The Hunt for Immunity: Lord of the Flies II

Darkness. All around you -- darkness. Wandering through it, you begin to realize it's
nature. There is no light -- there is nothing that can help you to see. That's when you
stop walking, but not because you chose to. You bumped into something. Wait.. no.
Not something... someone.

Suddenly there is light -- but only enough for you to see the sihlouette of who
you've bumped into. That's when it hits you, and you wish you had just remained still
the entire time, not having moved at all. Then this wouldn't have happened. You
wouldn't have made contact with him. You wonder to yourself, "Of all people, why did
it have to be him? Why did it have to be Jack?"

There is light now, and you can clearly see his face. It's him, all right. His red
hair, needing to be cut, flows through the wind. A small grin comes into existance upon
his freckled face, and he raises a knife -- jumping at you without warning or mercy.

You make your move, diving to the ground. Staggering up, you begin to run --
never looking back. Some time later, you stop -- realizing you're alone. You've lost
him. You gaze back towards the area you'd ran from, and breathe a breath of relief.
It's not over, though.

You turn again, and you're face to face with yet another monster. The face of
the man just looks at you, hanging their lifelessly -- suspended by the strings and
material of a parachute. He laughs a monstrous laugh, and you step back.. tripping.
Looking at your hand, you can see blood oozing out of a wound -- a wound caused by
a jagged edge of a white "chip." They're all around you on the ground, these white
"chips." After a moment or two, you realize what you're laying on. Plucking the chip
which caused the wound from your hand, you grunt -- standing to look at the
remainder of the conch.

"Piggy," you say in desperation to yourself.

"I'm gone, Ralph," comes a boy's british accent from the darkness. "You let me

"Piggy, no.. I.." you attempt to plead, but find yourself speechless.

"..Dead. I'm dead," Piggy says again from the darkness. You never see his
face, but you can feel his presence. You always could.

"Piggy.." you whimper, tears forming in your eyes. With nothing else to do, you
close your eyes -- hoping, in some form, that this will all end. Moments later when you
open them, you see a painted mask of greens and whites. A personification of evil
named Jack Merridew -- he'd caught up with you.

You head off in the other direction running again -- but you don't get far.
You're haulted by the horrid sight of a pig's head atop a stick. It's then when you
drop to your knees, defeated..

..and it's then that you wake up. That's right, Ralph, you're free of this
nightmare. Or have you just jumped from a nightmare you can escape into one you
can't -- the ultimate one. The one known as reality.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Ralph sighed, stepping into the building. He moved through the halls quickly --
he knew this place well. He'd been coming here for around twelve years now, from
about the time he and the others had been rescued from the island.. and from
themselves. He hasn't liked it for the past twelve years, either -- but his mother
enforced his attendance.

As he stepped inside of the office, his psychologist smiled at him. "Good
morning, Ralph. I was just about to have a cup of tea. Would you like some?"

"No thanks," Ralph replied, taking his usual seat across from Dr. Imbus -- the
tall, funny, dark-haired man who sat behind a large, oak desk. The walls were lined with
various diplomas and awards, but they didn't mean much to Ralph.

Perhaps he'd been able to help dozens of others, but he'd never helped him.
He'd been having dreams like the one he'd woke up from that day ever since the day
he'd escaped the island -- and no therapy session could change that.

"I want to talk about Simon today, Ralph," the doctor said simply, in his
monotone voice. Despite how simple the words had been, they cut through Ralph like
a knife. Of all of his experiences on the island, there were three that haunted him

Simon was one of them. He'd lost control that night, both he and Piggy, if only
for an instant. They'd lost contact with their humanity -- with their civilized, English
attitudes. There were those that attempted to justify Simon's death, but Ralph
couldn't. The simple fact was, despite what everyone said, they'd lost control of
themselves.. of their very inner-beings. They became no better than Jack Merridew,
the crazed killing-machine.

Ralph doesn't hesitate long, however, knowing that the sooner he talks about
it the sooner that he can leave. "I'm nearly twenty-five now, and we've been doing this
for twelve years.. and it never changes. I should've been strong enough. I was the
leader.. the chief.. even in all of that madness, I should've been able to tower above the
insanity.. to.. stop them.. from.."

He hesitated.

"Tell me about it, Ralph."

"..from.. losing touch with all that was right.. from running around like wild dogs!
From killing him!" Ralph spat out, enraged at himself.

"You were only twelve, Ralph.."

"You're right, Doctor, but I can't help but think I should've done more! I know I
could have.. if I hadn't been so.. I don't know what I was.."

The doctor nodded, sitting back in his seat as if pondering something. Ralph
sat in his spot, a tad more uneasy than usual, wondering exactly what the doctor was
thinking about. He knew from his years with him that whenever he had something
heavy to deal with, he would slip into a deep thought -- just like he was doing at that

Finally, he spoke. "Ralph, I believe I may have a solution to all of this."

Ralph's eyes gazed back at him with a blank look in them. "What do you mean?"
he asked, feeling forced to.

"You're not going anywhere, despite my attempts. You're nearly in the same
state as you were the first time your mother escorted you into my office. I now believe
I know why." The doctor waited, glancing at his patient. After a moment of
questioning his own judgement, he spoke again. "The reason you're not moving
forward, I'm afraid, is because you're still stuck in the past."

"I'm not following," Ralph said simply.

"You have yet to come to terms with any of it, my lad," he responded. "You're
never going to move forward in life -- free of all that has happened -- unless you come
to terms with it. You need to meet up with the other chaps that were on that island."

Ralph's eyes went wide at the very thought, and he stood. His voice was loud,
and the man was enraged. "How could you say such a thing?! You know well enough
by now that the only two who never betrayed me on that island are dead! ..An' are
you suggestin' I meet up with Jack?!"

"You need to calm down, Ralph! Please!" The man who seemed like a
blasphemer in Ralph's eyes spoke, now worried about what his patient would do. "I
would never suggest it if I didn't feel it necessary!"

Ralph sat, a look of disbelief upon his face. He'd spent the better half of his
life thus far trying to escape those on the island -- especially Jack.
Had he been wrong in doing so?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

They sit there -- doing nothing more, or nothing less. They've lived their "life"
in such a way for twelve years now, and their amazing backstory and purpose still
holds true.

They represent so much to the owner -- even if no one around him knows why.
They're protected under a glass case, professionally done. Which is kind of ironic,
considering what they are --- a broken and battered piece of history. A part of the
owner's history which will never be a rest.

The little boy, admiring them as he has for years, smiles. Today will be the day
he breaks the object free of what he considers to be it's prison. He's never been able
to touch them, but now will be different -- because he has a screwdriver to assist him.

Around fifteen minutes later, it was free and in his hands. He smiles, but at the
same time is disappointed. He'd worked for this for so long, and now he wouldn't have
to. (Not to mention that it wasn't as great as it had seemed from behind the glass.)

"They're just a pair of specs," the boy said. "Just regular ol' specs.."

"Roger--?! What are you doing--?!" The boy's mother gasped in the doorway.
"Give me those at once! Your uncle is going to be home any minute!"

"But, mum! Uncle Jack never let me touch 'em! I just wanted to touch 'em!"

"I want you to go to your room, Roger. Now," she instructed, pointing in the
general direction. After he was out of her sight, she quickly began attempting to
restore the specs to the exact location they had been in.

"What are you doing?" A man's voice called. It was deep, serious, and
dangerous. It was the voice of Jack Merridew -- her late sister's widowed husband.
He'd been staying with her after the death. They'd never really gotten along , but
that was mostly because of how he beat her sister. He was a changed man now, she
always told herself -- even working with the officers who kept order in her town.
Despite all that, however, she never knew if she was justified in those thoughts.

Nervously, she replied. "Roger got into them. But don't worry, Jack, I'm fixin'
them up real nice.. just like they were before he was tamperin' with them. I wouldn't
have them disturbed. He's learned his lesson, though.. no need for you to step in."

Glaring at her, Merridew replied. "That little brat's into my stuff again, is he? I
really think you should let me teach him a lesson, because he never seems to learn!"

"Like I've said, he's already learned it this time.. there's no need," she said as
he stepped dangerously close to her. So close, in fact, he could hear her heart
pounding. A sick grin flashed upon his face.


"..I'm kidding," he said simply, pushing passed her in order to fix the glasses.

"Go tell him I'm home, will you? I promised him I'd take him hunting tonight."

"Surely," she replied hesitantly, making her way to her son's room.

Jack smiled, holding the specs in his hands. He pulled them close to his face,
rubbing them across his nose to smell the aroma -- which had long since vanished.
Another grin surfaced on his face at the sound of his nephew.. and he turned.

"Ready, Roger?"

"Ready," the boy grinned.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jack fired the gun, and the bullet slammed heartily into the duck -- causing it
to fall into the waters below. Grinning, he spoke to his nephew. "It's not as fun as
when I was a boy, Roger. There was much .. bigger .. game than duck."

"It sounds like fun to me," Roger smiled. "Did you hunt with your Uncle?"

"No. I hunted with .. friends. One named Roger, in fact. He an' I were close."

"He had my name, did he? That's neat," he smiled. "Can I meet him, Uncle
Jack? Mum says that you should always wanna meet old chaps of your elders, 'cause
they've always got the best story -- but she usually doesn't want me to ask about her
when I'm around her old pals."

"He's not around anymore, Roger. The poor chap died awhile back. When I
was training to work with all of the police officers, I ran into him. He was going to do
something like what your mother doesn't want you to do when you meet up with her
chaps, you see -- which is what makes it sad. He was going to tell the officers about
our past together, because he'd changed."

Jack stopped for a moment, thinking about how to word the situation. He
began again in a voice which those closest to him knew he did when he was lying,
"Y'see, he didn't like to do what we used to do. That's what's so sad about it. He
was going to talk to the officers.. put in a word for me. Tragically, though, as ol' fate
would have it -- he was hit by a car. But you needn't worry about things like that,
Roger. They don't concern you."

"Aren't you going to go get your duck, Uncle Jack?" Roger asked. "It's been
out there for a bit now."

"No," he replied. "No need."

"Then why are we doin' this? Mum would gladly cook it upfor us to eat. I bet it
would be good, too!"

Jack said nothing -- only smiling.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Ralph sighed, now alone in his home. It was times like this he cherished -- but at
the same time, dreaded. He cherished them because he could actually be by himself.
He'd always done that -- and he'd always loved that. It gave him a time to work things
out in his mind; to be alone with his thoughts. Which brings us to why he dreads it, as

His thoughts always lead back to that island.

As he sits there on his couch, before the fire in his chimney, he stares blankly
-- looking on into an island that isn't really there. He sees faces that he hasn't seen
for twelve years -- and hears noises long since dead to his ears.

He's left to ponder both what could have been, and what should have been.
There are so many questions -- so many possibilities. It's endless. It's what keeps him
awake at night, and keeps him from ever truly returning to the fun-loving, yet serious
boy he used to be.

The worst part about these times isn't the fear he still gets when he's alone in
the dark -- that Jack is hunting him. No, that's not it at all. The worst part about it is
when he can hear what was said to him so long ago. The conversations.. the pleas.. the

At this current moment, the thing haunting him most is something Piggy once
said. His gaze never faultering, as if he weren't really there, Ralph spoke the words his
dead friend once did. "I'm scared of him," Ralph began, "and that's why I know him. If
you're scared of someone you can't stop thinking about him. You kid yourself he's all
right really, an' then when you see him again; it's like asthma and you can't breathe."

Ralph fell into a fetal position in agony. Tears streamed from his eyes, and he
looked into the fire once more, wiping them away. He drifted backwards in time yet
again, leaving his thoughts of Piggy for thoughts of something one of his girlfriends
had said to him once.

He remembered it quite well. "The only reason you keep the chimney roaring
with that fire," he mocked his thoughts; thinking, of course, in her voice, "is because,
on some subconcious level, you're back on that island.. and you've got the need to
keep it going so you can be rescued."

They didn't last long, but it wasn't her fault. He wasn't good at getting very
intimate with anyone, despite what his destiny was. He'd left innocense behind long
ago -- and with it, a lot of his kindness and love. He knew how deep the caverns of
hate and human nature went -- and to know that took a lot from a person, no matter
what age they were.

Ralph sighed ­­ something he did all of the time. He had an incredible decision
to make. He didn't believe that Dr. Imbus would ever cause him harm... he'd always
been there for him, always trying to help, even if he never felt much better.

Perhaps he was right.

Perhaps the only way for Ralph to move on was in fact for him to conquer the
past. But could he do that? Could he sit in a room and look into the eyes of Jack
Merridew -- the man who'd influenced his life in every way but the right one?

He didn't know. He only prayed that he would make the right decision,
because he only had a week.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"We don't know if we could do that," the man said, looking to his twin. "It would
take a lot for us to face Ralph again."

"Are you still struggling with what happened on that island, Sam?" Dr. Imbus
asked, standing across from the twins who'd been on the island. They looked exactly
the same, as they always had, and had an incredible amount of undecisiveness.

"We both are," Eric answered. "I don't imagine anyone who was on that island
would truly be over it."

"Then why not come? Is it really Ralph you're afraid of meeting up with?"

"We don't think so," Sam answered, looking to Eric for reassurance.

"No, it's not him. Well.. maybe some of it is," Eric continued for his twin. "But
a lot of it is Jack. Is he going to be there?"

"Yes. He's going to be there."

"We can't, then," they said in unison. Breaking apart from his brother, Eric
spoke on his own now.

"We should really get back, though. Security here is the top priority, and
we're in charge. It's taking a lot for us to be here as it is."

"I attempted to reach you elsewhere, but you work nearly all of the time.. which
is why I'm here, you see," the doctor replied.

"We think working all of the time helps keep our minds focused on something
positive," Sam said.

"Yeah. It definately helps us," Eric agreed.

"If you feel the need to run from the past, then by all means do it, Lads. But
don't go sobbing about it later," the doctor replied as he turned around. Just as he
was about to leave their sight, however, they spoke once more in unison.

"It'll help us, you say?"

"Undoubtedly," he smiled. "I've been working with Ralph for years now. We've
attempted much.. but failed at everything. I truly feel this is the key."

"What if it isn't?" They asked together, concern in their voices.

"What if it is? You know where my office is located, gents. Do you really wish
to pass up on the opportunity that could very well push you forward in life? If so, then
don't come. But if you wish to take part in finding immunity, then I'll see you there,
hm?" Leaving them alone, Sam and Eric were left with their thoughts.

They'd been better off than some of the others, but only because they'd
always had one another -- and always would. Still, though, they'd never quite been the
same. Neither Sam, nor Eric, had to check with one another about their decision.

They could be free... at least on some level.. and they couldn't pass on that.

Ralph leapt from his bed, sweat streaming down from his brow in beads.
Pushing his blankets to the side, he stood -- walking to his kitchen for a glass of water.
Feeling the rumble of his stomach, he opened his refridgerator, as well. "I wonder
what's in the ice box this late," he spoke to himself in his sleep.

He pulled out a sandwich which he'd already made, placing it on the counter
top. He'd been doing it that way for some time now. Pre-making sandwiches, that is. It
made him feel prepared -- a feeling he yearned for with everything.

After pouring the water into his glass, he took a drink. But then, just as he'd
done many times, he froze -- turning a pale white. Although no one was saying it, he
could hear it.

"Kill the Beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!"

The glass fell to the floor, shattering into dozens of pieces. "God.. Piggy?!"
Ralph shrieked as if he were only a child once more. "The conch.. it's everywhere..
completely destroyed.." he said, looking at the shards of glass -- but seeing the conch.
His eyes flashed, and he spoke to himself yet again. "Get ahold of yourself, Ralph.."

Standing, he moved to the light switch. As he turned it on, he noticed the
smeared blood on the fixture from his hand. He simply looked away, gazing down at
the mess he'd created.

Shaking his head, he walked out of the room. Moving to a corner, he just sat --
collecting his thoughts.

"That's it. I can hear you now, old friend," Ralph spoke to himself. He
repeated something Piggy had once said to him to himself. " 'Course we have. 'Cos
the smoke's a signal and we can't be rescued if we don't have smoke."

"I knew that," Ralph continued, now mocking something he'd once said as if he
were talking to Piggy himself. Moving back to reality once more, Ralph grinned.
"That's it. I'd lost the smoke in my life.. focusin' on all of the negative. Piggy and
Simon.. they wouldn't have me be like this. No, they aren't th'only reason I'm like I am..
I.. I just know that, in order to honor them, I have to show them that Jack didn't win.
They didn't die in vain."

Ralph stood, feeling a sense of security.

He was ready.

"I don't know what happened," Ralph spoke to his psychologist. "I just ..
suddenly felt it. I knew this was the right thing to do."

The man on the other side of the desk smiled. "I'm glad you feel that way,
Ralph. It will help tremendously, just so you know."

"I'm sure it will."

"You're about to face perhaps one of the most incredible, and most
demanding tasks you've faced since getting off of that island, Ralph."

"Bring them in, Doctor," Ralph stiffened. He'd made this decision, and now
there was no changing it.

Slowly, they entered. Sam and Eric were first. Ralph said nothing, and the
thoughts of their last conversation entered his mind.

"Roger's sharpened a stick on both ends," he thought.

A few of the Lil'uns entered next, although Ralph didn't recognize them.
They were nearly completely opposite of what he'd remembered.

Next came Jack. He went to the opposite side of the room, and Ralph never
made eye contact.

Despite how he'd felt a sudden burst of comfort the night before, Jack was
the one man he couldn't face. Not yet, at least.

Dr. Imbus was last, and he closed the door behind him. He took a seat at his
desk, the group standing in various spots across the room.

The tension was incredibly thick, and never faultered. If someone had had a
pair of scissors, they could've cut it easily. (Forgive how cliche that is.)

Ralph counted those in the room in such a way that it could be noticed, and
then spoke. "I'm chief, then."

No one will ever know what it was, most likely.

What it was that moved the men in that room to do what they did next.

They didn't argue, nor did they fight in any way, shape, or form. What they
did next was an incredible display -- one that had been on it's way for a long time.

In all of the pressure of the meeting.. in all of the importance.. in all of the
stress.. they had still come.

The Lord of the Flies, still within each of them, had been overcome.

..And because of those three words .. those words that would be insignifigant
to most of the population of Britain -- they all began to weep.