I am deeply sorry for such a hiatus. But honestly, I am horrible at time management. Horrible. My resolution is to improve upon that and try to update at least once a month. No more delays. Let's begin again.
Disclaimer Time: I don't own LotF, William Golding does. But if I did, I probably would have introduced females and twisted it into a romance novel for sure.
"The wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts."
The air was viscous with delight. Jack has killed yet another pig. The ginger was rising in esteem amongst the adolescents. Even though he wasn't the tallest of the plane wrecked misfits on the island, he was still substantially taller than all the littluns and had a few inches on every other older boy. Slowly, the red-haired lad was beginning to tower over the members of the island and only a few were catching on.
Cassie had begrudgingly offered to assist Jack in carrying the pig back to camp, but he declined her extension of aid with a snort of amusement and dragged the pig back by himself. At least, he dragged it about as far as the beach, and then many of the older boys carried the prize the rest of the way while Jack sauntered in the lead.
He dictated that the bloody pig be dropped beside the fire pit on the beach. The carcass was flung without care in the sand, and a golden plume sprayed the air. Without minutes, Ralph appeared and pushed his way through the ring of Jack's admirers. He examined the lifeless pig and turned to Jack.
"What the bloody hell is this?" he demanded. Jack smirked.
"It's a fucking pig, poof." he shot back. Ralph fumed. He raised his index finger and stabbed it into Jack's chest.
"I told you not to go hunting. Your responsibility was to watch over the fire. You were forbidden to go hunting. Do not think for a second your action will not have repercussions, Jack."
"I wasn't hunting! I was with Cassie, and it was attacking us! I had no choice." Jack protested. Ralph's eyes widened, and he turned to Cassie who was standing beside Jack. It was as if he just noticed her presence.
"What were you doing? Why were you were Jack? Why were you preventing him from doing his designated duty?" Cassie was taken aback by his severe inquiries. She was unaccustomed to Ralph's discontent being directed at her. She opened her mouth, but she wasn't sure what to say. So, she closed it.
"Hey! Stop yelling at her!" Jack moved between Ralph and Cassie. Cassie stoop on tiptoe and peered over Jack's shoulder at Ralph.
"It wasn't her fault, so I suggest you shut your mouth." Ralph and Jack glared at each other for a full minute, maybe even an eternity.
"Fine. Cook your pig. I'll go watch the fire tonight. But this isn't over Jack. I will find you in the morning, and we will have a more private discussion." Ralph turned and stalked off with Piggy trailing behind. Jack raised his hunting knife into the air, a victory pump, and shouted "Let the feast commence" and drove the weapon deep into the neck of the slain animal.
Cassie had nothing else to do that afternoon, and so she scooted some meters away and watched the butchering of the boar. Jack had done most of the work. He slowly, but steadily, carved off chunks of meat from the pig's swollen body and laid them on large palm leaves for roasting later.
The day was waning, and the asphyxiating heat that embraced the children was weakening into a more comfortable cool. The setting sun was a rainbow of color; dark red, bright orange, cool yellow, pale green, sky blue, and a tinge of lavender staining the darkening sky. Although Cassie ached for her home, she had never witnessed a sunset quite like the ones on the island.
Ralph and Piggy were not in sight when the fire was created and the meat was cooking. Cassie settled gingerly down in the sand beside Simon. She asked him about the Ralph and Piggy's whereabouts.
"Ralph and Piggy went up to watch the fire. He seemed a bit disgruntled, and Piggy was not too content that Jack disobeyed orders." Cassie nodded and didn't respond. She was concerned about getting rescued but perhaps Ralph was over exaggerating the survival of their fire. It wasn't as if they would all perish if the fire went out. They could simply we start a new one. Big deal. Her and Jack were nearly killed, and all Ralph was worried about was a pile of embers. Pfft.
The feast continued through the night. Every boy, little and big, ate their share of the hefty boar while Jack engrossed them all with anecdotes. As expected, Jack's deeds in the retelling of the kill were stretched slightly. The boar was bigger, the fight was bloodier, and Cassie's role was diminished. The fire, which had peaked into an inferno early into the night, had now died back down into glowing embers. The littluns began to fall like flies into slumber where they sat. Only the bigguns remained awake. Cassie gazed drearily around the fire at the boys still awake. Adrenaline from the night's early excitement had worn off, and she could tell everybody was close to falling asleep. Simon muttered a word of goodnight beside her and leaned backward into the shadowy sand.
The last handful of awake lads followed suit. Maurice, SamnEric, everybody else were lying backward in the sand and murmuring sounds of exhaustion. A wind blew bitterly across the beach, and the light of the fire twinkled out. Cassie rubbed her arms and gradually settled into the chilled sand. An inky figure stood over her, and she was shaken awake from the beginnings of spiraling sleep. The blackened figure was Jack. He gripped her forearms and pulled her upwards against him. Cassie was not content with his interruption.
"What do you want?" she murmured. Her eyes blinked sleepily, and she felt sick with exhaustion. She just wanted to sleep, and all of a sudden Jack was in her way, again. The said ginger slowly, but forcibly, pulled the tired and cranky girl towards his spot in the ring of slumbering boys. When they reached the spot where Jack had been seated during the festivities, he gently pulled the girl down into the sand. Cassie just sat in the sand and stared blankly at him.
"I'm supposed to be keeping an eye on you, girl. So just sleep right here and don't go wandering off in the morning." He didn't wait for a reply. He spread out in the sand on his back with his hands tucked beneath his head and proceeded to drift away. Cassie huffed quietly to herself, but complied to his order. It didn't matter to her where she slept as long as she slept at all tonight. She rolled onto her side, facing away from Jack. In the murkiness, she eyed the unconscious shapes of snoozing males. A prickling discomfort jabbed at her chest. She breathed in and exhaled, but the odd feeling didn't ebb. She focused her bleary eyes until she located the source of uneasiness. Amidst the pairs of closed eyes were an opened pair. Cassie gazed wide-eyed at the pair of hatred filled sockets.
In an effort to escape the anxiety building up in her chest, Cassie rolled over away from Roger. She tightened her body in attempts to appear smaller. Perhaps if she willed it enough, she would become invisible in the obscurity of the night. Her nose barely brushed against Jack's bare side, and she hoped Jack was sound asleep.
Merridew's right eye cracked open at the unexpected light contact at his side. He examined the body at his right side, and closed his eye with slight satisfaction. The island was covered with an ebony blanket except for a pale, flickering light in the distance where Ralph and Piggy were stationed. But, how can the light withstand so much darkness without snuffing out?
By the time Cassie awoke, it was almost midday. The sun was close to being overhead, and it was just as hot that day as it was yesterday. Cassie lazily rubbed her eyes to remove all traces of sand. Looking around at the deserted fire pit, she wondered mentally where all the boys had gone.
She picked herself up and, out of habit, brushed herself free of wrinkles that were created in the night.
Why am I trying to smooth the wrinkles? she thought. With slight hesitation, she ceased. She lowered her hands back down to her sides. There wasn't a need any more to look presentable. She leisurely strolled down the beach towards the faint splashing and squealing of boys. She saw many of the littluns frolicking in the waves with Simon watching over them from the shore. She waved to Simon who waved back merrily. In the distance, Cassie picked out the bodies of Roger and Maurice. They appeared to be bullying a pair of the younger boys. She halted, and turned towards the jungle. She delicately stepped through the brush to where the fruit grove was.
The tall, exotic trees were still blooming with fruit despite the vigorous appetites of the several dozen youths. Fruits of gold, cherry, and orange hung plump the trees. The morning wetness was gone from their skin, but the delicacies looked appealing nonetheless. Cassie reached up and plucked a small colored fruit from a limb and popped it in her mouth. Delicious.
She continued her walk through the jungle, attempting to follow the stream. Her thoughts tried to make mental comments about the vegetation, the heat, and despair of their situation, but ultimately, like a vicious circle, her thoughts wound their way back to a certain smug, mysterious, red-haired boy. Cassie was bewildered. How could someone strive to steer clear of someone so vile, yet find themselves, no matter how small of weak, somewhat seeking them? She was attracted to him, no. Not at all.
Cassie raised one of her hands and skimmed it over the tops of ferns as she gingerly stepped through. Undeniably, he was different from the other boys. Simon made her feel rather safe, but not physically. He was such a kind-hearted soul; she could almost feel his goodness. She felt content, all worries gone, when near him. Ralph was a natural leader of everybody, and he did an okay job with it. He was kind of like a fire. Strong, and at times, he prevented chaos on the island as if he was a torch in locked tomb. Piggy was intelligent with his facts and figures. He was indeed logical and sane. Roger, on the other hand, was someone to truly avoid. His baleful personality seemed more threatening than any creature on the island. Cassie picked up a bright purple flower and twirled it in her fingers. How could she describe Jack?
Were her and Jack opposite poles of magnets? Were they kindred spirits? He could be wicked at times, then again, she had been too. Cassie shook her head firmly. Jack was nothing to her. Nothing. She was being absurd. He was just another wild boy to disregard. Cassie turned around and headed back towards the beach.
Cassie vowed to be productive in order to take her mind off things, and she knew exactly what she wanted to do.
Cassie walked steadily down the beach away from the habitual congregation grounds of the boys. Her intent was this: to teach herself how to swim. She kicked at the sand as she walked. Heights didn't frighten her nor did the dark, but something about water caused a fluttering in her chest and a clamminess on her palms. The ocean especially. It was so strong, and she was so small.
She reached a spot a considerable distance from the boys. It was far enough to where nobody would see her and be derisive, yet (hopefully) close enough that someone might hear her if she got into trouble. She knew though that even if she did scream nobody would reach her in time and there was the possibility that a bigun would be too far away to hear in the first place. Nevertheless, it was comforting to be able to see and distantly hear the splashing and shenanigans of the boys.
Cassie stepped gingerly towards the waves. The water caressed her toes and gently tugged on them as the waves were receded backwards. Slowly, she moved until the water was up to her ankles, and then up to half her calf. But she stopped. She looked out to where the water began to lose its aquamarine shade and morph into a midnight blue. She remembered clearly the close encounter. The sinking heaviness, the panic, the frenzy of trying to grab the surface when knowingly there is nothing solid to clutch onto. Cassie couldn't convince herself to move forward. There were too many what ifs, too many possibilities of a reprise performance.
"Don't you think I've saved you enough?" Cassie whirled around and saw Jack standing casually several feet from her. She didn't hear any sarcasm in his voice. On the contrary, he seemed almost pleasant.
"Who says I need saving, Jack. I'm standing in six inches of water."
"Well, it just seems whenever we're together I'm having to prevent you from getting yourself killed." His lips curved upward slightly. A smirk. Cassie huffed.
"I can't get into any trouble in six inches of water. So you can go away now." She turned her back to him.
"That's what I came to talk to you about though."
"Oh, you're going away? Wonderful, when does the celebration party start?"
"No, I'm not going away, and that's what I wanted to talk to you about." Cassie turned back around to face him. She didn't understand.
"Why? Why would you want to talk about not going away? That seems a little redundant."
"Here's the thing. You want me to go away and to leave you alone, but I'm not. I promised to keep an eye on you, and it's difficult to do when you're seeing me as the antagonist."
"But you hate everybody on the island practically. Your promises to everybody are inconsequential."
"No they're not. I promised to provide pig meat and I have."
"Not because you cared for people's hunger. I bet you did that so that everybody would worship you as the bloody pig killing king of the island. You did it for yourself." Jack stepped closer, never losing the smirk on his face. His red hair seemed to glow in the radiant sun.
"Do the reasons matter? I kept the promise regardless."
"But you have no problem doing whatever you want regardless of your other duties."
"If you're talking about the fire, what's more important? Keeping a fire that is serving no purpose to us on the beach or a pig that feeds everyone?"
"Getting rescued is my main desire. I'd rather have that over a full stomach. You're forgetting about going home. Back to beds and radios and supermarkets."
"There are other boys to watch the fire. But the issue is that you're treating me like I'm your enemy." Jack surveyed her intently. Cassie was disliking this conversation. It was heading on a path she didn't want to go down.
"You're constantly cracking jokes at my expense."
"Oh please. I do that to everyone."
"You don't like everyone!"
"But I'm civil to you. I look for you and talk to you. I keep an eye on you which is more than anyone else here has done, and it's the most I've done for one individual." Cassie shook her head and furrowed her eyebrows.
"I don't understand why you'd want to be nice to me."
"I said it before. You're my responsibility. Mine. Nobody else's." Cassie looked quizzically at him. At times, he almost seemed like a spazz. One minute he's a loner, the next he wants her company. Another minute he's callous, the next he's somewhat nice.
"But, I still don't underst-"
"Mine!" Both young adults were silent after Jacks outburst. Cassie was wide eyed and bewildered. Jack backed up a couple feet. His face was expressionless. The sun shone brightly behind her as the end of the day approached. His face was lit up, and she could see every freckle and the pale smoothness of his face. She felt an uneasiness in her abdomen that crawled into her throat almost like asphyxiation. For whatever, no matter the outlandishness of the feeling, the feeling couldn't be written down as bad. Unfamiliar, but the sensation she felt when she looked at him wasn't bad. She didn't know how to react, so she started to shift away.
"Okay, message received. I'm your responsibility, exclusively it seems. But I'll promise to stay out of trouble, so don't worry about it." Jack caught her arm as she attempted to walk passed him. She jolted with shock.
"Cassie wait. Can we just be non aggressive to each other? I think it would be for the better, really." Cassie raised her eyebrows and smiled slightly.
"I can't imagine you being jolly and friendly." Jack smirked.
"Ha ha. Believe or not when someone cracks a joke at someone else's expense there's a difference between whether or not they mean it or are just joking around." Cassie remained unconvinced and Jack could read it on her face.
"How about this; I make a deal with you. I'll teach you to swim and we don't act like we hate each other, deal?" Cassie wrenched her arm free of Jack's grip. Jack crossed his arms and waited. Cassie turned towards the group of boys over half a mile down the beach and glanced back at Jack who was standing seriously still. She laughed, and her voice cracked slightly.
"You're serious? You want to teach me to swim and be nice to me? What do you get out of it?"
"I'll get to see you in your knickers for one," he responded cheekily. Cassie fought down the curve of her lips and poked him lightly in the chest.
"Be serious. What else do you want? There's got to be something."
"You know, most other people wouldn't suspect there would be anything else, but you're different, you know that?" Jack flashed a bright grin. Cassie was unfazed.
"Come on Jack. Spill."
"When Ralph opens his trap to ejaculate any and all stupidity that is his orders for us, the nice thing you can do is side with me on an issue or two."
"Oh my...are you seriously cutting a deal with me in order to usurp Ralph? Are you crazy?" she whispered urgently. Jack frowned. All the humor in his voice evaporated.
"How about I help you learn to swim and we talk about the rest later?"
"Who said I wanted to learn how to swim?" Jack gave her a look that read "you're not fooling me."
"Do you want to drown again then if you don't want to learn how to swim?" Cassie begrudgingly shook her head no. Jack smiled, for he knew he had won the argument. Cassie looked the ginger lad over from head to toe. It almost felt wrong as if she were making a deal with the devil himself. But, Jack wasn't the devil in the sense that he was evil incarnate. He was just more...the bad guy of the situation. Sensibly Cassie should have just walked away and never glanced back. However, she was stranded on an island with relentless dangers and unabashed boys. Sensibly Cassie would need his protection and the swimming lessons would be beneficial too. Below the logic and the sensibility, she could tell she wasn't saying yes because it was reasonable. She was going to say yet because somewhere in her body she wanted to.
Her father would have told her not to roam with a boy with such deviousness, and her grandmother would have been appalled at her unladylike behavior. But neither of them were stranded on an island. Just her and they could not tell her what to do. There wouldn't be any stern reprimanding or scathing glares of dissatisfaction. She was free. The bittersweetness of being stranded on an island finally hit home.
Cassie extended her hand, and let it hover in between her and Jack. He grinned like the Cheshire cat, and confidently extended his hand as well. The two teenagers shook hands. Both were exercising newfound freedom. Cassie was elated at the escape from expectations, and Jack was happily enjoying the chance to become the chief without higher rule.
But, after that day, the order on the island began to break down.
AN: Oh golly. I think it's been, like, 2 years, since I've updated this. Probably none of my old readers are still around, but I've got to update this before the decade is over. Because, I think it's almost been half a decade since I started it. *shame* I have no excuse besides this story is low on my priority list (below friends, family, school, etc) but I do enjoy writing, so, I will keep writing. To finish this out, two things. 1. I didn't proofread this save once, so if you see a type or misspelling or a sentence looking like it misses a couple words, please let me know. 2. My field of interest is not writing or the arts in any manner. I've never written outside of my analysis papers in English class, so do not beret me on my story lacking in originality, or development, or being a suck story, because I am way past the point of writing this for personal improvement. I write the way I do because I like it, and I don't care about your opinion in the overall scheme of my story. It's fanfiction. It's written by amateurs. If something I say is scientifically incorrect, please illuminate me on the correction, but if my character is too static or flat or mary-sue, save it. I apologize for wasting space, but I honestly see this happen so much and it happens to me, and I'm not making a career of this. It's all in good fun, right?