The phone rang.
“Ma’am, the White House is waiting for confirmation of the discovery.”
I hadn’t decided what to call it yet. I looked thoughtfully at my surroundings. It was a lush land, with different plants and flowers that I had never seen before. As of yet, I had not come into contact with any life forms, except my crew and myself and the abundant vegetation. I knelt down and ran my fingers through the soft, moist substance that covered the ground as far as the eye could see. There seemed to be a unique, almost majestic feeling that stepping foot on this island had incited within me. Evichor. Yes, that was what I was going to name this island. My island.
Evie because it was full of life, in the way of plants and flowers, and ichor because there was almost a supernatural element to it. I knew I had stumbled upon something that would be remembered for generations to come. The funny thing was, I couldn’t remember how it had all happened. I remembered watching from my porthole as the submarine I had been aboard slowly ascended to the coast. I remembered the very moment that I had stepped foot on the island now named Evichor. Yet, I didn’t remember when we left, or where we left from. In fact, I didn’t remember anything before being in the submarine while it climbed from the depths of the sea. Strange.
“Oh, yes, Jerry. Thank you.”
I staggered back to the submarine as I prepared to speak to the White House. Wait…the White House, really?
“Hello?” My mouth went dry.
A smooth voice responded, “Hello, Mrs. Chimera, this is the President’s Chief of Staff. We need an update on your mission.”
I blanked. Was that really my last name?
“Uh, yes sir. I have confirmed, uh, sighting… of the island. The exact coordinates are being transmitted to your office now.” There, that sounded scientific-y.
“Congratulations on your discovery. Obviously, you will not be able to make it back for the press conference, so what can you tell us of the island? Will it be adequate for the base?”
“Very amusing, Mrs. Chimera, I was warned of your sense of humor before I made this call. Do I need to talk to Jerry to get any real information?”
“Ha-ha, right sir. That was just a joke. Well, uh, I only have a…preliminary report of this island, but what I can tell you is that hundreds of species of colorful plants are thriving here. I don’t recognize many, if any, of the plants here.” Where were the roses, the carnations or the ferns? “As for the base, uh, I cannot give a definitive answer yet. I am going to need more time to perform research and…assess… whether or not it will fit our… specific needs.” How did that sound?
I bit my lip, dreading his response.
“I understand. Well, for the specific qualifications for the base, Agent Cynthia has the document that will clearly delineate what we need. We will be in touch.” Static.
A young, blonde woman handed me a packet of paper.
“Okay, the list of the conditions that are needed to set up this base are listed on these packets. Now, I will take a team of two agents and scope out the southern end of this island. I also need one of your staff members to come along, so that they can map and keep track of the land as we go.”
“Uhh… well, I, uh…” I stammered.
I could see Jerry excitedly pacing a few feet behind the woman. He was trying desperately not to look too eager for the job.
“I’ll send Jerry. He should know what to do.”
Jerry ran to a nearby pile of scientific looking instruments and returned with a childish grin on his face.
“I’m ready when you are, Agent Cynthia.”
After seeing that group off, I decided to do some exploring of my own. I grabbed a walkie-talkie as a safety precaution and started walking in the direction that looked the most colorful. Within a few minutes, I was staring at something that looked, surprisingly, like cotton candy. It had the shape of a cloud, but it was sprouting out of the ground. I walked closer. The smell of sugar triggered the hunger pains in my stomach. I tore off a piece and sniffed it. Strawberry. I tasted it. Yep, it was definitely cotton candy. This island seemed to be from a fairytale.
I examined the land a little further and found a stream not too far from the “cotton candy trees.” Finally, some water. I cupped my hands and scooped up some of the liquid.
“Ugh!” I spit the liquid out and stared at the stream in simultaneous disgust and amazement. Carefully I scooped up some more liquid and looked at it intently. It was clear like water, but it had a sweet smell and taste. I stood back up and looked in all directions.
Nothing seemed to be how I remembered it. What happened to the cotton candy trees? I couldn’t see them anymore. I quickly found my walkie-talkie,
“Hello, come in, Jerry. Hello?”
“Jerry, Agent Cynthia, anyone, come in!”
What had happened to them? Where was I?
I started heading back in the direction that I thought I had come from. Everything was starting to run together. My stomach didn’t feel too good anymore. I had a bitter taste in my mouth.
After what seemed like hours of walking, I came upon some familiar sights. Finally. I found the pile of instruments that had been stationed next to our tent. This was supposed to be our rendezvous point.
“Excuse me, has anyone seen or been in contact with Jerry or Agent Cynthia?” I asked no one in particular. Confused glances were exchanged back and forth until one red-haired lady replied,
“Who is Agent Cynthia, or Jerry? We don’t know of anyone on the team with those names.”
My body gave an involuntary shudder.
“That can’t be possible. I was literally just talking to them a couple of hours ago…do you have a list of everyone here?”
The woman handed me an official looking document. I scanned the list for the names Jerry and Cynthia but, they weren’t there. Even stranger, my name—Evelyn Chimera—wasn’t there either.
“Mrs. Fontasia…are you feeling okay?” My new name and the woman’s concerned gaze gave me an unsettled feeling.
“Umm, yes, I must have just gotten confused. Could you remind me what we are doing here please?” I asked innocently. She gave a chuckle and looked at me with an incredulous glance. Then, she shook her head and walked away. I looked around and found a paper titled: “The International Team of Scientific Inquiries.” Reading on, I noticed a picture of the stream with the sweet tasting liquid that I had stumbled upon not too long ago. Underneath it, a single word was written: “Contaminated.”
“What does this mean?” I blurted out as I pointed to the picture.
A sympathetic woman answered matter-of-factly,
“We just got confirmation that the liquid flowing through that river in the picture is contaminated. For now, we are advising everyone to stay away from that region of the island- we don’t know what other hazards there could be.”
I chuckled nervously,
“What would happen, if say… someone were to accidentally ingest this ‘contaminated’ liquid?”
The lady thought for a moment.
“Well, we aren’t quite sure but, my working theory is that the effects would resemble food poisoning.”
Already my stomach was doing somersaults, and I had the sudden urge to use the bathroom.
“Could you direct me to the nearest bathroom please?”
She pointed in the direction of the coast and informed me that the ship’s first floor had one. I ran in that direction, but stopped suddenly when I saw a gigantic ship looming in the distance. I distinctively remembered arriving here on a submarine. How could it have magically turned into a ship? My stomach urged my legs forward. I needed to find the bathroom, fast. Ship or submarine, it didn’t matter. I jogged onto the deck of the ship and looked around in all directions.
There was no shortage of signs pointing in all directions, but none of them were in English. I didn’t know any other languages…right?
Suddenly, I felt the ground drop from underneath me. I started falling into a black void. My chest began heaving, and I groped upwards for anything that I could grasp. I opened my mouth to scream. No noise came out. A rhythmic beating pierced the void and filled the silence. As I continued to fall, the noise grew stronger.
I opened my eyes and turned my head, it was morning and my alarm clock was going off.
By Bethany Harper