the empty island
– from the chapter
The children died first, then the women were taken away. Men were used as slaves and were forced to clear the level land for runways and prepare the mountain caves for the Japanese defense artillery. The older men and women, the grandparents, were left to die of starvation. The Japanese took all the food.
Only wild dogs thrived in these abandoned places now, a piebald and mongrel breed of small, savage beasts. They shadowed along the beaches watching for reef sharks, loping silently between sun and shade, and once a shark was sighted in the shallows the dogs would rush into the water around it, snapping and biting, then they would drag their catch up onto the beach, flip it over and devour it.
Many of these islands had mountainous interiors, steep cliffs pigeonholed by caves and the American artillery fire that had sought to find them out, places now all but unapproachable with their access trails washed away and overgrown, yet up there in the deepest of them lived a few Japanese survivors, men who would never reconcile an existence with defeat. So these soldiers stayed in the mountain caves, undefeated.
Bearded Shinto Buddhists with clean rifles and a vision of their Emperor
The Americans left them to starve.