By Lia Athena
She feels cold sand against her face, the rustle of the ocean in the background, the sour taste of seaweed in her mouth. She’s trying to sort through her thoughts, but she can’t seem to breathe.
She immediately sits up and feels around.
The bright sun cascades against her eyes and she squints, trying to figure out where she is.
All she sees is the white of sand, going on for miles and miles; the dark blue ocean; the tingling of the green to her right.
Some palm trees, dark green bushes. . .
“Where am I?” she mutters to herself. She doesn’t remember ever deciding to vacation on the beach, in who knows where, just wearing her jeans and white blouse.
Then, everything hits her.
The annoying passenger that bumped into her at JFK airport, the gingerale and vodka refreshment, and the pilot speaking to the passengers in hushed, calm, tones. That there are several bumps in their course, but everything is okay. That they will soon be arriving at their destination with just a slight delay.
He didn’t say anything about a crash, or the fact that the plane was going to ride into ocean, head first, and the passengers shrieks and screams would haunt her for the rest of her life.
There was no warning, there was just. . .pain.
She stands up, shakingly, but surprised she can actually stand up and looks down at her body. A bruise here or there, a slight ringing in her ear, a gash on on the back of her hand, dried blood all over it.
No serious injuries, though.
“Hellooo?” She hears someone call and immediately turns her body toward the voice, toward the far edge of the beach where there is a glimmer of black and silver, a body that gets bigger and bigger.
Her eyes water. Another human being. She runs toward that person, and it’s like a scene in Marley & Me.
“Heyyy!!!!!” She screams.
It’s a longer run than she thinks, but she makes it and stares at a woman, around her age, in her early twenties, wearing a black skirt and a silver stringy top. Her black hair is tossed around, her makeup wet and smudged, yet she is smiling.
“It’s so good to see another human being!” she shrieks. “Oh my God! I’ve been wandering around the shoreline for hours!” Her voice is thick and beautiful.
“I. . .” She doesn’t recognize her own voice. It’s hoarse, and has gaps in between, “I. . .think I just woke up. . .Where. . .”
“In the plane heading to Florida?” She seems a bit too happy for just surviving a plane crash. Doesn’t she have survivors guilt?
“Yes. Yes I was. . .” She looks off into the distance and pulls at her short hair, her dirty brown hair filled with sand and sunken with despair.
“I’m Anne. And you are. . .?”
Anne puts out her hand to shake it. Sena shakes it hard.
“Have you seen anyone else?”
Anne shakes her head, her doll dark brown eyes big and heavy. “No, I’ve been calling out, but nada.”
“Have you seen. . .”
“The crash site? Kinda, like there are some luggage littered from where I came from, along the shore. But I haven’t seen the actual plane, itself. I think it sunk into the ocean. . .along with. . .”
Sena shudders. She doesn’t want to think of the dead people. All those people whose last thoughts before death were the plane roaring into the ocean, the somersault feeling in the stomach, the fiery fear that death is near.
“We need to tell someone, find a way off this. . .island.”
They proceed to do what they think is the best way to let someone know they are stuck here. Writing huge letters in the sand with driftwood. Making a large bonfire (Anne says she is a huge Survivor fan), but nothing works. No one comes to help them.
As the sun starts to set, the two of them decide to go to where the pile of luggage is, to see if they can find something to eat and warm clothes. They don’t know where they are, but it might be cold at night.
At the site with the luggage, they find a large black duffel bag, a small light blue suitcase, and a brown leather bag.
They pull out the items one by one and lay them next to each other.
Dog treats, several black clothes too large for them, a bottle of water, a brush, fragrance shampoo and conditioner, a half full bag of trail mix, a dead computer, several pairs of sandals, and a rubber band ball.
They share sips of water, divide the trail mix into four parts. Quarter tonight, and quarter tomorrow for each of them. Hopefully, they’ll find more food tomorrow so they won’t have to resort to dog food.
They sit by the fire, sucking the juice from the raisins, trying to savor the flavor, crunch the nuts between their teeth, and Anne’s eyes. She can’t stop staring at Sena.
At geogeous Sena, her medium length hair, her smooth, pointy chin, her medium sized breasts. . .
“I don’t understand how I didn’t notice you on the plane,” Anne smoothly says, a grin forming on the tips of her lips.
Sena chuckles slightly and bites her lip. “Well, traveling always takes so much out of us. I never notice anyone, really, to be honest.”
The fire is the only thing crinkling and keeping them warm, the only light in the island of darkness. They talk to each other about their life outside the plane crash, their jobs, personal lives, dreams, goals and desires.
“Come here,” Anne says quietly.
Sena bites her lip harder, she isn’t sure what to do, what to say, what to feel. . .
For all she knows, this could be her last night alive. They might not find help and end up dying here from dehydration or some wild animals that they haven’t heard but are sure to come at night.
This is her time to live. To live her life to the fullest.
Anne is breathtakingly beautiful. Honest eyes, broad shoulders, shinny skin. Sena has a girlfriend back home, but she might never see her again. And she was planning to break up with her, anyway.
Sena inches closer to Anne, snuggling in next to her. She feels Annes warmth and a tingle starts up in her stomach and shoots through her veins.
“You’re such a beauty, did you know that?” Anne tells her softly, and Sena smiles.
Sena knows this. People tell her this all the time, but the way that Anne says it makes her leap in the air and cry out to the universe in happiness.
Anne plays with her hair, feeling the tingle of strands, Sena brings up her fingers to touch Anne’s fingers, and there is a shock so intense that Sena feels all of her presence.
It is indeed amazing.
It’s fireworks, rose buds, the thrill of a rollercoaster.
Sena’s eyes widen as Anne tilts her chin upward slightly.
She bends her neck, and they turn to each other and their lips meet.
Anne’s lips are warm and tangy like sour candy.
Sena bites her slightly, and the warmth they share is a thousand meters of light and sanity.
They tug at each other’s clothes, feel each others bodies with their tender hands, and it’s bliss for Sena.
Sena takes a deep breath in. This is it.
Sena imagines herself waking up in Anne’s arms, but the opposite happens.
Actually something completely different happens.
She wakes up lying on a metal table, smelling sulfur and isopropyl alcohol used in hospitals.
She can’t move her limbs except her head. She blinks hard.
Around her is white walls, white flooring, above is a harsh white light.
She wants to shriek, but her throat feels raw.
Immediately, a figure hovers above her. It’s a bit fuzzy at first, but then she is able to see the person’s face.
An old woman, with crinkled skin and round glasses. Her lips are are light pink, and her eyes. . .are so familiar. They are so pure. . .so honest.
“Sena, you’re awake.”
“Wha. . .” Sena’s voice is thick. She can’t seem to say anything right. “What. . .What is going on?” She squints her eyes, trying to figure out where she’s seen this woman before.
“Sena, dear, don’t you recognize me?”
Sena looks up at this old woman. She has pearl earrings and her long white hair is tied up in a bun.
Does she have an aunt who is in her eighties? It’s not her grandmother, not anyone at the place she works at. . .
Yet. . .she is just so familiar. Her honest eyes are. . .
“Anne?” Anne. The other survivor of that plane crash. The one. . .the woman she just fucked last night.
But why is she so old?
Did we get rescued? But somehow I ended up in a coma for 60 years? Am I old? Sena longs to feel her face, hoping that her soft skin is still intact.
She still feels young, young. Her body feels light.
So. . .
“Why are you so old?”
“Oh, come on, Sena. I’m only 85.”
Sena scrunches her eyebrows, she tries to sit up, but she still can’t move her young body. What is going on?
“What’s going on? Why can’t I move?”
“Because you tried to run away last time.”
“After the Titanic scene, you punched me in the stomach and tried to make a run for it. Thankfully, my trusty guard was able to catch you in time. Can’t have you leaving me, Sena.”
Sena bites her lip, trying to understand what Anne is saying. Titanic. The sinking ship. The movie. But. . .
A flash of white and cold water hits her face. She remembers being on the Titanic. She wore her beautiful lavender dress and her sparkling gold necklace.
The ship was shipping, and her husband just left her on board. He had taken the last life boat for himself and his friends. Abandoning her.
On the sinking ship, she was crying, the tears stinging her eyes, when there was beautiful Anne, in a dashing red gown, comforting her. . .and they found a bed, and even though the ship was sinking, they were still able to. . .
Sena blushes at the thought.
Anne saw her naked body on the Titanic. But. . .how is that possible?
She was just in the 21st century, taking a plane. . .
Was that another lifetime?
“How. . .” Sena shakes her head. “What’s going on?”
“It’s cool isn’t?”
“What? Just let me go! Let me go home!” Sena roars. She doesn’t know which home she is talking about. Her apartment in New York City, with the dashing view of the high line and her puppy called Rufus.
Or the house in Connecticut, with the asparagus farm and the candlelight dinners?
Or how about the orphanage on the space ship in the year 3000?
“This technology is amazing. . .”
“What are you talking about? What did you do to me?” She shouts, and tries to move, but nothing works. She is frozen. A statue in a museum. Submerged in water, weighed down by chains.
The more she thinks, the more she tries to figure out where she lives, the more the memories spill. The more the situations come into her mind.
Each situation is different.
Each memory takes place in a different year and place.
Although, one thing remains the same. She ends up with young Anne.
And 95% of the time, they end up having sex, and then the next morning, she wakes up in this strange room.
“Let me go!” she screams. How long has she been trapped here? How many times has her memory been wiped and a new memory has been created for her? How many scenarios has she been in?
It’s the same every time.
Somehow Anne becomes young, and Sena thinks that is real, that the scenario is real.
“Please, I don’t want this anymore.” It’s too confusing. Her mind is spinning and going into a black hole. She doesn’t know who she is anymore.
“Then be my wife.”
“I want you to marry me, Sena. Marry me, all of me, and we can live happily ever after. Together and forever.”
Sena doesn’t know this old woman. She doesn’t want to marry her.
She may have had sex with this psycho who knows how many times. But how can she marry her? Time after time, she’s been tricking Sena. Tricking her into sleeping with her. Making up unbelievable situations that Sena stupidly believes because it’s too realistic.
How does this technology even exist? The technology to transform a mind like this, make up a real life situation that convinces you this is “real life.”
Sena shakes her head.
“No, no, no, no. I will not marry you.”
“You said that last time,” Anne says. She sighs. She doesn’t look disappointed, though.
It’s like she’s used to that answer, like in a sense she has accepted it.
“Let’s go again.”
“What are you talking about?” Sena tumbles with her words. She wants to go home, she doesn’t want this to happen again.
“You made your choice, Sena.”
“No, please. I don’t want to do this again.”
“It won’t be the same thing, don’t you worry. . .I like to have change.” She chuckles to herself. “Win-win for me.”
“Pleasseee, Anne. I don’t. . .This. . Is. . .”
She smells the fresh rain, and it brings a smile to her face.
She opens the trunk of her car and places her groceries inside. She is about to close the trunk, when a cold hand is pressed against her mouth and before she can fight back, she feels a prick in her neck and finds herself falling asleep.
She wakes up on a hard floor. A woman is slapping her.
She blinks several times.
She doesn’t know where she is or how she got here.
A lightbulb is hanging from the ceiling, and it brings light to the face above her. A beautiful woman with honest eyes.
“What. . .” Her voice cracks. She can’t recognize her voice. “What is going on?”
“I don’t know!” the beautiful woman cries. “I was just at the supermarket and then a man—“
Her mind comes rushing in. She was just placing her groceries in the trunk of her car when a—
“You were kidnapped too?”
“Yes, oh my God, I’m so scared. I woke up here and was alone. . .and then. . .he came in and dropped you here.”
She sits up, her face close to this beautiful woman. She moves away from her, startled at her sight, but at the same time, she is at awe. This woman gives off this vibe that she is familiar with. A vibe. . .a warm glow to her, that everything is going to be all right.
That she is in safety’s hands as she stares into her eyes.
This beautiful woman offers her hand and she shakes it.
“I’m Anne. What’s your name?”