The very first time I set eyes on Archie Grim, I had no idea what he'd come to mean to me. People don't often like to hear about the love between two men, but he was my best friend and I'm not ashamed of admitting it.
He was just arrived here on this god-forsaken island, still in his oranges and trying to kill one of those mountain wolves with an axe he'd cobbled together. He was bleeding and limping, but fighting hard. Most times I'd have stuck a bullet in his head along with that of the wolf and taken what he had, but I could see he had nothing, and nobody, so I shot the wolf and called it good.
Archie was a young fella, not much younger than me, mind, and he'd been sent here for nothing at all, same as the rest of us. Until that day, I'd always walked alone and kept myself to myself. Seemed safer that way, after all, here on Scum Island, nothing is forever. Something about Archie Grim gave me pause though.
I decided to let him bide until he was healed up, he'd got some pretty nasty bites from the wolf, and by the time he was fit to run, we were running together.
By god, we had some adventures - wrestling bears, gun fights in old military bunkers, trapped by puppets on a roof, being chased by some crazy giant mechanoids.
I can tell you in all that time we spent in each other's company, I never got tired of Archie Grim. He was the best friend I ever had and we saved each other's lives more than I can count.
I guess you might be wondering why I say 'was' instead of 'is'?
We were nosing around some wooden base we found, it was all quiet, we thought maybe abandoned and wondered if we might shelter there some and perhaps find some stuff left behind. I took the lead, as is my nature, and tried the door. It opened and just as I was about to step inside, Archie pulled me out of the way and pushed ahead. Sure... the previous owners had left something for us. A mine just inside the door. Archie took the blast full in the face and I was thrown back, disorientated but alive.
There was nothing to do for him as he died but hold his hand and swear I'd find him again.
See... I'd heard rumours that on this island, nobody really dies. People are recycled, put into new bodies and put back into this place to suffer forever and begin again.
I put up a sign by the nearby road 'Here lies Archie Grim' and set his favourite things in a box, buried it in a nearby bush. Every week I'd walk back and check to see if he'd found the sign and destroyed it, or found the box and taken his stuff and each week, I was disappointed.
The weeks turned to months and in turn, the months into years. I still walk alone and in hope that one day, I might find my friend, Archie Grim, or at least find that someday, his stuff is gone and know he's alive.
I have put a sign and a box in each square on 60% of that map - the warmer 60%, because Archie would never go up where it was cold again after that first wolf attack.
Will you let me know if you see him? Tell him I'm looking for him?