The Fishing Island

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I quickly walked up the stairs, feeling nervous. The pistol in my hand felt like a lead bar, dragging behind me almost uselessly. The door in front of me was seven feet tall, and made of a hardwood, perhaps oak? I wouldn’t know. My school didn’t offer woodshop class. The door was weathered, covered in scratches. The paint, blue at one time, had long ago begun peeling away in the hot Florida sun. Now there was not much left. I looked back over my shoulder, and my friends urged me on. I was standing on a porch in front of an old, decrepit house. The paint on the house had also once been blue, but, like the door, it was now peeling and faded. I reached carefully for the doorknob; nobody lived here anymore, of that I was certain. I heard Sam gasp. I ignored it and turned the knob. Years of rust had crumbled the lock, and after a moment of struggle the door inched open. Sam gasped again, or it might have been Kevin. I wasn’t sure. I took a step forward, across the threshold…
It was summer in Florida. I was with my friend Kevin, at his beach house about twenty miles from Miami. His family had generously offered to take me along on their annual vacation. I gladly accepted, because my parents were currently finalizing their divorce. I didn’t want to be a part of that, but I knew I would have to return in a month to testify in court. It was crazy, all of it. I knew what my father had done. How he had gotten drunk one night, while I was at a party. He had hit my mom; breaking her left forearm and making her lose her job as a secretary at a local real estate office. After that, my mom and I moved out. My dad apologized many times, and my mom never pressed charges. But, it was over, my mom said. Too many years of broken promises and lost dreams. So she filed for divorce, and a hearing was scheduled for August 15. Two days before school started. There would be whispers and guarded looks on the first day, sympathy from teachers on the second as they learned who I was. But I didn’t want any of it.
Kevin, sensing my discomfort and anxiety, suggested that we have a good time on the trip. We went out with friends of his and drank the night away on the beaches. We used our fake ID’s to get into clubs in Miami, partying often and hard. His parents didn’t know what we were doing. They were completely oblivious. The second week of this routine had caught up to us, and we were tired. So Sam, Kevin’s friend, took Kevin and me out to a small island, about a mile offshore. There was an old house there, he said. It was rumored to be haunted, and he said we could stay there and fish for a couple days. I, never having fished in my life, was reluctant to agree to join them. They convinced me, though, and we set off in a small dinghy for the island on July 1, with the promise we would be back before the Independence Day festivities.
We brought some supplies: Food, sleeping bags, a tent, fishing poles, three hunting knives, and Sam’s pistol, which he had bought in downtown Miami for protection. The hour long voyage was filled with stories about the supposedly haunted house on the island. The stories were told with a sarcastic tone, suggesting that they were simply made up for fun. I wasn’t so sure, however. When we made it to the island, we tied up the boat and unloaded our gear on the white sand. There were trees on the island, mostly palms, oaks, and pines. The old house was not visible from the beach, and we groaned as we realized we would have to take several trips to haul all of our gear. Sam suggested that we locate the house before moving our gear, and we all set out into the forest.
After a few minutes of walking, Kevin spotted the house, nestled in a small clearing. Sunlight seeped through the surrounding trees and peeled the paint on the house, which at one time had been blue. Suddenly, a swift movement caught our attention. It was a figure, almost humanoid in appearance. It ran from the edge of the clearing to the back of the house. Sam, whose family owned the island, pulled out his pistol and ran towards the house, enraged that a trespasser would dare come to his island. Sam, in his haste to drive out the trespasser, tripped over a fallen branch and went sprawling. He lay there for a moment, writhing in agony. He sat up slowly, his arm bent at a sickening angle. He tossed the gun to me, and said to scare the trespasser off. I took the gun, and approached the door.
I quickly walked up the stairs, feeling nervous. The pistol in my hand felt like a lead bar, dragging behind me almost uselessly. The door in front of me was seven feet tall, and made of a hardwood, perhaps oak? I wouldn’t know. My school didn’t offer woodshop class. The door was weathered, covered in scratches. The paint, blue at one time, had long ago begun peeling away in the hot Florida sun. Now there was not much left. I looked back over my shoulder, and my friends urged me on. I was standing on a porch in front of an old, decrepit house. The paint on the house had also once been blue, but, like the door, it was now peeling and faded. I reached carefully for the doorknob; nobody lived here anymore, of that I was certain. I heard Sam gasp. I ignored it and turned the knob. Years of rust had crumbled the lock, and after a moment of struggle the door inched open. Sam gasped again, or it might have been Kevin. I wasn’t sure. I took a step forward, across the threshold…
The sunlight seeped in through the open door, filling the inside of the small house with light. The inside was filled with rotting furniture, and on the fireplace mantel sat an ancient shotgun. I instinctively took a step back, but continued into the house. On a broken chair sat a monkey, about the size of a cat. Sam and Kevin cautiously came inside and looked with a mixture of disbelief and relief at the monkey, which was nibbling at some fruit. We headed back to the beach to get our gear, laughing about the unnecessary scare. A monkey. Who knew?





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