Genre: Lost/Wicker Man crossover. Horror/humour Crack!fic.
Summary: Desmond has a prophetic vision of how the castaways may be rescued from the island. But to ensure their own salvation they must offer up a human sacrifice to the Wicker Man. Set around the time of 'Greatest Hits'.
Characters: The full ensemble, though mainly Charlie and Desmond (you know me!)
Disclaimer: I do not own Lost or The Wicker Man.
Authors Note: This story is my second entry for the Lost Horror Stories challenge using 'The Wicker Man' prompt. If you are unfamiliar with this classic British horror flick then check out the iconic final scene before reading. If you are interested in seeing the whole film may I recommend you seek out the definitive 1973 original and NOT the cheesy American remake (sacrilege!)
Awards: Winner of Best Humorous Fic at lost_fic_awards.
Charlie woke to find the camp in a stir. Apparently Jack had some big secret plan to save them all. He was about to lead them up the mountain and tell them what it was. Charlie snorted dubiously wondering why Jack couldn’t just explain his plan to them in the kitchen hut over breakfast. He supposed the hilltop must be a better setting for the heroic speech that would no doubt accompany the unveiling of Jack’s brilliant scheme to stop the bad guys raiding their camp.
Charlie yawned and pulled on his checked vans. He had left the meeting early last night, having become rather bored waiting for their bickering leaders to decide on anything. Now he wished that he had stuck around. His campmates were acting very strangely this morning. They were all whispering amongst themselves and staring at him out of the corner of their eyes. When Charlie approached them and asked what was going on they broke into forced smiles and shrugged innocently. Charlie shook his head and wandered over to Claire’s shelter.
“Are you ready for the jolly excursion, love?” he asked.
Claire sat on her bed, her head bowed low as she nervously folded her baby blankets. “I…I’m not coming. I have to stay here with Aaron.”
Charlie frowned. Claire’s voice was shaking and her eyes were red and puffy. He sat down beside her and asked what was wrong.
“It’s nothing!” she insisted. “It’s just…oh, Charlie…” She took his face between her hands. “You know I’ll always remember you, right?”
“Err…yeah, I guess so, Claire,” he answered with a shrug, confused by this sudden declaration. “But…there’s really no reason to be upset. We’re just going for a little walk up the hill. I’ll be back in time for lunch.”
Claire smiled sweetly and patted his cheek.
“Yes dear…of course you will.”
Charlie swallowed, having second thoughts.
“You know, I don’t think I’m in the mood for a hike after all. How about I stay here and help you with Aaron this morning...”
Claire’s expression suddenly became cold and fierce.
“Charlie, for the last time, I don’t like having my baby around a marked man!!” Her voice rose to a shrill pitch. She took a breath and smiled again, covering her outburst with a tittering laugh. “I mean…its fine, sweetie. I don’t need any help today. You have a nice trek up the hill with your friends.”
Claire turned back to her folding. Charlie thought it best if he backed away slowly from her shelter before she started hitting him. With a wary reluctance he joined the party setting off on the path up the hill.
Sayid was leading the way, clutching one of his trusty maps in hand. Occasionally he would glance over his shoulder, instructing them to stay together and scolding anyone who attempted to overtake him. Everyone in the camp knew the way up the mountain, having walked there countless times for golf tournaments and joyrides in the Dharma van. But it pleased Sayid whenever he got to flourish one of the beautiful maps that he spent so much of his time making. Sawyer strode up behind him and jeered, “Be sure you’re not leading us into an ambush this time, Genius!” Sayid turned and regarded him with a cool derision. In a swift movement he brandished a sharp set of bamboo sticks. Sawyer’s mouth snapped closed.
Charlie and Hurley were bringing up the rear of the procession like two slacker kids riding on the back of a bus. Charlie sidled over to his best friend, hoping that he might hustle some answers out of him.
“Got any idea what Jack’s showing us out in the middle of nowhere?”
Hurley winced. “I dunno…stuff? Probably secret stuff.”
Charlie smiled nervously, twisting a blade of grass. “Why does everything have to be such a secret? How about some openness for a change?!”
“Dude, what are you bugging me for? I don’t know any secrets.”
“Oh really?" Charlie scoffed. "So you don’t know about any secret plans to lead me up to some secluded place and then sacrifice me on a stone altar?!”
Hurley rolled his eyes. “Man, they’re not gonna sacrifice you on some altar. They’re gonna put you inside of a…” His sentence trailed away into a worrying hesitation. “I mean…chill dude. You’re totally paranoid.”
Charlie came to an abrupt halt as they passed over the verge of the hill. Looming over them, some forty feet high, was the huge towering structure of a man. This sinister faceless man was built entirely out of thin wicker branches. There were compartments in his shoulders and thighs where wild boars and seabirds were caged. The largest of these compartments was located in the man’s chest. It was currently lying empty with a ladder leading up to its door. Locke was crouching at the foot of this foreboding structure adding the final touches to its base.
Jack stood on the rise of the hilltop with his hands on his hips. It was speech time. Juliet moved to stand by Jack’s right side. Kate screwed up her nose, then marched over to Jack and pressed his hand supportively. Juliet frowned at her and then reached down discreetly to squeeze Jack’s butt cheek. Kate began to sniffle and pout. She took a spoon from her pocket and licked it provocatively. At this point, Jack rolled his eyes and shooed both women away from him.
“Right!” Jack began. “I think we all know why we’re here...”
“Camping?” Jin asked hopefully, clutching a bag of marshmallows in his hands. Jack fell silent for a moment. Then he started over.
“Okay so everybody but Jin has a vague idea what’s going on...”
“I don’t,” said Charlie, raising his hand.
Jack sighed and shot the little musician his best patronising smile, usually reserved for small children and the mentally unstable.
“Charlie…it’s very rude to interrupt when somebody more important than you is talking…” Jack said, evenly.
Charlie pressed his tongue to the inside of his cheek and looked down at his shoes. Jack resumed his dramatic grimace.
“So when I found out that the Others were coming to attack us again I thought to myself 'Gee Jack, how are you going to save the day this time?' I’ve come to realise that hiding is pointless. They are just going to keep coming back. We need to get the hell off this island! You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve come up with a plan that will get us all rescued. Well…almost all of us.”
At this point Desmond strode forwards, wearing his eternally half-buttoned blue shirt. His hair was blowing in the wind, his arms were outspread and his eyes were bulging. He looked like a very wired Jesus Christ.
“Bruthas!! I’ve had a vision!” he proclaimed. “A vision of how we can escape from this island! A vision of how helicopters are gonna to come to fly us away to safety! A vision of how I can sort out my disastrous love life! If every part of my vision comes true then the picture will be complete and our rescue will be ensured. All we need for these things to happen is one small sacrifice. If one fairly insignificant person dies then the rest of us can be saved!!”
Charlie shuffled uncomfortably as all eyes turned towards him. Well yes, of course the sacrifice would have to be him. He was the most doomed human being on the face of the earth after all. He supposed it would be silly hoping for a twist. The expressions of his campmates were firm and resigned. Charlie thought he noticed Sun sticking her tongue out, but he might have imagined it. Hurley creased up his forehead and tilted his head as if to say, “Dude, bummer.”
“I’m sorry, brotha…” said Desmond for what must have been the hundredth time. “I did say I couldn’t stop this forever. Now we have to offer a sacrifice to the island and well…it has to be you. It can’t be changed.”
“Why does it have to be me?” asked Charlie, out of sheer curiosity.
“Because...because that’s what’s supposed to happen. Because you’re uniquely suitable. Because you've resolved your drug issues and started to redeem yourself. And well…because you’re short. You’ll fit best inside that wee hutch up there. Anyone else would have to crouch down.”
Charlie sighed, realising this was the best explanation he was going to get.
“Okay then…” he said, grimly accepting his fate, though by the looks of things they really weren’t asking for his permission.
Jack beamed. “We’re proud of you, Charlie!”
He smiled weakly. Oh good, he had earned a seal of approval from their heroic leader. He supposed he could die a happy man now.
“Yeah...cheers…just one question. What the bloody hell is that thing?!”
Charlie stepped forward and pointed up at the looming monstrosity that was shadowing over them. Jack glanced over his shoulder.
“Oh that…why that’s a...err…what is it again, Locke?”
“A Wicker Man…” Locke explained, tapping its leg. “Ideal for our purposes, Jack. Trust me. I shut Boone up in one of these babies…torched it…and then a few days later the hatch opened as if by magic.”
Hurley narrowed his eyes. “Dude…you totally blew the hatch open with dynamite.”
Locke pursed his lips and shrugged. “Boone was a sacrifice the island demanded.” That was his excuse and he was sticking to it.
“Well, whatever takes your fancy…” Charlie muttered, folding his arms. “This is a bloody stupid plan if you ask me. Think about what you’re doing, guys! When does anything ever go right for us? I’ll bet you that these rescuers Desmond has seen are really just new bad guys coming to kill us…”
“Enough!” Desmond interrupted. “Destiny is waiting, brutha. It’s time for you to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”
Before Charlie could say another word, Desmond lifted him off the ground, slung him over his shoulder and carried him towards the structure. Charlie could have climbed the ladder without assistance, but he supposed he must look more victimy this way. More like a sacrificial lamb. Desmond dumped Charlie in the central compartment and began to close the door on him.
“Wait!” Charlie called. He reached into the pocket of his jeans and took out the crumpled note that he had been writing for the last few days. “I want you to give this to Claire for me.” He sniffed, his eyes welling up. “It’s the five best moments of my...sorry excuse for a life. My Greatest Hits...”
Desmond’s eyes flicked between the slip of paper and Charlie’s wounded puppy expression. A tear rolled down his cheek.
“Oh shucks!" Desmond whimpered. "You don’t have to do this, yer poor wee bugger. I’ll take your place. I’ll be offered as a sacrifice in the Wicker Man!”
Charlie raised his eyebrows in surprise. Recently Desmond had been making efforts to bump him off by coaxing him towards spiky death traps in the jungle. Now he was volunteering to be burned alive inside this freaky ceremonial tree house. Charlie took a moment to consider his proposition.
Life had been rather dull on the island of late. The long tedious saga of Kate’s indecisive love life was wearing on his nerves and it seemed like every time they found something cool in the jungle Locke would come along and blow it up. There hadn’t even been a decent Monster sighting for ages. Charlie sighed as he remembered standing on this hilltop not so long after the crash and wondering aloud “Guys…where are we?” Months later he wasn’t even close to getting an answer to that question. It probably wasn’t anything better than the purgatory theory anyway. Maybe now was a good time to check out. He could make his exit like a true Rock God. Better to burn out than to fade away.
Charlie’s resolve hardened. He turned to Desmond. “You and I both know…you’re not supposed to take my place, brother…”
Charlie shoved the ladder away from the structure and shut the little wicker door on himself. He heard Desmond landing on the ground below with a painful “oomph!” Charlie winced and looked through the window of his compartment to see Desmond groaning and rubbing his backside. Charlie took his sharpie from his pocket and wrote the words ‘Lift it up, brother!’ on his palm. He held out his hand so his Scottish friend could read his final message. Desmond squinted up at Charlie and shrugged, unable to make out the words on his hand from such a distance. Charlie felt a little embarrassed and slipped his arm back inside the cage.
His friends moved back and gazed up at the Wicker Man. After a pause, Sawyer strode towards the structure, taking a lighter from his back pocket, always the first to step forward when there was some killing needing to be done. “It’s laaawd of the flies time now!” he drawled. Sawyer congratulated himself on his first literary reference of the day, which he surely hadn’t used before, and then tried to think up one last nickname to give Charlie before sending him up in smoke. He was distracted from this reverie when he found that the wicker branches weren’t taking the light from his zippo. He hissed a curse and tossed his hair indignantly.
“You will not burn it that way…why not use this instead.”
The voice came from the tree line. They turned to see Rousseau, the crazy French chick, stepping out of the jungle. She was carrying a crate of dynamite in her arms. Jack got a strangely manic expression on his face and said “Yeah…let’s blow it all to hell!” On these instructions everyone rushed forward towards the crate. Sayid halted their charge with a warning finger and slowly began explaining the most strategic methods of making a fuse and detonating an explosion. Meanwhile the others stood around impatiently like a crowd waiting for a fireworks display. Jin broke open the bag of marshmallows and skewered them on sticks, ready for toasting. Charlie shook his head. These people were sick.
He sat down inside his compartment. He supposed that if Sayid was in charge of the dynamite then this was going to take all bloody day. In the meantime, Charlie would have to spend his final moments cooped up inside this weird wicker totem that was decorated with flowers and masks and statues and…
…statues! Charlie couldn’t believe it. He thought they had all been burnt or thrown into the ocean. He never imagined that he would see his little friends again. He began to wonder why he had ever bothered trying to be a good sensible lad when the universe just wanted to kill him, anyway, anyhow. Charlie figured that he might as well treat himself to one last fix before fate had its way with him.
He grabbed the nearest statue and cracked it open like an Easter egg, tipping the powder into his palm and snorting it into his nostrils. His head whirled, his muscles unwound and he flopped backwards onto the wicker floor. A giddy smile spread over his lips. The world seemed to dissolve.
Charlie could hear singing drifting over the hillside. “You all everybody…you all everybody…” Hey, it looked like those bastards had heard of his rock band after all. They had chosen a very creepy time to acknowledge his music. But nothing seemed to matter now. Charlie lay sniggering as he waited for his campmates to blow him to smithereens. He still had no idea what he had done to deserve this lousy jip of a destiny. But it occurred to Charlie that whether he was on his way to heaven, hell or oblivion it had to be a damned sight better than this sodding island…