Paul clamped onto his thumb, the only one he had left, and took a deep breath in. Snot and sweat made it sound as if he had a cold, and perhaps he did, but that was not on his mind at all.

Hunger. Starvation more like it. He never craved food like he did right now. Ravenous? Is that what they called it? Violent compulsions to stuff your mouth with whatever? Except this wasn’t whatever.

This was his thumb.

Sandy grit crunched between his teeth and his skin. His brain told him that this was it, a last chance to stop before he started to bleed, before it really hurt. And just like all the previous times, he ignored his brain and continued applying pressure.

The first sound when you bite into your finger is a snap. It isn’t from where you bit the bone, rather where the bone fractures or dislocates. The trick is to continue through, one clean bite, otherwise, the pain will prevent you from finishing. He made that mistake the first time.

Blood gushed down his throat and colored his skin red. Dangling from the center of his joint, half of his right thumb clung like a thread.  He screamed and moaned, lightheadedness affecting his perception immediately, even after experiencing this more than five times. He powered through and bit it like a fry dangerously hanging from a McDonald’s box.

The digit felt full in his mouth and as he chewed, the thin muscle hard, but yielding. He felt the bone sticking itself into his tongue. Throbbing pain pulsed from where his thumb used to be, as if his body felt and registered not only the pain from the tear, but also from the chewing.

It was salty, rugged. Tough and stringy beef jerky, without the dryness. There was plenty of lubricant to help swallow it. The nail, which was less sharp than he had originally anticipated, provided another audible crunch, fresh blood squirting from the reservoir underneath the nail bed.

Paul glanced at his hands and continued to move his tongue around so that he didn’t bite too much into the bone, like how he used to eat chicken wings. From the six meals he had on the island, now all ten of his fingers were gone. The wounds from his previous meals scared harshly, still leaking blood, and he was sort of surprised he was still alive, considering he had lost what he assumed was half the blood in his body. 

He swallowed the meat and cracked pieces of nail and bone. His stomach, eager to expel its own body from its sac, convulsed, forcing Paul to cough and press his guts with a fist.

Soon enough he knew that blood loss would be the end of him. He reckoned he had at least another day or so before he was dead, completely drained of his energy.

So why not let starvation do it? Why endure the inexcusable sin; cannibalism? Surely, he was not going to be saved. He was hurt, his legs utterly destroyed from the crash. Part of him had accepted death, welcomed it even.

But still, hour by hour, he decided to eat in order to stay alive as long as possible.

Without hope of help, without the possibility of salvation, he pushed on, using his own body as a source of vitality.


He supposed because he liked the taste.