Authors: G. C. Julien
Tags: #prison, #young adult, #dystopia, #convicts, #dystopian
The Feral Sentence – Part One
By G. C.
© Copyright 2015 G. C.
Edited by Nikki Busch
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses,
places, events and incidents are either the products of the
author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is
handcuffs really necessary? I rubbed the inflamed skin on my wrist,
trying to understand how a small woman such as myself could
possibly pose a threat to two soldiers in a combat helicopter, four
thousand feet above sea level.
wore black masks to match their thick uniforms and swat-like
goggles over their eyes. I could tell they were both men by their
height and build, but I hadn’t seen their faces. I eyed their
machine guns, but not for long, because I felt them watching me
from behind their dark shades.
through the helicopter’s fogged window, and the shape of an island
surrounded by nothing but open blue came into view. I had so many
questions—so many fears—but the overpowering sound of the rotating
helicopter blades, coupled with the menacing looks I was receiving,
encouraged me to keep my mouth shut.
larger of the two soldiers suddenly stood up and reached for a
lever. A burst of sunlight came into the helicopter, along with the
loudening of the helicopter blades, and I inhaled fresh ocean air.
I could see the entire island through the open helicopter door.
From this distance, it appeared to be nothing more than a house
floating on the ocean’s horizon. I hadn’t noticed how far we’d
descended until I saw water splashing in all directions beneath us
due to the helicopter’s force.
is my prison sentence, I thought, gazing across the open water at
what I’d only read about in news articles—Kormace Island: the
Island of Killers. How had I managed to get myself into so much
trouble? I wanted to wake up. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t
The smaller of the two soldiers suddenly uncuffed me and led
me to the edge of the helicopter. I didn’t bother struggling. I was
too frail, and his thick hand around my wrist was so tight, I was
losing blood circulation. Was he going to throw me out? They
couldn’t do that! And why weren’t they flying any closer to the
island? The water underneath us was dark blue…black, almost. It was
too deep. I’d never make it to the island alive.
I could have sworn I saw shark fins circling below as if
hungrily anticipating my fall. But I knew these were imagined—I was
panicking. I didn’t have the time to visualize my death any
further, because I was suddenly pushed out of the helicopter, with
only two words echoing behind me, “Swim fast.”
It didn’t feel like water at all. It felt like I’d broken
through a thick sheet of glass. My body temperature dropped
instantly, and my fingers quickly numbed.
Swim fast,” I remembered. I moved forward, motivated by the
thought of a shark ripping off my leg with its razor-sharp
Almost there, I lied to myself. Who was I kidding? I could see
the island, but only barely. It looked like it was made of Legos
from this distance—like it wasn’t even real. Was the plan to have
me die before successfully reaching Kormace Island? It was a good
The helicopter regained its altitude before flying off in the
opposite direction. Couldn’t they have dropped me off any closer?
The taste of salt coated my tongue, and I coughed up several
mouthfuls of ocean water. It was satisfying in a sense. It was the
closest thing I’d tasted to food in the last few days. How would I
feed myself, anyways? Did the government drop supplies every week?
I hadn’t been informed of anything.
I was out of breath by the time the island doubled in size. I
was getting closer, but it wasn’t fast enough. I kicked harder and
threw my arms forward, wanting nothing more than to feel the warmth
of the sun on my body as I lay in a soft bed of golden
But as the island continued to expand in my line of site, it
became clear to me that this fantasy of a remote, paradise-like
island was precisely that—a fantasy. The sand, from what I could
see, was dark brown with large rocks positioned sporadically across
the shore alongside skeletal remains. I finally felt the ocean bed
beneath the palms of my feet. Gooey seaweed slid in between my toes
as I walked across a hard, uneven path. I couldn’t believe I’d
actually made it. I felt something slimy wrap itself around my
thigh, and I almost screamed before I realized it was just another
I crawled through the filthy sand, feeling both deathly and
relieved. Water dripped from my hair and onto my hands, causing
goose bumps to spread out evenly across my skin. I just wanted
warmth. I hadn’t realized I was trembling until I heard my own
teeth chatter. I hurried out of the ocean, kicking ocean junk away
from my calves, and collapsed onto my stomach.
Although the sand was rough and dirty, it felt warm and dry. I
caressed my face into it and closed my eyes. I couldn’t remember
the last time I’d slept. I remembered the prison cells; I
remembered the cold cement walls; I remembered feeling starved; and
I remembered the shouts and wails emitted from the surrounding
cells. The noise kept me up for days.
Surely, being a prisoner on an island would be much more
comfortable than in a prison cell, I thought. I breathed in the
scent of saltwater fish, feeling suddenly hungry. I mustered the
bit of strength I had and crawled up onto my hands and knees. I
tried to wipe sticky sand off my face, even though this only spread
Branches broke in the distance, and my eyes followed the
noise. My heart began to race. There must have been four or five of
them just standing there, blending effortlessly with the trees.
Their eyes were outlined in black and dark markings spread across
One of them stepped forward, and the others followed. I
considered running, or at least trying to, but I was beyond
exhausted—I wouldn’t make it.
The fiercest-looking one walked forward, as would the alpha of
a wolf pack, and I knew this was their leader. Her dark skin
glistened in the sunlight and her muscles bulged as she gripped and
regripped what appeared to be a spear carved from wood and stone.
She had rope, or vines, wrapped around the muscles of her arms, and
I could only assume these were holsters of some type. There was a
bow strapped to her back with feathered arrows protruding from a
leather quiver. She made a hand gesture and cocked her chin up in
The other women moved in closer toward me.
Grab her,” the leader ordered.
There was a heavy blow to the side of my head, and everything
ain’t no huntin’ material.”
And you are?”
No one is until they’re forced to be.”
cracked my eyes open. The skin on my face was warm, and a fire
danced from side to side in the near distance. From what I could
see, there were five of them sitting around the flames. They
bickered back and forth, and I knew they were arguing about me. I
closed my eyes when the one nearest to me swung back to look at me.
She scoffed and said, “Murk can decide.”
what, was Murk?
through the narrow crack of my eyelid when they began to argue
again. They all looked the same at quick glance—dark skin, painted
markings, and clothing made of skins and vegetation.
were spears, ropes, and other sharp objects around their feet. And
then I smelled it—the warm, mouth-watering smell of roasted meat.
Atop the fire was a small animal dangling upside down. It looked
like a bunny, but I couldn’t be sure. Its skin had darkened and
crisped, and there was no fur left.
been offered roasted rabbit a week prior, my stomach would have
churned at the thought of munching down on a family pet. But I
hadn’t eaten in days, and at this point, I was willing to eat just
Suddenly, cold, moist fingers gripped the skin of my upper
arm, and I was forced to sit upright.
She’s been awake for a while,” came a woman’s
standing directly beside me, but I was afraid to look up. Where had
she come from? The rest remained seated, just staring at me from
behind partially shadowed faces.
Who are you?” asked the woman sitting directly behind the
fire. I remembered that face. She was their leader.
couldn’t speak. I took several deep breaths, ordering my mind to
wake from its heinous nightmare. But nothing happened. The more I
hoped, the more I realized just how frightening my reality had
Trim asked you a question.” I felt something cold and
razor-sharp dig into the skin of my neck.
swallowed hard. They were so barbaric—so wild looking, with their
unevenly cut hair and dirty faces.
Lydia,” I said.
Last name?” the leader asked.
leader—Trim—tilted her head back and smiled. She was ugly in every
sense imaginable with disproportionate features: a long pointed
nose, small black eyes, blemished skin, and thick, untrimmed
eyebrows that matched her frizzy black hair. Her name suddenly made
sense to me.
Brone,” Trim repeated.
at her. Had this been a question? I wasn’t sure what to
Do you like your name?” she asked.
kind of a question was that? It was my name. I didn’t like it or
I’m Rocket,” said one of the women seated by the fire. She
pressed her hand against her chest as a way of introducing herself.
She was very petite and sweet looking despite her savage exterior,
which was rough and filthy. She had a cute button nose and bright
forest green eyes, but her beauty was masked by a thick crooked
scar that ran across her left eyebrow and cheek. Her caramel-brown
dreadlocks were pulled back into a knot at the base of her
Cause I’m fast,” she added. “You pick your own identity here
on the island. In prison, you’ll always be called by your last
name. You can change that here. You know—if you want to be someone
want to be someone else? Yes. I wanted to be someone who hadn’t
been convicted of first-degree murder and dropped on an island to
rot. But my name wouldn’t change that.
Brone’s fine,” I said.
This here’s Flander,” Rocket said, pointing to the woman
beside her. Flander cocked and eyebrow but didn’t smile. She looked
much older than the rest of them, with her wrinkled skin and dull,
colorless eyes. She had short grey hair and hundreds of freckles
across her nose, cheeks, and shoulders. “That’s Biggie, that’s
Eagle, and that right there,” she said, pointing at the woman
standing at my side, “is Fisher.”
as her name insinuated, was the biggest of them all. She had
squared off shoulders, a rounded belly, and legs the size of my
torso. Her hair was short and woolly, and she had small silver loop
earrings running down both ears. She had glossy brown eyes, and
wide nostrils the width of her lips. She tried to smile, but it had
looked more like a twitch.
quickly glanced at Eagle, who was eying me carefully from behind
eyes that were neither green nor blue, but rather, dark turquoise.
She nodded as way of acknowledging my presence, but she didn’t
smile or speak. She had short greasy blonde hair that stood up in
all directions. Her lips were thin and flat, and she had an unusual
moon shaped birthmark on her forehead.
finally looked up at Fisher. She grimaced, baring a set of crooked
teeth, and said, “I don’t like fishing.”
sure whether or not this had been a joke. Her dark eyebrows were
nearly touching at the center of her forehead, and her colorless
lips were curved downward. I could tell she’d once been very pretty
with her high cheek bones, her light brown eyes, and her defined
jawline, but the island had damaged her. I smiled awkwardly and
returned my attention to Trim.