On an island out in the middle of the ocean there are five lost strangers. They cannot escape from this place, their friends have tried and all are now dead. Flexible skeletons, with rubbery flesh stretched tight over haggard ribs fish in great boats along the coastline, but they inhabit a different plane of existence.
They can see us, but we do not appear to them as humans. They view us as inanimate sticks of wood floating in the bay or blown across the beaches.Our calls for help are simply the tide catching under lava rock to make a gurgling noise, to them we smell of kelp and tired wood.
Perception is a funny thing, I think to myself. They net their fish then saran wrap their catch, in the past, a few of us have gotten caught up in their nets and suffocated, but they do not understand our death, they do not mind our passing. We play less in the water now, knowing the danger, and also knowing that though they are in giant ships, there is no hope of being ferried home. On the islands interior a great monster wants to be a god, and make the monkey spirits respect him.
When he catches the youngest girl in our group, he pretends that she is not his captive, that it is all a secret game between them. She scares the monkey spirits into fearing the monster, but we pull her back to us, and the monster loses his face, and the real thing, in the shell of it, is not so scary after all. He weeps and the monkeys laugh. They eat the monster, and stop stealing our fish to repay our kindness.
There are just two of us left now, and as we lie back to back under shady palms and feeling the smooth pebbles on our feet, we spy in the surf a great white shark. I run along the shoreline pacing the shark and a monkey spirit nudges me nearly into the foam. I narrowly avoid being swallowed but we race onward My companion catches the shark and asks me where we should go and I want to see the colors orange and purple, meet a giant and light my teeth on fire, so the shark starts swimming.
We arrive in India, and my ankles are beautiful. My companion puts a thumb in the center of my foots arch and embarks on a separate journey to the stars.
I put socks on, they are hot and itchy. The old woman who I am living with makes pink strings of tarragon for me to eat. The sky is full of fireworks at noon, mirrored by hills of flowers. it is so hot that I must take my socks off, so I peel them away and my beautiful ankles are soft and cool.
Everyone stares at me and tells me I must always wear socks to hide my ankles from bugs that will bite them and turn them ugly. Nobody can see the beauty in their ankles, but they believe they must be beautiful underneath their hot, white socks.