Foxcroft: Deep Breath

“You know, it’s ironic. The very thing you thought that we were this whole time… is what you are.” A voice talked to him from the hallway, slowly approaching him.

“And what’s that?” Kit retorted.

“The Bad Guy.” The man came into view. Gray hair, a serious face that looked like it could be kind but never had, and the commanding presence of a villainous leader were all there. “Do you know why you’re here?”

“Because your men threw me against a tree and knocked me out, kidnapped me, and then tied me up in his chair?” Kit raised his eyebrows.

“I do apologize for them. They can be… overzealous at times. No, you’re here because you stole from us. That’s it. Why would you steal from us? Did someone put you up to it? Was it Farren?”

“Who’s Farren? No, I was trying to ask for help and maybe some food but they chased me away with guns. I grabbed a map because I didn’t know where to run. Then I dropped it when I fell down the gully. I don’t know what happened to it.” Kit tried to look as normal as possible, knowing he was terrible at telling lies convincingly.

“Hm.” He tapped his fingers on the wall. “Well, I remain skeptical. That was your plane then, the one that crashed?”

Kit questioned himself on how specifically to answer that. “…it was the airbus that we were on, whose it was I have no idea.”

“And what is your name, lad?” The question dig into his soul. Stress.

“Rem,” he said.

“Very well, ‘Rem’, we shall see about your accomodations soon. Forgive me, I’m Merrick Grayson. And together I think that we can solve this mystery together.”

Kit’s forehead creased. “And what mystery would that be?”

“Why two people crashed into my operation at the same time, and what exactly their intentions are to be.” He stared into Kit, before breaking into a smile.

Kit tilted his head. “Then let’s see.”

Two hours later, he found himself in a crisp white room with a beautiful view of a bay. A fresh set of clothes lay on the bed, as did a platter of food. After changing and getting refreshed in the adjoined bathroom, he sat down on the balcony outside to enjoy the view and the food in peace. The view was small, but it was beautiful. Black sand lay maybe a hundred feet beneath and past a few birches and hemlocks, and beyond that, the waves. The chance to clean himself up had made him realise just how disheveled he had appeared. The black long sleeve top and gray jeans were far more comfortable than the wet, mud-stained clothes from home. Still, he kept them. There were one of the only things he had left to remind him of before.

Someone gently tapped on his shoulder, startling him around. “Hi. I’m Katalina. Kat or Lina if you prefer. They mentioned you were the other one that crashed here.” Kit looked her in her deep brown eyes. It was her. The girl that put up a fight. She smiled.

“I’m Kit.” He paused. “How did you get in here?”

“Our rooms are joined together. That, or I just have some pretty awesome lock-picking prowess.” She laughed. “Do you have time to chat?”

Kit motioned to another chair beside him. Sea spray misted past them every once in a while, interrupting on occasion. “It would seem that I have nothing but time.”

The sun beginning the slow descent to the horizon. Kat spoke up first. “How did you get here? I didn’t gather much from what they said.”

Silence followed for a moment. “My cousin, two sisters, and I all got onto this plane. We didn’t know who it belonged to or anything like that. All we knew was that it led away from the Infantry. My sister and I were on a rope, and… I wasn’t strong enough to hold her.” His voice trailed off. “But she did survive the landing. I fear I’ll never see her or my parents again. So my sister and cousin and I were on the plane, and it was taking us somewhere specific, but then the engines went haywire, and none of us could figure out how to stop the crash. My sister jumped out in the only parachute, and my cousin, Beren, he died on impact. I don’t know what might have happened to my sister. All I know is that this island has brought nothing but pain so far. I guess that was until now.” Kit was about to include the part about Zero, or Farren, or whoever he was, but on second though… he figured it was best keeping that to himself for right now. Possibly later. But not just yet.

Katalina tapped her colourful new hiking/running hybrid shoes on the floor three times. “I’m so sorry. My story is pretty simple, actually, but not any happier. My dad and I, we’re pretty close. Or, we were.” Verb tenses can hurt more than the words themselves. “He was a marine biologist, and we lived on our own submarine. It wasn’t yellow, it was blue, and we spent the last three weeks on a research/vacation trip all the way from Australia. He’s an excellent navigator. My older sister Karissa, she stayed behind, and my mom isn’t in the picture, unfortunately.” She stopped for a moment before continuing.

“We were doing things routinely, about to hit the halfway mark and turn around when we lost control of the sub. It was almost like someone else was pulling the strings, Kit, it was terrifying. We were powerless over our own ship. Suddenly, we were heading straight for the rocks, near the peninsula where they got me. When the water started flowing in, filling the submarine, or the Orca, as we liked to call it… my dad couldn’t make it in time to the hatch. So instead he sacrificed himself getting me out of there. And that’s my story. You know the rest, I’m afraid.”

They didn’t have any further consolation for each other. The pain was beyond the capability to be expressed in words alone. As Katalina broke into tears, Kit put a gentle hand on her shoulder. That was it. That was all they needed.

After a while, Kat regained her composure and clenched her teeth. “So what do we do now?”

Kit twiddled his thumbs, then looked up into the sunset, resolve set upon his face. “We need to figure out what’s really going on here, and then… we choose our sides for good.”

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