May 21st, 1929-
The dead have become too many to name. I have fought in wars and seen sailors brawl before, but never have I seen such pure animal hate as I did today. Blood stains the lifeless rock outside the tent, and I am alone as I write this. So alone.
I was awoken early in the morning, predawn, by curses, shouting and the crackling heat of fire. Before I could get a grip on the situation, the men were tearing each other apart. A few bore makeshift weapons- mallets, chisels, kitchen knives- but the vast majority had neglected these tools and were tearing at each other with broken finger nails or biting at each other with blood-drenched teeth. Cries of pain and terror mixed equally, and at the center of this writhing mass of the men was the cause for their anger. The Greyhound, the launch that first delivered me to this hellish land, was ablaze, the arson aided by the supplies aboard it.
Those men who died today were no more doomed than I am. They simply hastened their deaths through wounds. A couple of the men tried to attack me, and I could see in their fervent eyes that they blamed my inactivity. They were right to. God, if I weren’t such a coward, I should have let them allocate me my punishment. God. A couple of shots to the chest put even the most zealous man down.
My vomit mingled with the corpses of my crew many times this day, the floor made slick with my sputum and their viscera. I counted the dead, it was all that I could do. Twenty two men, twenty-two human beings with dreams and families and loves and lives, twenty two lives snuffed out, candles in the dark. Twenty two dead today, five yesterday, and two the day before. How can it be that I have lost so much so swiftly. Thirty one boarded the Carnegie when we left Los Angeles, and as captain I must be responsible for their returning to the abyss they sprang from.
When I counted the casualties… not all of them had died yet. One of them was a younger man who I had become rather fond of. His neck was bitten at, and his gore had soaked through his night-clothes and baked dry in the rising sun. His pained eyes were stark white against the dirt that crusted his face, and the paths of his tears cut tracks through the grime, sunburned skin revealed beneath. His mouth worked silently and tiredly, wordlessly whispering over and over through missing teeth with a bitten tongue. When I leaned in close and felt his hot breath upon my ear, I knew what he was saying. “Nancy… Nancy…”, he whispered, faltering and stumbling as the words caught in his throat. Nancy was the name of his infant child. He was only aboard the ship to provide for her and her mother. She turned three the day we found this accursed island, and she will never know her father. I dug into the sailor’s pocket and found the locket he kept of his baby, and when I showed him the photograph, his face burst with emotion. I thought that was the most diplomatic moment to shove the knife into his throat. As I retched, my stomach long since empty, he too vomited forth a stream of hot crimson from his cooling body. His blood still stains my hands, as does too the blood of my entire crew.
Ten days worth of food. Half that of water. Five flares and thirteen bullets, and one island on which nothing but death and decay has ever thrived. I shall go to soon, I suppose. The Lord knows I deserve it. Shall I join August and Edmunds in that lethal, broiling mire? Swim for the ship and either sink to the abyss or die scrabbling at the hull like a rat in a bath? Shall some perversion of chemistry and geology end me, or will I commit that final carnal sin and send myself to my grave early? I suppose that only time and solitude will bring me my answer.
I know now that I need not fear my dreams tonight. They cannot be more horrific than what I will surely face when my eyes open tomorrow. If.