Okay, third time's the charm. Fingers crossed that I got everything this time and hope you continue on with this story and all my other stories… okay, bye.
Eli loved the ocean, always has.
Ever since his mother's death it's been a sense of peace and comfort. That's where he was now, sitting on the small strip of sand he can't really call a beach with his little brother leaning against his side, sleeping peacefully, and deep down inside he knew that this was where he belonged.
His father disappeared when Tanner was still a baby. Three years later, their mother died leaving her two young sons to the last known relative- their uncle. Neither boy was a big fan of the man. It was clear the man blamed them for every hardship he has had to face and because of that the brothers grew up close. Some would go so far as to call it inseparable. That didn't change the fact that coming next year Eli was going to have to make the toughest decision he's ever made- stay or go off to college. The college hadn't made it easy either giving him a full scholarship. He couldn't just leave Tanner though. That's why he told his uncle he wasn't going. He was staying here.
That's how he ended up where he was, sitting by the ocean watching the sun set with his brother's soft snores still coming from beside him. Tanner had found him a couple of hours ago and made him promise that the reason he chose to stay wasn't him.
Eli couldn't deny his brother anything and had promised that there was other reasons. Tanner just snorted softly and called him a liar and the thing that's been bugging Eli ever since was that Tanner wasn't wrong. The only reason he chose to stay is because he couldn't leave his 14-year-old brother, who's been through more hardships than he deserves, alone. It felt too much like leaving the deer to the wolves.
They had sat together in silence after that until Tanner eventually drifted off leaving Eli alone with his thoughts. He knew he was going to have to wake Tanner up soon so they could get home. He can't risk their uncle calling the cops anymore on them. One more strike and both boys will be separated and sent to live the rest of their lives in various foster homes. Even though Eli wouldn't have to stay for very long, it would be something Tanner would have to live for a very long time. That was just something Eli would never be able to live with.
"Tanner," he whispered softly nudging his oblivious brother, "Tanner, wakey wakey."
Gray eyes blinked up at him as a small smile played on his brother's lips before it was broken with a yawn. When he was done, Tanner blinked sleepily before he was hauled to his feet.
"Eli?" he asked stretching his lanky limbs, "Is it time to head back to uncle's?"
That's what Tanner's always called it. It's never been 'home' or 'shelter' or even 'prison' just 'uncle's.'
Eli grabbed his brother's wrist, leading them up to the woods with only a simple nod as a reply. Tanner easily stayed with his older brother's long strides until they eventually reached the small beaten down house at the end of the street. They snuck in the back entrance not surprised to see their uncle passed out cold on the couch with the small TV playing and half a bottle of beer in his hand.
"Yuck," Tanner whispered from behind Eli shuddering at the sight of the man they've grown up with.
Eli smirked knowingly. They don't resent the man but he's made it clear he could care less what happens to them. He's only doing this as a deed to his dead sister and they respect him for it. They just wished he would act more like a father than a stranger.
"Come one, he probably hasn't even noticed our absence."
Tanner nodded before following his brother up the stairs and quickly got ready for bed before lying down on the mattress furthest away from the door. Eli did the same and soon both boys had drifted off.
"Get up, boy," the voice suddenly hissed in his ear.
Eli blinked groggily immediately seeing the face of his uncle and shivering younger brother. He obediently climbed out of bed and got dressed. Glancing at the clock he realized it was a little past three. Confused, he made his way back over to his waiting family.
Their uncle led them to the bay before steering them to a small boat tied to the dock. The boys climbed in quickly followed by their uncle.
"Uncle?" Tanner asked nervously, "Where are we going."
"Sh Tanner," the man whispered turning to comfort the younger boy, "Just try to relax. We'll be there in a couple of hours. You two should probably get some sleep. You'll need it."
"What was that?" Eli demanded a sinking feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. Their uncle ignored him though as he continued to steer across the ocean. He knew exactly where they were going and it scared Eli.
The rest of the ride continued in on silence. Neither brother got much sleep though and soon they arrived at a small island in the middle of nowhere. The sun had started rising by the time they docked several feet away from the shore. The three of them waded to the beach. The sand was pure white and the forest trees looked almost ominous. Eli turned back to face his uncle only to be surprised to see him holding a long curved knife- a machete.
"Uncle?" Tanner asked his voice sounding scared and childlike. Their uncle stepped closer to him only for Eli to shift so he was between his brother and the man. Their uncle stepped away with a small smirk tugging at his lips.
"That's good," he informed him pointing at them both with the knife nonchalantly, "You'll need that. Remember what's important because if you don't... let's just say that this island has a way of breaking people like you."
"What are you-" Eli started but was cut off when their uncle shoved the machete in Tanner's arms. The move was so abrupt it stunned both boys into silence provoking another smile from their uncle.
"You have one month to survive this island boys, "he stretched out his arms to his side as if showing off a prized possession or movie set with that awful smirk on his face before staring at them both with cold blue eyes, "Good luck."