Their eyes narrowed, their breathing grew shallower and any spontaneous, loud sound made them jump abruptly, their eyes would pop open and their hearts would jolt convulsively. They were trembling. They kept glancing at each other when the other wasn’t looking. Sometimes their gaze met, but they turned their heads abruptly. They feared each other because they knew not of each other. They were two strangers stuck on an unknown Island.
The sea breeze was like cold needles, pressing on and through their skins. The Young King’s teeth were clattering, his body rattling and shaking as the ice-cold wind sank into his bones, leaving his ears stiff and frozen. Rubbing his hands together and blowing some warm breath into them wasn’t working either. His nose was as cold as the nose of a seal slithering on ice.
The Young Queen could not pay any attention to the cold breeze. Her stomach was thundering and growling, she was only a little Queen and girls get very hungry. She felt as if there was a hole dredged into her stomach. She was more than famished, more than starving, definitely more than hungry.
Her hunger grew fiercer for the Young Queen was used to being fed grapes and indulging in whatever delicious meals she wanted. She fantasised about food like a man ogling at a beautiful woman. The cold breeze worsened for the Young King who was used to thick and fluffy cloaks. It was becoming colder and colder as the hours sank deeper into the abyss of the afternoon.
The Young King was at his wits end. The cold was unbearable and had a firm grip on him, making him stiff and he was trembling. He had to do something. He rose and gathered some wood to start a fire. The Young Queen could not grant hunger the honour of taking her royal and precious soul. She rose and stepped out into the woods, feigning bravado and confidence, looking for anything she could sink her teeth into.
They both toiled until darkness shrouded them. The Young King gathered as much wood as he could and the Young Queen tried to hunt for as much meat as she could. Their efforts were in vain.
The Young Queen kicked her hunting sticks and stones on the ground, grunting in anger, until the veins in her forehead popped out. She threw herself on the sand, sank her face in her arms and wept. Simultaneously, the Young King kicked the gathered wood, it scattered on the sand, he grunted in anger, his jaw clenched and his knuckles turned white. He sank himself on the sand and hung his raised knees, breathing heavily, his face frozen and tight.
The Young King and Queen sat at the shore of the ocean and still waited. They were still hoping for someone to come and save them. Both of them sat with their knees raised, gazing out into the horizon as the sun shut her eyes behind the sea, as if the ocean itself was a steep mountain to climb.
The Young King was brave.He stood up, shivering, wrapped his arms around himself and walked towards the Young Queen. “I saw you trying to hunt for a deer today” said the Young Kin. He wasn’t smiling or smirking, his countenance was fixed. The Queen jumped and leapt onto her feet, wide eyed and her heart pounding. “The quail was right in front of you, but you missed it.” He grimaced, disappointed and exasperated. “What kind of useless woman are you?”
The Young Queen felt her heart pounding in her chest, pestered and her emotions were a roller-coaster, her jaw clenched and her beautiful eyes sprang into a vicious, viper-like scowl. “Oh yeah!” the Young Queen sneered in a flippant manner. “You talk about my failures, but look at you. If you had spun, the spindle a couple of more times and faster maintaining pressure, the spindle tip would have begun glowing red and an ember would have formed. Deposit the ember onto the bark, transfer it to a tinder bundle and blow it to become a flame. You’re also good for nothing.”
The two quarrelled and argued, blurting vicious scoffs and hyperboles at one another, “What kind of man are you?” the Young Queen exclaimed, “you’re a good for nothing knuckle head. You’re a failure,” she shouted. “What kind of man fails to prepare a fire?”
The Young King’s blood boiled, “No,” he shoved his finger in her face, “you’re the failure because you can’t even catch a lousy, feeble quail.”
They argued and argued and began to wrestle each other. One over the other, they rolled on the rough sand, until they were worn out and lay beside each other, panting and out of breath. They had squandered all their energy. Now, they were both ravenous and cold.
“What’s your name?” the Young King growled, without a smile or smirk. His voice stern, deep, brusque and bold.
The Young Queen glanced at him with an air of arrogance and pride, “Why do you ask for my name? Why don’t you give me yours?”
“I asked you first!” the Young King said. “You ought to give me your name first. Didn’t your mother teach you manners? You don’t answer a question with a question, young lady!”
The Young Queen was haughty, she leapt up onto her feet and sneered, “Young Lady? Who are you calling young lady, you pompous air head? You know what, I don’t know you Mister and I would be out of my wits to give you my name? Didn’t your mother teach you not to talk to strangers?”
Once again, they quarrelled and argued until nearing darkness, the Young King said, “Okay listen, let’s come up with a solution. I can see the goose bumps on your skin and your stomach is rumbling like thunder.”
The Young Queen wrapped her arms around her stomach embarrassed.
“And you can see me shiver,” the Young King said. “Why don’t we huddle up together to keep warm and tomorrow, we rise and build a home we can sleep in, so both of us would be warm until help comes? We will die in this cold.”
The Young Queen thought about it and she deemed it a brilliant idea. The Young Queen nodded, “Okay, but it doesn’t mean I like you or we are friends.”
The Young King stuck out his hand, “Deal,” and they shook hands. “Signed, sealed and delivered… I’ll sleep at the back,” he said, with a mischievous grin.
Her eyes popped open. “And why do you want to sleep behind me? Don’t you dare get any silly ideas Mister?” she said, pointing a finger at him.
The Young King chuckled, “Listen, it’s too cold for that and I’m too tired. If we don’t do this we will die. And besides, I have more muscle then you.” He flexed a bicep and she smiled, “I’ll keep you warmer,” he said.
The Young Queen brooded and they sunk to the cold sand, sleeping one behind the other. He wrapped his arms around her and threw his legs over her. She winced in this comfort and whimpered. They held each other like lovers, though they were not. After a few minutes of lying down, the Young Queen felt something hard poking her on her back. “What do you have hidden in your pants?” she asked. “It’s poking me on my back. It’s poking, like a cucumber.”
The Young King, winced in embarrassment and stammered, “Err, i-it’s a stick,” he said. “…To protect us from the wild beasts.”
The Young Queen had a look of disbelief, “Well, get it out! I won’t be able to sleep with it poking my back. Quiet a short stick you use on a wild beast, don’t you think?”
“It does get bigger you know,” said the Young King. “When it’s cold, it shrinks.”
“Huh? What kind of stick is that?”
He smiled mischievously, “A royal one.”
They slept and soon it was morning. The Young Queen had a peaceful sleep and experienced great dreams. In the morning, they were facing each other, intertwined in each other’s arms, like doves. Holding each other tight, with beaming expressions in their sleep, as if they were long time lovers.
The birds were singing a sweet melody, the ocean whistled a lullaby and the breeze massaged their skin. The sun penetrated their eyes, blinding them. It was a beautiful morning. When they opened their eyes and saw themselves facing one another, wrapped in each other’s arms, they both leapt onto their feet as if a snake had slithered between them.
The Queen gulped, her cheeks became red and she couldn’t keep eye contact. They both could not look at each other. She tucked her hair behind her ears, “S-Sorry,” she stammered, downcast.
The Young King chuckled, “So do we begin our building?”
“Err, yeah sure,” she said.
“And how was your sleep?” he asked.
She gasped, “I wouldn’t bear another night like last night. It was the worst I ever had.” She lied, pretending to be absent.
The Young King smirked, with a sideways glance, “Oh yeah? Well, I’m sure I heard you snoring and talking in your sleep.”
Her eyes popped open, “Talking in my sleep…? And what was I saying?”
He had a mischievous gleam on his countenance, pursed his lips and shrugged, “Mmm…”
“Perhaps I was talking to the wild beast you wanted to kill with the little stick you had stuck in your pants,” she said, gesturing at his groin with her head. “So Mister, little stick man, where do we start?” She was oozing with sarcasm.
He chuckled and then blushed. He became more compassionate and less arrogant. “Well, first we need to know what we have available on the island to construct our house.”
She nodded, “When I went hunting, I saw some dried, old deer skin at the other end.” She gestured in the direction.
“Excellent we can use it for walls,” said the Young King. “When I went gathering for wood to start the fire, I saw some dried old logs right behind that hill.” He pointed in the direction where he had seen the dried wood. “So, excellent, we can cut the deer skin in half and sleep on them and cover ourselves with what remains at night.”
The Young King brooded, “Now that we’ve got all we require for our house, we need a plan on how to build it. I don’t know how, my father worked in a butchery and I’m a hunter. I’m good with animals. I’m a King, who came looking for a long lost treasure on the island, but the raging waves tore the ship apart and my servants died in the shipwreck and I survived. I’m a treasure hunter.”
The Queen’s eyes popped open, “My father was a carpenter and he taught me how to work with wood and skilled me to work with my hands. I can carve anything and build anything using wood. I am a Queen. I too, came looking for the lost treasure on the island, but my servants died in the shipwreck and I survived. I’m a treasure hunter too.”
They were getting to know each other. Both were royalty, from whence they came. They had things in common and similar interests. They wanted treasure and understood what treasure was. They both had gifts and the island had valuable resources that they could use to build their house.
The Young Queen thought it was a great opportunity to work together and meet all their needs equally, “Why don’t you go and hunt for some food for us and I will gather the wood and build the house for us?” she said.
The Young King agreed, he bowed, curtsying “At your word, your highness.” They both smiled at each other and pursued their duties.
The Young King hunted and killed a fat deer and they had more than enough to eat for the day, leftovers for the night and the next day. Their stomachs were as puffed out as a pregnant elephant. They lay inside their little royal abode, their manifestation. Each had their own corner and each had their own view of the beautiful sky. There was more than enough room. It was a warm, cuddly and cozy abode. The Young Queen made the Young King feel like he was in his palace.
The Young Queen laughed, “My stomach is so full, I don’t even think I’ll be able to sleep. You did a great job, I thought I was gonna die on this island. Now, I have hope.”
He chuckled, “Likewise. This place is so warm, I know I’m gonna have a wonderful sleep tonight. You did a great job indeed, Young Queen.”
She felt her heart flutter when he called her a Queen. It opened the gates of her soul, she could feel herself blossom and morph into someone different. She gained back her confidence and esteem and so did he. They laughed and tarried looking at the sky, playing and when their hands touched, it was electrifying like lightning striking. Both became lost in the beauty of the stars and the luminous energy of their royal presence made them feel safe around one another. They trusted one another.
The Young King glanced at her, “You know what,” he said, “I think I’ve found me something more than the treasure I was looking for.”
The Young Queen, turned her head abruptly and faced him, smiling broadly, “Oh yeah and what would that be, Oh Royal King?”
The Young King smiled, “I’ve found a friend, someone I can trust and someone I can count on to build a boat to take us back home. Someone with treasure inside of them.”
The Young Queen smiled back and blushed, “Yes, you’re right,” her eyes beamed, “and I’ve found someone who can help me stay alive for as long as I can. The treasure is inside of us and around us, both of us,” she said. “Tomorrow, tomorrow we will rise and build our boat and go back home.”
The Young King grinned and said, “Yesterday we said tomorrow, let’s rise up and build.”