Aoshima Kaizuiyokujo, Miyazaki, Japan.
A pair of young, slender female legs are leaving footprints on a fresh sandy beach.
There is a gentle shoreline lapping at her toes, in response, the curl down into the sinking sand.
She stops, then bends over to take a closer look at a curled up piece of paper, half buried in sand.
Her slender hand lets go of her shawl, to reach out for the paper, but then suddenly looks up in horror, as the wind rudely takes her shawl in a random wind dance.
Her Asian face looked around to locate the shawl. She is beautiful, with soft gentle skin, her strong, but slender body shows her as being in her 20’s. She looks a little like she has just lost her security blanket.
Just as she spots the shawl, a nearby jogger changes direction to pick the shawl up.
He reaches down to a sandy bank, lifts up the shawl and dutifully shakes some sand off it, then walks towards the her.
Her warm smile is thanks enough, but she says to him with a slight accent:
He did not hear, then signals to his ears, removes his iPod ear plugs, then replies:
“Sorry, I had my music on.” He explained, speaking in a slightly European accent.
“Oh, I see.” She smiled, then continued, “Thank you.” She repeated.
“No problem. What did you find?” He enquired.
“What ..?” she asked.
“It looked like you found something in the sand?” He smiled.
“Oh, that. I’m not sure, I was just about to take a look at it.” She glanced over to where the paper was.
She seemed so preoccupied with it, that she seemed to forget her shawl.
He kept it in his hands, carefully, but securely.
“How about I hold onto it while you take a look.” He offered.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing. Probably just rubbish.” She explained, looking disconnected.
“Go on, you know you want to!” He jeered.
She shyly looked away, then smiled and said:
“Would you? I’ll just be a minute.”
“Of course.” He said, then followed her to where the paper stuck out of the sand.
She reaches the paper, then pinches a corner of it to pull it up and looks at the writing on the paper.
The paper looks old and worn and has English writing on it.
“It is a letter” She said.
“I wonder if this was from a bottle?” He joked.
“I don’t understand?” She said.
“Perhaps it was a message in a bottle, the bottle could have smashed and left the paper here on the beach.” He explained.
“This paper is dry, it looks very old.” She observed.
“Looks like it was tied up at one stage. What does it say?” The jogger asked, looking at her deep black eyes.
“The writing is barely visible, but there are some parts I can make out.”
She reads it to the stranger:
“To whom it may concern, we are s….”
“we have survived on this”
“there are bits missing here … “
“…towards Fiji. We hit turbulence and crashed.”
“rescue that has not come. We do not know where we are”…
“more bits missing and then it says…”
“we may never leave it. Not all of us have survived… “
“more missing bits here…”
“there is hope. We are alive, please don’t give up on us.”
“My god, is this a distress call?” She gasped.
The jogger looked pale and agasp.
“May I see it. Please?” He asked.
“Sure” she replied, then handed him the paper.
He read it with a sense of bewilderment.
“Are you ok? She asked him.
“I’m not sure. It’s probably nothing.” He stammered, then continued:
“It’s just that my father, before he died, spent his life looking for some sort of “mystical” island, one which he believed to have some special “healing powers” or something crazy like that. He spent a lot of time looking for it in the pacific, not far from Fiji. I barely got to see him, growing up as a kid. He believed that it near the island of Manounou, but he never found it.”
Now the young girl looked pale, she stopped him suddenly and said:
“Wait. Did you say Manounou?” she enquired.
“Yes, do you know it?” He asked.
“Manounou, the island that the Oceanic survivors where held captive?” She questioned.
“I’m surprised you would remember it, you would have been a little girl when that happened.” He replied in amazement.
“I know all about it…” she continued, “ because my grandmother told me about it. Both my parents where killed on that Island.” she quivered.
The jogger looked at her in shock and asked:
“Wait, are you serious? Oceanic flight 815?” He asked.
“Yes.” She whispered, but then she asked:
“Do you think, this letter could have been written by one of the people held captive on Manounou?”
“I don’t know” Replied the jogger, the continued, “But I’m going to find out.” he said with conviction.
They both looked at each other and you could see within an instant, thousands of questions, doubts, confusion and a little excitement suddenly fell together in an instant. Then there was a faint glimmer of hope. They had just found a lot more than just a letter in the sand.
– 16 years earlier –
There is movement in the dark jungle bed, amongst the palm leaves and bushes. There is a rush of leaves moving to and frow, with a sense of urgency, Vincent suddenly appears in an opening, in front of Rose and Bernard’s hut.
There is an open fire, un-attended. There are rocks stacked around the fire, which are supporting a metal cooking plate.
Vincent is sniffing around the hut, then goes inside, only to whimper a little then came outside to look for his master.
Hugo steps aquardly over some dead trees and into the opening in front of the huts. He looks around the campsite, looks at Vincent, who just looks up at him.
He steps into the hut and stops suddenly.
“Wh… How did you get here so quickly?” He asked Walt, who was kneeling next to Rose and Bernard’s bed.
“They’re… gone.” He sighed, looking at Hugo with deep sadness.
Hugo bit his bottom lip and tried to talk, but could not.
“N… Bu.. “ he stammered.
Walt sat still, then whispered:
“It’s my fault”
“Oh no! No no no no! Don’t say that!” Hugo yelled.
“They where our friends, it’s not… not… your fault.” He tried to hold back his tears, but then continued and said:
“I… I gave them the fish.” He whimpered.
“The fish?” Walter asked.
“The fish the others gave to you. That’s what killed them.” Hugo said angrily.
“That’s impossible” he concluded.
Ben, now standing at the front of the hut said with cold confidence,
“I wish you where right, Walter. But that’s the truth. That fish is poisonous. It would seem that the other people on this island have an agenda.”
Walt just looked quietly at Rose and Bernard, now lying in their bed, Bernard’s arms wrapped around Rose in a last hug. They seemed so peaceful, so quiet.
Then Walt had the worst man-hate look in his eyes, he looked up at Ben then asked:
“what are we going to do about it then?”
Ben did not reply, but instead, reached into a sheath attached to his belt and pulled out a knife, threw it with perfect precision, into a wooden beam supporting the hut, only centemeters from Walt’s head.
They looked at each other, then looked at Hugo, who was wiping off tears from his cheeks.
Ben asked one final question of Hugo:
“Now can I have the ammunition?”
Hugo sheepishly looked at Ben and nodded.