and began to look around erratically. He froze when he saw me.
"Who are you?" he asked in a frightened but firm voice.
"I-I'm not sure." I said shakily, "Who are you?"
He thought for a moment before replying that he also could not remember his identity.
"Check your pockets." he advised, "Check for an I.D."
I did, and found a wallet. The I.D. was very water damaged and all I could make out was "J Lepus".
"I'm Matthew Lepus." The man said.
"Hey, my last name is Lepus too. We must be related."
I examined what I could of my picture and realized that we looked similar. We had the same dark hair and eyes.
"Brother and sister." Matthew said, holding up a picture from his wallet of us and the other man together in front of a Christmas tree, "And he's our brother too."
We both looked toward the unconscious man, who in that moment opened his eyes and coughed; as he did the sand was sprinkled with droplets of crimson blood. I screamed and covered my mouth as Matthew went to aid him. The man wheezed as more blood dripped out of his mouth. He struggled to speak, his words consisted of grunts and a few moans. Matthew unbuttoned his shirt and discovered a large black bruise in his side.
"He's bleeding internally."
I felt a tear run down my face as my brother groaned in agony.
"What do we do?" I asked.
Matthew thought for a moment.
"We have to get off this island."
I nodded and turned to the other man.
"We're all going to make it." I told him, "We're siblings. We're in this together."
. . .
Over the next few days Matthew and I gathered what we could of the driftwood and constructed a makeshift raft. The island was very small and had one freshwater pond. There weren't any animals and no fruit to eat. We were starving. Our brother, who's name we discovered was Daniel due to his I.D., was unable to help due to his internal injuries. We finished the raft in on the fourth night and decided to wait until morning to set sail. I sat on the cold sand, my hunger gnawing at me. I felt my muscles shaking and the heat draining from my body. I shivered and wished there was something, anything, that I could eat.
That's when I felt it. A warm liquid flowed down the beach and pooled by my hand. At first I couldn't tell what it was, but I focused in the moonlight and saw a crimson color. Blood. Horrified, I turned to where my brother Daniel lay. I saw the flash of a blade in the moonlight, and Matthew leaning over Daniel's body. I screamed and he turned to me, his face dripping with blood.
"What are you doing?!" I shrieked as I made my way over to him and grabbed the pocket knife that had been in Matthew's jacket when we got here; which was laying bloody on the sand next to Daniel's body.
"Calm down!" Matthew yelled, "He wasn't going to live for much longer anyway!"
"You are eating another human being!"
"I couldn't take the hunger anymore! It's meat, just meat. It's food."
Tears flowed down my face as Matthew continued trying to reassure me.
"He's our brother Matthew!" I screamed over and over, shaking from fear and hunger. The way he referred to him as "it" sickened me.
"We don't even remember him."
"You can't just-"
At that moment Matthew sprang up and stole the knife from my hand. I screamed as he held it to my throat, he stifled my scream by covering my mouth with his hand.
"Listen." he said in a menacing voice, "It was a lost cause. Think of it as a sacrifice so we can live. There's not enough room on that raft for three people anyway."
He stopped for a minute and just looked at me.
"It's food. You're weak, hungry. You're going to eat. Do you understand?"
I stood paralyzed for a while. What was stopping him from killing me too? After about thirty seconds I nodded. He let me go and turned back to Daniel. I knelt down beside him and quietly whimpered to myself. My tears trailed down my face, making streaks through the bloody hand print over my mouth.
This time it wasn't Matthew's voice. It was a voice that came from within me. My subconscious was telling me to take a bite. If I was going to live, I had to do this. Slowly, I bent over my now dead brother. Even slower, I took a bite.
As I lie down to sleep that night I watched my tears run into the ocean.
. . .
I woke to waves crashing on the shore. My sunburned face burned worse on the hot sand. I sat up to see Matthew tightening some of the vines that held the raft together. I felt normal for a second, as if this is where I had spent my whole life. And really it was, because I didn't remember my old life. Or my first name.
"Let's go J." Matthew called when he saw that I had awoken.
I stood and felt strength in my muscles. Daniel really had provided me with the means to live. Without him I wouldn't have lasted much longer. I still had to keep it a secret, always.
"I said come on!"
I hurried my way over to the raft and gingerly stepped onto it. I lowered myself to a sitting position, hugging my knees, as Matthew began to push the raft out into the sea. At the edge of the shallow water he heaved himself on. It was barely big enough for the both of us. The current moved us along from there, as we had no sail and no ores. Occasionally we'd use our arms but they were highly ineffective. We drifted for a long time. Long enough to feel hungry again. Far enough that I couldn't see the island anymore. Long enough to get dark.
After a while I lost track of time. We didn't talk much, just let our toes dip into the cold water everyone in a while and thought. Point out a few shadows should they appear, and hope they weren't sharks.
It was light again.
Eventually it started to loose hope. It was the second day, or maybe the third. I began to worry we'd never be rescued. I'd never know a home. I didn't know where I'd come from, who I was. That island wasn't home. The raft wasn't home. Home, is something I'll never know.
I looked down at the deep blue water and felt a longing. The gentle current looked so calm. I slipped my feet into it, then my shins, my thighs. Eventually I only had my head above the water with one hand on the raft. It was cold, but refreshing. I took a few minutes to get used to the water and dipped my head under. I didn't open my eyes, for I knew the salt would sting them. I began to experience feelings of nostalgia. I felt as if I had done this before, swam in the ocean. I started to remember sneaking out at night as a young girl, swimming for hours in nothing but the moonlight. I remembered how dark the water was and how good it felt to be alone.
Those memories ceased as I felt a tight grip on my wrist and I was pulled back onto the raft. I coughed violently, I suppose I had lost track of how long I was under.
"What do you think you're doing?!" Matthew screamed, "You can't kill yourself now! We're close to rescue I can feel it!"
"I wasn't trying to." I said weakly, "I just wanted to take a dip. The water looked so calm."
"There are sharks! There are sharks in there! Do you want to be eaten?!"
"Listen J, don't do it again."
I lie still and silent for a while before nodding.
. . .
It was day eight at sea, I think, and still no rescue. Not even a hint of human life other than the two of us. My hunger was eating away at me and I knew Matthew's had to be as well. I thought back to Daniel, and what Matt had said.
"I couldn't take the hunger anymore!"
His words rang through my head over and over. How much longer could he take this new hunger? It had only been a few days last time, how long before he killed and ate me too?
"It's meat, just meat."
I turned to look at Matthew's sleeping body.
I slipped my hand into his pocket, retrieving his pocket knife. The blade glinted in the moonlight.
"Think of it as a sacrifice."
In one strong motion I thrust the blade into his throat. He awoke instantly and screamed, I pulled the blade through the rest of his neck and silenced him. He tried pushing me away, but was weak as he was loosing blood fast. I withdrew the blade from his collar and smashed it into his brain. He twitched a few times and was still.
"It's food. You're weak, hungry. You're going to eat. Do you understand?"
"Yes." I mumbled to myself.
. . .
Day twelve, maybe. I still had some of Matthew's body. I filtered some water through my shirt and salted the meat, preventing decay and making it taste a little better. There was one problem though. His blood had leaked into the ocean, and a group of sharks had been following me for a few days. I'd see their shadows under the water, their dorsal fins poke out a few yards from my flimsy raft. I cut what meat I could from his body and waited. They were about twenty yards behind me and I was waiting for them to get closer.
I waited for what I think was a few hours, I actually felt one of them nudge my raft. It almost tipped it over. They were getting impatient. I mustered all my strength and shoved Matthew's body into the ocean. The sharks went into a frenzy. Joke was on them, I had already picked him clean; leaving only organs and bones.
. . .
Day twenty, or something. I ran out of food yesterday. The sharks are gone. It's dark, and cold. I was getting tired. I lie down on the raft and actually had room to do so. As I closed my eyes I felt tears. Silent, empty tears.
. . .
I was rescued a few days later. It didn't take long to find out who I was, I was national news. Jasmine Lepus. My husband came to pick me up from the hospital after a few weeks. My two daughters were happy to see mommy. My siblings and I had gone on some trip on Matt's boat to celebrate Daniel's promotion; as he had been appointed top surgeon in his department. In the following years I began to regain parts of my memory. Memories of my brother's and I playing a children; swimming in the ocean together. My mother came to visit me after I got out of the hospital. Every channel wanted my story. I told the world they were both dead when I awoke.
This is the first time I have ever spoken about these events. I hope you understand why I never spoke of them before.
It has just occurred to me for the first time that while we did not remember Daniel, he may have remembered us. I hope he didn't.