He slowly drew the rapier from his scabbard, calculating the enemy’s movements — watching for that one moment — Ah! An opening. As he fully swung his body to his left, the momentum surged through his arm and he quickly dispatched a brilliant flash of silver horizontally, right across his opponents’ chest.
Feeling the extended but definite slice of metal against bone, his inner-self cringed in response for but a second. The next fleeting moment he had withdrawn his arm from the trajectory of his first slash and readied his body for the finishing blow. Digging his right foot into the ground, he spun counter-clockwise and used the hesitation of his opponent to deliver another deep blow to the chest again.
Faltering after the two hits, the enemy recoiled in response and attempted to initiate defensive procedures.
Adrenaline rushed to the head and in that moment, all that could be seen and heard were the words: “Finish him”.
And with nothing but the fatal cry of a dying man, thus marked another cruel milestone for the young man.
Wiping the blood from his weapon, he carefully replaced the rapier to his waist.
No longer able to depend on the overwhelming and all-consuming instinct to survive, his legs gave weigh and his body sunk onto the moldy hearth.
Though thoroughly exhausted, he couldn’t lull himself to sleep amidst the harsh environment he found himself in. On this island that he had been stranded on, there was only one phrase that was universally known, and it had been: “Die now, or die later.”
The origin of this phrase was questionable, but its blunt meaning was absolute. This isolated piece of land was specifically designed to kill-off each and every single one of its inhabitants. Having been residing on the island for an adequate amount of time, the catch-phrase failed to evoke any sort of mortal fear from within his hardened heart. However, what did resonate with him was the innate hope that “the strongest one would survive and be set free “– but this was mere speculation from the small handful of individuals who still held optimism in spite of the desperate situation.
It seemed no one on the island knew why they were here, but circulating rumors were about a particular conspiracy that dictated every nation was to forfeit random citizens in order to stabilize the world population — Of course this all sounded like mere lunacy. Yet with each passing day, that seed of suspicion began to bud and eventually, the denizens of the island came to the mutual understanding that society had screwed them over.
But in their particular case, the controversy didn’t matter because each and every single one of them was fighting for their very lives. At one point, someone had inquired as to why all the inhabitants had to slaughter one another. The simple response to that was: they didn’t know.
The first person that had died on this island was a middle-aged fellow who dared to propose that we all function as a minute society, segregated from the rest of planet Earth.
At first, his idea seemed reasonable and much more tactful that the simplistic instinct to “live for oneself “–but somehow along the way that fellow lost his very mind and eventually jumped off the highest cliff he could manage to climb, hollering:
“Bad dream…that’s right…this is nothing but a bad dream..”
–Up until his timely death.
After that incident, everyone naturally grew accustomed to isolation and gradually adapted ways to sustain themselves on the island. The unlucky few were killed off by either the wilderness or by their helplessness in cases that demanded common sense, if nothing else. It was safe to say that through his example, the empty ideals he overtly embraced, merely provided the drive for each person to adapt to their own way of living and reject all other sources of collectivity.
The masterminds behind this clever set-up were kindly enough to supply weapons for ” self-defence ” , hidden literally all over the terrain in places some people wouldn’t even dream of approaching. In theory, the weapons given were supposed to provide us with means to fend off the rampaging boars and the occasional pests, but in truth, they were nothing but items meant to off-set the delicate balance of control and power on that island.
The young man glanced down to his scabbard and fondly ran his thumb over the hilt of the rapier. Embedded in the steel was an emblem that stretched in a circular pattern. The symbols were nothing more than neat font in a language he thought didn’t exist, but it was the tinge of safety that came from wielding the rapier that created the mutual bond between the man and the blade.
A few weeks into their arrival to the island, a couple of English hooligans were spotted threatening an older person for their supplies. There was no doubt that these young people were only trying to survive but their methods were less than tasteful.
Eventually, the rest of the island inhabitants were alerted of the infamous duo that plundered supplies, and the combo earned a fair share of enemies and earned themselves a reputation with a blacklist tag.
The young man found no pride in slaying his fellow man, but he had no choice as most of the quarrels he had been caught up in were initiated by the opposing party. Although one merely wished to isolate oneself from the horrors of everyday life, one cannot choose and maintain the very isolation from his neighboring kin in this situation. Whether it be a modest request for food or a seemingly innocent plea for shelter from a storm, the man’s stoic patience grew weary of their false pretenses. He knew deep within his heart of hearts that human nature dictated that these people would betray him one way or another, for something be it vain or understandable.
Survival meant killing off his aggressors, and that was a feat that no person could ever step up to — not if they wished to retain their small, deteriorating fragment of sanity that was left behind.
But this was a principle that he had to abide, for a life after death was something he wasn’t ready to ponder about just yet. — No, he chose to fight to his last breath; taking each and every single last person he can with him to the bottomless pit that inevitably awaited them all in the end.