Fires burned bright and loud as they consumed the burning wreckage, the sails having been set ablaze removing all traces of where it had come. Crew members lay strewn about the ground, some impaled on rocks others just smoldering heaps of ash.
The wreck burned in the midnight air as a small child climbed out from the wreckage carrying a cage containing a small octopus in his arms, like it was the only thing that mattered to him in the world. He was covered in blood, some of his own but most of it was from the mangled corpses inside the ship.
One of his eyes could not even function, a shard of debris having lodged itself inside it and preventing it from working properly.
The boy took shelter underneath where the sails had fallen and hadn’t caught fire. Breaking open the cage, he released the blue creature who was now his only friend.
Starving and delirious from dehydration and his head wound, he heard a small voice calling out to him in the night. Looking for the source of the voice, his eyes finally cast on his little companion staring directly at him.
“Now you hear me? Took you long enough," it said as it crept along the ground towards the child. The boy was currently hiding behind a barrel, cowering in fear.
"I’m your friend, child. You've had me for a while, but now you can hear me," it said quietly, trying to calm the shaken child’s nerves.
“You need to eat something," the small octopus whispered, scuttling up a box to look the child in the eye. The boy couldn't say a word, probably due to the traumatic injury that had been suffered. The octopus wandered over to a charred copse of a crew member.
“Go on, take a bite. It’s either this or we starve to death," it said, taking a small bite off the arm and swallowing it. “It’s not going to kill you. Eat, my friend."
The boy followed the octopus like he was listening to a song, compelled to move as the hunger for food set in. It felt like it had been days since he had eaten real food. He couldn’t remember anything at all, just the guidance of the small creature on his shoulder.
The days blurred together; he couldn’t remember how long he had been there, the wreckage still belching black smoke into to the air like a cancerous spot on the sky. He had grown feral, hiding from the scavenger and screaming at the buzzard feasting on the remains. More days had passed, thirst for a drink was overpowering. He was growing weak and sicker as the meat spoiled weeks earlier.
The boy heard his friend squeak as a packrat-like animal had wandered to the crash with the smell of something to scavenge in the air. All he heard was the words, "Run, run," being yelled. He tried to shamble toward the hull using a pipe to walk. Three of them had spotted the child and ran to get the boy, smelling like death. Almost upon him, he swung the pipe, hitting the first one in its head. With a sickening crack, it dropped like a sack of rocks, lifeless, though the blow had made him lose his balance and fall on the ground. His companion knocked loose from his perch on his shoulder to the ground.
One of the rat-like animals saw the opportunity and tried to pounce on the small creature. The child tried with all his dwindling might to throw his body over his friend in a last ditch effort to not be alone. He covered the little animal as the rats scratched and tried to bite his limbs.
A shot rang out as one clamped down on the screaming child's leg. He blacked out, slowly bleeding to death as he covered the octopus in his arms.
Alexander awoke with a scream with cold sweat drenching his body, reaching for his gun again. His breaths were rapid but were slowly calming down as he began to realize where he was. He heard from Franklin in the corner with a squeak, "You're in your room, Alexander, not where you were. You're safe-ish, now.
"That was the most realistic one I’ve had yet," Alexander said, hand trembling from the intense dream as he reached for his bottle of whisky. He brought it to his lips.
"What was it this time?" Franklin inquisitively asked as he moved from his perch with haste.
Alexander, slowly beginning to regain his composure, said, "It was that ship after it crashed. We were surviving out there… I think I ate dead people and drank blood so we didn’t die, but it’s still fuzzy in my mind right now." He struggled to recall the events of his dream. “Though, I think I know where this scar came from on my leg. A giant rat took a bite out of it," he said, rubbing the wound. He thought it was pulsing from the recent memory.
Alexander picked the bottle back up and took a big swig, trying to drink enough so he could fall asleep without revisiting that dream again. Hopefully sleep would come easy for him.
Before drifting off, he saw Franklin scuttle over to his forehead, giving him a kiss and scuttling off. Maybe he imagined that as exhaustion finally claimed him.