The Plastic Beach

Reads: 94  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man washes ashore of a mysterious island where another man needs his help. Little to his knowledge, however, the inhabitants are not what they seem.

Submitted: June 12, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 12, 2012

A A A

A A A


Part 1: Arrival
It stretches forever, an endless sea, almost terrifying in all its beauty.
But there is something lurking beneath the surface of this bliss, deep and beyond the visual perfection of the dark water.
An island ahead. His boat thrashes wildly as the tide begins to draw him into the sandy shore. White waves crash onto the beach. One carries the small raft with the man in it closer, and it flips as the wave breaks. The man coughs his lungs empty as he is washed onto the beach. His hair and beard are soaked with salty water.
The sand, however, feels different to the man. As he digs his nails and hands deep into the coarse grains he feels nostalgia. Or déjà vu, he is not sure which. At last he realizes that the sand feels fake.
He stands. Brushes the sand off of his face ineffectively. He goes back to the sea and rinses his face and his hair of the sand. At this moment he is aware of a shuffling behind him. He turns. There is a dark man wearing jeans who is holding up a small knife, his eyes deep blue, walking toward him.
Who are you? A thick and unrecognizable accent. It takes him a minute to understand what the dark man said.
He hesitates a moment longer.
I don't know, he says. They look at each other for what seems like a lifetime, those blue eyes gazing at him through the blazing sun.
Come wit me, the dark man says, raising his pitiful knife.
No, the man says, stepping back into the surf, although there is nowhere he can go.
No? Wat you mean, no? You come wit me now or I cut your heart! He lunged.
The dark man is laying on the beach, the tide wetting his black skin, soaking into the deep wounds in his chest. The man is walking away, leaving deep footprints in the sand, blood dripping from the knife in his hand.
He makes it to where the beach ends and the jungle begins when he stops and turns around.
With the dark man's tattered shoes on his feet, he is able to walk much more comfortably. He crosses the threshold of the jungle and passes from the shore. \\
Flies hovering around a corpse, its flesh rotten, but relatively fresh, no older than a week. A man with a massive hole in his head, presumably a gunshot, as uncommon and unlikely as it seems. Nearly vomiting, the man trudges onward through the thick vines and lush foliage. Briars pierce his skin, his precious and thick blood soaking into the dark soil below. Life for your crop, he thinks, although he has no memory of where or when he heard this.
A mountain in the distance. Overlooking the island or continent on which he is now trapped. He ponders as he walks. Eventually he is able to identify the fake feeling sand as plastic, ground to a fine powder.
Plastic, he thinks. He does not ask how or why. Pointless questions. He moves toward the mountain, falling under its shadow which relieves his blistered skin from the sun's hating intensity.
A small village with people. He stops and crouches behind a small palm. Waiting. The sun begins to peek its way over the mountain. More dark people in the village. Most of them thin nearly to the point of death, carrying baskets filled with unknown commodities, wearing loose-fitting and tattered clothing.
His chest hurts. He fears that the sea has infected him with some deadly sick which would soon work its way into his brain and drive him mad. Perhaps he was already mad. He coughs and one of the women, her long black hair reaching her knees, looks over and instantly sees him, their eyes meeting as he begins to panic. Within moments they overtake him and bind his hands.
Blindfolded, they take the man into the village and he is tied to a beam which has the feeling of hot steel. The blindfold is removed and he is taken back by the brightness of the area, how much sunshine is able to soak into the ground, and most of all by the people. There are so many of them, some children, some naked.
They are all around him and the knot on his hands is firm, the rope strong. Out of a small cabin ahead of him comes a man in a white suit and hat. His skin is not dark like the others in the village. Sun reflects off of the spectacles which lay haphazardly on his nose.
The man in the suit spreads his gaze upon the village. He steps back a moment, giving a long look to the man tied to the pole. He reaches to his side and grabs a knife, much longer and cleaner than the others the man had seen.
What have you savages done to this poor poor man? He grips the knife and cuts the rope which holds the man's hands in place. The fingers are numb. Blood begins to flow again.
Thank you, the man says.
Oh, manners are unnecessary in such a place as this. However, you are quite welcome. That being said, I am Newpoint. I am the man behind the others, the one who keeps things civilized in these terrible times. And they are terrible, I assure you.
Newpoint never asked for the man's name.
Part 2: Newpoint’s Dream
Small huts litter the town, if one could even call it a town. Too many residents flood the streets, all with their faces weary and their eyes sunken in their dark lids. From every direction they watch the man as he drags himself to the lot at the end of the road, a vacant opening full of rocks and mud. The ocean crashes the sand in the distance.
Before dark, it starts raining. Much harder than the man has ever seen before, though his weathered face hides this face well. He hides himself under a tent made from a thick nylon tarp, the evening light barely able to penetrate it to light his shelter. Without a fire, the man shivers himself to sleep.
The morning air is clean. Fresh, though salty. The man arises to more stares of wonder from the locals. The sun is already high in the sky. A look of worry crosses his face before he throws on a rag which he calls a shirt and leaves his tent. He goes to a deep spring and takes many handfuls of water before leaving with his stomach swollen from the cold, his head aching. His pulse heavy.
Suddenly, he is taken by the shoulder. Newpoint, in a grey suit today, has his arm around him and is smiling widely.
Ah! I thought for sure that you would have left by now! His accent is thick from a foreign land, nothing like the others on the island. Oh, but that would have been a real shame, for we have so much to talk about!
Their eyes meet, the sun reflecting off of Newpoint's glasses. He puts on his hat.
Why don't you come back to my home? We can discuss things there that should not be discussed in front of these... people.
He laughs, a dark and bitter laugh that forces a chill up the man's back.
Hours later, they are in the mansion on top of the hill.
You see, I have so many plans that I can do nothing with. So much work to do, but no one to help me. And that, as I'm sure you have guessed, is where you come in, my friend!
I don't understand, the man says.
Oh, but I do! You were brought here by God himself to help me with my dealings! I know this better than anything I have ever known before!
I don't think there is a God.
Don't you even think it for a moment, Newpoint says sharply. He is here right now, you just cannot see him out of poor faith.
You can't know that.
It's not about knowing, can you not see that? It's about believing!
I think I understand now. But with what do you need my help?
After hesitation, he finally speaks.
I want to rule them. I want to be a king, not just an intelligent being in a land of savages! I want them to build me monuments! To worship me above no other!
You cannot do that, one man cannot rule so many.
Exactly! That is precisely why I could not do this before. But now, since you have been brought here by a power much greater than you, I can finally achieve everything that needs done.
And what if I won't help?
Oh, you'll help. I have ways of making you do these things. Please do not make me use these methods. I want our relationship to be a positive one. I want us to be friends, brothers! If only you could see the future that I see, so glorious and beautiful, full of life! If we use each other's skills, this can become reality!
The man thinks for a moment, and then another.
Part 3: An Empire
It is a week after the discussion in the mansion. The man is in a very large and comfortable chair, with Newpoint in a similar chair beside him. On both sides are dark folk with silver trays stacked with fruits and delicacies. The man eats nothing. Newpoint gorges himself.
The townspeople look like ants from here, Newpoint says, looking out over the city from his balcony. Ants building my empire, just like I imagined!
Do you think we should have them work less? They spend most of the daylight building, they have no time for their own affairs.
They deserve no time! They wasted all of their time killing each other before I finally arrived by God's grace and ended it all. Now they must work to pay for their sins of gluttony and murder.
But if we-
Do not contradict me! They have sinned and must suffer for it!
Silence fills the remaining hours of the evening and into the night.
Before the moon was full again, there are two new buildings and a large pillar in the center of town. A fire burns to the east, the scraps of the peoples' labors being set ablaze.
Newpoint approaches the man one bright afternoon.
I know things have been... well, odd since our chat a few weeks ago. I spat at you, and I would like to apologize if I offended in any way. We have to be able to work together if we want to succeed. I cannot do this on my own.
Alright. I am going to go into the town and see how the statue is going. Are you coming?
Oh, heavens, no! Rescuing you was the only reason I ever went into town and I aim to keep it that way! I cannot stand being around such filth!
The man walks into the town, everyone around him moving frantically onto their work, even the children. The man feels sick to his stomach.
A pillar of smoke in the distance, more waste being burned. The man is observing as two dark men are attempting to build some obscure object to connect to an adjacent structure. As the man begins to turn away and return to the mansion, the stairs they are walking on collapse and both men are sent sprawling. The younger of the two, probably fifteen, not much older, has a very large splinter of wood protruding from his arm, blood is dribbling from it in a thin stream. It pools on the ground. The man dashes over to help, looks at the torn arm. Another dark man is there beside him, and pries the wood from the arm, the younger man releasing heavy screams of agony as flesh is pulled with it, more blood lands on the ground. The man is shocked at how the boy's blood flows. So thin, almost like water. Full of disease and death. The shard of wood is set aside, dripping and red. There is a pool around the boy as he stops breathing and his eyes go dead.
No one stops working, save the man who carries the body from the site. Within minutes there are new stairs in the building and the job was complete. The body is thrown into the waste fire to the east. Black smoke poisons the pure sky.
Emotionless, the man returns to the mansion on top of the hill. Newpoint has left his throne and is in bed. The man sits at the bottom of the staircase. Waiting. After hours elapse, Newpoint arrives at the top of the stairs.
Well, good afternoon! I didn't expect you to be back so soon!
Well, neither did I. There was an accident. A boy died. I had to leave.
Ah, death! It always happens when things are going right!
The hurricane comes a before the week is over. Progress is delayed and shacks are destroyed by the wind and rain and lightning. When it passes, the storm takes the lives of many of the dark inhabitants of the island. Building immediately resumes.
With blue and cloudless skies, the summer heat begins to pound away at the island again. Sweat runs down the faces of the dark men and women as they slowly work to rebuild all that is destroyed. After a day of this, Newpoint has the man address the townsfolk.
First, I would like to thank all of you for taking the time from your work to hear me.
The man is not good at speaking. He reads Newpoint's handwriting from a crumbled piece of paper.
I know how some of you must feel, what with the hurricane and our frequent losses. But we must continue. Look at all we have accomplished! So much success! But we are not done yet, there is still much work to be done. Newpoint and myself have decided to give all of you a three day grace period to rebuild your own homes and rest with your families before we conclude our work. Tomorrow morning, instead of building anything that we have asked you to build, you may stay home. Sleep in, get a good breakfast, spend time with your children! Thursday, however, I expect you all to be here bright and early to commence construction.
Once the man is done speaking, the dark folk simply disperse. They say nothing nor do they applaud.
The next morning, everyone is still working on the buildings and statues and monuments.
I do not understand why they will not stop working!
How can you not understand? It is quite simple. Loyalty has driven people to do stranger things, my friend.
The dark men are done before the end of the month.
By now, Newpoint decides it will be in his best interests to address the town himself. His speech is short and not worth remembering. He simply states that, henceforth, there will be a change in how things are run. How they will now answer to his every wish, and that anyone who disobeys will die. He is their king, their emperor, their God. Any who are more loyal than others will receive special treatment. These will become militarized leaders, keeping the others in line. Anyone who does not work their hardest will be moved to the Worker’s District, in which they will be forced to work and be fed limited rations for an extended period of time. From now on, this island is his, and that is that.
Part 4: Loyalty
Everyone continues working. A mine is created going deep into the mountain. Piles of dirt and stone are made outside of the entrance, another pile for those who die of exhaustion or suffocation. Children carry heavy pickaxes into the mountain and swing them uselessly and slowly at the rocky walls. Dark men are pulled from the cavern, unconscious by men in grey uniforms. Once the dark men are awake again, they go to the Worker’s District and continue working. Before a month passes, the Worker’s District contains the entire island.
There are no cemeteries on the island. Bodies are burned in an endless fire. More and more children and women are turned to ash and smoke every day. The man does not go near the fire.
He approaches Newpoint sternly at about midnight.
You have taken this too far. This is not an empire. This is slavery. You cannot rule all of these people by yourself.
Oh, there you go, calling them people! They are not human beings, but savages! They will kill each other if they are not kept busy, I have seen it! And besides, I am not ruling them alone. No matter how much they may hate me, they have the same hate for you, my right hand! You are the only one who thinks that I am doing this alone!
You, well, we need to stop this! They are sick and dying! We are working them continuously and they are dying from it!
So be it! Dying from hard work is better than by murder or starvation! At least they die with pride!
They die with hate! Hate for you and for me and for this island and for God for allowing this to happen!
None of this is of my concern! The island is safer now and that is all that matters! As long as they are busy, they are not trying to kill you or me or each other. Based on your previous experiences with the locals, I would think this would be important to you!
It is, though! But you are being selfish. Our safety is not more important than theirs. You are blinded by greed and cannot see things the way they are! In my eyes, we are equals and should be treated as such!
But you are wrong! These men are vermin, pieces of rubbish floating ashore with the tide to be picked up and burned! I am simply taking advantage of what God has given me, and that is all! Their loyalty is all I desire! Now leave me, for I must rest!
Alright, then. We will continue this discussion later.
Around midnight, the man has a dagger and is in Newpoint's room when a guard bursts in, disarming him. The knife is taken and stabbed into the man's back, deep onto his flesh and his ribcage. The wood floors are freshly stained with the man's blood. Newpoint awakens. He stands and kicks the man in the face.
I knew this day would come, when we finally see who is the real leader here!
The guard holds the man while Newpoint's fists and boots pummel his chest and face. When the guard's grip loosens slightly, the man does not hesitate. He escapes and is in the forest, out of breath, running as fast as he can, dodging limbs and rocks and not stopping. Newpoint chases after. A crack of a gunshot rattles the forest as the man continues running. Another shot as the man finds a small hollow under a large boulder and shelters himself there.
Worry not, my friend! For I will find you!
Part 5: The Plastic Beach
He is on the beach. Alone, he wanders along the plastic shoreline, the tide nipping at his heels, grains of sand clinging to his feet. Unsure of whether or not Newpoint has ceased his chase, the man wastes no time. Without stopping, he begins gathering driftwood.
At dusk, he stops and makes a fire with the driftwood and some matches. A gift from Newpoint. He smashes a large crab with a stone and roasts it in the fire. After his food is gone, he sleeps.
In the morning, he begins walking down the beach again. He stops to grab a piece of litter which floated ashore, some unrecognizable technology that felt nostalgic, a small plastic box with the word Casio written on it in bold letters. After examining it for a moment, the man tosses it as far as he can into the ocean.
Behind him, a gunshot, very close. He stands and dashes into the forest, out of sight. Another gunshot, the bullet darts by him into a boulder, ricocheting. Then another, into his shoulder, an explosion of pain. He falls for a moment but continues quickly.
Out of breath, the man hides behind a stone, crouched down. In his pocket, a penknife, another keepsake from Newpoint. The man with the gun inches forward and he is taken to the ground. The knife goes into his stomach and again into his ribcage. The man grabs the gun, a small five-shot pistol, and moves.
He returns to the beach.
The earth suddenly shakes beneath the man's feet and he is sent to the ground. The pistol flies into the water, now useless. He stands when the tremors cease. Exhausted, he continues to move down the shore.
Part 6: The Island, At Last
Waves crash the beach again, endlessly, the only thing constant on the island besides the blistering sun and the exhausting labor. The man walks down the sand, the plastic grains sticking between his toes, saltwater brushing against his ankles.
Newpoint is there, suddenly, holding a pistol in one hand and a bottle of alcohol in the other. The bottle is half empty and Newpoint sways back and forth, his eyes cloudy and tears running down his face.
Ah! I have found you at last, my friend!
Yes, you have. And some time it took you to find me!
Do not taunt, you bastard! The island is dead, my empire, dead!
Sweat pours down the man's back, burning into his deep wounds, blood flowing painfully. His brow shines in the sunlight.
Your empire was evil. You spoke so highly of your God, yet all that you have done goes against His will! You once told me not to contradict you, yet you have contradicted yourself by doing all of this! You have contradicted your God!
Your lectures are useless! Do you not understand? I cannot contradict God!
Newpoint draws a breath and let it out in a great shout.
I am God!
And he lunged forward.
The bottle of alcohol smashes against the man's face, drawing tears and fresh burning blood. Atop the mountain, a great explosion sounded itself, shaking the earth, bringing with it a massive dark cloud of smoke and ash. Red heat flowed down the mountainside. As the man and Newpoint struggled, the island burned.
Have you read the Bible, my friend?
You know that I have not.
Ah, yes, I guess it slipped my mind. Well, since you will be there momentarily, allow me to tell you about Hell. Newpoint has the man in a tight lock, his breath constricted, and he is nearly unconscious. Hell is a great burning place for sinners and murderers and those who refuse to accept God. It is where souls are burned for eternity as punishment for disobeying and for disloyalty! I am sure that you will not enjoy it there, but your arrival is inevitable and shall be prompt!
The man's neck snaps and his eyes close. Newpoint stands, his suit coated in seawater and sand.
Goodbye, my friend. And he sends a bullet from the pistol through the man's heart. Behind him, the townspeople scream as they are burned alive and the city is destroyed by the mountain. The mansion on the hill is aflame, plumes of black smoke arising from it in great clouds that blot out the sun. The forest catches and the entire island burns slowly. Waves continue to beat onto the shore, abating any flames that reach the water. Even the sand burns. Newpoint looks at the clouds as they float away into the horizon. He turns to walk toward the town and stops. Before him is a dark man, half of his body burned away, his face charred, his shirt burning, a dagger in his available hand.
Newpoint stares for a moment and dashes away, nowhere to run on the burning island. When the dark man falls and does not stand again, Newpoint sits in the water.
Mine, at last! The island is mine!
The ocean is vast, momentous, and Newpoint rules the island, owns it. The island with all of its people, buildings and forests being burned to the ground by a great and merciless fire, unstoppable. Slowly, the island dies, leaving Newpoint with his thoughts and his gun, an ocean of life around him.


© Copyright 2018 Peter James Wrolling. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Unknown

More Action and Adventure Short Stories