The outrigger canoes had stopped arriving with trade when he had been but a boy. Uncle’s canoe, the only one on the isle capable of making the journey, had been carefully conserved until Father felt there was no other choice but to send it. Uncle and two cousins had set out, promising to return with the necessary trade goods or an answer for the traders’ disappearance.

They had never returned.

Father had died of sickness not long after, and before long the isle was wracked by illness–caused by starvation–and the infighting that caused. Those who didn’t succumb wound up mortally wounding each other in pointless struggles.

When it was time for his manhood ritual, only a cousin and half-brother remained to stand beside him. He could not take a wife, as the only two women on the isle were his close kin. They too dwindled away, like a dying bonfire. The last islander, a cousin, had died almost ten seasons ago, leaving him alone.

The outriggers had not returned. Food was plentiful enough for him to feed himself, but without help it was impossible to do much else. It would not be long before an accident or a sickness claimed his life, and then the isle would be empty.

He spent most of his time looking out to sea in the direction of the setting sun.