Beads of perspiration dampen my hair as I stare at the end of the dock and that solitary box. Drawing sweaty hands against my blue jeans, I glance again at my watch before slowly taking a step toward it. The message said be at the wharf at exactly nine o’clock and I can’t take any chances. No explanation, no signature, but I know it can only be the work of the Sandaks.
Lawless heathens they might be, but they live by the code of the island and they will never abandon me to this retched place without something to guide me. I know they have long gone, but I look around anyway as I make my way to the end of the dock and kneel in front of the box.
There is no lock and the sound of the creaking lid echoes into the night. Shining my light inside I can see only four objects lying there. Picking up the compass, I run my bloody fingertips across it’s surface before tucking it into my pocket and reaching for the rolled map lying next to the revolver. I will have to wait until dawn to try to find a way out of this place, but until then I shove the paper into my back pocket and hesitantly pick up the gun.
Cold and heavy in my hands, I open the revolver’s chamber and I’m not surprised to find it empty. Choking back the bile rising in my throat, I reach for the last item in the box. Even now I can still find the sick humor in my situation as my fingers close around the single bullet lying in the bottom of the box. Somewhere in the fog I’m sure they are watching me. Just waiting and wondering what I will do now. Do I take my chances with this lone bullet and pray I make it to safety before I am trapped by the beast? Or do I simply stop the terror now and use it on myself? I wonder if the Sandaks are hunched around their fires right now and placing bets on the odds of my surviving the night on this island.
I don’t blame them. Even I wouldn’t bet on me…