07/09/2021 - Visit to an Uncharted Island

My part time job is nothing remarkable. It's just a small something I do at a café; I help out with serving tables and I sometimes find myself working behind the counter. It's nothing special most of the time. But there was a deadly secret related to that café, one which I would soon become a part of.

Things all kicked off one day at my part time job. During the summer break, me and a few of my mates had a few days off coming up. We all decided to get together and do something special, a real trip out where we'd spend a few nights out somewhere pretty far. We all had a few ideas, like kicking back at an arcade, going over to a spa and a bowling trip even, but we'd all done those before. Just as we were prepared to resign ourselves to another regular outing, a shadow loomed over our group as we sat down outside on a bench. We all looked up.

While the lady towering over us wasn't really a part of our friend group, she was still a workmate, one that I had talked to on and off while I did my job. Her name was Yoriko and she was about my age, or at least she looked that way. Recently she had developed an aversion to strong lights. Every time something shone brightly, be it the sun or one of the bright lights in the workplace, she was quick to throw her arms up and shield herself from it. I asked her about it one time, but she told me it was a skin condition. I remember her being pleased that someone showed concern for her well-being, but I thought nothing of it. Anyway, she brought up the idea of us taking a trip to an island for a few days. It certainly fit the bill of what we were all looking for, and it really appealed to me as I would finally be able to get away from the cramped city streets and enjoy the great outdoors, but where would we be going?

Immediately she brought up a small island just beyond the horizon of Tokyo bay. According to her, the beach there was sublime. Before we could even ask how we would get there, she told us about how she knew a guy with a boat who could get us there in no time. She also warned us that there would be no accommodation present, so we'd be sleeping in tents. The good news was she already had one tent from where she had visited that island before. The bad news was, as there would be six of us going, and her tent could only house three people comfortably, we would have to buy another tent. Since nobody wanted to buy the second tent, but we all wanted to go, it naturally came to us drawing lots. Relief washed over my skull like a waterfall when I realised that I wouldn't have to buy the second tent.

With that settled, we were all ready to go. In the days leading up to our great outing, I made sure to pack my bags and get myself a really powerful torch just in case we got lost in the night. Once everything was prepared, it was merely a case of counting the days down until the trip began.

On the big day, I went to the pier where we were all supposed to meet up, but I was the only one there. Soon afterwards Yoriko arrived with a black parasol. At first we stood there in an awkward silence as we waited for the others to arrive. When so much time passed without the two of us so much as saying a word, I asked where everyone else was. She explained that this trip was all a setup to get the two of us together on a date. I was a bit shocked that someone liked me enough to take me out on a date, especially to an island where the two of us would be alone. It all felt a bit surreal as I'd never experienced something like this in my life before. Regardless, we quickly made our way to a nearby snack store to grab a few things before we set off for the island.

Travelling by boat is incredibly dull. The trip to the island was long, uneventful and boring. To make matters worse, the boatman wasn't one for conversation and Yoriko was far too nervous to spark up a regular conversation. At least I was excited by the idea of spending a night alone on an island with someone who liked me. The more I thought about it, the more surreal it all felt; this was the kind of stuff you'd find in a cheap anime. I felt like I was living the dream and that thought had me almost giggling like a schoolgirl. When we reached the shore however, those feelings were instead replaced by shock.

The dock where we moored up was incredibly run down. Moss infected every inch of concrete and the buildings that stood around were crumbling to pieces. It looked like people hadn't lived here for centuries, but the buildings didn't look all that old. It rattled me a little bit but Yoriko quickly moved me along, snapping me out of my daze.

The beach was just as nice as she made it out to be. The shore was perfectly calm, the sand nice and smooth and the water was clean and clear. I dropped everything and I dashed for the sea without a care in the world. This was perfect. Only thing is nothing is truly perfect.

From further within the island, I heard an otherworldly noise. It sounded like the wind, but it was significantly lower than anything I had ever heard. The other thing was it would sound out infrequently as if it wanted to keep me on my toes. Every time it howled out from the bowels of the island, my skin crawled and my body shuddered. Yoriko didn't seem affected by it. When I tried to bring it up to her, she looked at me as if I was a little crazy. Rather than go on about the noises I was hearing, she quickly moved the conversation on to more pleasant things. We talked until the sun went down. That was when she fell asleep on my arm. I tucked her into bed and I tried to follow suit.

Only problem was I could not sleep. All I could do was stare at the roof of my tent as the howls rang out through the night. I didn't know how she could sleep through all of this, but somehow she managed. Maybe it had something to do with her going to bed earlier than me. I decided to clear my head and step outside. Maybe a breath of fresh air would be able to calm me down.

It did not. It only made things worse instead. The sky was pitch black and the area had become enshrouded by a thick mist that pressed against my body. According to the weather forecast, the sky should have been clear but the moon and stars were completely enshrouded. The air had also become incredibly cold to the point that I was shivering. Immediately I went back in my tent and pulled out my torch. It did little to help with the visibility problem. I thought about going back into the tent and trying to sleep again, but then I heard a rustling coming from behind me.

Immediately I spun around to see Yoriko standing in front of the tent. The moment the torch hit her, she threw her arms up and asked me to stop pointing it at her face, which I did. I asked her what was going on with all this mist around, but she just spread her arms wide and took in a deep breath. Then she started talking to me about a special place that she wanted to show me. When I asked her about this place, she never said anything about it. She told me that I would know what it was when I saw it. Foolishly I agreed to it as I thought that some light walking would clear my head. I could never have begun to fathom exactly what lay in store for me.

Our journey began with us going back towards the abandoned pier. It was more unnerving in the darkness than it was in the daylight. The wide open sea had disappeared behind the fog. It made the open air feel claustrophobic and constrictive. While the pier was bad, the village that we had to go through was much worse. Street lamps appeared seemingly out of thin air as small chunks of concrete crumbled down from the various buildings. Street signs dangled perilously above the pothole laden streets, creaking as the wind rocked them from side to side. The fog refused to let up even in the narrower streets and cramped alleys. Every step through the fog covered streets made me feel as if I was shuffling past a dense crowd in the city and I hated it to no end. I wanted to go back to the beach and sleep. Hell, I wanted to go back to the city, back to my comfortable apartment, but I also couldn't just turn back now. I'd be letting Yoriko down. I plucked up my courage and continued on.

We continued trudging through the abandoned town and I was regretting my decision to continue following her every step. We passed by a derelict train station where chains clattered in the wind and we continued along the tracks. On one side of those tracks was the town where we just came from and on the other was a forest that appeared deeper than what it appeared. I swung my torch over to try and see what was in that forest, if there was anything at all, but there was nothing unusual.The noises I heard from the beach had gotten much louder however. When they sounded out, I froze in place. I could feel danger coming on the horizon but I had already come so far. To turn around now seemed like a waste. Yoriko noticed that I had been stopping dead in my tracks, so she grabbed my hand and the two of us continued on down this ominous path together.

When we got to the second train station, I was just able to make out a worn wooden bridge which was creaking under its own weight. As the wind caressed it, it would creak ever more. As we made our way up to a platform, I glanced down the tracks in both directions. Everything past a few meters was completely enshrouded by the mist and my torch could barely penetrate it. Even though I knew I was in a wide open area, the mist made me feel small and insignificant. This feeling of intense discomfort was compounded by the cold wind beating down on my body and the strange howls that continued to ring out from within the forest. My body was screaming at me to turn around.

I stopped for a moment just in front of the exit to a forest pass. That's when she turned around and looked me dead in the eye. When I said I wanted to turn back, she pleaded with me to not leave her alone and come with her. I protested that it was cold and dark and we needed to head back. Suddenly she let go of my hand. "You're horrible!" she screamed before disappearing down the forest trail. For a short while I was stunned. What was I supposed to say, let alone do in such a situation? Then I got a little frustrated. There was no way I could leave her alone in there. Who knows what lurked in the forest? As if to add to my frustration, my mind was wracked with guilt. She ran in there without a light and, without that, she most likely wouldn't be able to find her way back. If something went wrong, she'd probably wind up stuck there forever. Cursing my bad fortune, I went after her into the unknown.

The mountain path was the worst place. The trees that lined the path crept closer and closer to the path the longer it went on. The mist was getting thicker and darker, to the point where I could feel it between my fingers. The howls were now accompanied by a sound resembling a beast breathing and every step of the way, the hairs on my body would all stand on end as chills raced through my body. I called out for her, but I got no response. With every unanswered call, my desperation grew. I had to find her and I had to find her fast, if only to calm my own nerves.

My trek came to an end when a small house emerged from the thick mist. I was relieved both to see it and to see Yoriko standing in front of it. "Guess you're not so horrible after all," she said before she went inside and beckoned me in. As I got closer to the entrance however, my relief vanished and uneasiness filled my heart. The building looked even worse than the ones in the village. The glass on the door had been shattered, yet the bits that remained were caked in dust. The windows that were still standing were so dirty that you couldn't see through them and there was a tree growing through a side of the house. It ripped off a part of the outside wall and it poked through the ceiling. Was this her old house? Did she live here at one point? What happened here? Whatever the answers were, the place had a most threatening aura about it.

The moment I stepped inside I started coughing all over the place. Opening the door upset some of the dust that lined everything. Within seconds it filled the air and it choked my lungs. When the dust settled and my coughing came to an end, I took a look around. Nothing in the living room was standing. The bookshelf's shelves had worn away and none of the shelves were standing. The mats on the ground were almost completely eaten away by the elements and, when they were kicked, a sea of bugs and insects came crawling out from underneath. Most concerning however was a ghastly smell that came from further within. As I looked around, trying to figure out what was causing the smell, Yoriko removed some of the floorboards, revealing a large stone slab underneath the house. The thoughts of the smell vanished from my mind as my focus shifted to the unusual item. Yoriko groaned that someone had boarded up her favourite place and she asked for help moving it. I got down and lent her a hand.

It was an arduous task, but I managed to pull the tablet away, revealing a stairwell that stretched down into the Earth. The rotting smell from earlier suddenly overpowered me; I fell to my knees and I started to retch as soon as it hit my nose. I asked if this was indeed her favourite place and she replied that it was. She also told me that it never used to smell this bad before. Maybe something happened underground I thought, something like a sewer pipe bursting or something like that. I shone my torch down it to find out what could be causing it, but I couldn't see the bottom. Whatever was causing that stench, it had to be deep underground. Before we went down there, she demanded that I keep the torch off until we reached the destination. When I asked why, she said that it was a surprise. Having gone through so much just to get here, I flicked off my torch and we descended together.

The smell became worse and worse the further we went down. It got so bad that I started to hold my breath. The air and the walls were also becoming incredibly cold to the point where they were beginning to sap my strength away, but still I followed her further into the darkness. At the time I thought that this was just some silly game that was being played but things got worse when we reached the bottom of the stairs.

Some kind of liquid had flooded the ground. Whatever it was went right up to my ankles. Immediately I thought about the burst sewer theory I had earlier, considering that what we were walking through smelt like decay. I wanted to check to see where we were but I fought the urge and I kept my promise to Yoriko. The torch remained off.

Suddenly Yoriko stopped. "We're here," she said. I let out a sigh of relief. But then I heard a strange whispering ahead. I could hear something like a waterfall ahead. I also felt a huge warm gust of wind ahead of me, almost as if I could feel something breathing against me. I could also feel numerous things brushing against my clothes. At first I thought it was Yoriko trying to tease me or something, but then I started feeling it all over me. Human beings aren't supposed to have five hands. When some of them started pulling at my clothes, I had to break my promise. I flicked on the torch.

I was not prepared for what I saw. The liquid we were walking through was revealed to be blood. The walls had disappeared, revealing a gigantic cavern stained with blood. Most alarming was the giant hole where a gigantic rotting corpse stood. Something resembling a head stretched far above into the very heights of the underground cavern, past the point where my torch could illuminate it. I could not see to the bottom of the hole where the monstrosity stood. Almost every part of the body was covered with rotting flesh, disgusting maggots and other foul creatures that I could not make out. The middle was the lone exception; thousands of rotten and malformed hands stretched out from the black void that made up the chest region. Almost all of them were coming towards me. The ones that weren't were already pulling at my clothes, dragging me closer to that abomination. I was so stunned by everything that I couldn't move.

That all changed when I saw the teeth inside the gap where the hands came from. That's when I screamed at the top of my lungs. My instincts took over. I desperately started brushing off and kicking the hands that grabbed me until they all came loose. Then I scrambled backwards, falling over and splashing blood all over my clothes. before picking myself up and running towards the stairs. From behind me I heard an inhuman screech but I refused to look back. Even when I heard numerous low groans sounding off all around me, I just kept running and running.

When I reached the stairs, I could hear immense amounts of blood splashing behind me. It was the sound of numerous footsteps trudging slowly through the blood flooded cavern. I dared not check on what was causing that noise. It could have been the hands dragging the thing out from the pit or something else. Whatever it was, it was coming for me. I just kept on running and running until I reached the top.

I re-entered the dust stricken house and, as soon as I did, I tripped on one of the floorboards. In that brief moment where I was staring at the exit from the floor, a grim premonition came to my head. Whatever was coming after me would not stop chasing me as long as that entrance was open. Even if I were to leave the island, they would find a way to come for me. No matter where I hid, I would be hunted down, found and dragged back here to meet a most grisly end. I had to close off the entrance.

Pulling the stone tablet back across the entrance was the most stressful thing I have ever done in my life. My hands were shaking, sweat was pouring down my brow and all the while I could hear something coming up those accursed stairs. Even though the stone was moving, I couldn't help but wish it would move faster. Whenever my hands slipped from the stone tablet, my heart rate would shoot up as I panicked and tried to get a better grip on it.

Just as I was about to close the gap, a set of fingers emerged from the underground. I screamed again, stomping on those fingers on instinct until they let go and disappeared down the stairwell. I grabbed the slab once again and I gave it one final push to seal up the stairwell once again. Right as I felt something resembling safe, I heard them banging on it. I jolted upwards and started running.

I dashed through the forest path, darted through the train station and I zipped through the abandoned town until I reached the pier. Without a second thought, I hopped into the boat and I went down to get to the driver. I shook him awake and I demanded to be taken off the island. For a moment he looked at me with a confused expression, but then he pointed out the blood on my clothes and his face was enveloped in terror. He started the boat without any more questions. I had my eyes on that island all the way until I could no longer see the abandoned village.

He asked me what happened while I was on the island and I tried to tell him everything, but I was too tired and I fell asleep mid way through answering his question about Yoriko.

When we got to land, a different kind of nightmare began. The police were waiting for me and they took me to the station for some questioning. The boatman must have called the police thinking I killed Yoriko on the island and I bathed in her blood or something. I tried to explain that the blood wasn't hers but instead something I stumbled across while exploring a deserted island with her, but nobody believed me. I honestly thought that I would be going to prison while I was there and that sent my heart sinking through the floor.

A grim revelation would save me while getting under my skin and shaking me to the core. Some of the police went over to Yoriko's apartment to find that she had been dead for a long time. Her body was said to have decomposed severely. I didn't get to see any photos of the scene, nor did I want to see them. They then did some DNA tests on the blood in my clothes to see if it matched with her's and it did not. Apparently the blood wasn't even human. I tried to ask what kind of blood it was, but they couldnIt say exactly what as it matched nothing in their systems. When they tried to find the island where everything happened, they couldn't find it no matter how hard they looked. It was as if the island never existed.

I don't blame the boatman for reporting me. I'd have probably done the same if I were in his shoes. What I really want to know is who was the Yoriko I spent all that time with on the island? How long had I actually spoken to the real Yoriko and how long had I been talking to the other one? Who killed the real Yoriko and why? I don't think I'll ever get the answers to those questions. A part of me never wants to know. Now I wonder every day if I'm talking to real people or imitations of us. How I wish I never stepped foot on that island.

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