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 even though they find each other, things still aren’t quite what they seem…
“I’m sorry!” He held out his muddy hands as if to calm her. Then he ran a hand through his still somewhat clean blond hair.
Rachel burst out laughing as he pulled his slimy hand away with some sort of straggling pond plant hanging from his hand. The absurdity of the entire situation was too much for both of them and they sat on the banks of the pond laughing so hysterically that it was probably a good thing that no one came along at that point. They would have been carted off for sure!
Their laughter finally died off and Charles looked at the woman next to him, with a look of chagrin, “I think we can skip the formalities at this point.” He wiped his hand as best he could on the grass and held it out to her, “My name is Charles Wentworth,” he said.
She blushed as she realized that she was all alone with this man she didn’t even know, but it seemed bad manners not to introduce herself, “It’s nice to meet you, my name is Rachel Thompson. I…” she looked around, “I’m really not supposed to be out without my chaperone, but I was just so enjoying the weather and she’s so stuffy and boring.”
“I see,” Charles said, finally meeting her eyes. Something flared between them. Something that neither of them knew what to do with. They sat in silence, their eyes locked on each other, the energy around them pulsing with a spark, a vibration that they didn’t recognize, but couldn’t pull away from.
Charles blinked and looked at his hand locked around Rachel’s wrist as she stood in the small pool. Rachel was staring at him with a stunned look, stumbling over her words, she finally said, “Did you… did you see that, too?”
Charles shook himself out of his reverie and pulled, helping her out of the small pool of water. They both sat down with heavy sighs, looking into the space in front of them as if they could force the memories or the vision back in front of their eyes. Charles finally broke the silence, “So, you saw it too? The pond?” He looked at her, confusion still clouding his eyes, “and those CLOTHES? Did you see the clothes?”
“See them?” Rachel asked with a scoffing sound. “I felt them. Those 15 layers of clothes damn near drowned me!”
A smile peeked at the edges of his mouth, “You did look a bit like a drowned rat wearing way too many clothes.” Rachel gave him that look until he laughed. “Well, you did.”
“So, you were there! What do you suppose it all means? These… visions we’ve been having?”
“Well it’s certainly getting harder to pretend they’re just a fluke.” Charles shook his head as if he couldn’t believe that he was saying it, “I mean, I think we might just be remembering our past lives. Or some sort of alternate universe.” He shook his head, “I can’t even believe that I’m saying those words, but for some reason it just sounds… right.”
Rachel took his hand in hers, squeezing it, “It does make a lot of sense. I mean, it explains THIS.” She leaned her head on his shoulder.
“Okay, I’ll buy that, but why now? Why are we remembering all of this NOW instead of back home? Or anytime before this? What is so special about this damn island we can’t seem to find our way off of?”
Rachel stood, pulling on his hand, “Well, there is only one way to find out and I think we need to keep moving. We’re almost to the rock and I really feel like as soon as we get there, we’ll find some answers. I don’t know why, but I really think that things are going to become clearer when we reach the rock.” She tugged his hand again, “Come on, let’s go!”
Charles hauled himself to a standing position with a groan, “Okay, okay, you’ve lectured me enough about the giant magical frog rock. Let’s go.”
Both Rachel and Charles were quiet as they walked, occasionally looking up and marking the distance between them and the giant rock in the distance.
They had held hands during their walks, occasionally stealing glances, as if to make sure that they were both still there, still experiencing the same thing.
“So,” Rachel’s voice broke the silence. “How DO you think we came to be here? On the island, I mean. Do you remember anything?”
Charles shook his head, “No. It’s still a complete blank to me.” She could feel the tension coming off of him in waves, “I swear, the memories of going off to war feel more real… more recent to me than the memories of living in our little home, having computers and driving off to work. It feels like… the more I think on in, the more I try to figure it out, the more it all just starts to bleed together. I don’t know what to think.”
“I don’t either. I feel lost in some ways, but…” her voice trailed off and she stopped walking. Charles came to a stop and turned to her, meeting her gaze.
“I just feel like somehow, everything is fine as long as I’m here with you.” He smiled as she continued, “I know it probably sounds weird, but with all of this happening, it just seems like everything just cements this thing that we have. I don’t remember how we came to be here, but part of me… “ She stopped talking and looked down.
“Part of you, what?” He asked, tipping her chin until her eyes met his.
“Part of me doesn’t want to keep walking towards that rock. Towards the other side of the island. I feel like everything will change and I don’t know if I want that to happen or not. I just want to stay with you.”
“We will stay together, Rachel. I promise. No matter what,” He squeezed her hands in his, “I think we need to go. We need to get back to our lives and be in the real world again. We have to find out what happened to us.”
Rachel nodded, blinking away the tears that were threatening, “I know. You’re right. I just have this tiny little feeling that we’re getting closer… to… I don’t know. I feel like it’s something I’m not sure I want.”
Charles tried to lighten the mood, “What, do you think there are crazy aliens on the other side? Is that what’s awaiting us?”
Rachel rolled her eyes, “No, don’t be weird. Although, things have been pretty strange. Maybe it is aliens. They’re going to do tests on us.”
“Don’t worry, they’ll probably just test me, since I’m obviously the superior specimen!” Rachel gasped in mock outrage and punched Charles in the arm. He laughed and took off running.
“You’re going to pay for that as soon as I catch you!” She cried out, chasing him down the beach, her fears and stresses forgotten.
They ran down the beach, eventually making their way into the water to cool down. Rachel splashed him and he caught her wrists. Suddenly the spark between them flared again. He leaned down and captured her mouth with his. They weren’t thinking about the rock, the past or the future. Right now, they were just absorbed in each other, in this very present moment. The rest of the world ceased to exist for them.
Later they found themselves walking down the beach in comfortable silence. The sun was beginning its downward descent and they watched the reflections on the still water as they walked hand in hand. The closer they got to the rock, the slower their steps became. Neither of them spoke a word about it, but as if it were a choreographed performance, their footsteps grew slower and slower.
Rachel broke the silence, “You don’t want to go, either.”
Charles shrugged, “Nah, of course I do. It’s just…”
“It’s just what?”
“I guess you’re right. I just feel less sure about what we’re going to find. What if we turn the corner and there is a big cruise ship and hundreds of people and we got back to our regular life,” he stopped and turned to her, “And what if things are different then? Between us.”
Rachel smiled and let herself be pulled into his arms. “That’s not possible, Charles. I don’t think things have ever been different between us. It’s always been you and me. Like this.”
Charles squeezed her to him, feeling the warmth of her skin against his and wishing that he could stay like that forever. “I suppose you’re right. I guess I’m just being weird.”
“It’s not weird at all. I think we’ve just gotten really comfortable here and maybe we’re just kind of grieving the loss of this,” She let her hand wave out to the side as if showing off a prize at a game show, “This magical place where we’ve been now for… however long. I think it’s normal to not want to go back home. Even when it’s a planned vacation and not some strange fluke of the universe.”
He hugged her once more and then took her hand, turning to walk once more. “I suppose you’re right. We might as well suck it up and get on with it.”
“Just focus on the good things. Like hot showers and soap. Air conditioning and actual clothes.”
He gave her a look, “I’m not sure I really miss the clothes, honestly. I mean, the view is pretty damn nice without them!” Rachel blushed, having gotten fairly used to walking around with a barely hanging in there scrap of the red dress she’d woken up in before. Charles continued with a more serious tone, “I am looking forward to relaxing on the couch with you and going out for dinner and drinks. I want to sit and watch a show on the TV instead of in our dreams.”
“Exactly,” Rachel replied. “I’m not sure if I really want to go home and watch some history documentaries… or if I want to just forget all about it.” She paused, “Do you think we’ll keep having memories? Or visions, whatever they are? You know, when we’re back, do you think this will keep happening to us?”
Charles looked thoughtful, “I hadn’t really thought about it, but now that you mention it, I do wonder if we will. Maybe there is something magical about this island. Something about being away from it all that made the memories possible.” He squeezed her hand. “I really hope we can remember more as time goes on.”
Rachel smiled, “We could write a book about our adventures in the past. It would be a best seller!”
“A book? You mean a series, right? We could write about all of our experiences in the past from a perspective that most writers don’t have.”
Rachel thought about it for a second, “Do you think maybe other people have had this same experience? Maybe we aren’t that unusual.”
“Maybe that’s where all of the good historical fiction comes from. People like us. Maybe that’s where the more authentic movies get their information. People who have actually remembered living it.” Charles made a sound of frustration, “I really miss being able to just look things up on google, too! I really want to know if other people have been through something like this. It’s the first thing I’m going to look up when we get back.”
Rachel smiled, “Oh, sweetie, of course other people have been through this. I mean, I always thought it was more of a fantasy or a delusion, but surely at least some of those people who talk about past lives and being reincarnated… surely some of them are legitimate. I never would have believed it before this whole thing, but I’m beginning to wonder how many people actually have been through this same thing.”
They were so lost in conversation that they didn’t realize how close they were to the rock until they nearly ran into it.