The first thing I hear is water.
The first thing I feel is sand beneath my hands.
The first thing I see is the blue sky. Then white clouds. Then the yellow sun, which wastes no time blinding me.
I think I’m lying on a beach. The water lapping at me feet is confirming it. I squinted at the sky for a moment as my vision comes back.
I slowly stand, and when the sun gives me my sight back, I see my first good look at where I am. I turn in a slow circle…twice.
Island? I’m on an island?
Behind me, the waves lap the tan sand at my feet. All I can see around me is water, the sun making it glisten and shimmer. Under other circumstances, I may have considered it calming.
In front of me, past the sand, are tall, green, trees. Other large green plants I have never seen before dot the base of the trees, some as tall as or taller than me. The wind makes them all bend to the left.
The island is small, that much I can tell. I could probably walk it in an hour, maybe less.
Hesitantly, I walk towards the trees, listening for anything that might be hiding. My mind can only think of what might be behind the foliage. When I get to the edge of the tree line, I find that I can see all the way through, and in the distance I can see more sand.
I start walking in, stepping over plants. My bare feet hit rocks and slip on loose piles of sand.
I try not to take my eyes off the gap in the trees, afraid it might close when I glance away. As I get closer the gap gets bigger, and I notice something else in the sand, hidden by leaves and bushes. I pick up my pace and tried to figure out what it was. It’s big. That’s obvious. It’s white, and is that-
My foot hits something hard, and I fall.
I lay for a second, unsure of what just happened.
I use the trunk of a tree to pull me up, scraping my hands on the bark. I turn around to see what I had tripped over.
The tip of a rounded piece of metal. A white, hard, solid piece of metal.
I take two steps back to it. I consider for a moment, then push my foot against it to see if it moves, it doesn’t. In fact, it seems almost rooted in the ground. I step up onto it with more confidence. It doesn’t rock. I look to the left, where the metal widened.
It’s the wing of a plane. I’m sure of it.
I carefully step farther along it. The end of the wing is jagged, like it’s been ripped out of the plane, and burned nearly black.
A sinking feeling starts in my stomach and I quickly hurry back towards my original goal.
I burst out of the tree line, and the feeling in my stomach only gets worse.
A white plane, with a hole in the side where a wing should have been, lays in the sand. It’s burned in places, and looks empty.
I confirm that when I peer inside. No one is there.
I had been on this plane at some point. I had to have been. Had it crashed? That seemed likely. But how had I survived? And wouldn’t that mean someone had to fly it?
Had I been the one to do it? But why was this plane, which is small, and obviously meant for the rich, only have one passenger?
I walk away. I just want to get it out of my sight.
The sun is setting, and the sky is turning red and yellow in the fading light.
I lay on the sand once again, one hand on my stomach and the other on the sand. I hadn’t moved in hours.
I felt so alone. No people with me. No birds in the trees, no little animals in the sand. Everything was beautifully, insanely quiet. I haven’t even seen any fish in the water. I can’t feel any living force on this island. Some part of me knows that isn’t right, but I don’t feel like thinking about it right now.
I am going to go mad. I’m nearly positive.
And there’s nothing I can do about it.
I was still staring at the sky when my vision blurred and faded away.
I blink open my eyes. My vision blurs, and I had to close my eyes and open them again to get them to focus.
I frown at the white ceiling I’m staring at. Where am I? I try to sit up, but my head starts to hurt. I lay back down and wait for it to go away. When it did I tried sitting up again, slowly, and make it up. I reach my hand up to rub my head when my hand gets caught on a clear plastic tube. I realize it’s connected to my face.
I try to cross my eyes to see it. I get frustrated with that real quick and just decide to just take it off. I let it fall to my lap.
I’m becoming slowly aware of voices from somewhere I can’t see. I’m on a bed, under the covers, and I can hear machinery whirring, beeping and humming around me. I don’t particularly care to turn and look and them.
I do turn left, though, where light shines through windows with half-open curtains. A few chairs were up against the wall, under the windows. Light shined through the blinds anyway. A balloon is tied to one of the chair arms. It says “Get Well Soon” in thick white letters. Did my family leave it there? Where is my family?
I feel stiff – too stiff to get up. I ache in some places, and I can feel bandages on others.
I tilt my head slightly towards the curtain, and shift hesitantly. I saw someone standing near the edge of the curtain, halfway between both halves of the room.
I try to speak, but my voice only comes out as a squeak. I clear my throat and start again. “Uh, excuse…me?”
A woman – nurse I guess, judging by the scenery – turns toward me. “Oh!” She says, surprised. She’s halfway to a yell. “You’re awake!”
“Where am I?” I ask. What I really feel like asking is where is my family? I want to go home but I do have some dignity left. Kinda.
“Berkeley’s hospital, in New York City.” She says. “Do you remember what happened?”
I try to remember. I really do. But all I see in my head is scattered, blurry images. I shake my head.
“About three weeks ago, you were on a plane.” She says, fiddling with some of the medical equipment while she talks. “From what I understand, you were coming home from…London?” She looks at me.
I shrug, then frown as pieces of information comes back to me. Hesitantly, I nod. “I went to study abroad. I…was really excited to come back.” I hesitate again, not wanting the obvious to be true. “Do I have amnesia or something?”
She shakes her head. “No, I don’t think so. More likely, the event was just traumatizing. That, or you just hit your head a bit too hard.” She might be making a joke. I’m not sure. “Anyway, you’re plane crashed on the way to New York.”
Crashed. That sounded familiar. I vaguely remember beach and a plane…or did I? I don’t physically remember being on sand in London or wherever else I may have been. In fact, I don’t remember any clear images of it at all.
“The plane landed in the water not too far from the city, so everyone got off. No deaths, though some people didn’t get off so easy.”
“What about me?” I sat up slightly.
“Mostly head damage. Some other injuries, but that’s the big one. Until now, you were in a coma.”
“Yes,” she said. She was about to continue when someone called to her, and she left.
Coma? I don’t like the sound of that word. At all. Now I really want to see my family. Why aren’t they here?
The nurse came back. “The doctor called your family.” She said. “They’ll be here soon.”
I feel like I’m going to be sick. I try to say “good” but it comes out as a weak “coma?”
She looks at me sympathetically. “I know, hon.”
No she doesn’t. Why would she say she did? I want my family. They can’t get here fast enough. “I had a cousin who was in a coma once.” She says absentmindedly, most likely trying to make conversation. I really wasn’t interested. “He said it was like being stranded on an island.”
In some weird way I can’t place, that sounds familiar.
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