Quincy’s Notes – Day one.
The ferryman has reluctantly agreed to take me out to Oscura.
They call it the island of ghosts.
I asked him if Oscura meant “dark” or “obscure”.
Instead of an answer I was shot with a cold stare – and warned – not to say the island’s name too often.
Both in my hand and back at the cabin are copies of a contract promising more money then I’ve ever seen.
The task is simple, spend a week on the island and live to tell the tale.
This sounds crazy but actually makes a lot of sense. A company called the Salmon Bird Group is licking it’s chops at the thought of developing the island, but wants to quell rumors of a curse before the big purchase, least the investors pull out.
Sand, palm trees, thicker growth further in, nothing unexpected. I’ll set up camp and spend the night.
It is a beautiful morning. The wind off the sea drives the jungle bugs away. I can go pretty far in before the flies become a problem.
Some animal seems to have made off with my food supplies. I hung them from a tree but returned to see the bag tangled high in the branches. I pulled it down and found it empty. Perhaps it was the work of an unusually large monkey. No matter, I still have my water and there are signs of wild pigs. I’ve never been one to eat fish when pork is available. I figure there will be one less to shoot when the island is cleared of vermin.
I found a small bore just in time for lunch. It showed little fear of people. A sign, I hoped, that this island was truly uninhabited.
A rock struck me as I took aim.
When I turned there was a basket of fruit and sliced tubers.
I accepted the gift, though I will taste it with caution.
The Salmon Bird Group will not be pleased if some elusive native tribe is discovered squatting on their prospects. The tribe’s claim would trump all others, and I would be the one to deliver the news.
I caught a young girl as she was attempting to leave me some breakfast. Thankfully, she appears to be a castaway from the mainland. Save for the remains of a swim suit she is mostly naked. I have given her some of my clothes.
The girl doesn’t seem to be able to speak. She has made no attempt to communicate in any language. I feel she may be mentally challenged. Perhaps she has run – or more appropriately swam – away from home.
Her survival here is a good sign. If Oscura can support one lone human so easily, then it is definitely not the death trap the locals think it is.
My new friend has many skills. When we are forced to part, I will certainly miss her cooking. I plan to take the girl, if possible, to a specialist on the mainland, to help her learn to speak and perhaps find her family.
I requested a tour of the island and she seemed to have understood me. We went for a long walk down an almost invisible trail in the bush.
There are sines of habitation here, several ancient ruins of the type usually encountered on the mainland. There is some kind of military installation too but it is long abandoned.
Almost bagged a goose today. It seems the girl is overly fond of the island’s animals and will not permit me to hunt them.
The girl lead me to a new location after the incident with the goose.
One of those small stone temples belonging to the islands ancient inhabitants was filled to the brim with bleached bones.
I noticed the skulls of wolves, falcons and small jungle cats.
The girl clearly treats it as some sort of animal grave yard, but it is unlikely she could have gathered all these bones herself. It seems that until recently, someone was making ritual sacrifices here.
The location of the temple suggests people may have come from the main land to leave offerings. Understandable. If the island was feared, people would want to appease the spirits.
All in all I can’t seem to find signs of anyone else. A more throughough search will be needed before going ahead with any plans, or at least that is what I think. The ruins should be left intact to avoid controversy. It’s possible many may worship this place as well as fear it.
Since I was asked to confirm the island’s relitive safety and not advise on legal or moral concerns, please consider these to be merely suggestions.
A stock of the native wildlife should be taken into account – both for reasons of conservation and as a possible draw for visitors.
Several feral species have moved in but can be eliminated easily.
The ruins can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you handle them, see that they are preserved and studied if better press is necessary.
Day seven –
The girl has joined me as I await the ferry. She seems eager to be on her way. This is a beautiful place shrouded in the myth and mystery of its mountains and waterfalls. Many will flock to these misty shores if the island can be made habitable. It is practically habitable now.
It has been left vacant out of respect I believe.
People will resent the group for claiming to posess it.
I would recommend making a large portion of it public, and being lienent on any tresspassers. “We are just making a good thing better.” Is the message I wound send to the locals.
* * *
The small, leather-bound book was slapped shut and handed back to it’s owner,
Mr. Quincy McClain.
He stood in the office of Edward Fallows, chief legal advisor to the Salmon Bird Group.
In the corner sat Kirin, Quincy’s silent souvenir from an otherwise routine adventure.
Quincy had chosen a name for the girl after all attempts to find her family had failed. His friends told him to dump the liability in one institution or another. Yet save for her apparent inability to speak, Kirin was no trouble at all.
Edward poured himself another drink and swallowed it.
No cigars, just liquor, lots of harsh brown whiskey. The good stuff was for celebrating, the cheep stuff was a painkiller.
“Quincy.” He said. “We were lead to believe the island was uninhabited.”
Quincy crushed the journal between his fingers. “There is no way one person could have confirmed that in the span of a week. I told you to search the place.”
“We did.” said Edward. “It was all clear but . . . ”
Quincy never cared for dramatic pauses.
“Well, go on.”
“Sir, something is killing people!”