This Humdrum Island by Joshua Keeling

On the wateredge lies a television set and a lungdead man.

In the South Pacific there was an island much like this one. Its three tiered plateaus holding in their plains no life. The tripping gulleys of a spring, which broke out as an interruption, a green splinter of eden on the west of the aerial map, were the homes that some evolution had made. Alike was the fact that the island and its gulley ferns had broken away from the mainland millions of years prior to their discovery by concious, human minds. Visited by men from the northern regions, the island saw nothing but occasional breaks in its peace by dry mouthed and deceased crew members, looking for freshwater in an ocean of denser turquoise salt, and finding this little plateaued eruption bulging lustily from the curves of the waves. It washed them all back out to be buried at sea.

This humdrum island was almost identical. But it never got any visitors, not anymore. It was in the South Atlantic, acting as a miracle twin of chance, when the oil slick washed ‘him’ and the television aboard.

As an inanimate formation of the Gandwanan continent’s basalt riptide, the ridge worth island hadn’t got much of a say over what humans did with themselves, but it had its opinions indeed. The spring it sprung was getting hotter than many it’d seen in the magazines, and its tussock sweatier, and denser; nobody had ever mentioned that though really. But it is just as so with waterfountains, like a lot of places, people didn’t talk, not while they’re there, they just had it stored in their head somewhere. It had read that in the magazines that had washed ashore by the spring outlet too, the crates on crates of the edition of an August National Geographic broken onto damp sediment. It wasn’t like its visitors had been plentiful, but since the man had arrived, clinging to his hollowed out relic of plastic and glass, on the tide of gull body thick ooze, nobody had come and looked. These were dragon footprint waters now.

It hadn’t had a human to keep for its own before, none it could claim from the water, and it had lapped him in with difficulty from the tongues of his black shadow, pulling him apart, up its stiff boulder ramp side to the ocean and to the brink of the lowest plateau. He hung limp and stained, and dead. He hung in a crack that had formed naturally, and the island tried to wash away the slither coating with the stale rainwater. He wasn’t coming back, he’d been murdered, and it was the humdrum island that looked out the world he was born of with storms in its eyes. It wished it could prove otherwise, but who would recognise now it was covered in the stains of the murder weapon. Who would stand and defend the humdrum island now it swam in the sick bile that was killing mankind. From what it had seen in pictures and debris they would stop at nothing to destroy their enemies, and the island had destroyed one of their own.

Day by day it waited for a recognition, a change, and yet all that began to show was its undercurrent’s critical awareness of the oil slick,  an inch heavy sea level gummed sticky with penguin now, and the aerial eden browned into deficiency. According to the National Geographic stash the gulleys were ideal for rare, individual ferns that time according were dying dead. Its bitter waters washed the body with a silky effervescence now, rainbow plicking across the plains that the turquoise salt was creeping up the sides of, minimally. By the end of human time nobody would see it again, the brittle blossom of this valley seemed to have been replaced with unrefined tear ducts.

And the skeleton of the man remained, his flesh picked away by the gull birds who’d choke on him soon, and the heavy burning of gases and oils in the South Americas, made for this black beard and a rain that was the plateau’s calling card eventually. The skeleton of the man remained a while, while the skeleton of his TV set lasted longer. And since the island has been acid burned nobody could call it humdrum, it had all the scars of a villian and had probably killed a man by ripping his skin off too. It wasn’t sure that could kill, but if it had finished of the job of the oil float’s rip in the ocean. It was a sweating killer of man, frozen in that past, and a slowly drowning one at that.

 

 

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