Old habits and religions die hard as three college buddies on a surfing vacation to the remote Marquesa Islands learn the hard way. The old explorers and early tradesmen of the South Pacific dreaded these thirty-two islands, half unsettled, because of their warlike aggressive natives who liked to practice human sacrifice on outsiders and ritualized cannibalism even upon some of their own young men. Of course that was two hundred years ago. But have things changed REALLY or could a cult among the remote tribes here have kept the old customs and beliefs alive? If so, Jack, Lex and Craig are in the worst trouble of their twenty-one years of life...AND their last.
Many of the island tribes among the Polynesians proved violently aggressive and warlike as western exploration unfolded. Bloody gods demanded ritualized sacrifices; cannibalism, both symbolic and real, was not uncommon. The ferocity of New Zealand's Maori warriors is legendary and the tribes of Fiji, New Caledonia and Samoa gave outsiders much to fear. Even in Hawaii, sudden violence was not far from the surface as Captain Cook learned to his fatal misfortune along the Kona coast. Among the most "savage" (our western definition) were the tribes scattered among the thirty-two islands that collectively comprise the Marquesas, since the mid-nineteenth century part of French Polynesia administered from far-off Tahiti. Ship-wrecked crews along these coasts had little hope of salvation. Being saved from shipwreck here usually meant a slow, ritualized death as an offering to the gods.
xxxxOf course, all of that has changed. Or...has it? There have been consistent rumors of ancient rituals being performed on some of the barren islands out there that harbor no permanent population...sixteen, all told, scattered over long distances, off any sea lanes and almost never visited by outsiders. If so, the guardians of the old religions engage in a most effective conspiracy of silence. People...healthy, vigorous young men in particular, both native and westerner...disappear far out there in the South Pacific with a regularity that would be alarming in most places on the globe. But it is a dangerous area with uncharted reefs and quick, violent storms, so the disappearances (and presumed deaths) of villagers, fishermen, surfers and visiting seamen create little stir. The official searches and investigations are perfunctory (there just are not available assets for really intensive searches of thousands of miles of open sea) and turn up no evidence contradicting the "presumption" of accident...that is "acts of god."
xxxxYoung men are, after all, risk takers. And nature out there seems to call forth even more daring (we might call it foolhardiness or negligence) from the hot blood of vibrant, hard-living young studs. They answer the call to prove their endurance, courage and strength...their manliness. Inevitably some are going to pay as they tempt fate and test the odds. Of course, many would far rather die that way anyway if it is "their time" than die in bed of some illness or old age.
xxxxAh, the young.
xxxxBut NOT all who disappear out in the Marquesas are claimed just by nature. A few have help from their fellow men.
David Kapoali had known the nature of the special purpose for which he had been chosen around puberty. He had always been taller and more powerful than his stockier peers and his skin was even a lighter hue of fawn brown that most of the tribe. Somewhere back in time a whaler had dumped genetic infusion into the mix. His handsome features along with that powerful, magnificent body had made him such a stand-out that it should really have been no surprise when the great chief and the priests singled him out. After that he was raised by guardians dedicated to the old religions to which David, his family and most of the tribe still secretly adhered.
His selection to become one of the small herd of youths being reared within the temple was a wonderful thing for his family. It meant great honor and prestige to have fathered such a boy, so his father's chest swelled with pride when it was announced. His mother, as women will, cried at the loss of her son, but even she could not hide the pride she felt in him. The great flood of compensatory gifts and award of privileges in payment for the boy also eased the loss.
He had several years during his maturation into the flower of his manhood in which to visit his family with regularity. When his time came, his visits would stop without warning or farewell; thereafter he would simply be revered by his family as an honored forebear. In the meantime, he rather liked not having to go to school like the majority of the other boys.
When the time of the full-moon-overhead came, shortly after David's eighteenth birthday, and with it the festival of the fire goddess, Pele, most important and most demanding of the pantheon, the priests read the signs and knew. They wasted no time in selecting David, by far the most perfect and desirable of their developing candidates.
Naturally, David felt some fear as he was transported on the long journey by the solemn, masked warriors of the Clan of Pele. But the pride he felt in his young breast rose over the fear and forced it away as a childish, unworthy thing. He felt wonderfully important, riding on a slightly raised dais in the center of the huge outrigger canoe, adorned in magnificent feathered robes. His short, curly ebony hair was surmounted by a beautifully woven crown of palm fibers and orchids. His smooth skin was lightly oiled so it caught the sunlight dancing off the mild waves of the wallowing Pacific and reflected in shimmering sparkles and flashes. The powerful arms of the warriors flexed and corded as they rose and fell in the rythmic motions of their paddling, sending the high, carved prow of the canoe sliding swiftly and powerfully over the surface of the sea.
When they reached the island, there was no discussion, no farewells. He and his supplies were deposited on the sandy beach after the protective reef had been negotiated. Now he would wait and meditate and become ready until they returned. It could be tomorrow or it could be many long days. The fates would decide that with the procurement of the other necessary subjects. He was left with a full supply of the fruits, bread and water necessary for his life for a reasonable period just in case. When the warriors did return, it would NOT be to bring him supplies.
In the meantime, far away on another of the Marquesa group, three young American college buddies were unwittingly moving towards their appointment with fate. Bad, bad timing really.
It had been Lex's idea. He had been on a family vacation to Tahiti a couple of years before and had fallen in love with the balmy south seas...paradise. It was all he could talk about...returning to surf and kick back and forget the world. Especially college where the pressures of study while keeping up his wrestling scholarship were often pretty hard to handle. Now, on spring break, he and his two roomies, also wrestlers of his age, twenty-one years, were actually HERE.
Somewhere Lex had read of these most remote of the islands...most unvisited...most unspoiled, with incredible waves to ride. So it was to the Marquesas they had come. Airliner to Papeete, Tahiti, where they cleared customs, hardly listening to the warnings of the customs men that their ultimate destination could be quite dangerous. After a couple of days chasing girls on the beaches, it was off by small chartered plane to the island group some fifteen hundred miles to the south. There they had a rented seaworthy boat with enough room to sleep on.
The first days were all they had been supposed to be and Jack and Craig were as happy as Lex, diving, surfing, fishing, tanning and swigging beer. Then the squall had blown up suddenly and, with bad timing, the engine had failed. Now they had been adrift for nearly a day out somewhere in the Pacific and had no idea where. To horribly compound things, their radio had died a day before the storm. They had water and food...but...how long would it have to last? They were no longer in good spirits.
That was why they cheered in joy when they saw the big fisher canoe with the several dark native islanders on the horizon.
They were saved.
The jubilant natives were delighted that, once again, as always, the gods had provided for them in bringing them these beautiful young men.
On the island, David had settled in. As the days passed, he made the preparations in which he had been schooled. He cleaned out and repaired the small hut with its high ornamental roof of tightly thatched fronds. It fronted on the large clearing in the brush and scrub grasses that comprised most of the vegetation and served as his place of shelter. He viewed the numerous carved tiki representations of the gods that dotted the clearing and wondered at their age and all they had witnessed at this place.
He cleaned out the debris in the huge ceremonial ring of rocks in which he would build whatever small fires he found useful for light and warmth in the cool tropical nights. When he finally heard the conch trumpets of the approaching canoes, he would build a massive bonfire in the ring to signal to them that all was ready...that he was prepared to battle them in the hunt. A plentiful supply of driftwood had been brought and stored here for the fires. He also located the roasting pit and dug it out, freeing the buried cooking stones and depositing them in the proper site within the firering to heat when the big fire was ignited. He lined the pit with a bed of fresh fronds and covered it with clean sand.
It too was ready.
He located the site just in front of the great Tiki representation of Pele, the largest of the tiki carvings on the island, where the small forest of posts, seven in number, had been burned to charred stumps. He worked these free from the stone-lined permanent holes, discarded them, and replaced them with the fresh posts left off with him. Just as instructed he tied the various woven ropes into the precise locations called for on the posts, leaving the loose ends to dangle and toss in the restless breezes that swept the island frequently.
And he repaired and strengthened the small bamboo platform that stood just before his hut.
Mostly, however, he meditated. There were assigned stations for that purpose as well. Massive black rocks, each with a flat, smooth top surface, had been placed along the shoreline at each of the four directions. David marvelled at the effort that had been made to transport these over the long distances in canoes. His people had certainly been devoted to the worship of the gods and he felt pride in that. As he rotated every day from north to east and then to the south and west, spending the solitary hours perched on the rocks, he seemed to hear the restless voices in the wind of the multitude of young men who had preceded him. He wondered about them and what their thoughts might have been. And the immense empty vastness of the timeless sea gave him a perspective on his own fleeting life and the puniness of man.
That calmed him and he truly was prepared, even eager, when on the evening of the sixth day his ears picked up the faint chorus of the conch trumpets far out over the sea.
He made his final preparations. He went to the hut and opened the small carved wooden chest they had left with him. From it he withdrew woven anklets of coconut fibre decorated with small shells. He donned these and now each step was accompanied by a soft, musical chatter as the shells vibrated together. He placed the woven diadem around his brow. He looked with awe at the ancient double strand of glistening black pearls holding the carved scallop-shaped amulet of the goddess before carefully tieing it around his throat, letting the sacred amulet lie over his breastbone.
Then he heaped the wood into the ring and ignited it. Even as the roaring flames began to spit sparks far into the night sky, he heaped a small pile of dry wood among the seven posts before the tiki of the goddess. As he ignited the post-mounted torches all around the clearing, the scene was bathed in the erotic flicker of dancing firelight and he felt a stirring in his loins. He had obeyed the commands of the priests and not touched himself during his wait. But he had made himself think the thoughts necessary to arouse himself repeatedly each day. Thus as his organ rose swiftly now, he was proud of its size, perfection and throbbing hardness. Though he would allow it to wilt now, his need to ejaculate was so powerful that he knew he would would have no difficulty achieving erection and keeping it during the ceremony.
The goddess would be most pleased with him.
Out in the approaching canoes, the three naked, bound Americans were terrified. Since their "rescue" they had become very well aware that the natives had some special plans for them. They didn't even like contemplating the possibilities after their clothing was ripped from them and left on their sinking boat. It had been holed through in several places and went down with all of their gear. Nor had they liked the obvious glee of their captors when they spotted the superb endowments between the thighs of their captives.
Finally the canoes crunched ashore, grounding on the sandy beach of the small island from which a massive fire could be seen far out to sea. At once drummers began a steady, throbbing beat that echoed into the dusk. The warriors, even as they negotiated the tricky, narrow inlet through the reef, had donned fearsome wooden masks and decorated their ankles and biceps with woven fibers. The anklets were decorated with small shells, the armlets had long feathers. The warriors were naked except for skirts woven from some fibrous material, decorated with patterns of checkered lines, and dyed a deep shade of green. They sported various weapons. Knives bladed with razor-edged black volcanic glass, bamboo spears with fire-tempered points, fearsome heavy war clubs, and bows and arrows.
Ashore, the warriors seemed to be drawn into a frenzy, moving with exaggerated steps that seemed almost a dance, pretty much driven by the increasing tempo of the constant drumbeat. A low, gutteral chant began to gain strength among them.
It was so utterly savage and primitive that Lex, Jack and Craig were almost paralyzed with dread as they were pressed along by their guards towards a small clearing where there stood a hut and various intimidating carved statues. That great blazing fire was here. What the three trembling college hunks next witnessed hardly reassured them about their own fate.
What transpired was a mock hunt, a sort of passion play or dance. The swift beat of the drumming orchestrated it and the sound of the clicking shells on the dozens of ankles echoed the rythem. The blazing central fire and circling torches cast wild shadows from the moving bodies and reflected off the smooth, brown skins. It was breath-taking in its primieval ferocity, transporting the viewer back through to a far distant time.
The central figure of this ceremony was, of course, David. As one by one the masked warriors danced in towards his location before the hut, he raced to repel them. He was the feared beast. He was the great tusked boar...the pig they sought to kill for the feast of Pele. Each warrior in turn allowed himself to be chased back by the ferocity of the man/pig as he charged, making wild snorting noises and kicking sand in all directions. The few warriors who did not retreat swiftly enough found themselves butted and thrown backwards.
The drums increased the tempo and the chant of the hunting warriors encircling the clearing rose to a fevered roar. Their charges became more powerful and they each sought to lay a hand on the "pig" without being bowled over.
The symbolic "hunt" went on at great length, but gradually the circle tightened, forcing the human boar to himself retreat. As he did, a warrior produced a woven cord and raced in to tie David's wrists behind his back as the symbolic first step in the "capture" of the boar. Now as each warrior danced in to touch the prized animal, he seized and jerked at the thick penis dangling between David's muscular thighs. At once the organ cooperated and rose into splendid, corded erection, lifting and outlining the twin balls in their scrotum just to each side of the base of the sex shaft.
After all of the warriors had successfully "counted coup" by touching his manhood, David retreated to stand on the bamboo platform before the hut. He stood there ramrod straight, his deep, sculpted chest thrust out proudly in defiance, his cock bobbing like steel before his belly, his legs parted, one foot slightly advanced. He was almost god-like and the warriors stood back admiring him. The chanting changed tone to a more plaintive, worshipful tone. The drumbeat slowed until it seemed to mimic a man's throbbing heart.
A number of the warriors drew back and created an opening in their ranks directly before David's front, allowing him to see, for the first time, the masked priest/warrior who would now sacrifice him. The man was sitting on the sand, his bow already nocked with a straight bamboo arrow, the point fire-tempered. Beside him was a fearsome looking ancient driftwood war club, one side of its head a solid round ball, the other a sharply curving prong. He drew back his arrow and took his aim.
David splayed his thighs and thrust out his pelvis, leaning back his upper body, and held perfectly still to provide the best target, cleanly illuminated by the blazing firelight.
The warrior let fly, the soft twang of
the bowstring audible as the chant suddenly ceased.
The warrior reached him, the club rose high and then came swooshing down, the ball side of the weapon crushing David's skull. The drums ceased instantly.
As the terrified college jocks watched from where they were being held under guard, the body of the handsome teenaged native who had just been slaughtered was expertly gutted and cleaned and taken with the heated stones from the fire to what appeared to be a roasting pit. The stones were lined in the pit, a thin layer of sand over them, and David's corpse was wrapped in fronds and laid over the bed, his torso's empty cavity stuffed with fruits. Sand was shoveled over him and the umu, the roasting pit, was left to work its magic.
When the warriors, led by their priests, gathered around the three captive westerners, the trio sensed something momentous...and probably terrible...was about to occur. They were right. A selection was now to be made. The ultimate ceremony in honor of the fire goddess would occur at dawn, just as the sun broke along the edge of the Pacific horizon, but only two of them were to be used.
The third was not needed. At least not for the sacrifice, but they had a good use for him that they were relishing. They were trying to determine which boy had the best, most tender-looking flesh.
After much study, slim, crew-cut Lex was determined to be the expendable one. They unbound his hands and ankles and motioned for him to start running. When he hesitated, he was jabbed painfully in his butt by sharp bamboo spears. So, not at all sure why, he took off at a swift lope towards the unknown depth of the island in the darkness. Taking up torches and spears, three warriors who had been selected by the priests, took off after him, whooping with excited glee and anticipation of the kill.
With Lex naked, barefooted, and blinded by darkness, it was no lengthy chase. One warrior, in fact, circled out to get ahead of him and appeared suddenly in front of the panting, racing, stumbling wrestler hunk. Lex ran right into the bamboo spear extended towards his gut.
His shrill scream could be heard back where
Jack and Craig were being held and they had little doubt what the cry signalled.
The warrior looked down briefly and then tossed his spear up to reverse it with the point down. He positioned the point beneath and slightly to the right of Lex's left nipple. Then he gave a quick, hard thrust and twisted the spear.
Lex emitted a loud gasp, shuddered violently in involuntary contractions, choked up a thick gout of dark blood..and then was still. His corpse was hauled back to the circle of the clearing where the warriors who had dispatched him were given loud congratulations. Then, before his buddies' frozen gazes, a warrior expertly slit Lex open from groin to sternum. He was gutted out and prepared like David and taken to where a second umu had been swiftly excavated and lined with fire-heated, glowing stones. The western boy was set to cooking to add to the feast that would follow the next day.
The rest of the night saw continuous dancing and chanting as the natives worked themselves up to a frenzy in worship of Pele, preparing to offer her what she demanded. Towards dawn, Jack and Craig were bound to the seven posts before the main tiki carving. They were placed in a fashion that was time-honored in this place, each limb positioned exactly in the pattern called for. When done they were positioned on their backs almost parallel to the ground, limbs askew and partially entertwined, roughly facing each other.
There were three things they might have noticed. Both crotches were utterly exposed between their splayed thighs. Their forms vaguely resembled birds in flight. And there was tender-dry wood piled among the posts directly beneath their bound bodies.
As the first rays of sunlight spilled over the Pacific and splashed the island with light, the drums started again. And the chanting as the warriors again danced, a slow, rythmic shuffle that at first appeared aimless to the bound college hunks.
But then gradually a pattern emerged. Each warrior danced in close and suddenly reached out to stroke one of their crotches, quickly rubbing the penis and rolling the big balls.
Despite their terror, both over-sexed studs could not resist the erotic stimulation. It was erotic enough just being naked, bound and helpless like that. They had been half-hard before the ceremony even began.
Now one masked warrior changed the steps
as the drums sped up to a clattering thunder. As he moved forward, he parted
his thighs, bent his knees, and flexed his stomping, shuffling legs in
a wild, mesmerizing series of movements. He bore a goard rattle in one
hand, a small sharp volvanic glass dagger in the other. Closer and closer
he came to the pinioned boys.
As the dance continued, the next warrior fished out one of Jack's balls and with a whoop of triumphant glee gave a mighty jerk on it to draw it out fully. Then the knife flashed.
One of Craig's seeders was taken off next. Then Jack's other one. The cutting out of Craig's second nut completed the castration. Now the scrotal sacs were amputated. Then they started in on the cocks, first amputating the heads, then dicing the shafts until only small stumps remained. The two neutered jocks were bucking wildly, screaming out their lungs, their blood flowing in spurts from their ruined crotches.
They may not even have noticed much at first when the priests lit the wood beneath them. The chanting warriors called to the goddess to take note that the two "bird men" were flying to her in her precious, clensing flames, converted to ash to flow up to the heavens on the breeze. The crackling blaze spread and rose swiftly and the flickering tongues of fire shot upwards like the tongues of snakes to lap on the naked bodies offered up in sacrifice. The screams of the now roasting, burning young men reached new levels of intensity.
As the flames consumed them...reddening, blistering, then charring in quick escalation...the two jocks suffered more than they could ever in their wildest nightmares have imagined possible.
After their sacrifice was complete, the goddess sated, the warriors settled in to feast on the steaming meat from the pair of umus. David and Lex had been cooked to perfection, the sweet, tender flesh flaking off the bones at a touch. Their bones and the charred remanants of Craig and Jack were gathered to be deposited out at sea and the warriors returned to their canoes for the jubilant trip home.
Peaceful solitude settled over the island once more, wisps of smoke rising lazily from the embers in the firering and the smoldering remants of the sacrifical posts. The warriors would not return for many months until it was once again time for them to shed blood in this place thought of by westerners as "Paradise." Then the drums would echo once again, the chants ring out and the fires blaze in the night.
There would, of course, be quite an intensive search for the three American athletes, but no trace of them or their boat would ever be found. It was chalked up that the Pacific had claimed three more careless victims who had under-estimated her dangers.