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To say that I was an explorer would be an understatement. Many in Bristol knew me as the Duke of Hamburg, the second knighted gentleman of Nottingham or as the bastard son of Saint Dizier and Saint Brihmat.
But most knew me as Agustine.
As a man of great courage, and an overly fed ego, I would often make regular trips to the great city of Stockholm. There I would go to masquerade balls, grand gatherings as such. But my visit to the Swedish city was for a different reason this time.
It was for adventure. Yes, the great quests that most children would dream of, it was to become my reality. A wonderful adventure, it would be, indeed. My heart would race every time I would speak to someone about it. Piles of treasure that I would discover, realms I would explore and claim with my own name, the fame I would have once I returned home to Bristol. I suppose it was a surprise that those dreams of grandeur became a nightmare.
It started with me arriving in the small town of Dalaro. I stayed, for a night, in my personal estate. An archaic, Victorian style castle, scarred with streaks of vines and years of roots working their way through the cracks. Beautifully detailed seahorse statues decorated the rooftops of the mansion. Their stone necks up in a haughty pride to reflect my own. The wood furnish inside made from the finest birch tree in Guernsey. The garden led from the open balcony from the back doors of the estate, down the marble staircase and through a vast field of roses. Bush sculptures lined the pathway down the center. Further down, a fountain was placed in the center of the garden. It sprouted pristine water that twinkled in the sunlight. Fallen rose pedals floated on the surface of the pool, oh so delicately. Cherry blossom trees lined the sides of the garden, shedding its shower of pedals. An enormous hedge surrounded the entire border of the garden. It was a beautiful estate, indeed, a symbol one could be proud of.
I had met up with my stepbrother’s cousin’s business partner, who was also my high school friend. His name was Aegelmaere Mac-Aesir, but I always called him Mac. He was a stern man, with a slender face, furrowed eyebrows and a haircut that, if you looked closely, resembled a mushroom hat. His skin was a deathly dark pale color and his eyes wore a strange gaze that, if you looked closely, you could see the hidden flame of a chaotic and deceitful personality.
Normally i wouldn’t admit this, but he never has liked me. Not since i had taken his fancy. Elisa, a french woman with a body so stunning and face just as beautiful. I had taken her to my bedroom in my estate when i was younger and Mac had walked in on us, while we were making sweet love.
And he couldn’t do anything for her or himself. He and Elisa were both mine to keep.
It had turned out that Elisa had stolen some of my gold, i had ordered Mac to dispatch her quietly. He never hesitated, though i never knew what happened before then.
Like i said, Mac was not the type of man who enjoyed small talk or conversations.
We had arrived at the shipyard at around 8 in the morning the next day. The ship that we were to take out on our expedition was quite old, with a red paint job and a nice wood furnish.
The island we were to visit was located on the coastal islands of Dalaro, known to many as Darwell Isle: 150 km of jungle and darkness. Some have said that this island was haunted; others say that an unknown race of hostile natives lives there and many more have said both. But Mac and I were going to explore and see if the myths were truth or not. It wasn’t long before we set out on our journey into the mysterious unknown.
The island was close to the shore, about 20 or 30 minutes away. It wasn’t long before we arrived at the shore of the isle. The very sight of the island made me shiver. Jungle trees surrounded the border; darkness hid whatever secrets were behind those trees. We lowered the dinghy from the ship and rowed our way to the beach of the grim trees.
I had stepped onto the stand and with an air of arrogance and pride; I strutted towards the darkness of the jungle that was uninviting and forbidding and with the grandeur all around me, I made my claim to the dark forest.
“I claim this island, in the name of Agustine Stephens, for England!”
A flock of black sparrows took flight at the sound of this and headed the way of Dalaro, away from the island. I could see the faces of my crew, their nervous expressions I could read. But I was not, for I ventured to spend a night upon the new beach of Darwell, England, and so we did, unaware of the coming dangers that were to befall us.
The campfire cracked and with each crack, a new spark flew up into the night sky with the trail of smoke. My crewmembers were fast asleep, but I was on watch duty. All was quiet, except for the faint cries of the swallows within the jungle itself. It was peaceful almost.
The scream echoed throughout the night. The slumbering crew woke up instantly.
“RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!” the screeching voice bellowed.
Suddenly, a shadowy figure blasted through the jungle trees. It came hobbling, almost at lightning speed. In the light of the fire, I could make out the predator.
A small body connected to two thin, small but fast legs were joined together to a large, unnatural arm that towered over every victim with five bloodstained nails jutting out of each finger. It growled as though it had a full set of snarling teeth, however, it had no head.
One of my men came, unfortunately, too close to the monster. It had trapped its appetizer.
It pounced on top of the young man. A gaping hole, surrounded with a set of sharp teeth, suddenly opened within the monster’s bodily flesh and started devouring the crewman’s leg. He let out an ear-piercing scream. The monster devoured its prey like a snake. Soon, it reached the upper thigh. With incredible strength, the monster lifted the poor man up with its strongest arm and forced the screaming man down its throat. The man was gurgling and sputtering up blood. His pupils had gone to the back of his head and all you could see was white. Blood trailed, like tears, down his cheeks; a look of terror crossed his face before his head disappeared down its throat as well.
All that was left was the blood that stained the sandy beach.
Then it stood up and faced me.
I looked at him, my heart was quickening and I was starting to shake. The monster just stood there, facing straight towards me. It growled one last time
It then sprinted for me.
I screamed and I ran for dear life, away from the camp and into the jungle. My heart was running as fast as I was, I was shaking all over and it made it difficult for me to run away from it. The monster was gaining on my tail, its towering arm flailing like a mad. It let out a scream. I could hear its snarls and growls getting closer and closer. I had tripped over a root sticking out from the earth, and that sent me sprawling to the ground. I shielded myself from my incoming death and right as the monster was about to leap upon me, a gunshot threw the monster into an eroded pit.
Mac held the rifle with a powerful stance of aggression. A small trail of smoke billowed up from the barrel. His dark, sunken eyes gleamed in the darkness with a spark of flame.
“You sure have a way with that thing.”
That’s when he pushed me into the pit as well.
I had hit the ground hard on impact but the fall did not kill me, which I believed was Mac’s intention.
“Poor, Agustine! A shame that you must perish here!”
“Mac.. Why?” i stammered.
“Ironic how you used to look down upon those who served you. I feel that same power now that i am in your place!”
“I treated you with respect!” i said through my teeth, angrily.
“Wrong! You took my life away! You made me into your own henchman. You spat on my mistakes and disregarded my achievements! You treated everyone you knew poorly. From Dalaro to Nottingham, you disrespected those who were seen unfit of your attention! The wounded men who begged, the sick women who cried, it all meant NOTHING to you! NOTHING AT ALL!”
“Mac.. i didn’t mean to-”
“You stole everything that you desired. You had even stolen the love of my life.. the women that you could’ve just taken, the whores that you could’ve screwed! and you picked her! You bastard!”
“Mac, that was a long time-”
“NO. MY LIFE. MY LOVE. MY FREEDOM. ALL WERE SCREWED BY YOU!”
I was desperate enough to start bribing him.
“I never wanted this to happen, Mac. You and i are joined together, we always have been, friend. What a shame it’d be if our friendship would end like this.. Help me out of here and we will go home together. We will tell the tale of how we claimed this god forsaken island! We will tell how you saved me from this horrible monster. Please, don’t do this. I am too young to die, Mac. Please!”
He laughed weakly, “And yet, you still try to bribe me with lies.”
He then stood up.
“Damn you! No one will believe you! No one!” I shouted angrily.
“Oh, they will. Enjoy the rest of your life in hell, Agustine!”
And as he said that he kicked dust down into the pit.
He then left me, and even after a couple minutes, I could still hear the echo of his laughs. Here I lie, after waiting for an hour, with a rotting corpse of a monster just to become one myself. I suppose that it is too late to save me now, for MacAula and the crewmembers had already left for Dalaro. But then again, I was beyond saving in the very beginning – Cheers, to letting pride blind you into falling down a hole of broken dreams.
Credit To: Jaemison Yoon-Hendricks