I don't know how I got here, nor why I am here. The ground was hard under my body, sand finding its way into almost every single crevice my body had, water flowing around me, the salty taste of it in my mouth, which would mean I had been in the water. It was cold, too, and my sopping wet clothes were sticking to my body. The breeze chilled me.
I opened my eyes. The sky was mostly clear, with a few small clouds in the distance, covering the sun. My hair was riddled with sand, and my eyes felt sore--most likely from the salty sea water. I slowly gained my bearings and sat up.
I felt like a beached whale. My muscles were sore, and cold, and tight, and it took a lot of effort to move. Still, I wiped my face with my sand covered hands, trying to clean off my cheeks. Obviously that did a wonderful job.
I rolled my eyes. It would take a while to rid my body of the sand. About fifteen feet in front of me there was a lush, green jungle.
I scoffed, crossing my arms over my chest. "Typical." Standing to my feet, I wrung all the water out of my clothes that I could, though wearing jeans was probably the worst decision I had made that day. Shivering, I made my way towards the trees. Hopefully I'd be able to find something to keep me warm. Maybe make a fire.
As soon as I entered the foliage, I could feel the light, sticky string of a spider web caressing my face. I shuddered. The spiders on this island were probably venomous. I took care to remove the web, by scrambling out of the jungle and frantically wiping my hands across my face. Hopefully spiders cannot sense fear.
I shuddered again, but pushed my way back into the foliage, being sure not to walk into another web. The trees were surprisingly far apart, as outside of the jungle they seemed denser than pound cake. I figured it was because of the leaves. There was a lot of grass, and thick bushes with little pink flowers blooming on them. There were bird sounds, too, and the whoosh of the trees swaying slightly in the breeze. It was calming, after that near-death experience with the web.
A smart person might search for tinder, kindling, and something to create a spark with, so that they could use smoke signals or something to get help, but I was curious of what was on this island, so I went exploring. My feet went one before the other over the ground, probably crushing a few insects along with berries and branches. My shoes made a very unattractive squishing noise every time I took a step, as my sneakers were still wet from the water.
The tree branches occasionally whipped my face, and soon there were red lashes all over my cheeks and forehead. I scratched at my cheek. The sand was dry, and making me itch all over. I wiped my hands on my jeans, hoping to get at least some of the sand off, when suddenly I was taken down by something.
"Get off me!" I screamed. "I'm but a fragile twig in the breeze!"
The brunet thing that tackled me to the ground quickly stood up, wiping his hands on his black pants as I had been before he had disturbed my peace. He was wearing a pastel blue button-up shirt, and it was damp, so the ridges made by his muscles were more distinct.
He looked me over with wide brown eyes. "You're a human," he said. He sounded surprised.
"Uh, yeah," I replied, getting to my feet so that I could look at him without craning my neck. "What else would I be?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe some sort of wild animal that was just running after me!" He sounded angry. What had I done?
"Excuse me, mister, but I was just taking a jolly stroll through this wonderful, completely spider infested jungle, when suddenly I get attacked by my own kind! And you're the angry one? I don't even understand why you're mad! I'm not the beast chasing you!"
He was silent. Moody, much?
"So, um," I started, as the air began to get awkward, "how'd you get on this island?"
"I don't know." He crossed his arms. "But I'm determined to get off."
"Say, um, you wouldn't mind maybe...," I said, scratching at my neck, "sticking with me? Just 'cause, well, that thing might come back. And all." Smooth.
He looked at me for a while, which just made this situation even more awkward.
"Enjoying the scenery, are you?" I blurted out.
His jaw fell to about collarbone height. I laughed awkwardly. Way to make the situation even more awkward than it was before.
After like ten seconds he composed himself, and replied, "I was just trying to understand what goes on in your mind."
Was that supposed to be an insult? "I like to be complicated, thank you very much." I bowed. "Now are you going to take my offer or not?"
His expression made it look like a hard decision, but eventually he blurted out, "Fine! But only because you are a fragile twig that would break under the weight of a chickadee."
I wasn't really insulted. "Then it's settled. We'll travel together."
He nodded, then headed in the direction that I had just come from.
"Hey bozo, I came that way. Let's go this way." I pointed behind me.
He cleared his throat, then stalked towards me. "Right, yes. This way."
We walked for some time, him in front of me--mostly for safety reasons--and me behind him, wielding a stick that I had picked up along the way, just in case that beast he had talked about before decided to come back. Although, now that I think about it, I'd probably just poke it, whereas this guy--whatever his name was--could probably hit a home run.
"Hey, what's your name?" I asked. We needed an icebreaker.
"Jonas," he replied shortly.
Jeez, where were all the gentlemen in this world? Did they even exist anymore? "I'm Wynn."
"Wynn. Is that short for Wynnie?"
"But Wynnie is short for Wyndolyn too, so in a way I guess yeah, it is."
"I've never heard that name before." He looked over his shoulder at me.
"Well it doesn't get underlined in Word, so it must have been popular in some era."
I smiled. "You think?"
He laughed. "Yeah, I do."
* * *
After a while, Jonas stopped in his tracks, looking around cautiously. Not too far away, there was a commotion of branches snapping.
I was afraid. "The beast?" I whispered.
"No, you're confused. I heard you bustling in the bushes behind me, and I thought you were a beast because you made a weird sound."
I looked at the stick in my hands, then back up to him. "I may or may not have run into a spider web on the way into this jungle."
He rolled his eyes.
"Hey, I had a good reason to screech! You would too, I know you would have."
"There's more of you?" came a male voice from behind a few trees. "Can't I just get a break?"
"Um, rude," I said, putting a hand on my hip.
A tall boy with black-brown hair and brown eyes emerged from the foliage, holding a look of disgust on his face. "I just want some peace and quiet. Obviously that will be hard with you two around."
"Listen, we're trying out find our way out of here--"
"So am I."
"So then why don't you come with us? We could find the way together," Jonas suggested.
"You know what? I'm good on my own. So I'll just be going now."
He stalked off in the way we had come from. I stuck my tongue out towards him.
"I hope he runs into all of the spider webs."
"He seemed very egotistical," Jonas commented, ignoring my death wish for the boy.
"Very full of pride," I agreed.
Jonas started to laugh, then said, "You should have hit him over the head, that might smack some humility into him."
We laughed together, then set off again, me holding my stick, and Jonas keeping pace beside me. Maybe this wouldn't be too bad.
* * *
We walked for awhile, and talked too, and eventually we walked through a dense patch of trees into a clearing. We both fell silent. There were seven torches burning in a circle. The ground was a dark brown colour and there wasn't a single blade of grass inside the circle.
"Creepy," I said, holding the stick tighter in my hands.
"Agreed," Jonas said, looking around skeptically. He took a step into the circle and the fires flared.
"Oh, wonderful, wonderful," came a female voice. It was loud. "You've found your way to the Ring! My first contestants!"
"Contestants? You mean this is some sort of sick game show? I didn't sign up for this!"
There was a fluttering, and then a young woman--probably about 20--swung down into the middle of the circle from some sort of vine. She was wearing a black T-shirt and greenish cargo pants. Her blonde hair was up in a perfect, tight ballerina bun.
"Oh, darling, of course you signed up for this. Maybe not with words, but with actions. And you"--she looked straight at Jonas--"did, too. All of you did!"
"Oh great there's more."
"Of course there's more, bozo, this is a game-show-sort-of thing."
"It surprises me that you two are the first to arrive," said the woman. "I would have thought Wrath and Envy would have beaten you."
"Those can't be their actual names," I said.
"They are now, Sloth." She gave me the evil eye. "I was sure that you and Greed would have made it here second to last."
The seven deadly sins, I thought. I'm Sloth, Jonas is Greed, that jerk that we met has to be Pride, and there are four others who need to arrive. Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, and Lust.
"How did you find us?" Jonas asked.
"I have ways. Now, if you wish to remain living, I would shut up. Wait at your torches for the others." She pointed to two flaming torches on either side of the Ring.
I walked to one, reading in the dirt the word S-L-O-T-H. I looked over to Jonas, who was glaring at his feet, probably at his. G-R-E-E-D. How does she know all this? I've never seen her before in my life. I looked back to the centre of the Ring.
She was standing in the middle, patting her perfect hair, when two more contestants stumbled out of the bush, screaming at each other, though they were quiet when they saw the fires.
"Welcome!" she said again, spreading out her arms. "Wrath, Envy." She nodded her head at them. "It's nice to see you here."
"I don't know who you're talking to," said one of them, a hint of hysteria and anger in their voice. He was a boy, and he had dirty blond hair from what I could see.
"You, of course. Wrath, please stand by your torch." The woman pointed towards one beside me. "And Envy, your torch is there, beside Greed."
Envy was a brunette girl, who, somehow, was chewing a piece of pink bubblegum. As she walked over to her torch, she looked me over, then frowned. I could tell that her hair was wet, so she must have been in the water, too. Wrath was scratching all over, which led me to believe that he was covered in dry sand.
I looked across the Ring to see Jonas staring at me. Our eyes locked and he looked away.
The woman was smoothing out her shirt when a chubby blond boy and a skinny girl with black hair, wearing a short skirt and a low V-necked shirt, emerged from the foliage.
"Ah, Gluttony and Lust. You've arrived just on time! Please take your places at your torches. Gluttony, you're on the other side of Sloth; Lust, on the other side of Greed." She pointed to the torches beside me and Jonas. They didn't move, so she pushed them in the directions they needed to go.
Lust took one look at Jonas and grinned. She winked at him and I felt a tug in my gut.
Chubby Gluttony stood beside me, and looked at his deadly sin on the ground with furrowed eyebrows. G-L-U-T-T-O-N-Y.
"Now then, only one more contestant...and where could he be?"
I spoke up. "Jonas and I met Pride, but he went the wrong way. He wouldn't go with us."
She looked at me with disdain. "Pride is still his prideful self, I see. Well," she smoothed out her pants again, "we will be waiting a while then. I knew he would arrive last. Each of you take a seat. You may speak to each other if you wish." She then took the vine in her hands, and climbed back up to wherever she had been before.
I looked across the circle to Jonas. He looked back at me. He started walking towards me, and the woman's voice rang out loudly.
"Don't move from your torches."
He stopped in his tracks, looked at me, then turned around and walked back.
I guess I'll have to get to know Wrath and Gluttony. I turned to face Wrath. "Hey." I waved my hand. "I'm Wynn. What's your name?"
"Well it's not Wrath, that's for sure! I'm Richard."
"I'm Henry," said the boy on the other side of me.
"Nice to meet you," I said to both of them "How'd you get here?" I doubted they'd know, as no one else had any idea so far.
"I don't know," said Glutt--Henry. "I just woke up on the beach."
"Same here," added Richard. "And I was really wet and cold, and covered in sand, and I still am! It's itchy as all get-out."
"I know how you feel. The same happened to me." I glanced across the circle to see Lust and Envy sitting very close to Jonas, Lust clinging to his arm. He looked uncomfortable.
"So you came with Greed, then?" asked Henry.
"His name is Jonas, not Greed. He doesn't even seem like Greed to me."
"I think you made a good impression on him," Richard said with a frown on his mouth.
"What do you mean?"
"He's been looking at you an awful lot, not really paying much attention to Haley and Envy," Henry added in.
"Hmm," I mumbled. This was news to me. I looked over to Jonas to see him staring at me. He likes me?
"And by the way, her name is Maecy, not Envy."
"Wonder why we all met up with a certain other person...," I said aloud.
But the two boys on either side of me never got to reply, because Pride burst through the trees, covered in scratches and leaves.
"Great!" he screamed.
"Welcome, Pride. Please stand at your torch, and I will lay out why you are all here."
With a confused look, Pride walked over to the last torch. The woman swung down from her perch in the trees again, and took a breath with a grin on her face.
"Welcome, all of you, to my Game of Sins."