- Neil Palmieri
The last time I found myself here, I was in a dream. It was not a nice dream. I awoke in a cold sweat, a stupor even. The coconut crabs were everywhere
I faintly smelled burning gasoline, I recognized. I strained to turn my neck a few degrees to the left. A flash of recognition grasped me as I laid my eyes on my crashed biplane, its wings torn and shattered across the sand and now-burning trees.
The clacking became louder, louder even than the roar of the sundered engine nearing a violent eruption. I tried to close my eyes, pretend they weren't there, that I wasn't hearing the very sound of my impending doom. But I couldn't, I suppose it was morbid curiosity, after all, the intrepid aviator I had built myself up as would face death in the eyes and accept fate.
And then I screamed. A blood curdling, ear piercing, unholy pitch that could only be produced by the fiddle the devil played on his throne of bone and flame. I do not know if I began my song in terror or in some vain hope to scare my attackers away, but I do know that I continued in pain.
Unbearable pain as the claws dug in, ripping flesh in chunks and tendons out whole like violin strings. I became an animal no better than my attackers, all cognizance lost to the primal pain being inflicted upon my quickly fading form. My final moments of semi-conscious thought were only of the horrendous clack of coconut crab claws consuming my butchered corpse.