Island Keyes

The first thing that Keyes saw, when he opened his eyes, was the seagull.  It was very close to his face, standing on the warm sand of the beach, and had a predatory gleam in its eyes, as if it still remembered when dinosaurs had roamed the earth.

Keyes sat up abruptly.  The first moment of disorientation was always the worst.  This time, however, things didn’t seem to be so bad.  He was sitting on white sand, surrounded by several shattered crates and other pieces of wooden debris.  Smooth waves of cerulean lapped gently at his bare toes, and he could hear the rustling of the wind in the fronds of palm trees a few meters behind him.  Aside from the errant seagull, he couldn’t see another soul.

The seagull was still giving him a baleful look, leading Keyes to take a step back, towards the treeline.  He glanced down at his own clothes.  He was dressed in a ragged pair of khakis, ending just below the knee, and a faded cotton shirt.  His pants appeared to be held up by a thick piece of rope.  He checked his pockets, only to find that he did not have any pockets.

A sudden thought made his eyes widen in nervousness and his hand shoot to his neck.  Thankfully, he felt the leather cord beneath his shirt and drew it out.  A large, ornate brass key dangled from the end of the cord, bumping gently against his chest.  Reassured, Keyes returned the key to beneath his shirt.  He still had his way out.

Okay then.  Still sending a couple of sidelong looks towards his beady-eyed companion, Keyes glanced over the wreckage littering the beach.  The wooden timbers appeared to have come from a sailing ship of some sort, although most had been smashed to splinters.  A few crates held glass bottles, most of them broken, and a white volleyball appeared to be floating in a nearby tidal pool.

“Well, this place certainly looks relaxing,” Keyes commented out loud.  He reached down into one of the crates and withdrew one of the bottles that had managed to survive its voyage onto the beach.  He sniffed the neck of the bottle after wiggling out the rough-hewn cork.  Smells like rum.  He took an exploratory swig.  Definitely rum.

As he strolled up towards the gently waving palm trees, Keyes noticed the lack of civilization.  He was glad that he hadn’t lost his key, but he couldn’t see any nearby doors.  He took another gulp of rum.  At the moment, however, the lack of a door didn’t faze him too badly.  The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, the mountaintop was smoking . . .

Wait a minute.  Keyes dropped the coconut he had just scooped up from the beach.  He stared up at the mountain at the middle of the island, watching the plume of smoke swell and darken.  Even as he watched, Keyes felt a slight shudder under his feet.  This wasn’t good.

With one hand, Keyes fished the brass key out from beneath his shirt.  He turned in a circle, searching for someplace he could insert it.  He could swear that the seagull was smirking at him.  Grabbing for a stick, Keyes hastily traced out a rectangle in the warm sand.  He stuck a board into the ground to serve as a makeshift handle, plunged the key into the warm sand just above the board, and turned.

The sand was flowing, but it held together long enough for the doorway to open.  Once it was at a forty five degree angle, Keyes wrenched the key out of the door.  He spared one last glance over his shoulder.  The volcano was now belching angry black smoke, and a dull red glow was emanating from the lip as the lava began to flow.

Keyes winked at the seagull.  “See ya never,” he said, dropping through the doorway into the sand as the edges frayed and fell apart.

A moment later, the seagull was alone on the erupting island.

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