...or the One Below

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artymon I\/
LEP Commander
Posts: 2401
Joined: Thu 9th Feb 2012
Location: Beyond time and space

...or the One Below

Post by artymon I\/ » Tue 31st Jul 2018

Upon surfacing to consciousness, the soft warmth of sand is what greets. Off in the distance, birds of prey boast of their feats.
With a groan, the sand-ridden figure rolls over, holding a light to shield from the blinding glare of a noon sun.
Noon sun? How long have I been out?
Crashes of waves cause the fellow to sit stark upright and observe their surroundings.
And where have I been out?
Clambering to unsteady feet, eyes opened and cocked curiously.
Tropical surroundings. Lapis lazuli waves crashed upon a cocaine white beach. Behind, a few palm trees provided a meek supply of cover from the baleful yellow sun above.
That aside, there was nothing else. No time-share resort hotel or overpriced restaurant. Not even a humble hut hocking shells.
Okay, McFly, get a grip on yourself…what’s the last thing you remember?
….McFly? Is that my name?

To the person’s minor horror, the realization dawned beyond a few faintly fleeting moments previously, the entire memory board was blank.
Strangely, this development did not disturb him.
Least…he thought he was a him. Could just as easily be a she.
Closing his eyes, he attempted to concentrate on the last thing he could remember, attempting to force his mind to wring memories like water from a sponge. Only in this metaphor, the sponge is actually an unyielding rock.
Pinprick holes in a colorless sky were all he could seem to manage.
…let insipid figures of light pass by.
The phrase came from nowhere.
Well. Obviously not from nowhere, it had to be from somewhere.
Was he dead?
This seemed a possibility.
Perhaps he’d been in a plane crash and was now condemned to wander this island.
Still, could be worse. Could be stuck in a more congested place, like New York.
But then, someone might have answers.
Still could.
On turning away from the sea, he discovered a wall of lush green foliage.
Hadn’t there only been a few trees a minute ago?
Mobilis in mobli. Changing in the ever changing.
Still, nothing to lose by pushing through and exploring whatever could be inside. Something from Burger King would be awesome.
That’s entirely illogical. And goes against basic survivalist tactics. Scour the perimeter of the beach first. Don’t get lost inside the foliage.
Heedless of the logic, he plodded through, expecting to be slapped by leaves and branches. Contrary, they seemed to melt as though previously informed of the newcomer’s ill-advised voyage and parted graciously for him.
After only a few steps, the greens parted in a cinematic-esque wipe away to reveal the opposite side of the beach.
No way I could’ve walked that far already, the traveler mused. Must be tripping.
The coast curved into a bay. Just inside, a large vessel drifted lazily.
Cursiouser and curiouser, as the….someone….somewhere….somewhen said.
Alice, wasn’t in?
Aboard the ship – and what a ship! Sporting two tall masts, easily two hundred feet in length, the thing appeared to have sailed off the pages of a story – a voice called out from the main deck, waving an adamant hand.
Holding a hand up as a makeshift visor, the islander can vaguely discern the shipmate is female.
Okay, it’s slowly coming back…
She called to him again, waving an arm back and forth.
“Hurry up!”
Apparently she wanted him to come aboard.
But how…?
Scanning left and right, he didn’t see a viable option….until he spotted a rowboat right in front of him.
Alright, now that hadn’t always been there….had it?
Choosing to shelve the matter, the islander climbs in, hoping his new friend(?) will have answers.
The water seemed almost motionless, liquid glass that caused his boat to float faster towards the ship.
Docking next to it, a rope ladder was thrown down to him and he climbed up it, glancing at his island only once before clambering over the side, nearly falling in.
He stumbled once but caught his footing in time to see his shipmate.
It is a woman.
Her dark hair falls to just above her shoulders, accented with a purple streak.
“There you are!” she declared with extreme exasperation, as though she’d been waiting for an age.
Her eyes glowed a bright hazel – nearly a charcoaled orange with flecks of yellow, giving the impression of a primal animal, perhaps a tiger.
At the islander’s lack of excitement or explanation for where he was or what took him so long, the shipmate reproachfully rolls her eyes.
“I know, you were expecting one of those other ladies….perhaps the Frenchwoman or the Aussie? Well you’re stuck with me.”
Finally finding his voice, the islander is almost surprised by the sound of his voice, sympathizing with Wilbur from the old animated film of Charlotte’s Web.
(Holy cannoli that’s specific.)
“I-I’m sorry, who are you?” he asked, feeling a crinkle in his voice.
Frowning suspiciously, the shipmate places her hands on her hips, examining the islander.
“You’re not asleep, are you? Open your eyes – the name’s Ione, and we’re going to save the world.”
Blinking, the islander follows Ione as she climbs towards the back of the vessel.
“Give me a hand with the stern anchor, Nate.”
Glancing around, expecting to see another stranger hop to, the islander accepts she must be talking to him when no one else comes by.
“…I’m Nate?” he asks, feeling foolish, helping Ione reel up the anchor. There’s a crank he turns as she checks the chains for chinks and anomalies.
“Last I knew, lest you want me to call you something else,” she said.
Finished, she whipped past Nate the Islander and took hold of the helm, spinning the wheel away from the bay.
“Might have to motor out,” Ione muttered to herself. “She wouldn’t approve, but oh well, til she joins us, it’ll have to do.”
“Don’t worry about that just head for the bow and get ready to crank the anchor up when I give you word.”
Nate took a few steps, then looked back at Ione.
On a fold out table near the wooden wheel, she appeared to be plotting a course on a small chart with a two-legged tool.
“You said….we’re going to save the world?”
Without glancing up from her calculations, Ione answered an affirm.
“More or less.”
“…from what? Who? Why?”
At last looking up, Ione saw the pure confusion filtering through Nate’s face.
Heck up to a minute ago, he hadn’t even known his name.
Settling her instruments down, she came down to him.
“Look…I know this is utterly mad and confusing….I can promise I’ll explain it all. Time, unfortunately, is against us. Once we’re underway to our destination, I’ll tell you everything I know.”
Ah what the hell, he didn’t have much to lose, and he could always jump out and find something to float on until he found another island.
“Alright…can you at least tell me where we’re going?”
With a rare smirk, Ione nods.
“To get the others.”
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The last step in any journey may be the first step of an even greater adventure.
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