The Other Side

October 12, 2012
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Mrs. Shaw
Honors English I
12 October 2012
The Other Side

He wasn't dead. He woke up with his head feeling as if it had been hit with a bat which was almost what had happened There was dried up blood that cracked as he winced in pain and near his right temple there was an enormous lump. He sat down for a while dizzy and confused and when he finally came to his senses he began to take in his surroundings. It was early morning with only the sun's glow on the horizon providing light. Even being so early it was hot and muggy with a light fog and he was in such dense foliage he could hardly tell what was up and down. He heard waves crashing against rocks to his left and he began walking that way. After about three miles he was lightheaded and he was closer to the sound of the ocean so he decided to sit for a second and do his best to remember what had happened the past few days. Half an hour later he was startled awake by what felt like someone giving a great hug. However, he was not being kindly loved by a friend. He was instead being squeezed tighter and tighter every second by a boa constrictor. He quickly reached for his knife however there was only air. He began panicking and thrashing against the beast but this only made it worse. Before he passed out he forced himself to concentrate and look for anything to save himself. Five feet from him a broken stick lay. He fell forward, grabbed the stick and stabbed the snake twice in the head and three times throughout its body. As it died he pushed it off himself and quickly stepped away. He watched it die and then continued his walk to the shore. An hour later he reached the rocky coast. From where he stood he saw nothing but ocean so he decided to circumnavigate the island. Seven uneventful hours later with the sun going down he decided to find a place to sleep for the night. Using skills collected from years of hunting and the great war he made a bed from bamboo, vines, and leaves and managed to fall asleep.

It had been nearly a week since Rainsford had fallen off the boat that night and the fifth day living alone on Ship-Trap Island. His boredom has consumed him and his understanding that he would never get off the island has nearly destroyed him. Each day his mind has been worse off and yesterday he began hunting the pack of dogs one by one. Only a few days ago this would have been completely absurd for him and gone against his new vow to not kill any living creature. However, even though it only took five days he had been driven completely insane by the fact that he would never see civilization again. This insanity was much like the old General Zaroff's. Rainsford, was convinced that he was still civilized and a good man, and at first that would seem true. Spend some more time with him though, and his new found violence and savageness would quickly shine through. Today, he was out hunting the last two dogs in the pack. The two had stuck together and Rainsford was growing ever more excited as he realized that he was getting closer. Three hours later at lunch he had literally filleted and cooked the dogs. As he ate he realized that he had killed the last living things. There was nothing left on the island. He contemplated this while he ate and eventually came up with an idea.

He woke up late the next day with a sore back and covered in bug bites. He climbed down one of the trees that his bed was suspended between and painfully continued his circumnavigation of the island. Last night he had thought about his old life. His life as a hunter, his life in the war and, more recently, his life on the remote island known as Ship-Trap. He remembered his dissatisfaction with hunting and how he reinvented the hunting game and began using the only animal with the ability to reason. He thought about how exciting it was when he first started and the new challenges that were presented to him. It only took time though for this too to become monotonous and dull. Each time seemed the same and those he hunted could not think properly with the fear of death so imminent. And then out of thin air came Rainsford. A man that he had often read about and somewhat idolized in the hunting world. He remembered when he first saw him at the door of the chateau. The chateau that he was now staring at. It only took about an hour of walking for him to see, somewhat off in the distance, the island that was his home and the large castle in which he once resided .

Back on Ship-Trap island Rainsford was struggling. As went the last dogs two days ago so did seemingly all means of entertainment. He was sitting on a high ledge of the chateau looking off into the distance and at the few surrounding islands. He often did this to try to calm down and thought it was nice to know that there still was a world beyond the island. It was a gloomy, overcast day but despite the clouds it was hot and humid as usual with bugs everywhere. He continued to sit for nearly an hour, simply gazing off in the distance with his face and eyes with a glazed look until a thought occurred to him. What was there beyond life. High up on the ledge with his feet dangling it would be so easy and simple to just drop off and move on. To get off the island and possibly experience life again. The desperation to get away from the island fused with a yearning to know what was beyond in the afterlife, if there even was one, made simply sliding forward a foot and letting go, awfully tempting.

He was standing on the beach looking at the vast expanse of ocean in front of him. Across that water was Ship-Trap Island. The day before he had planned to swim to the island, find Rainsford and hopefully reestablish the futile and weak life he had there. However, standing here now with the waves crashing and seeing how distant the island really was, he greatly questioned what he had thought to be so easy yesterday. After a few minutes he had summoned the courage to begin walking out in to the sea. The water was cold on his toes and very uninviting but he forced himself farther and farther out until he began swimming. Four hours later he washed ashore with the waves and lay there completely still. He had no strength left and could carry himself no further. His arms felt so heavy it was as if they were made of lead and he did not move until he realized that as the tide rose he would soon be washed back out to sea. He picked himself up and slowly but surely headed into the jungle. He knew this area and it did not take long for the plants and trees to thin out and the chateau appear. He looked at it for a while then walked up, raised the familiar gargoyle knocker and let go.

Rainsford slid his shoe off and let it fall to the ground. He watched tumble and twirl as it fell down and down and down until finally it reached the bottom. He had been sitting on the ledge for quite a while now and he had inched farther and farther off until it was now only his bottom and hands supporting him. He thought about death once more. What actually happened as you you passed on. He moved forward. He thought about his life on the island and if he stayed. The eternal boredom. He inched forward once more but this time it was too far. He slipped off the ledge but caught himself with his hands. As he hung a man walked out on the ledge. It was General Zaroff. Rainsfored smiled at him and as he did so loosened his grip in the ledge and dropped. Zaroff watched in horror as a man that he hated, but still a man, tumbled and spun wildly towards the ground. There was a quiet but definite thump as Rainsford hit the ground. From the ledge Zaroff watched the still body and started walking towards the ledge. He never stopped. For the few seconds he was in the air he approached an odd sense of calmness and even happiness as he welcomed death. He realized that there was nothing left for him in life and that he would never again grow tired of the hunt.

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