The people of the island had simple lives. It was quiet and far away from civilisation. They were too remote even for the most adventurous trader, particularly since they had nothing to trade. War was foreign and the only politics were around the Raincoming Day when the men would bargain with the fathers of the potential brides for their sons.
Fish, though, were important. So were the fruit trees with their sweet harvest. And, finally, so was the Miggi Min. They all sustained the people of the island.
After the Raincoming Day, the storms would roll in. The Miggi Min always reminded them, her voice silvery as it travelled across the darkness. The waves would roar as they smashed on the white beach and the rain would pound down on the rickety huts. The Miggi Min would always hold the island together. And then the storms would pass, the waves calm down and the people would come out into the warm sun.
There had to be a sacrifice to thank the Miggi Min. She only accepted blood, but they were safe and they would gladly give it to her. Sometimes the Miggi Min visited them while they slept. No one died, but those that were visited were always weaker the next day. But, she kept them safe, and they fed her hunger.
Everything on the island worked together. The people were happy, as the people that had come before them and the people that had come before those had been too. This was how the island worked. It was the Miggi Min’s island.
One day, a few days after the Raincoming Day and its storms, a pale stranger washed up on their shores. The men were out fishing, but the women found him near death on the beach. His clothing was strange and tattered, like his hair. When the men came back and he woke up a little in the shade of the witchdoctor’s hut, his words were just a collection of strange sounds.
The men shrugged their shoulders and cut him some smoked fish and poured him some fiery fruit water. The women bathed him and he slept and slept.
Days passed, the men went fishing, the woman gathered fruit and the children played. The waves on that crystal blue ocean calmly lapped the white beach and life on the island went on.
The men came back from fishing late one afternoon. The sun was beginning to set and cast its red eye over the island. The strange man was awake. He was sitting out by the fire that the women had lit and he was talking his strange, round echoey words. The women were politely talking back, and the children were laughing and touching his pale skin and playing with his long, fine hair.
The men chuckled to themselves, gave the women the fish they had caught and poured fiery fruit water all around. They sat late that night trying to talk to the strange man while he tried to talk to them. The same thing happened each night thereafter. Each time, a little more communication happened. Slowly the strange man learnt some of the island’s language and, with a funny accent, began to communicate in broken sentences.
His name was “Barret” and he came from a place called “Europe”, but sometimes he called his island “France”. Maybe it had two names. His boat had shipwrecked somewhere in the storm and he had no idea how he had washed up on their island’s shore.
The men liked him and, when Barret asked if he could help them fish, they liked him even more. He quickly learnt how to fish. He told them that he would sometimes fish back home. He worked hard. The men all nodded in agreement.
When they got back to the village that afternoon, the youngest man carried all the fish to the women to cook while the oldest man went and poured some fiery fruit water for himself and Barret. That night they ate and drank their full. They laughed at the strange stories Barret told about his home. He spoke about things called ‘kings’ that everyone had to scrape and bow to. The ‘kings’ would rule the land and look after their people, much like the Miggi Min for this island. A man mentioned this, but Barret looked confused. The men chuckled. Barret would know the Miggi Min soon enough.
And so days, weeks and months passed, but, true to the cycle, the Raincoming Day eventually arrived upon the island. The blue sky and crystal ocean both turned steely grey, and dark clouds began to roll in. The waves grew larger and louder as they began to smash against the beach. The men did not go out to fish and the women did not go out to pick fruit because their sons needed wives for fruit and their daughters needed husbands for fish.
Barret watched all of this fascinated. He occasionally asked questions, and the men or women would politely explain what was going on. He would nod and smile. He seemed to understand until on of the men told him about the Miggi Min. Barret’s eyes narrowed and he tilted his head. The man that told him chuckled, slapped his back and told him that he would find out soon enough, but Barret seemed very disturbed.
The heavens began to open up with soft, large raindrops falling. The fiery fruit water poured thick and strong, flowing fast as the drumbeats, distant thunder and flashes of lighting all mixed up together. Barret was jumping around to the beat, the women and children laughing. The men kept on pouring him more and more fiery fruit water. He was laughing hysterically and trying to dance like the other men and the women who moved with a primal grace around the flickering fire in the stormy night. The old ones took shelter in the doorways in huts and the newly coupled husbands and wives were sneaking embarrassed, lustful glances at each other. And the drums beat, the men and Barret howled at the night, the women swirled seductively, the fiery fruit water flowed and the primal energy of the celebration rolled on and on…
This went late into the night. Long after the pale face of the moon had peaked, the island was still full of sound, light and laughter. The men kept topping up Barret’s drink and eventually he could barely stand and they could barely understand the slurring words coming out of his mouth.
And then he collapsed, fast asleep.
The drums stopped playing and the whole Raincoming Day celebration fell silent. As with every Raincoming Day, to keep the fish plentiful, the fruit sweet, the babies strong and the island safe, the Miggi Min must be kept happy too.
In silence, the men stripped Barret naked. They then strapped his snoring, passed out form onto a stretcher slashed together of palm leaves, branches and vines. The women were softly beating their drums and humming a haunting, wordless melody. Then the whole procession began slowly walking towards the island’s Western shore where a dark, deep cave was hidden. And, right at the back of that dark, deep cave there was a pair of cold eyes and a pair of pure white fangs with an immortal appetite that needed to be fed.
The Miggi Min only accepted blood, but she kept the island and the people safe and they would gladly give it to her.