The smell of coconut. Warm sunlight. Water.

Mary Ann sat at the foot of a strong old palm. There were strong cords around her, but they were loose. She understood at once what had happened. Gilligan had tied her to the tree, and so she had ridden out the storm, unconscious but safe. They were alive, and the sun was shining.

"The cave," she said hoarsely. She took a sip of water from a coconut shell cup.

Gilligan shook his head. His face shone with relief, but there were care-lines around his eyes and lips, and his hair had become gray.

It was unnecessary for him to explain. She could see what had happed from where she sat. The volcano was gone: the storm had swept it from the face of the earth exactly as though a housekeeper with a mighty broom had swept a pile of refuse from a long-uncleaned corner of a house. There was a burned-out trench where the mountain had been. Inside it, fresh flowing lava ran steaming into the sea.

Mary Ann stood stiffly and surveyed the world. It was warm. The sky was blue, the clouds white and passing. Animal sounds came from the jungle: birds, monkeys. Fruit grew on the trees, fish swam in the ocean. A light rain fell in the distance, clear and fruitful, with a hint of rainbow forming. The earth was clean, and bountiful, and it was theirs alone.

"Gilligan," she said thoughtfully. "Do you remember the flag-raising ceremony, when they christened the island?"

Gilligan nodded.

"Let's do that now," she said, "for ourselves."

Holding hands, they walked to the clearing. The flag which Arnold and the President had raised was frayed, but whole, tangled amongst the brush where the storm had tossed it. Gilligan carpentered a new flag pole while Mary Ann attached the red white and blue canvas to a rope lanyard.

"Ready?," she asked.

Gilligan paused. He was thoughtful, running his hands over the colored cloth.

"What is it?," Mary Ann asked him.

Thoughtfully he replied, "This isn't the right flag." He looked at her for a moment, then drew his old sailor's pocket knife, and began carefully cutting.

First he removed the blue background with the white star. Then, the white stripes. When he was done, their new flag was seven red stripes of uneven length, tattered but eloquent. Later they threw the blue and white cloth they'd purged into the flaming lava flow.

Together they pulled the lanyard, hoisting their banner. "We christen our home, 'New Eden'," said Mary Ann.

And there they stood, holding hands, looking with hope into the future. Their children went on to populate a new world, free of greed and selfishness and murder and war, and they lived together in peace with the bountiful fruits of the earth, given to them gladly, through all the ages to come.


Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full.
— Leon Trotsky, February 27, 1940, Coyoacan, Mexico.