Day 1 (The highlights)
Something was crushing me – hard, pinning me from behind. It was difficult to breathe as if my nose and mouth were being pressed into wet sand. I felt the gritty substance crunch between my teeth which confirmed my suspicions. I was lying face first in sand. If I didn’t do something quickly I was going to suffocate.
Channelling my increasing panic I braced myself as best I could I and heaved upwards trying to escape the crushing weight on my back. To my intense relief I felt it give a bit and managed to take a quick gulp of air just before it brutally pinned me again, smashing down on me like a ton weight.
Bruised and battered I lay for a second and gathered all my strength, pushing determinedly against my unknown nemesis. Suddenly I found myself free and blinded by light. Shielding my eyes with shaking hands I groaned in pain. Something was wrong. Very wrong. I couldn’t remember anything. Not a thing. Nothing at all before the first taste of sand.
What was that thing that had been crushing me anyway? And more to the point where was I? A lazy surf of fizzing bubbles lapped around my bare feet and I looked around for the first time, noticing just how close I was to the sea. Almost as if I’d been washed up perhaps…
Something vivid blue and tattered lay beside me, a hulking thing, sort of like an aeroplane seat only it was badly shredded and upside down. And what was that thing sticking out from underneath?
I took a closer look and felt my heart thump loudly. Holy crap! It was an arm!
Dragging myself along the sand I pushed the seat over with my shoulder dreading what I might find underneath. For all I knew the body would be completely mangled.
My heart sank. I was looking at a dead man. There was an obvious head injury and who could say what others he had suffered?
Suddenly I felt terrified. He could be anyone. He could be my father, my brother, even my husband! How was I supposed to know? Maybe this was the greatest tragedy I’d ever faced and I didn’t even know it.
I tried to figure out who he was. What he meant to me. He looked to be between fifty and fifty five. Dark haired but going grey, his skin was swarthy, his hands were soft and his arms strong looking, covered with shimmering bronze hair that hinted at a certain virility.
I reached out and lifted his hand to my face. I felt sad that he was dead. But how could I not? He was the only other person I knew. I felt the need to be close to him. I could not bear to be alone.
“Why?” I began to sob. Carefully I lay down in his arms as though he was still alive.
“Why did you have to die?”
“I don’t want to be alone!”
I don’t know how long I cried for but at some point I must have fallen asleep.
When I awoke it was starting to go dark and I smiled at first not remembering my situation. I think perhaps I imagined I’d fallen asleep on holiday, on some exotic beach. A few seconds later though it all came flooding back to me. I was alone. Absolutely alone. I threw my head back and wailed.
After a few seconds my eyes went wide when a hand reached up to comfort me. I stayed frozen as it stroked my tangled hair.
“Don’t cry,” said the man, still strapped inside the wreckage.
He smiled and held me to him.
Oh my God! He wasn’t dead!
“Who are you?” I said stroking his arm, trembling all the while.
“Who am I?”
I nodded and looked up at him, my own fear reflected in his eyes.
“I was hoping you knew,” he said sounding a little croaky.
He looked so disappointed. Like a little boy offered the world by his father then given a pebble instead.
I felt responsible for him somehow. I had this incredible urge to make him feel better.
“No,” I said with surprising tenderness. “I’m afraid I don’t know who you are. But I know I’ve never been more pleased to see someone in my entire life.”
Day Two (The Highlights)
I’d managed to light a fire before nightfall and because of my lengthy nap earlier I was able to stay awake during the night and make sure it was kept alight.
Dawn was now giving way to morning and as the sun came up blazing with the promise of a scorching day I could see his face much more clearly. He certainly seemed very familiar and I remembered the relief I had felt on discovering that he was actually alive. It had been pretty momentous.
As he lay on the sand a good portion of his chest was exposed beneath his tattered shirt revealing a well- toned physique and tantalising glimpses of even more bodily hair.
I smiled to myself and threw another piece of twisted driftwood onto the fire. Something glistened in the light.
I examined my hand and to my shock I discovered a wedding band.
I sat back in the sand with a thump.
Oh my God! I was married! Was he my husband?
I looked across at the man who had shielded me with his body. Well at least that was what I thought had happened. But how could I know? I didn’t even know my name – let alone his.
I took off the ring and held it up to the light. Inside was inscribed;
“From Phil to Gina, with love on our wedding day xxx”
I swallowed hard and called out to the sleeping man opposite.
Startled he sat up and blinked. He rubbed his eyes and looked up at me questioningly.
“What? What is it?” he said. “You ok?”
“Yes. I think I just found out who we are,” I said holding up the ring.
I nodded and passed the ring over for him to see.
“From Phil to Gina, with love on our wedding day xxx” he murmured to himself.
“So I must be your husband then?” he said.
I nodded and took the ring back.
“Holy cow! I won the lottery!” he said staring at me in disbelief.
I found myself smiling in spite of everything.
Day 3 (The Highlights)
It wasn’t too hard to find water. There was a shallow freshwater spring nearby that flowed down to the sea. Problem was, it was getting hotter which increased our thirst and we were in no condition to keep trekking backwards and forwards to the spring. We decided then to move camp, such as it was to beneath the trees where the water seemed to be deepest.
As we made our way over we discussed the situation we found ourselves in.
“Did you remember anything yet?” I asked stopping to pour the sand out of my shoe.
“No,” said Phil shaking his head.
“But I’m pretty sure of one thing,” said Phil supporting me as I put my shoe back on.
“I think we’ve survived a plane crash.”
I looked at him and waited for him to continue.
“Well I admit we don’t have a lot of evidence,” he said. “But the plane seat we were both strapped into is a pretty big give away. Plus we both have head wounds.”
I nodded in agreement and walked over to him.
“How is that now?” I asked pulling his head gently towards me so that I could see it for myself.
“Not too bad,” he grinned, peeking down my top.
I winced at the sight of the three inch long wound covered in blood and sand.
“When we get there I’ll clean that for you,” I said.
“As long as you’re gentle,” he said with a mischievous look in his eye. “Perhaps I should take a look at yours too?”
I laughed and pulled back my fringe exposing the gash on my forehead.
“Looks like it’s doing nicely,” he said. For a moment or two his eyes locked with mine. I turned and walked away feeling a little awkward.
“Come on! We’re nearly there. I’m dying of thirst Phil!” I called over my shoulder. I could feel his eyes running over my body as I walked on ahead of him.
The trees were tall and shady, casting shadows over the sand and water. We sat down beneath them and scooped up the cool sweet water into our mouths. But somehow it wasn’t enough for me. I walked straight in fully clothed and splashed about a little in the water.
Wow! It felt good!
With my clothes pasted to me like a second skin I walked towards Phillip and began to unbutton my blouse. His mouth dropped open like a compromised drawbridge. I couldn’t help but laugh in amusement. Teasingly I pulled the wet garment off.
“I need to clean that wound remember? We don’t have anything else to use,” I explained holding out my wet blouse. He seemed speechless.
“Bend your head down,” I said gently pulling him to me. It was hard not to gasp as I felt his warm breath caressing the swell of my damp breasts. Pushing away those distracting thoughts I did my best to clean away the sand and blood.
“Did that hurt?” I said putting my blouse back on.
“Did what hurt?” he said looking oddly flushed.
“Me washing the blood and sand off of course!”
“Er…not really,” he said. “My mind was on something else at the time.”
Day 4 (The Highlights)
Not being able to remember anything was really starting to get me down and I was sick and tired of eating papayas and coconuts. Feeling tearful I decided to walk down to the shore line on my own leaving Phil to the makeshift spear he was improvising with the idea that we might be able to catch our own fish.
That in itself unsettled me, the thought that we might have to stay on this tiny island for long enough to require another food source. I took off my shoes and paddled at the water’s edge. Tears began to fall as I wondered if we would ever be rescued. Just then something hit my foot. Looking down with decidedly blurry vision I discovered a woman’s shoe partly submerged in the water. It was not a nice shoe. I examined the four inch trashy gold heel and leopard print suede and knew immediately that it was not one of mine.
“Phil!” I shouted throwing the shoe down excitedly. “Come and see this!”
Right in front of me were two partially deflated aeroplane life jackets floating in the water, their nylon tapes trailing behind like tentacles.
“Shit!” said Phil breathlessly. “I told you didn’t I?”
“I know you did,” I said quietly. Neither of us said anything for a few minutes. How in God’s name could you forget a plane crash? I think both of us half expected to see bodies out there bobbing amongst the waves. But there were none.
“You know what this means don’t you?” He said. I looked puzzled.
“It means the crash site was not too far away from here. Things are looking up.”
“I hate to break your bubble but depending on the weather this stuff could have been carried ninety miles or more on the tide. That’s a big search area,” I said feeling disheartened.
“Ninety miles?” replied Phil scornfully. “How the hell do you know that?”
“I don’t know. But I know it’s true.”
“Don’t you try and drag me down with your pessimism,” said Phil wagging his forefinger in annoyance. “In situations like this it’s all about keeping positive and upbeat.”
I felt distraught. He was right. How could I have let my husband down so badly?
“Look,” I said placing a hand on his deeply golden chest. He’d dispensed with his shirt yesterday much to my inner delight.
“Look Phil. When a plane goes down, debris can travel for miles on the open sea.”
“You’ve already said that Gina for God’s sake!
“Yes but the fact is if this stuff’s survived then more than likely the black box has too. At the moment of impact the black box sends out a signal pin pointing the exact location where the plane went down and from that they can work out a potential search area.”
Phillip kept his back to me and said nothing. Tears coursed down my face once more. I couldn’t help it.
“Hey!” he said bending down suddenly. “Look at this!”
He held up a mini vodka bottle still dripping with sea water. Carefully he unscrewed the lid and took a sniff. He grinned broadly.
“What’s say we forget about all this and have ourselves a little party tonight? You look like you need to relax a little,” he said grabbing me by the waist and pulling me to him forcefully. The air was expelled from my lungs causing me to make a sound that sounded suspiciously like a groan.
His eyes lit up and his lips brushed mine in a sensuous open mouthed kiss. But only for a second.
“You go and see if you can find us some party food and I’ll see if I can’t light us a fire,” he said suddenly releasing me.
You already did start a fire, I thought following his progress up the beach with a lustful sigh.
A couple of hours later the light was all but gone. However Phillip and I sat by the fire unaware that darkness had fallen with an unnatural haste. Feeling a little tipsy we stared into the firelight, our bellies full of seafood and other delicious goodies we had foraged from our island.
“I was wondering,” said Phil. “How did you know all that stuff earlier? About black boxes and search radius etc.”
“I don’t know. It just came to me without even trying. Must have been something I read. A memory I suppose.”
“Smart as well as beautiful,” he said taking my hand in his.
“Flatterer,” I shot back playfully wondering where this was going to lead.
Somewhere over head was an ominous rumble. I shivered as drops of rain started to fall.
“Are you cold?” he asked leaning in to set a blazing trail of red hot kisses all the way from my ear lobe down to my collar bone.
His eyes held mine. They asked an unspoken question.
Do you want me?
I answered him with a spontaneous thrust of my hips and pinned him to the ground. With my legs either side of him my skirt rode high exposing the naked flesh in between.
The rainfall steadily increased in persistence and magnitude and so did our desire. Lifting my arms above my head I signalled my readiness to be relieved of clothes. He obliged willingly and flung them into the bushes. Completely naked and skin to skin we explored each other’s rain soaked bodies in everyway imaginable.
Hours later we lay panting, covered in sweat and the essence of our frenetic love making. Our signal fire had long since been extinguished by the rain. We watched its smoke ascend upwards towards the starry heavens, our legs still entangled like vines deep within the forest.
“I love you Gina,” he whispered gently into my ear.
“I love you too,” I replied before kissing him again. Completely exhausted we were asleep within minutes.
Next thing we knew, we were in the midst of a hurricane with a blindingly bright circle of light passing back and forth over our heads.
The search helicopter had been using several means to try to locate us, but for the most part it was just blind luck that had brought them to us.
Once on board Phil and I collapsed into each other’s arms, occasionally squeezing each other and grinning in triumph that we had made it. Our lives were about to begin. It was all too much for me. I burst into tears and sagged against Phil.
A member of the search and rescue team came over, strapping himself into the seat opposite. In his hand he held a clip board.
“Don’t you worry Gina,” he said raising his voice above the chopper. “We’ll soon have you back with your family. Philipa and the kids are waiting for you back at the base. I’m Sergeant Cole by the way.”
He smiled as he let this information sink in.
“Philipa?” I echoed.
“Yes,” he said patting my hand. “Philipa, your life partner was determined to find you, even when the airline and the government called it a day she refused to give up. She hired us yesterday to continue the search.”
He looked at my horrified expression.
“Don’t worry; it’ll all come back to you soon.”
“And by the way Tom, your wife and son have been informed and are on their way. They should make it to the base by mid-morning tomorrow,” he said turning to the man I had mistakenly thought to be my husband.
“What do you mean, they’ve been informed?” he said. “And why are you calling me Tom?”
“Because that’s your name. Thomas Frederick Bilson,” answered sergeant Cole. He held up a copy of a driving licence bearing Tom’s likeness.
“I can’t believe this,” I whispered cowering beneath Tom’s arm.
“Hey!” grinned Sergeant Cole. “Look on the bright side! You two are the only survivors. You should be the happiest people in the world right now!”
He leaned across and shone a light in my eyes checking them for equal and normal pupil reactions. Suddenly the tide of my mind wash up a memory of me pushing along a trolley.
I blinked at the strangeness of it and turned away. Then just like that the memory I’d tried to rebuff unfolded, like watching a long forgotten film clip…
Smiling sweetly I pushed along the drinks trolley, impervious to the child screaming like a demon from hell in row fourteen.
“Can I get you anything to drink Sir?” I asked the man next to my elbow who was loosening his neck
tie. It was dove grey silk and probably ridiculously expensive.
“Scotch on the rocks please and a black coffee. That oughta do something,” he added with a sly wink.
“I won’t ask what,” I replied fixing him with a mildly flirtatious look.
Why the hell not? I thought. These non-stop flights between islands were boring enough and even though he was definitely not my type a little friendly interaction with the between passengers and crew was allowable unofficially speaking and besides I knew where to draw the line.
“There you are” I said leaning down to hand him his drinks knowing full well that he was peeking at my cleavage. “That’s seven twenty.”
“Huh! Should have known!” he grumbled in disgust. “That’s daylight fucking robbery!”
My smile never faltered but I think he knew immediately that he’d over stepped the mark. Handing me the money he tried his best to make good in the only way he knew how.
“But I must admit you make a charming highway woman…”
“Flattery and cursing all in the space of two sentences? I am impressed.” I said with a touch of sarcasm. “Let me know if you require anything else.”
Continuing on down the aisle to the next row I could feel his eyes watching my every move.
“Two cartons of orange juice and a tea,” said a young mother looking harassed. Suddenly one of the two little blonde haired girls sitting either side of her vomited all over her lap. Without even blinking I handed her a wad of paper towels and began to prepare the drinks she had ordered.
“Hold on,” said the woman stretching out her hand. “Make that tea a double vodka instead please.”
“Coming right up,” I replied brightly.
Just then the floor lurched beneath my feet and the whole plane began to shake. A loud ping from above signalled the seat belt sign had been switched on. I immediately assumed we’d hit turbulence.
The ice cubes clinked together with a pleasing musicality as I dropped them into the plastic beaker with what looked like an oversized pair of tweezers. Bending down I reached inside the drinks trolley and smiled when I found what I had been looking for – two mini vodka bottles and two cartons of orange. That was when an icy blast bored a hole straight through the side of the plane, immediately sucking everything towards it.
In a split second I realised we’d lost cabin pressure but all I could do was hang on for dear life. A sea of frightened faces sat either side of me mouthing, begging for me to do something. But there was nothing to be done. Without a seatbelt I was actually in a marginally worse position that they were. One minute I was losing my grip, the next I was airborne and ploughing straight into the guy with the dove grey tie. After that I knew nothing – until I tasted a choking mouthful of sand…
So that was how all this had started! Just a shame it isn’t a movie, I thought with a sigh. Then I could just go back and edit the ending.