“Oh Mommy! Look at him. He’s so cute. Can I keep him?”, Alissa asked.
Alana looked toward Alissa, and saw the monkey advancing toward her. Then suddenly three more monkeys appeared, moving closer to Alana and Aidan.
“Alissa come and stand behind me!”, Alana cried panicked. Alissa rushed behind her mother. “David!”, Alana screamed.
I rushed home. I saw the monkeys approaching my family.
“Alana and Alissa, I want you to very slowly head upstairs and into the bedroom and close the door.” , I told them.
They slowly crept upstairs. After they were gone, I tried to think quickly what to do. These monkeys did not appear to be friendly, although they could have harmed us already.
They had probably escaped from one of the cages. The crates that I found had been labeled with the name of a biomedical research firm. So these monkeys were probably being used for research. They may have harbored diseases. I couldn’t take a chance and let these monkeys roam freely on the island.
I grabbed a knife from the kitchen and regretfully killed the monkeys. I buried their bodies and cleaned up the blood. I called to Alana and Alissa and told them it was safe to come back downstairs.
Alissa looked around her fearfully. I hated seeing that expression on my baby’s face.
“Alissa, for now, you cannot go any further than your slide and your swing unless Mommy or I are with you. Alana, if I am not home, you and the children need to stay upstairs in the bedrooms.”, I told them.
“Okay. Daddy why were those monkeys so mean?”, Alissa asked me.
“Sometimes new medicines are tested on animals before they are given to humans. The diseases change the animals behavior and I think that is what happened to these monkeys.”, I told her.
“Oh. The poor monkeys!”, she said. “Can I go on my swing now?”
“Yes, but remember what I told you.”, I reminded her.
“Alright!”, she said running off.
Alana looked at me. “Where did they come from David? We have been here a good while, and they were not here before.”, she said.
I told her about the empty cages and the crates which I had found on the beach.
Fear and apprehension were in her eyes. “So we have no idea what other animals could be out there!”, she said.
“No, but I’m going to try to find out.”, I told her. The fear and apprehension in her eyes were replaced with an expression of defeat. I had never seen that expression in Alana’s eyes before, and it cut at my heart. She had lost all hope.
I decided to tell her about the radio which I was trying to build.
“Alana, I didn’t mention this before, because I didn’t want to get your hopes up. I have been working on a radio so that we can contact someone and try to get off of the island. I didn’t have a power source before, but now I found a crate with batteries in it. I’m sure I can adapt them to use in the radio!,” I told her.
Hope sprang in her eyes. “Let me help build it!”, she said enthusiastically.
I went back along the beach and retrieved the crate that contained the batteries.
I checked the children’s room. They were both still sleeping.
Then I heard it again and crept downstairs, looking around the house and beach. I saw nothing, but I recognized that the sound was a deep growl from some large animal. The animal wasn’t there, but the wind had carried the sound to the house. Now I had a new problem.
The next morning, Alana and I started working on the radio. Alissa was playing on her swing. Alissa was usually a very obedient child and had followed my instructions to only go as far as her playground.
We didn’t notice it, but she had wandered onto the beach, collecting seashells. Before she realized it, Alissa was a good way down the beach from home.
Suddenly, Alana realized that she hadn’t heard Alissa for a while. She looked at the playground and did not see her.
“David.”, she said. “Alissa is gone!”
Alissa was enjoying the warm sunshine and the gentle breeze. The storm had washed up the prettiest shells to add to her collection. There were a lot of new ones that she had never seen before.
She decided to run into the house to find something to carry them in. Then she realized how far away from home she had come.
“Oh no! Dad is gonna be so mad!”, she thought to herself.
Then she heard what sounded like a cat purring. She was strongly tempted to locate the sound, but she remembered the promise she had made to her dad. She headed back up the beach toward home.
“She can’t have gone far!”, I reassured Alana. “You stay here with Aiden. I’ll go find her.” I took off down the beach, looking for Alissa.
Alissa didn’t know it, but she was being stalked. She kept hearing the purring as she walked along the beach. She was relieved to see her father heading toward her. She ran to him.
“I’m sorry Daddy!”, she said. “I didn’t mean to go so far.”
“I’m just glad that you’re okay, but don’t let it happen again.”, I told her.
“Daddy are there any cats on the island?”, she asked.
“Why do you ask that?”, I said.
“Because I heard a cat purring when I was heading home.”, she said.
“I’m not sure what you heard, Alissa, but as far as I know there are no cats here. Your mother is worried about you. Come on let’s get you home.”, I told her.
When we got home Alana ran to Alissa and hugged her.
“Alissa, you scared us so badly! Don’t ever do that again.”, Alana told her.
“I’m sorry Mommy. I didn’t mean to.”, Alissa said.
“I believe you Alissa, but I’m still going to have to punish you. Go up to your room and stay there until dinnertime.”, Alana said. We had discovered that this was a perfect punishment for Alissa because she loved being outside.
Alissa went miserably upstairs.
“Alana, I’m going out to search the island and find out what other animals have been released. We can’t keep living like this. Worried whenever she is out of sight.”, I told her.
Alana looked at me concerned. “David, don’t go. We’re safe here at home. You don’t know what’s out there! I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you!”, Alana said anxiously.
“I have to Alana. I don’t feel that I can keep you and children safe without knowing what other animals are here on the island with us.”, I told her.
Despite Alana’s protests, I headed out to search the island. I had made a spear. I carried that, a knife and a hammer as weapons against whatever I might find. I moved quietly, trying to listen for any unfamiliar sound.
Alissa crept downstairs. It had to be dinnertime by now. When she reached the kitchen area, she saw her mother sitting on the floor, crying.
“Mommy, don’t cry.”, Alissa told her.
Alana wiped away her tears. “I’m okay Alissa. Everybody cries sometime.”, Alana said.
“I don’t like it when you cry, Mommy.”, Alissa said.
Alana got up and gave Alissa a kiss. “That’s because you are my sweet, tender hearted baby girl. What do you want for dinner?”, she asked her.
David had reached the clearing near the smaller waterfall. He heard the same low pitched growl that he had heard the other night. This time he was going to find the source. He pulled out his knife and silently crept forward.
Alana fed the children upstairs and then she allowed them to play for a while in their rooms before bed. She was trying to follow David’s instructions to remain upstairs while he was gone. She was extremely worried about him.
She was also concerned, because she believed that she was pregnant again. She hadn’t told David yet. He had so much to worry about. This baby wasn’t planned.
Although she was happy to have Aiden and Alissa, she no longer believed that it was wise to raise children here on the island. There was no future for them here. She started back working on the radio.
David saw the bushes close to the falls stirring. He inched nearer. Suddenly a ferocious tiger leaped from the bush directly at David he quickly jumped backwards. When the tiger advanced upon him again, David impaled him with his knife. After he was sure that the tiger was dead, he continued his search.
He found the dead body of a panther. He mentally reviewed the number of cages that had washed up on shore. He believed that the panther, tiger and the monkeys accounted for the animals which were contained in the cages. With a sigh of relief, he headed back home.
Alana was laying on the bed reading a book, when she heard noises coming from downstairs. She checked the children’s room. They were sleeping.
Then she heard something on the stairs. She crept to the children’s bedroom door and opened it just enough for her to see the stairs. When David came into view, she sighed with relief and rushed to him.
When Alana saw me at the top of the stairs, I could see the relief in her eyes. She threw herself into my arms, and I held her tightly.
“Are you and the children alright?”, I asked her.
“We’re fine David. Are you okay?”, she asked.
“Yes. I think I located all of the escaped animals. I didn’t see any signs of other animals.”, I told her.
“That is a big relief”, she told me. “Are you hungry?”
“No. I’m fine.”, I said. After having to end the lives of those animals over the last few days, food wasn’t very appealing to me.
Suddenly Alana rushed to the bathroom, and I could hear her vomiting in the bathroom. I thought back over the last few days. It had happened several times. “Was she pregnant?”, I wondered to myself. I decided to ask her.
After Alana returned from the bathroom, she stretched out on the bed to relax. I went to the bathroom and washed up, then I returned to the bedroom and joined Alana on the bed.
“Alana, I’ve noticed that you’ve been vomiting a lot over the last few days. You’ve also been tiring very easily. Do you think that you could be pregnant?”, I asked her.
“Yes. I think I am, David.” she answered.
Something in her voice sounded a bit off for her. She didn’t sound happy about the pregnancy.
“How do you feel about it?”, I asked her. She didn’t answer me right away.
“I want this baby more than anything, but just not here on this island. It isn’t the peaceful haven that I thought it was. There is no future for the children here. I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty David. I don’t blame you at all.”, she told me.
“Alissa and Aiden are happy children, and this baby will be too. I promise you Alana, everything will be okay.”, I told her, putting my arm around her. I always told her that everything would be okay, but I knew that if we did not get off the island soon, she would not be okay.