Somewhere along the east coast stands a man, the man wearing glasses. He stares out to the grey sea, it disappoints him greatly. He is blinded by the extended nothingness that confronts him. The sea laps at his feet like wet time soup. He barely notices how cold his feet are. As he stands there he is as still as a flagless pole, moving only to make a small canopy of intertwined branches from the surrounding dead trees, these trees replicate his stature so well he’s invisible in his foraging.
Unknown to him, a woman and a boy that live amongst the trees are looking on, fascinated, in safety, hiding from cannibals that they have recently escaped from. They’ve been keeping an eye on the man with glasses ever since his arrival to the coast. For now, they believe he will not venture where they are sheltering.
“He doesn’t look like a cannibal, does he?” says the Boy. “He’s too bony I think, I hope we can trust him as he’s been eating crocus veg, I’m sure of it, the man’s been eating it from a hole in his clothing.” The Boy grows large disc like eyes from the encouragement they bestow.
“One more night I reckon, if he is still there by next light we’ll go over, I wanna know what he’s looking for.” The Woman is more cautious and only just survived from her mistake to remember it. The Woman adds, “Of course, he could be completely insane.”
“Ok.” the boy replies duly.
By next light the Man with Glasses is still there, he is looking out to sea, once more.
The Woman and Boy take their small bundle of belongings along with their rations of crocus veg and begin to walk nervously towards the Man with Glasses.
“Stay close boy, I don’t trust him… Anyone. If he gets aggressive and we get separated, don’t run to our shelter ok? He’ll know where we’ve been staying; we won’t be safe there again.”
“Ok, I won’t.” He squeezes her hand intensely, for he suddenly feels less confident than ever.
“If he’s a cannibal, he’ll go for me anyway as I’m bigger.” She says in belated and ineffective reassurance.
“Now I am scared, if he catch’s you first what will happen to me? I’ll be on my own again!”
“You’ll be fine, trust me, by the looks of him he is too weak, I’ll hit him hard with this branch,” she pulls out the thickest branch from the nearest tree to their camp and says “we’ll be ok, ok?”,
“Ok then.” He replies.
By the slow fade of the no-light, The Man with Glasses senses them approaching, he turns his head and moves his right ear like a satellite. His eyes are well rehearsed in fatigued focus. He sees them well enough and decides that they look more scared and confused than he does.
He is first to speak, “I won’t bite. You can trust me. If you have the strength, you can help me find the way out of here… if you like?”
“Don’t talk in riddles. If this is some kind of trick I swear to god I’ll hit you with this branch so hard you’ll-”
“Please, I’m no threat to you or…” he pauses to access them, seeing them so tired and pathetic, “you’re wasting your energy anyway. Is he yours?”
“No, no he’s not-”
“She’s not my mum. She’s been looking after…Out for me.” The Boy interrupted, he was feeling ignored.
“Ok, look we should stick together, it’s not safe. By your manner, you know of cannibals around here, right?” hoping for a warmer reception he cracks a smile his face is unused to.
“Yeah, you’re right about them, you look sane enough, but we’ll keep our distance for now if it’s all the same to you? What are you looking for anyway?” she asks while eyeing a misshapen sea. Being so curious to care was a mixture of emotions she hadn’t enjoyed for a long, long time.
The Man with Glasses looks back to the sea and says suggestively, “An Island” He wasn’t sure of the reaction he was going to receive, “I was told, by someone, that there’s a way out of here, what we live in, what we have become…That is.”
“Let me get this right, you seem to think there is some kind of answer out there?” she points to an empty horizon. “Are you serious? How would you know that? And who told you?”
Looking down, he felt foolish, “Well… I know, I don’t have the answers. I don’t’ expect you to believe me either, really. I’m not sure I believe it myself, but, I am here — when I thought I might never move my feet again.”
Suddenly, “I’ll help!” blurted the Boy “I know what you’re looking for.” He didn’t know, but it felt like a game and that was ok by him.
“Great, welcome aboard!”
“Aboard, aboard what” The Boy didn’t understand, right now, he felt he didn’t need to. He felt he could trust the man with glasses, despite his vague answer to the Woman he felt all the better for this.
The three of them now camped by the sea, they take turns to look out, hoping the fog will clear. By the third new light rations of crocus veg are seriously low, the rain keeps his spare boots topped up, extra spare pairs from the new recruits come in handy, no-one asks as to where they have come from.
The group of three have now come to know each other in simple terms. They don’t care for names. In such horrific conditions, the dementia like symptoms that comes with their depression is like an unwanted buy one get one free offer. This small group of one man, one woman, and one boy are now an unrelated family, brought together by a myth. An island of salvation, they imagine its beauty, resonating colours, all the discoveries and treasures of man. Some remnants of their past lives must’ve survived in their dreams. Being in a trusted group is a small blessing, a vital power up capsule in a computer animated game of survival.