The Castaway’s Fantasy
A total self insert/Mary Sue/crappy fanfiction for Fantasy Island.
That’s right, the author made herself the main character.
Cause it’s my story and I can totally do that. Don’t like that? Too bad! I did it anyway and haters can just kiss my fat butt! No one’s forcing you to read it after all. There’s no gun to your head. You can always read something else instead.
Based, loosely, on Ricardo Montalban’s theory that Roake was a fallen angel who’s sin was pride. And the thought about what would happen to the island should Roake find forgiveness and return to Heaven.
By: Jami JoAnne Russell
The tropics. The last place on earth Jami wanted to be. This was - Hell. All those damn sandy beaches. The women in bikinis. The sun. Ug, it was horrible. Despite the anti-seasickness patch she wore behind her right ear she was still nauseated. Not because of the motion of the boat as it went across the water, but because she was here.
She came because mom wanted to. Because it was all mom had talked about for years now. One big family trip to Hawaii. It made mom happy so Jami put up with it. Even though she hated every second of the trip so far. They were from Southern California, not far from the beach. Why did they need to go to Hawaii?
As a morbidly obese middle aged woman Jami had a powerful hatred of beaches. They were reminders of everything she wasn’t - beautiful, desirable. If not for the fishing she’d never go to the beach at all.
At least there was fishing on this trip - well, for Jami. No one else in her family was with her right now. There had been just enough room for one more person on the fishing charter and while her father, mother, and brothers loved fishing too, they had seen how her face lit up when the captain offered her not only a spot on his charter, but to spring for the out of state fishing license. They were suspicious at first - why was he so insistent on her? But eventually he won her family over and decided to spare her yet another day of trying to force her to drink mango shakes. God, she hated mangos - and pineapple, coconuts - she wasn’t even that fond of bananas.
The day in that had been pretty good. She had caught several large fish - more than the men on the boat. Some of them grumbled every time she pulled one in and begged for someone to take her photo. One guy muttered a threat to throw her camera overboard, but she pointed out it was waterproof and the bright orange strap on it was a flotation device.
Men always seemed upset when she out fished them. Except her dad. He would be proud of her. Even at forty years old Jami loved making her parents proud.
“Finally having a good time?” The captain asked as Jami looked off into the distance.
“The fishing is awesome. Now if the trip had been all this like when we went to Alaska....”
The captain chuckled a bit. “You’re an odd woman, most women would be thrilled to be in paradise.”
“What’s paradise to some is another’s Hell. I’d rather be home watching Doctor Who or continuing my goal to watch all the original Dark Shadows in order. If I had to be on a trip I’d either rather go back to the UK or fishing in the High Sierras or Alaska.” Jami took out her camera as they started to pass an island. She took several photos, using the zoom on the last few. She could see some buildings on the screen, but they looked over grown and abandoned. “What island is that?”
“That - that used to be known as Fantasy Island.” The captain said. “Owned by a very mysterious man named Roake. They said he had the power to make dreams come true - but one day he just - disappeared. Everyone abandoned the island then. Even the people who owned homes there. No one’s lived there since.” The captain sighed, the kind of sigh one makes when they’re missing someone. “Have any fantasies, Jami?”
“Too many to list,” the fat blonde said. “Some utterly impossible, some that seem ordinary but still seem impossible to me.”
“Sometimes the ordinary fantasies are the best ones.” The captain said. “Well, it’s time for us to move out again. I need to return above. Line’s up, everyone!” He shouted as he headed back to the bow.
Jami was dutifully reeling in when something struck hard, the pole nearly ripped from her hands. She called out but it seemed like no one was listening. Desperately she fought even as the boat’s motors rumbled. She called out for help again but instead she felt herself being yanked forward, her belly slamming into the rail and her feet lifting off the deck. There was a bump in the water and she found herself slipping over the side. This is when she finally let go of the pole. Breaking the surface she gasped for air - and in horror. The boat was already far away. She treaded water praying they’d turn around, but it seemed no one noticed she had fallen overboard. Terror and a sense of utter depression grasped her.
Then she remembered the island. They hadn’t been that far from it. In fact, when she got herself turned around she could see it was actually closer than she thought.
Somehow through a bit of wiggling she managed to get her now sopping wet shoes off without them sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Her socks too. The latter she shoved into the shoes before tying the laces together then tying those to a belt loop on her pants.
The problem was she never could do that one swimming move where a person kept lifting their head out of the water. In fact her strongest stroke was - the backstroke. Making sure she was aimed correctly she floated on her back and began to swim. Every little bit when she felt tired she’d roll back over and check - a little closer each time. Still, she wasn’t making fast progress and she was so tired.
“God, please help me get to shore. I don’t want to die, Lord. If you won’t make the captain realize I’m gone at least help me get to shore. Amen.”
That’s when the first miracle happened. As the last bit of her prayer faded away something nudged her side, then the other side. Jami looked to find a pod of dolphins - or were they porpoises - she was too tired to remember how to tell - surrounded her.
“Thank you, thank you God.” She said even as her hand wrapped around a dorsal fin.
They didn’t take her all the way to shore, of course, that would’ve been dangerous for them. But switching off every little bit they got her close to where the water was getting a lot more shallow. She thanked them and managed to get the rest of the way by herself. Surprised to find she still had her camera that she had slipped into her pocket earlier. Glad she didn’t have her phone or any other electronics though - unlike her camera they weren’t waterproof.
No sign of the boat still. Jami sighed. They had to have noticed by now she was gone - they had too. There were no other women on the boat, she had stood out.
Well, there was no use standing around - already it was getting dark and she was sopping wet. The sound of bells filled the air. Still, she wanted some sort of signal....
She looked around and found a thin, tall tree that had died and fell over. It was light enough she could lift it, hardly bigger around than a walking stick. Taking her camera she managed to loop the strap around the top then lifted the tree up. She managed to shove it deep into the sand and found old bits of broken brick from what had must’ve once been a walking path to keep it propped up. Hopefully between the bright orange of the strap and any light flashing off the camera’s screen would alert people to where she was. Then, though she dreaded the feel of wet socks and shoes, she put these items back on to protect her feet before starting up an old road.
“Please don’t let there be loads of bugs and snakes.” Jami prayed softly over and over, even as she looked around for anything she might use as a weapon. She nearly tripped over the remains of a shovel dropped randomly by a gardener some years ago and took it up. The metal head was nearly all rusted away from years of exposure to salt air, but the handle was still fairly solid.
She passed by the bell tower where the bells still softly rang as they swayed in the breeze. Funny, one would think they’d have fallen years ago. Even in the dimming sunlight Jami could just make out what looked to be a frayed rope.
The door of the main building had long ago fallen down. Jami whimpered a bit at the thought of going in. It was so dark in there and while normally she wasn’t afraid of the dark all she could think about was snakes and spiders.
As if by another miracle she looked down to find of all things a dusty candelabra with some old candles still in it and a disposable lighter still full. She gratefully fell upon these, muttering “Thank God” over and over again as she lit the candles. Shoving the lighter in her pocket. Now she could light a signal fire come morning. But for now she needed shelter. The balmy tropical air became bone chilling when one was wet from head to toe.
Inside it was obvious that the wild was trying to take back over. A tree had grown through the floor and ceiling. The walls were covered with the same vines that clung outside. But so far no sign of snakes or spiders. Not even a single web.
As if her feet knew the way Jami made a path through the building. Eventually landing in a large office. Unlike the rest of the place the plant life had not taken over. In fact, it wasn’t even dusty. A large portrait of a handsome man in a white suit was on one wall. This, Jami decided, must be the mysterious Roake.
“Hello, Mr. Roake, I hope you don’t mind an uninvited guest.” Jami said, somehow finding it comforting to talk to him as she closed the door. Well, the whole thing was strange. This office should be as much of a mess as everything else, yet it was pristine. “Let’s see, I’ve been rescued by either dolphins or porpoises, found items all too conveniently, and now your office looks like it’s just been freshly cleaned.” She said as she placed the candelabra upon Roake’s desk. “They captain said you had the power to make fantasies come true. Either I’m dead and this is God’s way of introducing me to the afterlife, hallucinating, or there’s something really weird going on here.”
There was a fireplace with the tinder for a fire already laid. Taking one of her candles Jami carefully lit the dry paper and soon the kindling began to burn. She added a single log then when it caught another before replacing her candle. She hadn’t even questioned if the chimney would be clean or filled with old birds’ nests. It was the former and the smoke drifted upwards.
“I’m not one of the bikini babes I’m sure you’re used to.” Jami said. “But I need to get out of these wet things. Try not to vomit at the sight of my ugly body, okay? I know I’m saggy and rolly like someone who’s had twenty kids though I’ve never had any. I could tell you all about my polycystic ovary syndrome, my allergies, my anemia - all of which can and do contribute to people being fat. But I’m sure you’ll be just like everyone else and assume I’m just a lazy over eater.”
Naked, Jami found some old chairs that she draped her wet things over. Then took out the braid in her hair so it could dry. There was, of course, a blanket on the leather couch. She wrapped herself up in it and laid down. Falling into a deep sleep almost instantly.
Her dreams were a chaotic mess. There were mermaids and Jack The Ripper and people falling in love. There were her family crying as they heard the news she had fallen overboard. There were bells ringing and the cry of “the plane!” in a heavily accented voice. And through it all was Mr. Roake in his white suit saying “Welcome to Fantasy Island.”
The demands of her bladder woke her and somehow she managed to find a bathroom attached to the office. It was almost like this office was The Room Of Requirement from Harry Potter. Without thinking she hit the flush button and that’s how she found out this room still had running water.
“This is getting too weird. It’s like I’m in some Aaron Spelling show. All I need now is either three witches to show up or to be rescued by Captain Stubing and Gopher.” Jami said to the portrait of Roake. “Though thank God I’ve got a ready source of fresh water. Now, I need to do the following - go down and build a huge bonfire along the shore then find something to eat.”
The water in the sink ran rusty for a moment then became clear. Jami washed her hands then drank several greedy handfuls. The weirdness of running water in a place long abandoned still bothered her and the thought she was dead, that this was purgatory, came to her again. Her skin felt tight and itchy with salt and she looked to the tub. It was a large, claw footed affair. Like something out of her - fantasies. She ran the water in it until that became clear as well. Exploring the bathroom a bit she found what must’ve been Roake’s grooming supplies. She wasn’t looking forward to using his heavy, old fashion razor, but she liked the feeling of being hairless. Yet just behind the huge, silver safety razor was a smaller one, made for a woman. With gratitude Jami took this.
In the hot water Jami began to cry. Thinking of her family. Wondering if she’d ever see them again. She cried until she felt weak, until her nose stuffed up to the point where she had to breath through her mouth and her face felt tingly from a lack of proper oxygen. Only when she felt weak did she continue with her bath, washing her hair with whatever was at hand. She flushed her nose best she could with warm water until she could just barely squeeze air through it.
By now the weirdness of an abandoned place with running, hot water and dust free offices had become so natural to Jami that she wasn’t surprised to find two big, fluffy white towels waiting for her. Nor the stick of unscented antiperspirant that now sat on the sink along with a wide tooth comb and a bottle of detangling spray. She blew her nose a few times then set about getting ready.
She wasn’t looking forward to putting on her clothes which would now be stiff with salt. However she found them no longer on their chairs, but instead folded and soft with fresh laundering.
“I’m dead. I’m dead and this is purgatory but God’s being somewhat nice.” Jami said to Roake’s portrait as she dressed. “That’s the only logical explanation. I might believe in God and ghosts - but this, this isn’t stuff I believe in. An island where fantasies come true? Well, if I’m not dead I only have one fantasy right now - being rescued. No offense, Mr. Roake, but I want my family and internet access in that order.”
She looked at the fireplace where the fire had gotten low but not burned out like it should’ve. The candles in the candelabra were still the same length as last night despite Jami having forgotten to blow them out. Though they had gone out by themselves at least. She took these and her shovel handle and walked out of the office, tossing “See you later, Mr. Roake,” over her shoulder as she exited.
So focused on the twin goals of making a bonfire and finding something to eat she didn’t notice that as she walked behind her the damage caused by years of abandonment were silently healing themselves. Vines retracting, cracks sealing, mold disappearing, rugs mending themselves. The tree growing through the floor and ceiling retracted as the holes it caused closed.
The bells in the tower rang again as she passed it and for a moment Jami swore she could hear the laughter of women, the sound of feet, the swish of fake grass skirts. Then it was gone.
On the beach she used bits of broken brick to create a fire pit and dragged old, rotting bamboo chairs to use as kindling. These broke up easily and the stuffing from their cushions helped them catch fire. She found branches and other pieces of lumber from fallen cabanas to help build it up until it was roaring. Then she looked to her camera still hanging from the dead tree. She pulled the tree down and slipped the camera in her pocket to clean up later. It had been made to be able to take diving so many feet underwater but it needed to be rinsed with freshwater after being in salt. She hoped it was something that could wait a bit longer. Turning around she totally expected the white suited Mr. Roake to be standing behind her toasting her with some nasty tropical drink in a vile pineapple half. Of course he wasn’t there.
The search for food was not as easy as everything else. While she found trees that grew the fruit she hated so much, she didn’t know how to tell if anything was ripe except for the bananas. And all were way too high for her. She couldn’t climb trees.
“I suppose I’ll have to eat some of this crap if I don’t want to get scurvy, but it’s kind of hard to eat what I can’t reach.” Jami said out loud. Talking to herself made her better. Not in the same way as prayer did, but it still helped. “Now if I was Mr. Roake I’d have some live stock on the island. At least chickens if not cows. If any survived and bred they’d be feral by now, obviously. But I’d have a source of eggs. Not to keen on trying to cook a chicken over an open fire, with my luck it’ll be raw inside and instead of starvation I’ll die of salmonella.”
But her searching for anything on the ground that was edible was fruitless. She didn’t know the majority of the plants anyway and she couldn’t find any wildlife. Not even something that could give her clues on what was safe to eat. Returning to the beach she went to put more wood on the fire.
That’s when she saw the crate. A large wooden box that must’ve washed up on shore that read “US Navy” on the side in faded letters. It took a lot of hard work but she managed to push it farther up the sand out of reach of the waves. Looking around she found a thin rock and a big one to use like a wedge and hammer until she got it open. Inside was several waterproof bags.
“Dollars to donuts this isn’t really navy property. This is just another bit of the island’s weirdness.” Jami said as she opened a bag. Sure enough, while she didn’t know what the Navy tended to put into these bags, she was sure they didn’t machetes, shovels, hand guns, bullets in waterproof boxes, canteens, and military rations all in one bag.
The pieces of the box she dragged near the fire to put on later when they dried out. She built it up again then closed up the one bag she opened. There were six of these bags and despite their weight she managed to drag three in one hand and three in the other back to the main building. Resting a lot along the way, of course. She was not in good shape after all.
Now she noticed how the place had repaired itself. And again she assumed she was actually dead and wondered when the real point of purgatory would start. God was being too nice to her.
Just like with the office she automatically found the kitchen. It didn’t surprise her to find the electricity was now working nor that the gas stove still worked. But of course there was no food anywhere. Taking out one of the ration packs she looked at the instructions. Inside was a hard brick that looked straight out of a World War Two movie. She didn’t know if it was safe but she hadn’t eaten since breakfast yesterday and her stomach growled.
So she began to boil a pot of water and use a heavy knife to cut the block up before dumping the whole thing in the water. She was so hungry she almost started eating it right then, but forced herself to wait.
“This is it, this is God’s punishment. Old ration packs, the main source of food for a fat woman. Still, God, to me this is better than having to eat papaya.”
When it was done she started to take the pot to the table. Hoping it would cool a bit on the way. It was as she began to raise the first spoonful to her mouth that suddenly she found herself sitting at a dining table loaded with all her favorite foods. Steak and kidney pie, mom’s chicken soup with matzo balls, green seedless grapes, a salad made with spinach and grilled chicken and blue cheese dressing, cheese pizza, chocolate cheesecake, and many more.
Sitting at the other end of the table was a man in a black suit. He had curly brown hair and what could only be described as soul stealing eyes. In fact, he looked almost exactly like actor Rufus Sewell. However there was an air of menace about him. He was looking at his reflection in a spoon. “This’ll do. Not that different from when I looked like Roddy McDowall. I rather like the hair, I’ve never had curly locks before.” He motioned to the loaded table. “Please, my dear, eat.”
Instead Jami took a spoonful of her ration soup. “So it’s true then, I’m dead and you’re here to make sure I go to Hell.”
“Oh please stop being so dramatic, Jami, you’re not dead.” The man said. “Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am Mefistoteles and I am not here to drag you to Hell. I’m here to rescue you.”
“At the cost of my immortal soul, no doubt.”
“Actually, no. No cost to you at all. I’m doing this out of the kindness of my heart.” Mefistoteles said with a sickly sweet smile. “Though we could discuss your soul. You have fantasies - I could give them to you, they could last longer than they would here on this pitiful island. Beauty, fame, riches, immortality, power....”
Jami’s only response was to continue eating. Yes, she was tempted but she wasn’t stupid, no matter what others thought.
“But that’s neither here nor there.” Mefistoteles said with a wave of his hand. “Like I said, I’m here to rescue you. You do want to go home, don’t you? To your family?”
One wall became a movie screen. Mom, dad, her brothers, her sister-in-law, all sat together. The women were crying, so hard they had long since gotten past the point of tears. Her father paced with nervous anger. Even her brothers, normally so stoic, were teary eyed.
“They’re all so broken up - the baby of the family, gone. Presumed drowned. Your sister-in-law, she’s sick too, right? Type one diabetes. I could cure that. Heal your mother’s back too. You have a third brother as well, one who’s been seduced away from his own children by drugs and a woman. Doesn’t even pay child support. I could bring him back into the fold, get him clean and sober. And all you have to do,” now he was standing next to Jami, holding out a slice of cheesecake, “is agree to let me rescue you. One bite and a ship will come. They’ll see the fire and you’ll be gone from this place. No need to resort to having to eat those fruits you so despise to survive.”
Jami’s answer was to hide her tears by raising the pot and slurping the rest of the ration soup. Then, collecting the pot and spoon she stood. For a moment she swore she could see the mysterious Mr. Roake at the other end of the table. “I’m not stupid. I know everyone thinks I am for various reasons. Because I’m fat, because I’m blonde, because I believe in God, because I’m a republican. Oh, don’t mistake me, I’m tempted. I sat here and thought about all the demands I could add to this. Have you give me the power to prove God exists but what religion you follow doesn’t matter. End terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia. Make people support Israel instead of mindlessly hating it. Cure for all diseases. Everything I - everything anyone could want. But something is obvious here.” She took the plate from his hand in her free one and smiled before smashing the chocolate cheesecake into his smug face. “You want me off this island for some reason. Well it ain’t happening, you putz.”
The room grew cold, the food began to smell of rot to the point where Jami wanted to vomit. Actual horns appeared on Mefistoteles’ head as his skin grew red-grey. “You will regret this, you fat bitch.” He snarled, raising his hand to strike her.
A ghostly hand in a white sleeve stopped him. He roared for a moment before everything vanished. Jami found herself back in the kitchen, but the smell of rot was still in the air. She gagged but forced herself to not throw up. Instead she did her best to wash the pan, the water coming from the faucet alternated between rusty and clear. She dragged the remaining bags up the stairs two at a time. Stairs that went from rickety to whole. The entire place seemed to pulse. Yet she forced herself to ignore this.
The office still was untouched by the rot that was fighting to take over the rest of the place. Sick, Jami wrapped herself in the blanket and laid on the floor. Hard pounding started at the office door and Jami fumbled into one of the bags, grabbing a gun and a box of bullets. American republican she might be, but a gun expert she wasn’t. Most of her experience with guns came from playing Duck Hunt as a kid and in her panic it took several attempts to get it loaded. By the time she sat, back against the wall, gun aimed in shaking hands at the door, the pounding stopped. Whatever was out there realized it couldn’t get into Roake’s office.
Or it realized the door was unlocked.....
Yet when it tried to turn the handle nothing happened other then rattling and a roar of frustration. Followed by silence. Somehow Jami knew whatever had been out there was gone for the night. Maybe forever. Perhaps Mefistoteles decided to give up for now and try again later.
After a moment of sobbing Jami suddenly pulled herself to her feet and turned on Roake’s portrait. “Damn it, Roake! Why am I here? Where are you? Is this some sort of sick fantasy of your’s, to fu- mess with my life?!” Somehow she couldn’t bring herself to use stronger curse words on him. When she tried they turned into other words that meant the same thing, basically, not as strong. Rage and hysteria spent, she collapsed into the chair behind the desk, woodenly putting the gun down. “I want to go home. How long must I stay in this Hell? I want my ordinary, boring life. I want to go back to daydreaming about being a famous singer or a vampire who only feeds on pedophiles, terrorists, and other scum. I want to go back to fighting against the idiots who are against improving Costa Mesa. I want Tumblr and Facebook and Flickr. I want to adopt a dog again....” This brought on a fresh bout of tears. Two months prior Jami had lost her dog, Minnie, to congestive heart failure. Having been a breeder in a puppymill Minnie had never been super healthy, but she had given nearly seven years of unconditional love and acceptance.
Her death had made Jami’s 40th birthday an even more miserable affair then she had imagined it would be.
“My life is boring and pathetic and worthless but it’s my life.” She muttered. “I don’t want to be part of your games.”
Like everything so far the answer pretty much came to her hand. A letter sitting out in the open, addressed to her. Well, it shouldn’t be surprising. Not after all the other crap. With a sigh she wiped her nose with the back of her hand before opening the letter. The letter had the standard opening and apologizes for the hardship of being on the island. Then it went on to explain.
Fantasy Island is a purgatory of sorts. My purgatory. You see, my dear, I was once a very prideful angel. Not so prideful to deserve to be cast into Hell, but prideful enough that God decided I needed to be punished. My punishment was to serve humanity by fulfilling their wishes - but each with a catch so they learned powerful and important lessons.
Eventually I earned my redemption and was allowed to return to Heaven, but the island still is in and of itself a powerful place. Mefistoteles wants this power for himself but he’s limited. There’s only a brief window every so many years with me gone that he can claim it. As long as one person is on the island, however, who can resist his temptation during that period of time he will fail.
You are that person. You’re right, you’re not stupid, not by a long shot. You’re stubborn, willful, temperamental, judgmental, full of all sorts of flaws. Wonderfully human. However, stupid you are not.
It won’t be much longer, I promise, and then you’ll be rescued and someone else down the line will come here. The island appearing near them when they need it most and the island needing them. Stay strong. I’ll do my best to protect you from Heaven, but I am no longer allowed to fully manifest on the island.
Stay strong. Resist him as best you can. It won’t be much longer.
With All My Love,
“Well that’s just bloody brilliant, picking me of all people. I’m a lazy fatass nobody who lives mostly inside her head.” Jami said to Roake’s portrait. “You couldn’t have made a worse choice if you decided to put Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on this stupid island.”
Building up the fire a bit Jami stripped out of her clothing again and set it aside before laying down and falling asleep. Once again she dreamed - dreams that she now realized were stories of the island itself. She dreamed of Tattoo, Cindy, Julie, and Lawrence. She dreamed of time travel and weddings. She dreamed of people who would rather die in their fantasies then live out their real lives.
The morning was a repeat of the day before. Bathing - this time she found a toothbrush and her favorite toothpaste and mouthwash waiting for her - followed by dressing in her same but clean clothing. Grabbing one of the ration packs she shoved it in her pocket, only then remembering her camera. It actually looked like it had been cleaned too and when she turned it on she found the battery fully charged. So she took a few shots of the inside of the office, especially Mr. Roake’s portrait, before turning it off and setting it on the desk. She didn’t want to get distracted.
A gun and a knife - even if that knife was a machete - wouldn’t do much against a demon. As fun as the show Supernatural might be they got a lot of the folk and Biblical lore wrong. Lucifer, for instance, did not fall because he refused to bow down to man nor because he loved God too much. No, he fell because he wanted to be God. He wanted to take the throne of Heaven for himself. Still, she strapped herself up with both. If nothing else she could stab Mefistoteles a few times to let out some pent up anger.
She screamed when she first opened the door to the office. Just outside was a monstrous army of snakes and spiders. They were everywhere. Not a single inch was uncovered by them. Yet none could get near the office. She backed away from the door in horror until she found herself bumping into Mr. Roake’s desk which she held onto for support.
It wasn’t because of their looks that Jami disliked such things. It was because of their poison or other abilities to kill. Small, non-venomous snakes she had no problem with. Get into python territory, like the one hissing at her from the doorway right now, that was another matter entirely. And rattlesnakes - forget it. She also hated black widows and the like when it came to spiders.
Holding onto the desk Jami forced herself to calm down and think. Last night Mefistoteles could have killed her....
“But he didn’t.” She said out loud. “You can’t kill me to get the island, can you, Mefistoteles? No, you have to tempt me away. This - this isn’t going to work because you can’t allow them to harm me.” Jami began to walk to the door. Trying to think of the whole situation like a haunted house attraction. She loved those with their jump scares, people in costume, fake snakes, and so forth. She would happily go through them alone over and over again until the actors started to remember her, realizing she screamed the loudest, they’d start tracking her. Some would even break the rules and reach out to touch her when she didn’t notice they were there, sneaking up behind her. “Nice try, putz.” She said as she stepped out of the office.
Like the Red Sea before Moses they parted, this mass of terrors, and as she closed the office door and began walking down the stairs, they evaporated behind her like so much mist.
Mefistoteles, it seemed, wasn’t a quick learner. The next thing he put in front of her was a chasm from which the smell of sulfur belched and from the depths the screams of the damned could be heard. Most of them screaming out Jami’s name, cursing her, calling her all the things she hated to hear. And yet when she ignored it and walked on there was nothing but a solid floor beneath her.
Gathering this wouldn’t work Mefistoteles’ illusions stopped and Jami was able to peacefully make her way to the beach and her bonfire.
Only to find the latter had been put out. A great wave must’ve come high up on shore. Everything was scattered and wet. A wave of despair crashed over her. It was hopeless. If she built it again Mefistoteles would just put it out again. What was the point?
Well, the point, Jami decided, was to flip that stupid demon the bird. He might look like her favorite actor but he wasn’t him. So, a little further up on shore this time, she built a new pit, burnt more rotten chairs, and began to pile on wood that almost seemed to magically appear until she had a fire twice as big as before as well as plenty of fuel for later. Then she began the search for food once again. Ration packs alone wasn’t going to cut it.
It was during this search that she found herself stumbling into a castle without even remembering seeing a door. It was like something out of a Hammer horror movie. All gothic and romantic. With a sigh Jami looked down and saw her clothing - and weapons - were gone. In their place she was dressed in a low cut dark purple gown. Something very B-horror movie or gothic romance appropriate, but nothing women of the 18th century actually wore. Her hair, before just wash and wear and not at all styled, was now arranged in loose curls held back by a ribbon. She glanced in the mirror to see that it matched the dress.
“My sweet one,” Mefistoteles said as he appeared in the doorway, dressed like Frank Langella’s Dracula, “you look - delicious.”
“It’s not going to work, Mefistoteles. You’re a demon, not a vampire.” Jami said as she turned to go out the door. Then she let out a gasp when Mefistoteles was suddenly behind her, yanking her hard against him, her back to his front. Trying not to giggle as the fingers of his gloved hand brushed against the right side of her neck to push the hair out of his way. Why did she have to be ticklish? Especially now? Normally she didn’t mind being tickled but by him - even accidently - she hated. His lips found her neck and began to gently kiss and even nibble it.
“Oh, but I can be a vampire, Jami. If I wanted to. And I can make you one too. The kind you dream of being.” He turned them both so they faced the mirror. Unlike what Hollywood would have one believe, vampires in folklore did have reflections, and so did Mefistoteles. “Beautiful, desirable, strong.” As he spoke Jami’s own reflection changed. She became thinner, no more double chin, a visible waist appeared, her breasts looked firmer, her hair a little more golden blonde, her eyes a darker shade of blue.... A soft moan escaped her as his fangs grazed her throat. “You can do what you dream about. You’ll be able to read any mind you choose and hunt down all the scum of the earth you want. From pedophiles to members of Hamas - you can single handily take them all down. And because no one believes in vampires anymore no one will hunt you.... ever.”
Jami almost gave in, almost, but for a brief moment she could swear she saw the ghostly image of Roake’s face super-imposed upon her altered reflection. With a fit of desperation she yanked herself free of the demon and tried to run, but he was before her.
“What is it, my dear little mortal? Is it the outfit? I know Frank was your first Dracula and his image still makes you swoon but perhaps not on me? Shall we try someone different?” Mefistoteles walked forward as Jami backed away and as he walked his outfit changed. Morphing first into the iconic costume of Jonathan Frid’s Barnabas Collins, complete with a silver headed cane. “Is this more to your liking? No? Maybe Nigel Bennet’s Lucian LaCroix - he was your favorite character on Forever Knight, wasn’t he? He had many outfits but I think you liked the black leather best.” Even Mefistoteles’ hair changed to the spiky, short blond that Bennet had donned. “No, I know what you want. After all, I did take the form of one Rufus Sewell, so I think his character from Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Adam, was it? Yes. The one of him in the big, black hat.”
By now Jami was backed against a wall and he reached out, pulling her to him again. One hand tangling in her hair and yanking her head back and slightly to the left.
“Just say the word, one little bite, one sip of blood, and eternity is your’s.” His breath slid along her flesh, caressing her neck. “I know you fear death - you’re afraid not only that you’ll go to Hell or cease to exist all together, but you even fear Heaven as the Christians describe it. All that constant singing of God’s praises. No free will, no privacy. Just say yes and you’ll never be afraid again.”
It was so tempting. His breath was so warm and seductive. His lips so close. She could feel his fangs scratching her skin oh so lightly and she moaned in a way that would make a porn star blush....
Then promptly shoved her knee into his crotch as hard as she could before pushing him away. Mefistoteles was more surprised than hurt. His black suit reappeared and he no longer had fangs. Instead his horns were back.
“Fine then! Throw away your chance, your fantasy! Do you really think you’ll ever leave this island? Your family thinks you’re dead!” He roared. “Don’t you get it? This island does not exist on any map, it doesn’t stay in one place. Today it’s near Hawaii, tomorrow it’s in the Arctic Circle - it’s wherever and whenever Roake needed it to be. NO ONE IS LOOKING FOR YOU! Your pathetic signal fire will never be seen! I am your only hope to get off of it and you would just throw it away! Why?”
Jami swallowed hard before answering. “Because Mr. Roake believes in me.”
“You’ve never even met him! You never will! I will drag you screaming into Hell myself and I shall delight in violating and torturing you in ways you cannot begin to imagine.” He licked his lips and looked her up and down. “I shall enjoy you and your pain and humiliation.”
“You’ll have to wait awhile yet for that.” Jami said before forcing herself from the wall. Like before with the spiders and snakes as she moved forward the illusions vanished. She was back in her own clothing, the machete making a satisfying sound as she pulled it from it’s sheath and pressed it’s tip to Mefistoteles’ chest. “You can’t kill me, but I can hurt you. Now get out of my way.”
“You were tempted at least, right?” Mefistoteles asked, playing the part of someone who had lost his self confidence. Though Jami didn’t buy it for an instant.
“Oh Mefistoteles, dear, devious Mefistoteles,” Jami said with a sickly sweet smile, “Don’t you understand? First off, you might look like Rufus Sewell, but you’re not him, and second of all,” here she made the moaning sound again, “I faked it. Honey, didn’t anyone in Hell tell you? I’m grey-ace.”
From the look on his face clearly no one had informed the demon that she was any form of asexual. In a flash he was gone and Jami was alone -
Alone except for a flock of feral chickens with a nice clutch of eggs.
That night she dined on soup of ration pack and eggs. It wasn’t tasty but it was filling. However she knew she couldn’t keep going on only one meal a day and like it or not she needed fruit. That night she had a heart to heart with Mr. Roake’s portrait.
“You know I hate the stuff. Only fruit I like are red apples and green seedless grapes. I’ll drink certain fruit juices like cranberry, raspberry, and blueberry, but I won’t eat the fruits themselves. But I have to break down and eat this stuff. The problems are though that first off, I can’t reach most of it because for some reason the only fruit is way up high and I can’t find a ladder. The other is that even if I could reach them, except for the bananas I don’t know how to tell if they’re ripe. Now if I must eat this stuff I’d much rather have a banana, though I normally only like them when they start to get freckles on them. Food in forms I like to eat seems to be the only thing you won’t give me easily. But you’ve got to at least give me a way to get some fruit.”
The next morning Jami found a bunch of slightly overripe bananas waiting for her. She laughed a bit. Here she had been willing to work for them if she had just been given the tools and instead they were handed to her.
“Thank you, Mr. Roake. Huh, I never noticed before that Tattoo painted this.”
Mefistoteles had not given up, of course. However today’s journey found her not in a castle but outside the Fantasy Island theater. Her name in lights. Jami paused and found her heart skipping a beat.
“This one you’ve always dreamed of, ever since you were little and realized how much you loved music.” Mefistoteles purred into her ear. “I can give it to you. You never again have to hear how you’re too old, too fat. That duet with Barry Manilow you’ve always wanted to do? It can be your’s. Michael Crawford, Tom Jones - they’ll all be begging you to be on their albums with them. Even people you can’t stand who’ll be crushed when you turn them down because you’re just too busy. Fame, fortune, success. The world in the palm of your hand. All you have to do is wistfully sigh how badly you want to guest star on Doctor Who and the BBC will be calling. A Marvel movie? You’ll be both in it and on the soundtrack.” He gently started to push her towards the backstage doors. “Just step through, say yes, and it’s all your’s. A different kind of immorality. Of power.”
Now this, this tempted Jami like nothing else. It wasn’t so much that she wanted fame - fame came with paparazzi and lies about your personal life. But she wanted to sing for people. To sing with certain people. To share the music she loved with others. And fame was the easiest way to have money as well. The money to pay off her debts and the debts of others in her family. To pay for surgeries for others. Money might not buy happiness but it certainly made one stressed and depressed without it.
Her hand hovered a moment over the handle of the door. With great effort she forced her fingers closed and pulled away, pushing backwards into Mefistoteles.
“No. No. I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t say yes to you. Don’t you understand? You’re evil. If I say yes I’m saying yes to evil. You’ll do something horrible with the power you’ll have on this island. Hurt too many.” Turning her back at what might’ve been her only chance, Jami faced the devil behind her. “The only thing I’ll say yes to with you is if you make an honest effort to repent and redeem yourself. That’s it. That’s the only thing. Turn away from evil and towards good. Climb out of the pit you fell into.”
“Oh stop being some pathetic, whiny, melodramatic, gothic heroine.” Mefistoteles snarled. “I’m a demon. There is no redemption for me. I like what I am, Jami. I always have. I always will. I don’t want to change.”
With that he was gone again.
Jami didn’t know how much longer she could take this. She missed her family so very much. That night she cried thinking they thought her dead. She fell asleep in a puddle of her tears. She woke to find a calender next to Roake’s portrait with the days she had been on the island marked off, one day circled, and the day next to it marked “HOME.”
“Three more days, I can do this.” Jami said with determination she wasn’t sure she felt. There was also a pocket watch on the desk that Jami now took with her to keep track of the time.
That day she took more photos of the office, then some of the grounds. She built up her signal fire again for lack of anything better to do, returned the camera to the office before taking off to explore. That day Mefistoteles offered to make her the supreme ruler of the world. To give her the power to lower taxes to create more jobs, build anything anywhere she wanted, and to have her laws make the world such a nicer place to live that no one would want to assassinate her.
“No thanks. I might sometimes daydream about being in charge but the truth is, I hate leading people.”
The next day he offered her god like powers that she could use in any way she saw fit. To be able to heal people or make herself rich. Whatever she wanted with just a thought.
“Nope. Too tempting to use that to kill people I don’t like.” Jami replied.
So he offered her an alternative - ultimate power but without the ability to kill, just make someone really, really sorry for whatever it was that made her wish them dead. That one was more tempting because it was closer to her actual fantasy - but she turned him down again.
He then offered to bring back to life anyone who died that she wanted. Her dogs Bitty, Audrey, and Minnie. Friends and family. Even celebrities. “I’ll even take the celebrities you can’t stand away in the bargain. No more Justin Beiber or Jenny McCartney. Hell, I’ll throw in completely discrediting her, Andrew Wakefield, Tenpenny - I’ll make the entire anti-vaxxer movement crumble forever. Everyone will accept vaccines don’t cause Autism and no one’s trying to poison their kids except for the frauds who sell bleach enemas. I’ll even throw in any political figure or groups you want gone.”
“Very tempting,” Jami said, “But no. As much as I’d love to have you drag off people like that as well as those who are against new homes gone that would make me a party to murder. I’d rather not have all that blood on my hands. Even if that blood belongs to deluded, brainwashed scumbags.”
It seemed with every offer she rejected the island healed a bit more. Food she liked began to appear in the office so she didn’t have to hunt for it - fully cooked. Not once had she needed the gun that had become part of her usual wardrobe now, but she never knew if she might need it.
The third and final day he started from the moment she exited the office. Mefistoteles trooped along behind her in his black suit, not sweating at all in the tropical sun, the evil bastard, as she explored the island. He offered her a chance to live her life over and make different choices so she could have a totally different life. Beauty - again. A metabolism that would allow her to eat anything she wanted, never exercise, and yet remain a perfect 135 pounds with fully toned muscles and firm boobs. He offered her the chance for the entire world to see she was right about certain things. Incredibly intelligence. World peace. Proof there was a God as she had brought up before so no one would ever question it again.
Finally, outside the office door, he stood.
“One final offer.” Mefistoteles held up a Powerball ticket. “Your mom loves to play. I’ll arrange for her to win the jackpot - just her and only her. She won’t share with anyone.”
Jami began to laugh. “Dude, you started out offering me freaking immortality and you’re ending on Powerball? And I’m not even the winner, my mom is? You’re pathetic.”
“Fine, fine, you win.” He said, motioning down the hall. A portal opened and through it Jami could see her despondent family. “It’s midnight. I’ve lost. Go home.”
“You must really think I’m stupid,” holding up the pocket watch as she spoke. “It’s 11:30. I walk through that you win. Now move away from the door before I finally use this gun.”
The portal and Mefistoteles vanished. Jami sighed and entered the office.
“Last night Mr. Roake.” Jami said as she stripped off. “I’m oddly going to miss you even though we never met. Wish I could take your portrait home but it belongs here on the island.”
The morning found Jami gasping in shock when came out of the bathroom to find Mefistoteles there.
“Don’t worry, I can’t tempt you anymore. You won and through you, Roake won. I came to say goodbye - for now. I’ll see you, perhaps, off the island.” The demon sighed. “Even though he’s no longer part of the island he still protects this place. Once I wanted his soul but failed. Now I want the island and failed again. Well, in 32 years I can try again. Maybe the next one won’t be as hard to deal with.”
“Maybe the next one will be my great-nephew or my future great-niece.” Jami said with a smile. “And since I plan on being a big influence on their lives you might end up with someone who’ll be even harder to deal with than me. They might actually get sick of you the first day and shoot you in the face.”
“You’re such a bitch. I’ll be waiting when you die.” Mefistoteles snarled. “Then I’ll have so much fun.”
“Sorry to ruin your fun, Mefistoteles, and your plans.” A woman said as she entered the office. “I see I need to do a lot of redecorating. This place screams masculinity and testosterone.” The woman was tall. At least to Jami who was only 5' 3". This woman seemed to be a good seven inches taller. Her brown skin glowed with a golden cast and her brown hair was braided in tiny braids with tiny silk flowers in them. Her dress was a light weight white lace with red trim that looked like it was straight out of the Blanche Devereaux collection, right down to being off the shoulders. Yet she carried this very 1980s look off as if it was fresh off the Paris runway. “Hello, my name is - Grace, yes, that’s a good name. I am Grace, the new host of Fantasy Island.”
“Host? HOST?! You mean another freaking fallen angel is taking over this place? And what was your crime? Taking fashion tips from The Golden Girls?” Mefistoteles said while waving his hands like a mad man. He looked ready to grip handfuls of hair and rip it out.
“Actually, I volunteered.” Grace replied. “I like the idea of helping humans realize their dreams - even the dreams they didn’t know they really had. The portrait of Roake should stay, of course.” She address this to Jami. “You’re right, it belongs on Fantasy Island. And perhaps the furniture isn’t so bad, but the room needs to be a lighter color, a few touches here and there. I know it’s a bit of a stereotype but I rather like feminine things.”
Ignored, defeated, Mefistoteles disappeared. Jami picked up her camera and shoved it in her pocket and began to get dressed. Grace was an angel so the mortal was not uncomfortable being nude around her despite how ugly she found her body.
“I think that’s a good idea. But if you don’t mind, Grace. I really want to go home to my family.”
Grace nodded, “Of course. Good bye, Jami, good luck - and thank you.” With that she touched Jami’s forehead.
And Jami found herself waking on the deck of the fishing boat with a horrid headache and the taste of blood in her mouth. The captain was telling her to lay still, asking her questions. Finally Jami got to ask, “What happened?”
“You caught the biggest damn blue marlin anyone ever caught on my ship. Not the biggest in the world, mind you, but record breaking for my company. Damn thing hit you in the head and knocked you out cold. Would you all stop taking pictures of her?” The captain roared at the men. “You’re all pathetically jealous just because a woman out fished you. I swear if I see one photo making fun of her on the internet I’ll see you’re banned from all charters for life!”
Knocked out - so it was all a dream. It figured. Like some stupid tie up to a terribly written fanfiction, it was all just a stupid dream. There was no Fantasy Island, no Mr. Roake, no Grace - well, at least that also meant there was no Mefistoteles.
Jami allowed some of the crew to tend to her injuries and then insisted on a photo with her fish despite the bruising on her face. When they got to shore her family was there, her sister-in-law and mother freaking out over her injuries. The former more than the latter. But all were proud of her fish and her brothers actually chipped in together to pay for the processing while her parents arranged for it to be packaged to ship home the day they were to leave. And to keep everyone calm she allowed herself to be hauled off to the hospital for tests.
It wasn’t until the next day that she was able to upload her photos from her camera to her laptop. As she went through making sure some of the sideways photos were corrected to be the right way round she suddenly stopped.
None of the other photos she remembered taking in her dream were there, of course. But one remained. A full, clear shot of the portrait of one Mr. Roake of Fantasy Island.
“My life is a crappy fanfiction.” Jami muttered into her hands. “Oh crap, this means I’ll have to deal with Mefistoteles again, doesn’t it?”
And somewhere in the ocean an island sits in a location only disclosed to those who visit or come to work there. Bells are rung to announce the coming of the plane. Some people choose to stay forever, to live out their lives within their fantasies. Some left learning that what you think you want isn’t always what you want. All are greeted by a tall woman who’s always in a white lace dress. She holds up a tropical drink and says, “My honored guests, welcome to Fantasy Island.”