What It Takes To Survive - Chapter 6

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"It's midnight" Coach said looking at the watch "We should head in. Tomorrow is another day" You could hear the disappointment in his voice.
We all looked at each other with the same disappointed look. I looked into the fire we had built half for the cold and half to alert any ships or planes of our presence.
No one had the heart to stand up because we all knew that would be to prepare for another day. Hope was a horrible thing. We'd just had our very first day on this island, a very effective one. Suddenly being stranded here didn't seem so bad because we knew we could survive here. Then that flare had gone and given us hope that we might be getting off this island tonight. Now that it was long gone, the little hope that we had held on to had gone with it.
"We should build a boat and go where we saw that flare" Gabe said
"Good plan" Coach said as we all turned to Gabe "You happen to know how to build a boat, Eldon?"
"No coach" his head dropping.
"At least we know that there's someone, or maybe even people nearby" I said. I had been wearing a skirt for hours now and it had almost begun feeling normal.
"Yeah and where does that get us?" Doug asked depressively
Tate had rejoined us when he saw the flare but hadn't really said much. In truth, no one had really said that much until now.
"They're still looking for us. Our families won't give up. You all know they won't" I said encouragingly
"It's a big world. No one knows where we are" Doug replied.
"You're not helping" I said back to him "we can't just give up. I don't want to die on this nameless island"
"So what's the plan then?" Ollie asked.
"We survive. Like we've been doing. We do whatever it takes"

That was two weeks ago. Try as I might, whenever I think back to that night, I don't know where that came from.
When everyone had lost hope, I said what we needed to hear and it had worked. We sort of fell into a routine after that. Coach and Doug would do most of the hunting. They even fashioned two spears which made them more effective. They brought back all sorts of animals and I seemed to have gotten over my fear of blood although I still got queasy around large amounts.
Gabe taught the rest of us how to make his deadfall traps and we had put traps like that all through out the explored parts of the island. Every six hours we would check all the traps if they had caught anything. Most times we came up empty but some times usually when it rained, we'd catch so much meat so we started salting and drying the meat and storing it in the boxes.
We had moved the clothes in the boxes and the trunk to the floor. The boxes began storing all sorts of stuff. The trunk became our official clean water holder. We'd pour the water that had been boiled and keep it in the trunk and we always tried to keep it at least at half.
Mikey and Tate were assigned to make sure we always had water purified and ready to drink but Mikey also helped me with gathering fresh fruits and plants and Tate helped Ollie and Gabe with trapping and retrieving the animals.
Every other thing that needed to be done, somebody usually just did it. We had become really effective together. And nights we'd sit on the beach, light a fire and eat an increasingly tasty meal.
We had begun collecting sea water and drying it to get salt. I had found wild peppers a few days after we landed here when Mikey and I ventured deeper into the forest. Wild onions came a few days after and eventually the tomatoes. I had begun planting everything I found in the open field we found earlier and showed everyone how to do it properly and far enough apart so as to not botch their growth. The field had kind of become my little garden.
The last things I found while exploring were plantains and yams which turned things around for us. I had no way of frying them like I wanted which required oil but I started cooking them every other day for the group. I would even make soup with the freshly caught meat or even some sort of stew which we ate with the yams and potatoes. I thought it wasn't very good but the others seemed to enjoy it so I kept at it.
Along with that, sometimes I'd offer to wash their clothes when I wash 'mine'. After a few days of the guys repeating the same clothes, I'd offer to wash them figuring it was the least I could do since I had so many and they had so few. It wasn't much since I was washing them with just water so I'd always tell them to keep them from getting too dirty.
Nothing happened on the rescue front after that night with the flare and we soon agreed that we probably wouldn't be rescued anytime soon but instead of tearing us down, this time it boosted our morale determined to survive here as long as possible.
We had tried to think up ways to contact whoever shot the flare but we came up empty. They probably didn't even know that we were here. After it didn't seem like we were getting anywhere on that front, so we gave up.
The feeling of uneasiness that came with wearing the clothes never went away and neither did the stares but the guys got better at hiding them. I had gotten more adventurous with her clothes and had even worn her dresses a few times. One of those times being today.
I had gone apple picking with Mikey and I had sent him away to get the berries. He had reluctantly agreed after I assured him that I would be fine.
It was a beautiful dress and I had thought that long before I was comfortable enough to wear it. It was a red and white flowery sundress which came down to below my knees. It was tight but stretchy at the bust and shoulders, flared out just above the waist and had two slits around my upper thigh so my thighs were in full view whenever I walked.
When I started wearing her 'underwear shorts', I had shaved what little hair I had on my legs. One thing led to another and I shaved my entire body.
I was putting apples into the sack that belonged to the previous island resident when I heard it
"Hey Jo" Ollie said from behind me
"Ollie!" I turned around surprised. I put my hand on my chest. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"
He laughed but didn't reply. Just stared at me. But this time more intently than usual.
I ignored it.
"Aren't you supposed to be helping Gabe with the traps?" I asked
"Tate's with him"
"Well, what do you want? How did you even find me?"
He didn't reply. 'How did he find me?' I thought. Only Mikey and I know these routes.
"Did you follow us?"
"Shh" He started walking towards me "Relax"
I took a step back and stepped on an apple.
"I said relax, Jo" He said dangerously close now. He put a hand on my waist.
I took a step back "What the fuck, Ollie?" I asked shouting
He stepped forward and regained his previous position.
"I want you, Jo" I felt his hand brush against my ass.
I shoved him "You're crazy!" I shouted
"It's alright Jo. I know. A girl doesn't wear that sort of dress unless she's asking for something" He said and then came back at me this time wrapping both hands around me and attempted to kiss me.
I struggled to get my arm free and up to his shoulders to push him away. His kiss attempt missed as I struggled and I felt his lips brush against my cheek.
His arms were still wrapped around my lower back as he tried to kiss me again. I slapped him hard across the right cheek but that did nothing to stop him. He let go for a second to grab both my arms and hold them firmly behind my back. I struggled to move but it only hurt. I started screaming and crying without realizing it. When he attempted to kiss me again, I tried to knee him in the junk but only partly hit. I could tell it still caused him some pain because he angrily slapped me hard across the face.
I recoiled and fell hard to the floor. My face stung painfully and it took a second before I could open my left eye.
"Ollie, please, please, please, stop!" I said crying
"Shouldn't have done that, bitch."
He moved and knelt down on top of me. He grabbed both my arms and held them both above my head in one of his and I instantly cursed myself for being so weak. I was still crying and I hated myself for that.
He used his free hand and held my hand in place.
"No, no, please don't. Oliver please!" I cried but he kept coming.
I closed my eyes and felt his lips press against mine. I struggled to free my head which succeeded.
"Somebody help me, please!" I screamed at the top of my voice.
He slapped me hard across the face again "Shut up, bitch"
He was about to kiss me again when he was pulled off me and thrown to the floor. Mikey was standing there with the angriest look on his face.
He looked at me lying there then turned to Ollie who was still on the floor. Mikey lunged at him punching him back down as he tried to get up. He followed that one up with a lot more before I screamed for him to stop
"Stop! You're gonna kill him!"
Mikey turned to me. He was still kneeling on Ollie which was blocking me from getting a proper view but I knew it was bad when I saw blood on Mikey's wrist
"Maybe he deserves it!" he shouted back
"The last thing I want is you killing someone for me! Even him!"
He didn't reply.
"Now get off him!"
Mikey didn't move.
"He'll get what's coming to him now please.." my voice cracked from all the screaming and crying "please get off him"
He slowly stood. "Get the fuck out of here"
Ollie stood and took off.
"Next time I'll fucking kill you" he shouted as Ollie disappeared into the trees.
He came to help me up. He took my right hand and put his left on my shoulder guiding me up
"Are you hurt?" The angry look fading to concern
"Other than my face and my ego?" I tried to laugh but it still stung
"Can you walk?"
I tried standing my own. I was still wobbly but I was okay. "Yeah"
"Come on, we've got to tell coach and the others. Tell them everything"
I put my hand on his chest. "No stop! You can't tell anyone!"
"What? No! He needs to be punished for what he did."
"Nothing happened!"
"I saw him try to kiss you!"
"Yeah but he didn't" I lied "You got here just in time. Thanks for that by the way" I swallowed.
"Still he can't go free. He tried to.."
"He didn't go free" I took his hand and showed him the blood "And I don't want to be the guy that almost got raped. That shit follows you"
He wasn't convinced. "Can you really trust Doug or the others not to tell anyone if we ever get off this island?" I asked
He still didn't reply
"Promise me, Mikey. No one hears about this."
"What about Ollie? He knows."
"He's hardly going to tell anyone. Now promise me" I pleaded with words and my expression. I realized I was still holding his hand.
"Fine. But if I see him anywhere near you..."
"I'll hold you to that" I interrupted him. He smiled. I left his hand
"Let me get that" he said as I went to get the bag of apples. I let him.
"Wait. Where are the berries?" He pointed to some squashed berries on the floor.
"It's fine. We'll get it next time."
I put on a brave face but I was melting inside. I don't know if it was my imagination but I could still feel the sting of his slap, the pressure where his hands had grabbed mine but worst of all, I could still feel his lips pressed against mine.
Mikey asked if I was okay a lot but I just smiled every time he did. I couldn't tell him how I had been violated. How helpless I had felt. I did my best to hold back the tears partly so Mikey wouldn't worry but mostly because I was so sick of crying.
It took a while but we finally made it back to camp
We eventually got back to the cave and the entire group was waiting for us.
Coach and Tate had concerned looks on their faces but Doug and Gabe were grinning wildly.
"Damn, Jo! I didn't know you had it in you!" Doug said loudly
"Yeah. Color me impressed" Gabe chimed
"What's going on, Fahey?" Coach asked "Reid said you both got into a fight"
I looked at Mikey and then back at coach
"That's what happened, coach" I said
Coach looked at Mikey clearly not convinced.
"That's about it, coach" Mikey said convincingly
"And where were you during all this?" He asked Mikey
"I'm sorry coach, we split up to pick stuff faster"
"I thought I told you.." He began but I interrupted
"It was my idea, coach. I thought we'd be quicker if we split up. And Ollie was with me" I said partly true.
"Why was Reid there, anyway?"
"He said he came to help. He was bored or something" I didn't falter. I was determined to keep this a secret even if I was burning up inside.
"Help? Is that why half your face is discolored?"
"It was my fault, coach. He was just teasing and I lost it. Won't happen again"
He wasn't totally buying it but he seemed to let it rest.
"Go clean up. You're a mess" I looked down and saw that the dress was all wrinkled and dirty "You boys shouldn't be fighting" he said as I walked past him into the cave.
When I got into the cave, Ollie was in the corner, down to his briefs getting some clean clothes. I figured he was about to go take a bath. His face was in worse shape than I thought.
I froze.
Mikey came in after me.
"Jo, I.." Ollie said. The sound of his voice threatened to bring me to tears. "I'm.." he continued. I winced
"You don't get to talk to him!" Mikey yelled.
The others came into the cave
"What the hell is going on here?!" Coach shouted
Ollie grabbed the rest of his stuff and left the cave. I shrunk as he walked past me.
"Denholm, accompany him" Coach said. Tate nodded and left. "You should take a bath too, Fahey" Coach added
I thought about being alone with him again and it took everything in me to smile "I'm good coach. A little dirt never hurt nobody"
I turned around and saw the entire group looking at me and I was once again self conscious about standing here in a dress with all these men looking at me.
"I'm going to be on the beach" I said desperate to get out of there
"Harris.." Coach began but I interrupted again.
"It's the beach, coach. I'll be fine" I said before walking past every one of them.
I don't remember when I started running but I was running and crying to the beach.
I sat on the sand and let myself cry. I felt him on me again and I realized I needed that bath more than anything.
Watching the waves had a calming effect and eventually, the crying slowed. I never cried this much. In fact, before this whole thing, it's been years since I cried.
I didn't hear someone walk up to me so I recoiled when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I brought both arms to my chest and turned sharply to find coach standing there with the same concerned look on his face.
"I didn't mean to..." He began but stopped "May I sit?"
I cleaned my tears and nodded. He sat.
"Want to tell me what really happened?"
"I already told you.."
"I remember" He interrupted. He thought for awhile as if considering something "I never told anyone this. I caught my sister in a state just like yours once"
I just sat there in the same defensive position.
"She told me she'd been raped by a boy at her college but that I couldn't tell our parents"
"Oh my God..."
"Yeah." Coach never ever opened up like this. "I still don't know her reasons but she made me promise not to tell anyone and I didn't."
"What happened?"
He paused again.
"Nothing. We moved on with our lives.. for a while. A few weeks later she finds out that she's pregnant. She aborts the baby but later finds out she can't have any more kids"
I stare in disbelief and feel tears slowly trickle down my cheeks. He took a deep breath before continuing.
"A while later, she starts doing drugs, drops out of school, work and eventually leaves the state. 'too many memories' she says"
"What happened to her?"
"Eventually, I track her down, she's a mess, Jonathan.." It's the first time he's ever used my first name. His voice was so sad and I felt compelled to give him a hug but just touched his knee instead. "The point is you don't carry this stuff alone. You need to tell people and deal with it"
I remove my hand "I didn't get raped, coach. That's ridiculous"
"Maybe. But I feel responsible for you as much as I did her. After all, I convinced you to get on that plane and start wearing those clothes"
"It was just a fight. Nothing happened." I said still trying and failing to convince him
"I know, I know. It's just... I hope you feel like you can tell me someday"
I didn't say anything as he got up. He touched my shoulder again but it felt nice this time, reassuring. I smiled and he walked away.
I looked up at the sky and wondered how everything got so fucked up.

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