Island Paradise: Back in Time

A man and a woman wake up separately, seemingly alone on a deserted island with no memory of how they came to be there, no memory of their pasts, but drawn to each other… even though they can’t remember why. And things aren’t quite what they seem…

Part One: Him

Part Two: Her

Part Three: Remembering Rachel

Part Four: Remembering Charles

Part Five: Reunited

Part 6: Memories

Part 7: More Memories

Most of the time they were able to just ignore it and get on with the business of finding food to eat or water that they could drink. The forest provided enough shelter from the sun in the heat of the day and when it rained, but they knew that they needed to find some way to get off of this island and back to civilization. What if one of them got hurt? Or sick? They’d be trapped here with no help and no way to do anything. The thought was always there, in the back of their minds as they went about their days… even though, for the most part they just decided to treat it as a very exclusive vacation opportunity.

The weird memories? That was surely just another glitch in the matrix.

They spent the rest of the day swimming, walking and just enjoying each other. Neither of them brought up Charles’ odd dream again. They didn’t talk about it at all, but when they settled in for the night, it was on both of their minds.

The memories… they were coming again.


Rachel looked down at her hand, the diamond was small, but it sparkled almost as much as her eyes. She looked up at Charles in his uniform, “I can’t believe we’re really married!” Her voice trembled with the emotion of the day, the excitement and the dread of knowing that he was leaving for the war in just two weeks.

Looking into his eyes, she found herself once again astounded at the feeling of security he brought her. Not the ring, not the marriage, not money, but him. Just him. His presence had felt like a grounding force to her since the night they met. He smiled at her, his normally serious expression turning soft under her gaze as it always did. He squeezed her hand. “We’re really married.” He said, his deep soothing voice wrapped around her like a blanket. She curled up next to him and looked out the windows of the car as they drove to their honeymoon hotel.

It wasn’t going to be anything fancy, but it would be just the two of them and that was all either of them needed. They had been lost in their own little world all day, barely even noticing all of the guests, the congratulations, the dancing. They couldn’t take their eyes off of each other, couldn’t stop touching as if they were afraid it was all a dream and they couldn’t bare to wake up.

It had been a whilrwind romance in everyone’s eyes. They’d met barely 5 months ago and now they were husband and wife. No one was about to complain. The war had changed life for everyone, especially young couples who were getting married in haste before their soon-to-be-husband got on the train and headed out of town.

No one really spoke about the fact that some of them weren’t going to be coming back. There were whispers, of course, but like most of the young people, Rachel and Charles kept those thoughts hidden in the back of their minds. Whenever they peeked through in times of stress, the thoughts would be quickly tamped down.

Charles stopped the car and came around to open her door. It was time to start their lives together as husband and wife. Rachel felt a wave of trepidation wash over her, goosebumps racing up her arms and a blush staining her cheeks. Charles reached out to help her from the car and then moment his hand touched hers, everything was okay once again. He always had that effect on her. They’d been together such a short time, but she felt like they’d been together so much longer. A lifetime, at least.

The unwelcome thought popped it’s head up, ‘What if he doesn’t come back?’ and she pushed it down, smiling at Charles and keeping the bad thoughts away.

***

Charles signed the register for himself and his wife. “Wife” he said with a smile as he wrote her name beside his. She was his.

He hadn’t been planning to get married this young. Hell, he also hadn’t planned on going to fight for his country, either. He had always thought that he’d just work on his career and when he was a bit older, find a nice girl and settle down to have a nice house with a couple of kids.

Meeting Rachel had changed everything. He’d been happily going about his life when they crashed into each other. She hadn’t been paying attention to where she was going, her head buried in a book, and he’d turned away to answer a friend just at the wrong moment. Or maybe the right moment. He’d spilled his shake all over the front of her dress and her book.

He smiled now as he remembered her shriek and the way she’d frantically grabbed the edge of his sweater to wipe off her book. She hadn’t made a move to wipe off her dress, but that book was the thing to be prized.

Charles wasn’t really that great with the ladies in the first place, but meeting this way definitely added a bit of chaos to it all. He’d stammered and turned beet red, trying to apologize. She’d been wiping at her book, grumbling at him with a fierceness that he hadn’t heard from anyone other than his feisty grandmother and he couldn’t apologize enough.

Then she’d looked up at him.

When their eyes met, it was as if the whole world slowed down. Maybe it all froze in time for just a moment. Neither of them would have noticed if the entire world around them had disappeared. Charles felt the impact from her look as if someone had reached inside of his very soul and yanked him towards her. He knew in that very moment that she was his. The look on her face told him that she felt it, too.

They’d actually sat down, right there at the closest table and talked. Their friends, the book, forgotten. They sat there talking like they just had to catch up, they had to learn every single thing there was to know.

Charles couldn’t stop staring at her, feeling like she was the one he had been looking for and yet somehow she was the one he’d always known. His heart was so full of emotion that he wasn’t sure he’d even remember what he said that day, or if he’d remember what she said. The details weren’t important. Being with her, having found her, that was the only important thing left.

When the shop owner told them it was time to close the doors and lock up, he’d walked her home. For the first time ever, he’d felt the need to meet her family, to make a good impression. He knew in that moment that he was going to marry this girl some day.

It didn’t hit him until he’d gone home that night that he’d already signed up to join the military. He and his best friend had just signed the papers yesterday. His heart was in his throat. He’d finally found her and now he would be leaving. His dreams were so intense that night. Dreams of a life with her, dreams of their future, their home, their children… and nightmares of gunfire, bombs and blood. He woke up and pushed the negative thoughts away as he would do many, many times over the next months.

He decided that the war was a good thing. He would just spend all of his free time between now and when he left to court Rachel. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was the woman he was meant to spend his life with. He jumped out of bed and got dressed, hoping beyond hope that she felt the same way about him. That she would be willing to wait for him when he left.

He had barely knocked on her door when it flew open and their eyes met once again. The love between them was already apparent. They practically glowed with it from the start.

And here they were, not even 6 months later, man and wife and that glow had only gotten stronger.

***

Rachel woke up with Charles wrapped up against her. She smiled as the memories of the past floated around her. She could feel the intense love seeping through from her dreams… or her memories and snuggled closer to his warmth. He mumbled something and held her even tighter.

Eventually they needed to get up. Their need to move on, to find a way off the island had become more urgent. It was almost as if someone or something was pulling them or maybe pushing them to go. Most of the time they were fine just being together, but then the pull would start and they both just start moving. It wasn’t ever something they planned ahead for, it just seemed to happen.

Rachel felt the pull as soon as she stood up. The urgency seemed even stronger this time.

“Charles, get up sleepyhead, we need to get moving.”

He grumbled with a big smile, “But I was just at the good part of the dream… come back and lay down with me again. I know something better to do.”

She smiled at him, but couldn’t seem to get rid of the need to go. “I can’t. I don’t know why, but I have to move. I need to… go. Somewhere.”

Charles could hear the tension in her voice and stood up immediately. He put what was left of his jeans back on and pulled her in for a kiss. “We’ll go, then. I trust your feelings on this. Maybe there is a boat right around the corner.” He looked around, “Well, at least we travel light! Let’s go.”

They walked in silence for a while. The gorgeous view, the perfect weather lulling them into a sense of peace. It was odd when they thought about it. The fact that they’d really only been here for a matter of days, and yet they felt like they’d been together forever.

The days had become routine. Their time spent moving along the island, finding food, finding fresh water. And yet they never felt bored. They were both perfectly content being together. Talking, sleeping, working to find food together, sex, all of it was just everything they needed and felt right.

Until that need to move on came, drawing them further down the beach or through the trees. Then they were driven to move and just go. During those times, they didn’t say much, just walked along, working together without needing words.

They were walking along the edge of the trees, trying to avoid the heat of the sun when Rachel suddenly stopped moving. She was in the zone again and Charles knew that meant she was remembering something. She stood still, but her body was trembling so hard he could see it.

Charles hesitated. Should he hold her? Would that pull her out of whatever she was remembering? They talked about their memories all the time, but had never addressed this kind of thing. He felt drawn to her as he saw her shaking harder. He had just reached out to her when she started screaming. A heartbreaking scream ripped from her shaking body and she fell to her knees on the sand. Charles jumped to her, taking ahold of her and wrapping his arms around her as if he could protect her from whatever was happening.

Sobs wracked her body and the screaming, the wailing coming from her was stabbing right through him. He held her, rocking her body gently back and forth, silent tears streaming from his face as he tried to take the pain from her. She clutched onto him like he was the only thing keeping her from drowning as her voice became dry and hoarse from the screaming.

He didn’t know what to say, so he just rocked her back and forth and said all those useless things that people say in times of grief, “It’ll be okay. I’m right here… I’m with you, baby. Please, it’s going to be okay.”

At some point she started to calm, her body wilting against his as if she had given up. He held her still, unmoving until he heard her breathing start to slow and ease into sleep. He laid down with her then and rested her head on his arm, pulling her close. His heart was racing from the ordeal, but she was worn out, completely and utterly spent and he didn’t have the heart to wake her or leave her for even a moment. He closed his eyes and just tried to absorb her pain.

They slept.

(To Be Continued)

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