Note: I did not have time to carry out new investigations today, so sketches are taken from previous explorations of the islands.
Again my dreams were crowded, but this time the shadowy figures that shoved me had intent. While I tried to explain that I was a British citizen, with certain rights; they cut out my organs, one by one and inserted them into the plants growing around us. Wispy fingers holding scalpels, sliced and diced, and my heart was cut free and lovingly placed in a small shrub.
I woke up gasping, relieved to find myself intact, but feeling more than a little ill; feverish and shaky. My feet were wet again. Despite my wobbly legs, I decided I had had enough oddness and I wanted answers: from where did these dreams come? Who was entering my tent while I slept to make my socks soggy? I went in search of the fisherman who always seems to seek me out. The fever was causing me to hallucinate phantoms that vanished the moment I looked at them.
When I found the fisherman sitting on a rock, I was exhausted and frazzled, but my determination was strong, I would know the truth! I blurted out,
“Tell me what is happening? Tell me who are the Lost Men? Tell me what’s wrong with me? Why do I feel so ill?”
This was more emotional than I’d have liked, but the fisherman was not fazed,
“A thousand years ago, the Lost Men lived on the island, they were men of science. They played with animals and plants, fusing one to another. It was an abomination, so the sea swallowed them. Swallowed the whole island.”
“But you’ve told me that. That doesn’t explain why I’m ill.”
“They are still playing. Still meddling with nature, now they are meddling with you too.”
“Meddling with me how, what are they trying to do?”
“When the islands rose again, my people would visit these islands. They would come fishing for monster fish, they would hunt the monster animals and eat the monster plants. They didn’t ask why such monsters existed, they simply stole. Then the footprints started appearing, but my people said, ‘these are just marks in the rock, a coincidence, it cannot harm us.’ So they continued to hunt and fish. And then the dreams began, and they said, ‘this is only a fever, it will pass.’
“What they didn’t see, was that their nature was already being stolen. The plants they dug up, regrew in their likeness. This was the Lost Men claiming their souls, stealing their existence so they could never leave. We don’t know what happened when the islands sunk again into the sea, we only know that most did not come back. And now, they too leave footprints. Now, they too play with the animals and the plants. Creating new monsters. Animals within animals, souls within souls. Animals connected to plants. The Lost Men will keep increasing in number. And now they have you, the plants have stolen your likeness and you will never leave.”
And without another word, the fisherman walked back across the island, throwing stones on the ground as he left.