A day had passed on the strange island, though no more of the mysterious happenings had occurred. Kestrel was glad for that, the unexplained and paranormal had always scared her. She had set up camp up in a nice high tree, being such a good climber, this was the best choice, as the choices were ether the beach or the forest. The disappearing items incident had Kestrel firmly convinced that camping on the beach wasn’t a good option, as she did not fancy disappearing in her sleep. So, the forest it was. She had nestled herself in a rather tall and sturdy tree for the past few nights. Rather tall as in about the size of a nice small skiff. Climbing to the top of this impressive tree was no small feat, but when you’re a thief, you tend to learn how to scale large objects rather quickly.
As the sun dragged her into the next day, Kestrel decided that today she would focus on getting off the island. Perhaps on another day, or another island, she would’ve been poking around for treasure, but with the series of events, she didn’t want to spend another day on this island. Granted she did wonder that if she left the island, that her gemstone leg, as she had decided to call it, might fall apart or do something equally strange. She pushed that thought to the back of her mind, because escape seemed a long ways away. Kestrel slowly made her way down the tree, leaping from branch to branch, and then vaulting to smaller trees that made the descent easier. Jumping to the ground, Kestrel decided to start the day with a hunt for food. Most importantly water. Though she didn’t know how she would test the waters safety. As she discovered while stealing gold from the Gold Mine in the Isle of Doom, not all water was brain-eating-parasite-free.
Finding water was easy, though it had that crystal clear look of the Isle of Doom water. Kestrel was not quite sure she wanted to drink that, but she would need water. Maybe she could sterilize it by boiling it? But for that she would need wood. So to the beach it was.
Kestrel looked along the beach for anything, anything; the wreck might’ve left behind. But it seemed that everything had disappeared. The best she could do was gather a small pile of branches, which, thankfully, did not disappear when left unattended. Kestrel was glad for this, for disappearing branches would only make building an escape craft harder. But, while gathering more branches Kestrel noticed a gleam of white in her peripheral vision. Something in the bottom branches of a tree. Climbing up, Kestrel found its source. A twisted, burnt Armada mask. Lodged between the two branches of the tree, it obviously hadn’t disappeared.
Note to self. Kestrel thought, Things off the ground do not suffer unusual disappearances.
Well, if this mask had managed to not disappear, she might as well take it. It could be useful for something, she would need supplies, for building shelter and other necessities and if she needed this thing later and threw it away now…
Hopping up the tree to the mask’s location, Kestrel attempted to tug the mask out of the branches, and found it quite stuck. Tugging harder didn’t help at all, so Kestrel hopped to another branch to see what exactly had this Armada mask so stuck.
“Huh.” That was odd. The bark around the mask seemed to be swallowing it. On Skull Island, Kestrel might’ve fallen out of the tree in shock, but on this island, it would take a little more than a tree growing around a mask to startle her. Astounding how fast the unusual becomes the usual. Kestrel leaned closer to see exactly how the tree was swallowing the mask; after all, since she was sleeping in a tree, she wanted to find out how it worked, as so to not get swallowed herself. Studying the mask closely, she noticed she was being reflected on it, though her reflection looked younger. Strange, this mask was so damaged; she hadn’t expected it to reflect anything. Then the picture changed and she looked older, wait no… That was… That was…
Then the mask yelled, the reflection of her, no it was- “Kestrel!”
“Mother!” Kestrel screamed, knowing what this was now, she had to run before she saw it-
It was as if Kestrel had been pushed out of the tree so fast did she shoot herself off of it. The mask clattered down beside her, it’s horrible, horrible, pictures, no, memories still taunting her, unlocking the grief she had for so long pushed away, Kestrel had tried to kick it away from her in the tree, unlocking it, apparently, from the bark. Kestrel had hit the ground hard, probably had hurt herself again, but she shot up and ran away, as far away from that mask as she could run, from all the hurts it was opening. She had tried to push them away, but the mask was bringing them back.
Kestrel was aware of someone screaming, vaguely aware that it was her. The jungle branches where cutting her, she was running into them, but those hurts where better than the ones the mask had brought up.
She was aware when she collapsed near the pool of water, quite beautiful really, with the waterfall, but all Kestrel could think of was the memories. Her vision was fading again, but she fought it, knowing what would happen if she surrendered to the blackout. She fought her losing battle for as long as she could, fighting the darkness.
“Kestrel! Kestrel run!”
The nightmares had won and the memories, those horrible memories would start now.
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