Blane and Zane both swore at the same moment, Zoe started to softly weep, Sandrine and Riko just stared at Arun’s body.
“This place is booby-trapped. That’s bullshit!” Zane voice held a small amount of panic but by this time they’d all seen so much death it was starting to feel natural.
Riko was numb. The reassurance she’d been clinging to, that they would be rescued soon, faded and she was starting to wonder if they’d survive. The feeling of impending death didn’t fill her with fear, just a sense of loss. She’d spent her entire life trying to help people but now she was completely helpless. Who would hate them so much that they’d torture them? Who could be this hateful? Who could be so crazy?
“It was me!” Sandrine yelled and collapsed to the floor, sobbing.
“What?” asked Riko.
“I hit Kate. I was so angry and…” Sandrine drifted off still sobbing.
Rolling over to Sandrine, Kate put her hand on her and said, “It’s ok, Kate. You didn’t do it. Jonathan came to me a few years ago and told me everything.”
“Yeah he told me he woke up drunk in his car after the party with a dent in the front. He said he drove into me when he was so drunk he couldn’t remember.”
“That’s not what happened…” Sandrine took a deep breath. “I took his keys while he was asleep and I drove off. I was just so angry and stupid. That little snoop Kingsley had caught Arun and I…” She drifted off.
Zoe looked over and said, “But that was the night he gave me the promise ring. You Bitch!” Zane and Blane held her in place as she yelled at Sandrine.
“I know that’s why I was so pissed. I didn’t want anyone finding out.”
“You were so angry you drove someone else’s car? While drunk?” Kate didn’t sound angry, she sounded disbelieving.
Nodding, Sandrine looked up at Kate and said, “I’m sorry.”
“You’re an idiot. Why the hell are you telling me now?” Kate gave a bemused smile.
“We’re all going to die.” Sandrine giggled a little. The fear and barely controlled hysteria behind the giggle spoke to how Riko was feeling.
“Look at me Kate. I’ve fought with my body, society, and gravity since the accident. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I refuse to let it end here like this. We need to figure out if it’s one of us or if it’s someone else, find the person and beat the shit out of them. Ok?”
Sniffing, Sandrine replied, “I’d like to beat someone up.”
“There’s the badass I know. Now, who do you think is doing this?” Kate looked at Riko. The authority in Kate’s voice snapped her out of her self-pity.
“I think it’s Allison. She has the tech knowledge and the body we assume is her is too burned to be sure.”
“That’s a good theory. Any other ideas?” Kate took over the group in the same way she’d taken over all group projects or sports teams, with confidence and determination.
“It’s Ethan…” Zoe’s eyes were still filled with tears and she spoke looking at Arun’s corpse.
“Why?” asked Kate.
“He’s the only plus one who came. All the others conveniently couldn’t make it. He’s not one of us and he creeps me out.”
Kate nodded and asked, “Riko, did anything come up for Ethan?”
“Yeah, he told me he had been offered a special assignment.”
“Why didn’t he take it?” asked Kate.
Zane rolled his eyes and said, “Isn’t it obvious? The boy is madly in love with her and she with him.”
Everyone looked at Riko and she blushed not knowing what to say.
They threw around a few more suggestions including Kingsley, the girl who’d tried to film them at the party, but nothing concrete presented itself. Zane and Riko brought Arun’s body up to the makeshift morgue while the group argued it was a government experiment.
They were on their way back when they heard yelling from outside. They ran down the stairs towards the beach. Standing in the sand in only his underwear and wristwatch, a gunmetal timepiece that had belonged to his father, was Ethan.
The sun was setting over the island and the sky was on fire with red and purple. The air was crisp and smelled of salt water. Riko couldn’t help but think how beautiful the island would be if it hadn’t been one large tomb.
“Stay off the beach!” He was yelling at Blane, Zane, and Sandrine that looked like the wanted to run to him but everyone seemed frozen in place.
It took Riko a few moments before she realized why no one was moving forward. There was a glint of silver metal under Ethan’s foot and even at twenty or so metres away she knew what it was.
“Ethan,” She gasped before saying, “Let me try and help.” She’d taken basic bomb training.
“NO!” Ethan shouted. “I know you have some training but this beach is littered with other landmines.”
“I have to do something.” A strong breeze blew at her suddenly and the overwhelming smells of ozone and petrichor assaulted her nose.
“There’s nothing you can do for me, I’m already dead.” His words caused her chest to become tighter. “but promise you’ll catch the bastard and make them pay for this.”
“I love you.” Her words were barely a whisper so she repeated them. “I love you, Ethan.”
Smiling he replied, “I love you too,” as he stepped off the landmine.
“No!” she yelled as a loud explosion rocked the quiet of the evening and a ball of fiery energy engulfed Ethan. She ran forward but was held back by several sets of hands.
A second loud crack assaulted her ears and it started to rain hard.