The sun was setting on another day in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and Kuto was getting ready for bed. He had been living here for six months now, and he still couldn’t get used to the heat or the bugs. But it was better than where he came from.
Kuto rubbed his buzzed head as he crawled into bed, trying to forget about the events of the day. He had gone fishing with some of the other men, and they had come across a body floating in the water. It was badly decomposed, but there was no mistaking that it had once been a human being.
Kuto shuddered as he remembered the smell of death that had engulfed him when they pulled the body onto shore. He tried not to think about what might have happened to that person, but it was hard not to wonder if their fate could have been his own.
He forced himself to think of happier times instead, like when he got his first buzz cut back home. His friends had teased him mercilessly at first, calling him “carrot top” because of his red hair. But Kuto didn’t care; he loved how liberating it felt to get rid of all that excess hair. Plus, it made him feel like a new person – like he could take on anything life threw at him