Marko Milo

Perfect Island

It’s 2071, and the world we live in right now is at peace. Resources are plenty, global warming is stabilizing, the robotic industry is thriving and humanity is on a good way to colonizing other planets of our solar system. But, there is one exception. A place so gruesome you would think humanity hasn’t changed for thousands of years.

My name’s Michael and I’m currently working for a secret government organization, whose goal is to gather important data and information about a mysterious, remote island which is located deep into the heart of the Pacific ocean. The volcanic island, code-named “Pandora”, naturally re-emerged from the sea in the early 2020s, and in only a few years, thousands of people with no home sought refuge on it. It was a “no man’s land” and the independent island was functioning for a while because it was rich in resources. However… that kind of life was an invitation for chaos. In the next couple of decades, low-life scum from all over the world saw an opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of the island’s inhabitants. At first, the UN had turned a blind eye, but now, almost 50 years later… The situation there is out of control. People there are downright savages. A few weeks ago, I returned from a mission, in which me and my partner Ivan, who were the best soldiers in our special ops military organization, were also awarded medals of honor in the great Mediterranean war during the 2050s, were to infiltrate the island, gather important information about the situation there, survive for one-month undercover, and afterward escape in a raft, to a submarine that was supposed to pick us up 10.5 kilometers east of the island’s biggest settlement, which we code-named “New Naples”. The settlement was located near a volcano, thus the name. If something went wrong and we couldn’t reach the escape point, they were to wait there for us there for one more week. But it all went to shit.

At first, around eleven p.m. on a warm night in late May, we jumped out of a new AR-560 silent, stealth plane, and I landed straight near a remote village in the southern part of the island, 33 kilometers south of the great volcano, while my partner was to land in the opposite part of the island. You’re probably asking now, why the hell would you send agents on a two-manned mission instead of just using technology to spy on them, like the government has done for more than a century now? Well, listen here buddy, because there’s a small catch. Remember how I said that all kinds of low-life scum went there to seek fortune? Well, not only them but also all kinds of unethical sociopaths and geniuses ended up in there. One of them has created an invisible electromagnetic pulse bubble, that surrounds the island and jams everything that comes near in a ten-kilometer radius. The only thing that they cannot touch is, thankfully, our satellites. That’s how we knew some of the details of what the situation is like out there. And it wasn’t pretty.

After I landed, I immediately buried all my equipment next to an oak tree, and marked “z” on two trees, on a second tree to the left and the third one to the right, just to make sure no one finds it. I was standing on the edge of a forest that ends on a beach with white sand and I took a moment to inhale deeply and look at the scenery. The night was beautiful, stars were plenty and the sound of waves rubbing against the shore could easily trick you into thinking that you were in paradise. Luckily, I knew what was behind the curtain. At least I thought I knew almost everything. I have never been so wrong. 

Ten minutes after I was cautiously making my way towards the heart of the island, I ran into a big wooden sign that said “NO ONE COMES, NO ONE LEAVES” which was written in blood. That sounds like a detail from a cheesy horror movie, I know huh? Well, I didn’t feel like that at all. At the bottom of the sign, there was a rotting and mutilated corpse of a middle-aged man who seemed only a few days old. He was missing all his extremities. Next to it, there were a few random bones of many different parts of what was probably someone else’s body, scattered around. It was disgusting. But I was trained to handle it because I’ve already seen a bunch of horrible shit during my time. Merely moments after I got my mind clear, I heard a hollow distant scream, maybe two or three kilometers from there. I wasn’t sure. Then, I continued my journey even more cautiously than before. I decided to find a better spot from where I could scout the environment. Found a huge tree and, with a little bit of struggle, climbed it to the top. I took out my “micro binoculars” from my pocket and started looking for something that could catch my eye. I noticed a tiny smoke, from what seemed to be maybe a 15-minute walk from there, considering the density of the forest. But, I decided to play It safe. So, I laid down my body on a thick branch, made sure I wasn’t gonna fall off during the night, and decided to take a one hour nap before I go and scout the area around the smoke I noticed earlier.

Five minutes after I woke up, as I was covering my tracks and the gear on the tree, I heard a conversation from a group of people in the distance. I tried to find a way to see them among the trees, but I couldn’t, so I decided to climb down and get close to them silently. There was still about an hour ‘til dawn, so I still had the advantage of camouflaging in the dark. As I was nearing that group of people, I was checking if there were any traps there, just in case. I was getting close. There were six of them, they spoke in what seemed to be something similar to Spanish and switched to English every few minutes. Since it was risky to eavesdrop on them too closely, I could only catch a few words from them, “Khan”, “city” and “firemen” which means “firm” or “hard” in Spanish. Two of them were carrying an unconscious man. I had a slight idea of what was probably gonna happen to him. Although the men wore different leggings, all of them had a couple of the same features. Their backs had a dark grey, red-eyed eagle with its wings torn out, tattooed on their backs. They also had a strange beards, with only a line of hair left maybe five centimeters from both sides of their lips. It looked like they were savages from an ancient tribe, but you could see intelligence in their eyes. They were walking towards the beach I landed, in the direction where I found that wooden sign. They all seemed so terrifying. I decided to go around them and continue toward the source of the smoke. I stepped on a few branches and I was lucky because only one of them turned their head towards me and thought it was nothing. 

Five minutes after I continued my adventure into the island, I found the place of the smoke’s source. It was a ransacked village with no people around. Since it was almost morning and the light of day gaining power, I decided to find some clothes in what remained of the village houses and change my appearance so I can somehow blend in. After I realized I couldn’t find any concrete evidence of what has happened here, except the obvious, I decided I should continue my journey to find civilization inland. 

Since the island is huge, it took me three days of a medium-paced walk through a dense jungle to get to a settlement. This one had a wall made of wooden spears around it, and I couldn’t estimate the proportion or the number of its population. But, considering the fact that I traveled northwest, I guessed it was the second biggest town on this island. A big noise was coming from inside the city’s wall. As I was looking for a way to go around it and find a way inside, I was spotted by a group of three younger men, maybe from 16 to 25 old, who had a similar appearance to those bunch I ran into a couple of days earlier. As they slowly raised their heads towards me, shortly after they grimly smiled, they hideously gazed at me with their eyes wide open, looking as if they found something they were searching for their whole lives. As they started sprinting, adrenaline struck me like never before. They ran so fast I almost thought it was unnatural, and every one of them was shouting something indistinctly. One of them had a machete in his right hand, and a throwing knife in his left, whereas the other three had some kind of unordinary spears in their hands. Luckily, I was well prepared and I slid my micro silenced pistol from my right sleeve and took them out from 30 meters, each a bullet in the forehead. I looked cold but my heart was pounding and soon both my hands started shaking because of fear. I quickly got rid of their bodies and took boots from one guy and a necklace from another, so I could get into town incognito.

The town’s name was “Novaya Moskva”, or at least the sign at the gate said so. I was lucky that no one was there to guard it because everyone went to the main square. As I infiltrated the city, I soon saw why there was such a fuss. It was my partner, Ivan. He was found and tied down. They put him on a strange dark wooden platform. A bald guy with a black bun on his nape took out a huge sharp yellow knife and started speaking to the crowd in Russian. I blended into the crowd and slowly started making my way toward my friend. But I knew there was nothing I could do. They lit fires all around the square and started throwing some unusual plants into it. Suddenly, the air became a bit denser. It started to smell differently, like a mixture of almond and orange, it smelled so strange I couldn’t describe it. I got so enraged, my blood started pumping, my veins and my eyelids spread and suddenly I had a huge urge to be violent. The crowd also went into some kind of trance and started shouting a spine-chilling melody all over the square. I soon realized what was happening. The air was filled with some kind of smoke that triggers a chemical reaction in the brain which causes an adrenaline rush. But it was too late for my friend. He was bravely looking at the floor, heavily breathing as he was trying to contain his fear and panic. The guy above him who was holding a knife was saying how this was a sacrifice for The Great Khan and his future conquest of the great city of Atlantis. He then proceeded to make a long cut along both of his arms so his veins could bleed all over his body. After that, he took him by the head and started scalping him, while Ivan was horridly screaming in pain. Then, his stomach was slit and his insides came out from his back. The crowd was cheering. I was so sick I felt I was gonna puke. Had to get out of there. Immediately when I went out of the city, I started running like never before. I felt a mixture of fear and rage, as adrenaline struck me in a way so unnatural I felt my body was going to collapse. And that it did.

I woke up in what seemed to be an underground cave, and it took me a while to find a way out. I was burning with temperature and I didn’t know how much time had passed. I realized it was a side effect of that drug that was in the air, and my body wasn’t used to it so that’s why I was probably burning up. I had a self-sustaining calendar that showed me how many days had passed. I couldn’t believe it. 23 days?! What the hell?! I couldn’t remember anything. I realized that I’d lost a lot of weight and that I was hungry and thirsty, but… I obviously ate food and drank water for the past three weeks because otherwise, I would’ve been dead. I came back into the cave. Found a lot of stuff, including machetes, necklaces, some spare food, and most importantly… the herb. Why did I think “most importantly”?! Suddenly a huge urge to consume the herb struck me. I lit a small portion of it and inhaled its smoke. As I closed my eyes, it all suddenly came back to me. I was ruthlessly killing people. I was torturing and demanding information. The great Khan. The Atlantis. Tribes rule this island. They are in constant conflict for the largest, a free city all islanders call “The Atlantis”. ”The horde”, whose leader is The great Khan, wants to conquer the city and bring all other tribes to their knees. Also, the mysterious herb. They use it to trigger their savage instincts, which triggers serotonin in the brain, causing them to feel spiritual satisfaction. I guess I was burning up because my body wasn’t used to it. The Islanders also breed like hell, which means that their children and their human body had probably gone immune to the herb’s side effects. If you can still call them human.

I sobered up and collected my thoughts. A couple of days after I laid low and cured my sickness, I went to build a raft and get the hell out of there. When I got onto the submarine, I reported to my higher-in-command and told him everything. Well, everything, except the fact that I have never felt so alive. And that I want to come back there as soon as possible.