The Skull Island of Misfit Toys

He was mostly dry when he awoke. So it had been a while.

Eyes open.

Ow. Okay. Okay. It’d be noonish, then, judging by the light.

Eyes closed.

Think.

He remembered going over the side of the boat. A cheerful slap on the back turning into a push turning into a sinking feeling that maybe he shouldn’t have trusted that guy after all.

And then there was lots of swimming and coughing and excitement until the sea had spat him onto a rock. He’d held the rock, and the sea had taken offense. So it’d ripped him off the rock and thrown him into shallower water. Face first. He slowly realized his face was stinging like it’d been slapped.

Anyway. The shallow water had been a shore, and he’d climbed onto dry land gladly. He’d taken a dozen steps and fallen. He remembered the dozen steps.

He’d had a book, when he was a kid. Norse myths. He remembered the end, when gods were dying left and right. Thor fought the world snake and killed it. Then took a few steps and died from the poison.

Snakes. Such bitches, those snakes. But that was something to deal with later.

Eyes open. Okay.

And…up. Nothing broken, just tired and a little scraped and…

What’s that?

What is that?

She was lying under him, half buried in the sand. Hair and skin gone grey with dirt; with the faux lip gloss her makers had put on her, she looked all the world like a Suzie’s First Corpse doll.

And her arm; just pointing forward. Pointing the way towards something past the shore line. Like that old saying about explorers; at the end of every new trail is a guy with an arrow in his back pointing the way.

He looked up from the doll, followed her finger. Nothing but trees there, past the shoreline. It looked like jungle to him, but hell, he was from Cincinnati.

He looked back down at the doll. There was a button in her back.

It worked.

There was an electronic gurgle and a pop. Then something high pitched and rhythmic that sounded tinny and faint from the doll’s back. It didn’t last more than a minute.

It didn’t sound like anything the toy company had put in.

He looked back up at the jungle.

What, exactly, had that snake pushed him into?

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Josh Hechinger is a future writing superstar/cautionary tale. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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