We walked barefoot on the sand in silence for a spell. I wandered along the tide line, letting the ocean gently stroke my feet while my friend Emily meandered in the warmer sand, her Converse flung thoughtfully over her shoulder. We happily walked, not wanting to interrupt the water's babbling conversation with the sand pipers that fled before us.
Halfway around the island she stopped to regard the panorama. Raising her arms to indicate all around her she asked, "How do you do it?"
"That depends. What is it we're doing?"
"I mean this place. It's so insanely beautiful, how do you keep us snooty mainlanders from coming in and developing the place?"
I half-smiled. "It's not easy, but we just turn all of them down. They don't realize it, but we're actually doing them all a huge favor."
"Oh?" Em sat down on the sand. "And what favor is that?"
"I never told you about The Creature, did I?"
"I guess you don't mean your brother?"
I laughed. "No, not him."
"Then no, you haven't."
I sat down next to Emily. "In the middle of the island, right at the base of the mountain, there's a cave."
She rolled her eyes at me. "This isn't one of those island myth stories, is it?"
I smirked. "That's what everybody else asks, and no, it isn't. There's something that lives in the cave..."
"Of course there is."
"...that thrives on ignorance."
Emily's face contorted dubiously. "Say what? You joking?" I shook my head.
"We may be an isolated island, but there's a reason we keep up news of the mainland and so-forth. We have to. This Creature prowls the island on clear nights, and anything that smacks of ignorance is missing by morning. It's how we get rid of any newspapers that come our way. Any time we put something out that's inflated or misinformed is in shreds or completely gone by sunrise next morning."
"Why else do you think we don't have televisions out here? And the handful of people who managed to snatch and amplify an internet signal swear they hear a disapproving growl when the Creature prowls, but it leaves them alone because there is some good stuff on the 'Nets."
Emily shook her head. "I almost don't want to believe it, but coming from you it must have some kind of sense to it, if even only remotely." She stood up, brushing off stray sand. "C'mon, why don't we head back around? I think there's something good for supper."
I smirked knowingly as I rose to follow. "I tried explaining the growling outside last night," I thought, "but I don't think she's convinced. We just might have to go for a walk tonight."