The Bont islands expand from one continent to the other, forming a natural bridge that connected the biggest landmasses of the planet. On one side, there was the port of Ventura, one of the largest and most populated cities in the world and the destination of Captain Kimura, better known to her friends as Feisty Flo. She had been one of the main colonists of the Dharma expedition but things had gone horribly wrong: creatures from deep within the jungle had destroyed the colony and killed every single person in it. She had been the sole survivor of the attack and was now attempting to cross the Bont islands to get to Ventura and tell the authorities what had happened.
There were five hundred islands or so from one side to the other. Some of them were only a few meters long but others were large enough to have their own forests and volcanoes. As the continent she was leaving, he islands remained mostly unexplored except for he one closest to Ventura. She had to wait to cross during the day, as the moon prevented crossings during the night. For security, she would only sleep on the beeches and would keep a small inflatable boat she had known in the destroyed colony close to her. She had collected some items and put them there, including footage of what had happened.
She would cross the thin sand bridges between island and have the small boat, the size of a lifesaver, attached to her waist by a rope so it trailed behind her at her own pace. The first few days and islands were nice enough. The weather was very warm and without wind. Finally, on the fifth day or so, so was caught in a small storm but didn’t sought shelter, instead gathering water from the sky in various flasks and thermos she had found back in the continent. The boat was beginning to feel a bit heavier but it was for him own good.
She would food from fish she caught between the islands and when there were none she would eat coconuts or whatever plants seemed good to eat. What Flo didn’t eat were small berries or strange leaves. She didn’t wanted to have to endure a stomachache or food poisoning in such a journey. In one of the islands she found enough wood to make herself a spear (with a pointy rock from the beach) and a bow and arrow with part of the rope she had around the waist. It didn’t really work much but at least she was able to get the occasional sea bird for dinner.
At night she wouldn’t eat anything, fearing the jungles of some islands to be infested with the same monsters that had killed her friends. Flo was afraid of them and the possibility of luring him into the inhabited continent. She would hate to be the one to bring them there. The idea was to warn them, not to condemn them.
When she reached the island called Jall, the biggest one on the chain, she knew she was midway to her destination. The island was very large and would require several days of walking and certainly a more intelligent way to cross it as the beaches were blocked and it could only be traversed through the jungle. She slept the night she arrived on the beach of the neighbor island and crossed and first light. She wanted to take advantage of every single second of light during the day and was even prepared to go hungry for whatever time was necessary in order to cross the island as fast as she could.
The jungle was thick and the environment was very humid and thick, as if it was possible to actually touch the air and even take a bite out of it. The scents were generally sweet but after two hours of walking, the air turned heavier even and it started to smell awful. Flo had to pinch her nose for a straight hour, only breather through her dried out mouth. She wanted to wait to have some water but couldn’t as she fell she needed it badly, not being able to wait longer.
She stopped pinching her nose and the scent of sulfur invaded her nostrils. She grabbed the closest flask on the inflatable boat and drank fast but when she finished she didn’t kept walking. Flo realized that the smell came from small holes and gaps in the ground and that it was the ground itself that smelled like that. She looked up and between the trees a volcano as majestic as any other feature of this planet could be seen and a plume of heavy smoke, pouring ashes onto the other side of the island, was coming out of it.
Flo had to keep walking but then she heard a noise she had heard before, the sound of pincers opening and closing and before she realized one of the large animals that had attacked her village launched itself towards her. Her legs were apparently faster that her head because she had already begun running when the creature attacked. She escaped by a thread and ran towards the other side of the island, hopefully reaching the opposite beach soon. But she could only see jungle and more jungle and huge trees rising from the ground. They looked like palm trees but much larger and with lots of branches.
She only stopped running when the ground around her began to shake. The volcano was causing an earthquake and it was better to stay still. Far, beyond some plants, she saw the creature that had gone after her being devoured by a hole in the ground. It squealed horribly and disappeared as the tremor subsided and the island calmed down. Flo was sweating a lot and could only think about her boat and seeing if she had everything. After that, she kept on walking.
The other side of the island could not be very far but the more she walked the more it appeared the island was expanding or maybe she was walking in circles. She decided to climb one of the tall trees, leaving her boat at the base, in order to check out where she was and if she could see the ocean and the direction she needed to go to be on the good route home. She climbed with ability, having done it many times as she had built the village. She had done so with so many great friends and people that wanted a second chance at life, trying to begin again in a new place. But that had just been a dream and she was the residue of that nightmare.
When she got to the top she realized that she was very close to her objective, having only change course a bit. She had to start walking to her left because if she kept doing what she was doing maybe the volcano would consume her too. Talking about the volcano, she saw that the ash cloud had grown bigger and was spilling ash all over the passage she had to cross. But that wasn’t the most awful thing she saw from there. She noticed something like rocks on the side of the volcano, big black rocks. But then Flo realized they were moving and were coming down the mountain. She had little time.
Fast, she always broke a leg getting down and tying up the rope to her waist. She ran to the left as she had planned and didn’t stop until she reached a rocky beach and saw a blackened ocean. The light of the afternoon, red as blood, didn’t help to the image of the place. It looked like hell, as simple as that. And the demons were coming behind her so she just swam. The natural bridge had disappeared so she propelled herself hard with arms and legs and was soon tired but because the water felt thicker and she couldn’t even breathe properly.
Behind her, she heard dozens of pincers opening and closing and that made her try even harder to reach the other side and when she did she realized her body was covered in ashes and was black as the night that was beginning to fall. Tired and breathless, she saw how the beasts attempted to cross the water but something prevented them. The ashes were apparently more toxic to them than to her. One of the creatures, the bravest no doubt, launched itself to the ocean and tried to sweet but it got turned into a big white lump that floated away into the open sea.
The others were mad but not for long. Flo had felt the ground shake again and then saw fire pouring out of the volcano. Lava, just like water, bathed every single side of the island and she could feel the heat on her face. The creatures tried to escape but they had nowhere to run. She saw them die and she felt bad for them and didn’t know why. The lava slowed down and she decided to cross the island she was in and sleep later.
Florence actually crossed three small islands during the night, her fears having been also consumed by the lava. When she looked back, two days after the disaster, she saw only that the volcano had stopped and nothing more. She then had the silly idea that maybe, just maybe, that island was the natural toll booth of this world and maybe that other continent had never been one to settle a foot on.
She then turned around and headed on to Ventura, pulling her small boat with her and hoping for the best for the future of the human race.