I prefer to think of Marwin as a duality. He doesn’t speak much, barely shows emotion, and if I were a little more judgemental I’d even say he was insensitive. The only things we had in common were our classroom and our heights.
At some point, he must have regarded me as an intolerable and difficult person. But soon he figured there was no way he could survive if he got rid of me. Other than that, he must have appreciated the times I gave him genuine help, right?
So when I heard a large crash from his room, I gave frantic knocks on his door and asked him if he was alright. I thought he had fallen unconscious again, until he opened the door half a minute later, standing still and normal. Except, half his face was stuck in his jumper. Overall he looked like a cat playing with yarn, and because of that I was unable to hold back a laugh.
‘Why on Earth are you here?’ His muffled voice showed clear contempt.
I calmed down before I answered, ‘For no reason in particular.’
Marwin said nothing. The last time I saw him, he was wearing a grey jumper; now it was black. ‘Are you in mourning?’
‘Last time I talked about death, it didn’t end so well.’
I thought back about Sawney and Lucius. ’Oh well. It’s not like everyone thinks the same, is it?’
‘It doesn’t matter. What we need is to get out of here.’
'And get blown away by the storm? And here, I’ll help you.' I slid his sweater on for good. 'I see you can’t use your left arm anymore.'
‘I can. It just hurts.’
‘Said the man who barely survived.’
‘I won’t die.’
I shrugged. 'Whatever you say. Mind if I stay here for a while?'
‘What about Normand?’
‘He was hungover from Sawney and Lucius’s game. Worry not, I’ve dragged him back to his room.’
‘They were playing…?’
'I’m afraid I have no idea. All I know is that he’s already on the floor by the time I rechecked him.'
Again, Marwin said nothing. Perhaps he had nothing to say, and he couldn’t expect anything else from Normand. All he had to offer was a moment away from my eyes, a hefty sigh, and a ‘Good Lord…’ under his breath.
I asked Marwin if he had any favours to ask. At first, I was expecting Marwin to give out a face of obvious rejection; but to my surprise, he asked, ‘Can I talk to Sawney and Lucius again?’
I gave him a keen look. ‘The talk about death?’
’Hm, strange. Me neither. I wonder if he’s in some kind of phase. Anyway, finding them would be a great benefit for both of us. I say this with genuity. What do you say?’
Marwin looked confused. I snickered. 'What? You don’t believe I’m helping you?'
‘…Fine. Just mind my left arm.’
'I feel more than sorry already, being rendered from your full potential.’
‘I don’t do that.’
Marwin put his phone in his pocket, and we left. He watched the inception of the hallway with wonder, even though there was nothing good out of it. The place stank. Stale odour of urine curled up from the cavities of the walls, and though the storm’s coolness lightened it up, it wasn’t enough to escape my acute senses.
‘By the way…’ Marwin said out of the blue.
I gave him a keen look.
'The gingersnaps. I’ve replaced all of them with cardboard and sealed the packaging with glue. Just thin enough not for you to know. So all your snacks—not just the gingersnaps—are cardboard. None of them are edible.'
‘...I knew there was something wrong with them.’
We knocked on Sawney and Lucius’s room. No one answered. The only signs of their earlier presence were scattered cans of beer, a deck of cards, and their bags. Even though I had brought up the possibility of Marwin getting shot, it turned out they didn’t even brought a weapon. Is it possible that there was a thirteenth person on the island, and they have left as soon as they thought they had killed Marwin? In that case, the culprit must have escaped, and there will be no point trying to find them.
No, it couldn’t be that. The culprit would have checked Marwin before they escaped. They would have shot him a second time, and there would be no survival. And since the storm happened almost the instant we had arrived, there would be no escape for that thirteenth person as well.
‘Mind if I ask what was on your mind?’ I asked.
Marwin blinked. By the time he came back from another dimension, he realised he was rubbing his hands red. ‘Did you forget something important? Have you lost something?’
Marwin narrowed his eyes. He looked away before he answered, ‘No…It’s nothing.’
He maintained his silence, even now. As we stay in the room of the missing brothers, I’m taking my time journalling and looking back on what I missed. That, as well as observing the room, with everything just so. Three players, three piles of abandoned cards. I took a look at each pile. At first, nothing seemed off. But then I noticed that the two cards were missing from the whole deck, so I'm writing this down too.
Recently Marwin also went out, and is now talking to Sevrin and Neilan. They were the ones closest to Sawney and Lucius aside from each other, so I had little hope that they have a clue.
‘So no one knows or cares?’ said Marwin.
‘I told you. They’re kind of private when it comes to this stuff,’ said Sevrin. ‘Wish I can help them, though, even if there’s nothing wrong.’
‘As far as I know, he’s perfectly fine until…this,’ Neilan joined.
‘“Perfectly fine”? I don’t think they’re the same since their…’ I couldn’t make the words out from there. The next words were, ‘I told you, I don’t know. Why ask?’
‘Sevrin, calm down.’
Vagueness. ‘Well, that’s her problem.’ More vagueness, then, ‘Neilan, you have to understand some people are…You can’t say shit without offending her…’ and finally, ‘Slave with Normand. Three beers and a Hawaiian red fruit punch.’
It ended there. I am disappointed, but high expectations always fail. Though I now know why those two abandoned the game, I’m starting to doubt whether we could reason with Sawney and Lucius. And with them gone, sinister thoughts began to form and wander, conjuring pictures I'd rather not write about.
No, I cannot think like that. I can’t keep this bitterness in my heart, because if we do find them, we would untie our knots, and soon these pages will be nothing but a gold-framed archive. After all of this is over, I will revisit all the dreams I had dreamt. Together with Normand, we will go to The Japan Bridge, Carrara, Île de la Jatte, and every restaurant we used to frequent. Then we’ll go back to we we started, and watch the seas before they’re all engulfed in the flames of time.