Erin stepped lightly on the glistening, warm sand. The blue flames threw shadows and reflections on the pouring rain that surrounded the clearing. She slowly sat in front of the fire; looking across at the man whose head was bowed and eyes were focused on the flames.
She watched, and listened, to the sounds around her. All that could be heard was the heavy rain falling, and the constant cracking of the fire. She noticed the sand sparkled and the light seemed to move from within it. Some grains were brighter and larger than others. Some were golden and others were pure white. She drew some of the grains in her hand and looked at them closely. The light was vibrating from within the sand, the color bouncing off the glass walls. One would become bright, then dim, setting off the others to do the same. She carefully put the sand back, every piece falling back in its place. She could hear trees crackling in the distance, followed by muffled thuds of the giant trunks and limbs falling. She starred back at the familiar face. The pain from running through the jungle with bare feet made her completely aware this was not a dream. She held them in front of her, and looked at the man across the flames.
Erin: What am I doing here? Why did I follow a snake to this clearing? What are you
He lifted his gaze from the blue flickering light.
Man: One question will lead to two, which will lead to many more. I will explain your
purpose here, how and why I have been waiting for this moment for an
inconceivable amount of time.
Erin: Inconceivable? But….
Man, his eyes never left hers: Inconceivable to you, for now. You will eventually
understand. You will also understand the purpose of the snake. All will be
explained, and then you will begin.
Erin: Begin? Begin what?
Det. Bryan drove in the torrential downpour. He thought his chances of actually seeing anything were minute unless it jumped in front of him, but he felt better making the effort. He wondered if the storm would break soon as it was uncharacteristic to have such a violent storm this time of year. He decided to call the station for any kind of news, but no one picked up. He dialed Sgt. Walton’s cell phone, but it disconnected each time. As he slowly drove around a bend in the road his headlights shown on a river of mud, and jungle debris speeding by. His foot strongly pumped the brake pedal several times to avoid sliding, and becoming a part of the washout. He stopped just short of being dragged to a drowning death, and slowly backed the vehicle away. He sat catching his breath, trying to get his bearings. He looked to his left and watched the muddy flow that he almost drove in to. To his right, his only, but questionable, way out. He hoped he wouldn’t be caught in between two washouts, and thought his best bet would be to try to find the closest place to ride out the storm. The white house on the hill was only five minutes away so he decided to drive cautiously toward it. The sounds from outside were completely unfamiliar, the wind whistling around his vehicle sounding like screams in the distance, the trees and limbs cracking and falling with reverberating echo's, while the rain bombarded the car with the similar loud snapping of firecrackers. He thought if he could just make it to the driveway of the white house he could stay in the car and wait things out. As he slowly drove the road became increasingly difficult to see through the rain, small trees, and a carpet of leaves littering his only way out.
Det. Bryan squinted out the windshield: What were you thinking? Really?! Did you
actually believe you’d find anything whatsoever in this? May be if you squint
tighter? No, that just closes your eyes more, very bad idea.
As he opened his eyes, a very bright tall figure ran suddenly in front of his vehicle. As he slammed on the brake, he heard a slow, very deep creaking, a split second of silence, then a deafening crash inches from the driver side. He looked slowly at the huge tree just outside the window. Despite the rain he put the window down, and peeled a piece of bark off the side of his mirror in disbelief. Half drenched, he rolled the window up, quietly held up his souvenir into the light of the car, placed it carefully in his shirt pocket, and continued to drive.
Approaching the white house on the hill, he could see a dim glow of a light from inside. He was hardly in the frame of mind to deal with the pretentious woman in the house, but it was almost more appealing than staying in the vehicle through the storm. He turned in the circular drive and saw the front door open. Ana was standing there, wearing only a t-shirt and a thong, with a flashlight. He could see her yelling something, but could not make out the words. He then realized he had a horrible ringing in his left ear he had not noticed before, and thought it must be from the incredible sound of the tree that fell. He could make her out on the porch, waving her arms, the beam from the flashlight wildly shining against the rain.
‘Wait a minute,’ he thought. ‘That light, was that the light I saw a second before the tree fell?’ He looked back at Ana swinging the light, and then shining it in his face. He held his arm up and turned away.
Ana shined the light on his window. He looked at her, ‘don’t you ever get dressed?’ he whispered. He decided to make a run for the house. He did not particularly want to spend any time with her, but the storm as not letting up and he had to go to the bathroom. As he ran to the porch he could hear the even stranger sounds of the storm. The cracking of the trees turned into groaning, and the screaming of the wind was like no sound he had ever heard. He reached the porch and ran passed Ana hurrying inside without her.
Ana: Thanks for waiting. I have no power and no phone. I need you to fix it.
Det. Bryan: Do you have another flashlight?
Ana: I don’t know. I only found this one.
Det. Bryan: Give it to me.
Ana: Have you never heard the word please?
Det. Bryan: Sure I have. I just didn’t think you’d know what it meant. Now give me
Det. Bryan walked over to her and snatched the flashlight out of her hand: I’m
taking this, going to the bathroom, then we will look for another
flashlight so you don’t have to share. Okay?
Ana: So I’m supposed to just stand in the dark?
Det. Bryan: Yes. He turned to go to the bathroom and muttered, ‘It’s really not too
far for you to go.’
Det. Bryan: I said I don’t have too far to go.
Ana: Whatever. I’ll be here, in the pitch dark.
After he closed the door he starred in the mirror. He looked the same, but he knew he was not. Something happened out there, and he felt the air of this storm was unlike anything he’d ever felt. He wanted to see the tree that fell, but knew he would have to wait out this bizarre storm for now. Wait it out with the world’s most narcissistic woman, waiting in the dark, on the other side of this door. As he finished and shined the light around the room, Ana was leaning against the wall by the bathroom door.
Ana: Took ya long enough.
He swung the light around to her face, and up and down her body.
Ana: Like what you see, detective?
Det. Bryan: Do you ever wear clothes?! Where might there be another flashlight?
Ana: How I would know?
Det. Bryan: Well, where’d you find this one?
Ana: I don’t appreciate your tone detective.
Det. Bryan: Excuse me for my tone, but I’ve earned the right to have one tonight. I
was out there driving in that storm conjured up by Satan himself, with
huge trees snapping like twigs! I nearly got swept away in a swirling
spiral of mud and jungle muck, potentially dying a horrific,
suffocating death. Not to mention the tree that nearly fell through my
car! Oh, and the possessed monkey. Now I’m stuck, no trapped, here,
in a never-ending Biblical proportioned flood, with you. Oh, and I’m out
there, why? I’m looking for your friend, co-worker, lover, significant
other, stripper mentor. I don’t know, nor can begin to understand what
you are to each other, but I’m sticking my neck out there to find her
and all you seem to care about is yourself. Now, we are going to find
another flashlight, I’m going to get something to eat and drink, then
you’re going to explain whatever I want to know about this whole….he
swirled his hand around….situation....thing.
Ana: Situation thing? Okay fine. I found that one in a kitchen drawer. Maybe there’s
another one. She started to walk into the kitchen: Well, you have to come with
me, I can’t see.
He followed her, and tried to catch his breath. After several minutes they found another light, and he began to fix something to eat.
Ana: I’ll go put something more on, and join you.
He piled food on the counter to make sandwiches, got a half-eaten bowl of fruit, and grabbed the coldest beer. Under normal circumstances he never drank if there was anything remotely related to work, but there was nothing normal about this night, or this situation.
By the time he saw the light from Ana’s flashlight waving on the stairs, he had the sandwiches made and an assortment of partially full liquor bottles in front of her plate.
Ana: I didn’t know you could cook.
Det. Bryan: Making sandwiches isn’t cooking, but yes; I know how to fix food. I
didn't know you knew how to get dressed. I also didn’t know what you’d
want to drink so I just put, well, everything and
anything I could find in there….for you.
Ana: Thank you, but I’ll just grab a water.
Det. Bryan: Well, you’re full of surprises too.
Ana: And you’re drinking a beer?!
Det. Bryan: Yes, it’s been a beer deserving night.
Ana: Do these storms happen often?
Det. Bryan: Never. We get storms certain times of the year, but I’ve never been in
anything like this. I’m sure the island natives will have some meaningful story,
or myth, to explain it. Have you never been here?
Ana: No, it’s my first, and last time on this island.
Det. Bryan: You and Ms. Thorne came here to stay how long?
Ana: Are you interrogating me?
Det. Bryan: No, I’m just trying to figure this situation out.
Ana: Okay. Erin and I came here because she loves it on this isolated, stormy, God-
forsaken rock. She said she feels connected to it somehow. I don’t know
what that means, being connected to a rock, but whatever. We left the
city after her midnight show, flew here, came to this house, ate, swam,
and relaxed if you know what I mean. She took a walk at some point,
and hasn’t come back. That’s pretty much it.
Det. Bryan: Did you have an argument? Would she have gone back to the city?
Ana: We don’t argue, and very doubtful. She’d never leave here. The only reason
she does leave is to feed her bottomless ego. She couldn’t survive without her
fans, or the money they shower her with.
Det. Bryan: Seems to bother you, her ego and money.
Ana: Hardly. Mine's bigger. I just simply don’t have to prove it every second.
Det. Bryan: Your words don’t sound very, uh, for a lack of a better word,
affectionate. Especially for someone you consider a friend, or more.
Ana: Are you wanting the steaming details, or should I just let you imagine the
Det. Bryan pauses before taking another bite of his sandwich: I think you answered
that rather distinctly. So why don’t you appear upset by her
being gone with no word, no nothing, but a scribbled note.
Ana: I am concerned. But other than call you, and wait what else can I do? Plus,
she's a big girl who can take care of herself.
Det. Bryan: How long have you known each other? A few months. He looked outside
at the storm and listened to the still screaming wind.
Ana glanced out the large paned window: Does it sound like screaming to you?
Det. Bryan: Creepy, isn’t it?
Ana: Not really.
Det. Bryan: You don't think that screaming sound is creepy?!
Ana: No. Kind of soothing I think. She looked out the window at the violent storm,
and they finished their dinner in silence.
Ana got up and went to the refrigerator: Want another beer?
Det. Bryan: Yes please.
She stood behind him and placed the beer over his shoulder: I can’t stay here
forever Det. Bryan. How long will it take to find her? She’s alright, isn’t she? I
mean what can possible happen to a person on this island? Ana slowly sat next
He raised one eyebrow and shifted his stool: Not much generally happens here
crime-wise. She might’ve had an accident, and could be at the hospital as we
speak. Maybe at a bar. Honestly it's odd no one has seen her. I’d like to check
the path leading from the house to the beach, and go to the airport just to be
sure she didn’t leave. I can’t do anything until this storm from hell stops
though. Hopefully by morning.
Ana: It is morning Detective.
Det. Bryan: No, it’s pitch black.
Ana: It’s 6:30 a.m., and it’s pitch black thanks to your storm from hell.
Det. Bryan: How do you know what time it is? All the clocks are off.
Ana: Not your watch.
Det. Bryan looked at his watch, and it was morning. But there was no way of knowing that by how dark it was outside. And the storm gave no indication of letting up any time soon.
Det. Bryan: Do you mind if I get a few hours sleep on the couch?
Ana: The couch? Well, it’s a little small for two isn’t it?
Det. Bryan: Exactly.
Ana laughs: You’re no fun.
Det. Bryan: And please remember that under any and all present, or future
circumstances. Thank you for the food by the way.
Ana: See you in a few hours.
Ana took her flashlight and headed up the stairs. Detective Bryan landed on the couch and watched the storm for a few seconds, mumbling ‘never seen anything like it’, and fell into a much-needed sleep.