The Adventure of Edgar
Edgar arose from his dream filled slumber at the crack of dawn, as was his daily schedule. The crescent moon, hanging despondently above the horizon of what was once Edgar's home, was beginning to retire for the night, relinquishing its position to the scathing sun. Rubbing the crust from his eyes, Edgar stood and started the relatively short task of readying himself for a long day ahead. He did his business off of the side of his crumbling apartment building and cheerfully looked down at the decrepit city that lay below him.
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Everything is looking normal, he thought to himself as he covered his balding head with his Tilly Hat. Strolling by his ornate cheval mirror, Edgar paused and appraised himself. His face, missing a nose, appeared to be healing at an excruciatingly slow rate. “Looking good, Edgar,” he rasped to himself in his toad's croak of a voice.

All over his body, Edgar was missing strips of flesh. His grotesque appearance was due to a condition known as ghoulification, something that happened fairly regularly to humans who were exposed to extensive amounts of radiation. In Edgar's case, he had been out in the open when some atomic bombs fell, and in the moment that he had lost much of his skin, Edgar had also lost both of his ears and his nose. Thankfully, he still retained his auditory and olfactory functions, although Edgar would never be considered handsome again. His milky eyes, protruding veins, and missing skin and cartilage could all be attributed to his lack of cash and, thereby, his inability to obtain cosmetic surgery.

Opening up his wooden chest of weapons, Edgar took out his favourite piece of armament: a short bow and seventeen arrows which he kept in a quiver that he had sewn onto his leather duster. He proceeded to walk down the eight flights of stairs from his apartment to the ground level, in search of food.

“Eddie! Are you going hunting?” a girl's voice called excitedly.

“What?! Who?!” Edgar jolted in fear as he spun around to see his neighbor, a little girl with messy brown hair named Sue, rushing towards him. Sue, while mostly nice and polite, was generally an annoyance to Edgar.

“Geez, Ed. I just wanted to know if you were goanna bring me something to eat,” Sue inquired shyly.

“I don't know, Sue. The radroaches are running thin. If I find anything neat, I'll bring it back to you,” he replied sheepishly, embarrassed at having been so startled by an eight-year-old girl.

“Promise?” Sue asked, extending her pinky finger out to Edgar.

“I promise,” he croaked exasperatedly, touching his pinky finger to hers to signify a 'pinky swear.' With that, Sue gave Edgar a big hug and ran quickly back inside to play. Looking after her, Edgar sighed and continued on his way.

After his morning of hunting, Edgar arrived back home with three juicy radroaches. He had only just started to walk up the stairs to his room on the eighth floor when he felt something cold on the back of his neck and froze. He knew what was happening; he had been in this kind of situation before. There was someone, most likely a maniac, standing behind him, holding a bazooka to his back. Edgar was terrified. While he was generally courageous, knowing how to be a leader, he became something of a 'scaredy cat' when he was in direct conflict with another human being. Then again, there was also a chance that the person standing behind him had a perfectly reasonable explanation for why they were pointing a weapon at him, and Edgar didn't want to risk seeming rude by accusing them of being a criminal right away.
Squeezing his eyes tight and certain he was going to soil himself, Edgar called out in a tremulous voice, “Eh... hello?"
“Best you shut your mouth there, ghoulie,” a man purred in the thickest Scottish accent Edgar had ever heard.
“Um...Can I get you something, sir?” Edgar asked apprehensively, sure that he was seconds from being shot.

“Well now, I like the servile attitude. I think you'll be coming with us, then,” the man sneered. Edgar felt a sudden, sharp pain in his rear end as the man shot him with a tranquilizer dart.

“YOWCH!” Edgar yelped and clutched his behind, screaming expletives as he tried to fight off the flood of drowsiness which threatened to knock him over.

“Heh, you're a tough one, eh, ghoulie?” The man taunted, clearly surprised. Edgar then felt a sharp pain in his head, but only for a second, before everything went black.

Edgar awoke to a state of pure agony: his temples throbbed, his throat was parched, and his entire body ached with exertion. Underneath his back, the ground seemed to be undulating, sending a fresh wave of nausea coursing throughout his being with each pulse. Upon opening his eyes, Edgar encountered a darkness akin to the one he had left behind in his unconsciousness. Where am I? Edgar wondered as he tried to recollect his jumbled thoughts. Recalling nothing, he decided to assess his surroundings, and, mustering up the little strength he had, Edgar tried to pull himself up into a sitting position. Immediately, Edgar's head snapped back with a violent jerk as the shackle around his neck tightened, throwing him to the floor.

Gasping and heaving for air, Edgar became dimly aware of the puddle of water that blanketed the ground and realized that he was on a boat. Laying motionless on the damp deck, Edgar slowly opened his eyes; his vision was blurry and disorientated. Fighting his pounding head, he surveyed the scene and saw that he was chained on a fairly large wooden boat. He realized who he was aboard with and cursed under his breath.

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“Those damn slavers! I would take care of them all by myself if I wasn’t in such a poor condition.”

He looked around once more and estimated that there were around ten slaves on the boat. Slowing scanning the premises, he was shocked to find Sue, bound by thick rope and rocking back and forth in the corner, gazing emptily at the black sea. Seeing that he couldn't do anything to help her, Edgar sighed and looked elsewhere. From somewhere on the ship, he could hear an old vinyl playing softly, its music lost in the sound of waves crashing against the side of the boat. Although he was in an unfortunate plight, he still managed a smile and gently closed his eyes, trying to recollect the memories that had been evoked by this song. He recalled that he would always whistle and sing along when he was younger. Without realizing it, he began to sing gratingly, as soft as a whisper.

“We were sailing along…On The Moonlight Bay. We could hear the voices ring - "

The song was abruptly cut short by a strike to his ribs from one of the slavers, who yelled, “Stop singing, will ya?!”

Edgar moaned, writhing from the ache left on his body. He felt his ribs and turned himself over to look at Sue, who was continuing to rock herself while looking frantically around the wooden boat. There was a moment when they made eye contact, and Edgar saw that she was filled with bewilderment and fear. Allowing himself to succumb to his dizzyness, Edgar’s head fell back and he descended, once more, into unconsciousness.

"Eddie?" a girl's voice whispered excitedly by his head, "Eddie, you gotta look over there!"

Edgar bolted upright, his head feeling surprisingly lucid. Strangely, the shackle around his neck was gone, and neither the slavers nor the other slaves were anyhere in sight; he and Sue were alone on the boat.

"What is it, Sue?" he croaked irritatedly.

"There are a bunch of things over there in the water!"

She was right. Lurking quietly on their right-hand side was a swarm of brachiomorphs, sea creatures that looked like a cross between a crab and a shark. Despite being the top predators of the post-nuclear seas, the brachiomorphs looked as if they hadn't eaten for days.
"HOLY-" Edgar tried to exclaim in shock, causing a painful, rib-rattling cough.

"Eddie!! Are you okay?!" Sue demanded worriedly.

"I'm...fine...Sue..." Edgar staggered up. "But we have to get out of here!"

Running as quickly as they could, Edgar and Sue headed to the wheelhouse, only to find that it, like the rest of the boat, was abandoned.
"Where could they have gone? Are we supposed to sit here and do nothing?" Edgar gasped .

BOOM! The ship rocked on its keel, threatening to capsize and throw the duo into the gaping maws of the brachiomorphs.

"Oh no!" Edgar cried as he scrambled onto his feet, "They're trying to flip us over!"
"What do we do?!" Sue was on the verge of hysterics as she pulled on Edgar's pant leg.

"Uhhh..." Edgar stuttered nervously, "I think I can right the ship." Throwing himself into the wheelhouse, Edgar found the helm port and spun it with all his might, gradually levelling the ship . Suddenly, something in the portholes caused them both to look up. Edgar's eyes blinked in confusion as the sea disappeared, only to be replaced with a long, grey beach. With a jarring impact followed by a deafening metallic groan, the ship slammed into the sandy shore, lodging its bow deep into the earth, and came to a silent stop.

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"Where are we, Eddie?" Sue grasped Edgar's arm tightly. "It's far away from home, isn't it?"

Looking into her misty eyes, Edgar had nothing to say, so he paused for a few seconds, unsure at what to do. Everything seemed to hurt this lively but jittery spirit. Gazing at Sue's pallid and plaintive visage, he placed a soothing hand on her back.

"Trust me, it's all going to be okay. Let's get out of the boat first," Edgar smiled gently.

As they marched along the beach in search of food, Edgar noted the lush forest beside them and wondered what they would find inside. They were followed by the creatures in the sea as they walked along the coast, and, finding nothing of use on the beach, Edgar took Sue into the forest.

It was dark, creepy, and humid; Sue clung onto Edgar's arm with such force that he could feel her trembling in fear. Neither of them spoke a single word as they crawled through the underbrush, vulnerable to whatever laid ahead. Once, the desolate cry of a bird broke the silence, followed by a long, drawn catlike whine. Sue's body shook violently as she tightened her grip on Edgar's arm. Some time later, the pair was startled by the sound of a snapping twig that had come from neither of them. Sue looked around scrupulously and murmured so that only Edgar could hear, " I think someone's behind us. "

Edgar quickly scanned the area behind him but, seeing nothing, the two escapees continued to scrounge the forest for edible food. Suddenly, Sue screamed.

"Eddie! I found some berries!"

Sue extended her hands to Edgar, revealing some fresh, red berries. To certify that they were edible, Edgar tasted the berries first, noticing a wide array of trees bearing various berries and different types of fruit. Once they were deemed safe, Edgar and Sue continued to munch on the berries voraciously while Edgar surveyed the surrounding area. In front of him, there was a wide blue beach and a gargantuan cave. Realizing that they needed a place to rest, Edgar said, "Sue, let's build a shelter."

Nodding, Sue helped Edgar in scouring the beach to find the best and most convenient place to build a shelter. Suddenly, they heard the footsteps behind them again. Edgar quickly turned around and encountered a man with a brawny, robust stature. Stumbling backwards, Edgar tried to cover Sue with his body while demanding, "Who are you?" The stranger smiled and replied in soothing tone, "Calm down boy. I am an inhabitant of this island and I followed you to see if you would need help. What happened?" Edgar stared at Sue, who whispered to him, "Eddie, just ask him for help; we don't really have any other choice." Embarrased at himself for taking advice from a child, Edgar explained their situation as succinctly as possible. When he was finished, the man told them to follow him. Exchanging glances, Sue and Edgar obliged.

The man lead Edgar and Sue through a winding route in the forest, and ten minutes later, they came upon a village of small huts. Edgar and Sue could see many people flitting between the different shelters, and the man explained that those were the people who had escaped from the ship. Sue was relieved and whispered hopefully to Edgar, "Eddie, I think we found a place to live." However, Edgar didn't want to live with these people; some of them might have been the slavers who had kidnapped him and taken him away from his home. In the end though, he relented and accepted Sue's plea to stay in the village. Showing Sue and Edgar to a shelter, the man introduced them to the people in the village.

"This is Edgar and his friend, Sue. They have just escaped from a capsized boat. Please, welcome them into our community," the man proclaimed.
Following the end of the man’s speech, Edgar became aware of a familiar presence. Above the throng of villagers slowly shuffling forward to greet him and Sue, Edgar instantly recognized the loud drawl and flaming head of the Scottish brute who had terrorized him. Not willing to face the slavers, Edgar lifted Sue over his shoulder and ran away from the village at full tilt, entering the forest. Even though thorns and tree branches viciously tore into Edgar, causing blood to trickle down from his already ravaged body, the adrenaline was too high for him to notice the pain. Reaching the beach, Edgar slowed to a stop and laid Sue down, noticing a look of pure terror and confusion on her face. Knowing he had to say something to explain his actions, Edgar rapidly blurted out, “I think the slavers are in that village. I’m sorry I didn’t say anything at the time, but I did it for your own good.” Sue just glanced up at him timidly.
Just then, someone shoved Edgar, causing him to fall face flat into the muddy ground. “Well, well, well. Who do we have here?” the Scottish man taunted, prodding Edgar with the nose of a gun. There was a moment of complete silence as Edgar, bleeding from head to toe, was too exhausted to respond to the man’s question. Then, he was forced to stand as the slaver pulled him roughly to his feet. Leading Sue and Edgar by the point of his gun, the slaver marched them back to the village, where two of his comrades immediately grabbed Sue.
“Get your hands off of her, you monsters!” Edgar shouted as he tried futilely to break free from his captor's hold.

“Aw, why don't you come over here and save your precious little girl?” one slaver mocked.
Suddenly, an eerie shriek pierced through the air, causing everyone to look up and freeze at the sight of a flock of immense, black eagles soaring over the top of the village. "Run for cover!” screamed one of the slavers, and the Scottish man immediately began sprinting towards the entrance of the forest, dragging a terrified Edgar behind him. After a couple miles into the forest, the two stopped and struggled to catch their breath, waiting for the other slavers to catch up. Edgar looked around and noticed something was amiss.

"Where's Sue?” he asked worriedly, but no one had an answer for his question.

The group searched everywhere for Sue, but there was not one single trace of of her. Hearing the slavers moving around from about 30 to 40 metres away, Edgar knew he had to keep moving, fast. Sensing a bush beside him, Edgar tried to measure if he could hide behind it without being noticed. After thinking about it for no more than ten seconds, he decided to take a risk and dived behind the vegetation. His breathing became heavier and his heart started pounding much faster as the slavers approached closer to the bush, realizing that Edgar had disappeared.

"Come out!" one of the slavers called, "we're not going to hurt you!"

"Yeah right," he muttered under his breath.

When he thought they had passed, Edgar started moving again. Unfortunately, his movement made a rustling noise that was audible enough to alert one of the slavers to his presence. Knowing that he had made a mistake, Edgar tensed up much harder, straining his nonexistent ears to try and listen for the sounds of the slavers' approach. He was sweating even more now and his body was burning up from all the suspense; he knew he was going to be caught.

Suddenly, someone placed a hand on Edgar's shoulder, causing him to freeze in fear.
"Eddie, it's me. Can we please get out of here?" Sue's voice carried softly from somewhere behind him. Heaving a huge sigh of relief, Edgar agreed, and they started to crawl silently away from the slavers. Later breaking into a jog, they ran, hoping that they would cover enough distance to keep the slavers away.

All of a sudden, the sound of gun fire rang throughout the forest, coming from behind them. Tensing, Sue and Edgar slowly turned towards the sound, only to find a group of five slavers standing there.
“Come. We will not kill you, but if you do not come, I will fire the gun again,” one of the slavers said. Reluctantly, Edgar and Sue had their hands tied with rope and were led out of the forest.

“Where are you taking us?" Edgar asked tremulously.

"You'll see," was the only reply he received.

Following a short walk, Edgar and Sue were returned to the village, where the slavers locked them up in a small, dark room.

"What are we going to do?" Sue moaned, sinking to the ground after the slavers had left, "We're trapped! How can we possibly get out of here?" Instead of answering his question, Edgar began to quietly search the room. Just then, Edgar spotted a small, grated window on the left wall of the room. Under the window, there was a broken wooden chair and a hammer. Hope began to fill Edgar's mind as he formulated a plan. His mouth widened to form a smile.

"Sue, I think God is helping us now. Look over there! That can be our tool to escape," he pointed to the window.

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"A window? How can we escape just by using a window? I mean, it's all locked up with strips of metal," Sue seemed confused.

"Look carefully. Do you see that wooden chair and the hammer? I bet I can stand on the wooden chair and use the hammer to break through the bars," Edgar explained, "Come on! Get up and try; it's better than doing nothing."

Edgar held out his hand to Sue, who was sitting on the ground and looking totally amazed. She took his hand and stood up.

"Since the chair is broken, I need you to hold on tight to it so it doesn't move when I'm standing on it. Can you help me?" Edgar didn't look at Sue when he asked the question because he knew that the answer would be yes. Instead, he started to walk over to where the window was and began to examine the metal stripes.

Following Edgar, Sue went over to the window as well. Both of them inspected the tools that were available and then gave each other a nod. Sue held the chair as Edgar balanced precariously on it. The hammer met the first of the four rods with a loud clang. Edgar and Sue both tensed; if they were caught, they would probably be separated. Edgar decided to muffle the noise by holding the rod firmly with his other hand, to prevent it from reverberating. Surprisingly, the first strip of metal was removed quite easily, since the nail seemed to have rusted over time. Edgar worked meticulously as not to arouse any attention from the slavers.

Finally, only one rod remained. Their hearts thumped with anxiety; this could be their ticket to freedom. At last, the last strip of metal was detached along with their tension, and Sue and Edgar allowed themselves a quick sigh of relief. Somewhat stupefied and exulted, they exchanged broad smiles. Unfortunately, their rapture was truncated by the sound of muffled footsteps, and Edgar wasted no time in hauling Sue through the small window to freedom.

"Edgar!" Sue managed a stifled cry. Swiftly, Edgar scrambled through the window, hearing the panic and terror in her scream. When he had landed on the ground outside, he was confounded to see Sue standing beside the man who had saved them at the shore.

"Follow me," the man mouthed.

"How do we know we can trust you?" Edgar hissed back.

"Please, there isn't much time; we have a rescue boat ready for you, but it leaves shortly," the man pleaded agitatedly.

A whirlwind of emotions flew through Edgar: suspicion, hope, fatigue, hope, and more suspicion. Edgar wasn't sure if they could trust this man; there had been so many failed attempts at escape before that Edgar didn't know if he could handle another disappointment. Ultimately, Sue made the choice for the both of them, urging, "Come on, Eddie! Let's go!"

The trio stealthily made their way through the underbrush, the man leading, Sue scrambling in the middle, and Edgar dragging behind disconsolately. After fifteen minutes, they reached the beach, where, as promised, a boat of slaves was waiting for them. Seeing the ship, Sue and Edgar immediately brightened up, their hope for freedom newly kindled. Unable to find their voices, Edgar and Sue could only express their thankfulness through smiles as they waved goodbye to their savior, watching as he disappeared into the forest. Eventually, even the island itself, with the slavers on it, faded into the distance as well.