After what seemed like an eternity of swimming, Kate finally reached the shores of the island, weakly laughing as she touched solid ground. She stepped across the shore, her sleeveless, light blue dress drenched from head to toe. Her bare feet walked across the sand, her sandals lost to the depths of the ocean. As the girl caught her breath, she looked around, arms burning from the rough swim she’d just experienced. She scanned the shore up and down, finding no one in sight. She then looked inland, spotting a dense forest of tropical trees. Kate thought for a moment, eventually deciding to follow the shoreline north.
As she searched along the beach, bits of wreckage and debris found their way to land. Suitcases. Bottles. Shoes. Pillows. Playing cards. Deck chairs. All manner of curiosities washed ashore.
After twenty minutes of searching, Kate paused, suddenly spotting someone off in the distance. She perked up, quickly hurrying over to them. Upon arrival, she froze, eyes wide as she looked on in fright.
There, face down in the dirt was a bloated corpse. Kate watched in horror, crabs and gulls covering the body, picking away at the remains. As Kate trembled in fear, the severity of her situation suddenly sank in. This wasn’t a nightmare. This was real.
The ship had gone down, killing most everyone on board.
Kate stood on the unknown island, feeling lightheaded as she looked at the man’s corpse beneath her. She stepped away, soon continuing her way down the shore. She walked and walked, warily traversing the sand. As she felt ready to faint, a shady silhouette appeared off in the distance.
“Hey!” the mysterious girl yelled. Kate weakly looked up, watching as a young woman ran over. “Oh, thank goodness! I thought I was the only survivor!”
“Who are you?” Kate asked.
“The name’s Nicole. And you are?”
“Kate, huh? Any idea what happened to the boat?”
“No. A friend of mine thought it hit something, though.”
“Oh yeah? I heard it was terrorism.”
“Yeah. Some kinda bomb or something. Who knows?” Nicole said. She was a slender girl in a skimpy white bikini and matching flip flops. She had golden blond hair in two long pigtails, her expression slightly aloof despite the situation. “Wonder if there’s any survivors besides us?”
“I don’t know. I walked the shore awhile but didn’t see any. Just a... body,” Kate said.
“Well we might as well keep looking. Maybe some others survived the wreck,” Nicole replied, the two soon continuing down the shore.
As the pair searched around, the girls conversed back and forth. Kate learned Nicole was a year older than her, and was taking a summer cruise with her college friends when the ship went down. Kate shared her story, explaining what had happened to Becky.
“Sounds like a close call. You’re lucky you got out of there alive!” Nicole said.
“No kidding. I hate the water...,” Kate said.
“Yeah. Me too after today.”
“Even before today I hated it. I nearly drowned when I was nine years old.”
“Yes. I was at a pool party when some idiots pushed me into the deep end. I couldn’t swim, and the lifeguard barely managed to rescue me.”
“Wow. That’s rough.”
“That’s putting it mildly. Since then, I’ve always had a phobia of the water. Sad I should now be surrounded by it...,” Kate said, looking to the ocean.
“Don’t sweat it. If you managed to swim to the surface after that shipwreck, you handled it fine,” Nicole said. Kate blinked, slightly blushing before looking away.
“I... I just got lucky,” she said.
“If you say so. Sorry to hear about your friend, though.”
“Thanks. Becky was my friend for a long time. She was the one who talked me into that cruise to begin with.”
“Wow. How ironic she should die during it, then,” Nicole said. Kate suddenly fell silent. “...Oh. Sorry. That was insensitive.”
“...No. It’s alright. I had a bad feeling about this trip. I wish I could’ve talked Becky and the others out of going...”
“Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s in the past. It’s irrelevant. All we have is now,” Nicole said. Kate froze, slowly looking to her.
“...Yeah. I guess you’re right. You’re pretty smart, Nicole,” Kate said. Nicole blushed.
“Ha! Yeah, right,” she replied bashfully, Kate smiling at her reaction.
The two continued combing the beach for survivors, finding nothing but wreckage and debris for miles. As they traipsed through the sand, they suddenly spotted two silhouettes off in the distance.
“Look!” Nicole said, pointing to them from afar.
She and Kate hurried over, finding a pair of young women. One of them had an injured leg, the other girl supporting her as they cautiously looked on.
“Who are you two?” the injured girl asked.
“I’m Nicole, and this is Kate. Are you okay?”
“What’s it look like? I think I twisted my ankle escaping the wreck,” the injured girl said, trying to stand before wincing.
“Easy!” the uninjured girl said.
“What are your names?” Kate asked.
“I’m Laura, and this is my sister, Carol. We escaped on a life boat, but it capsized when the ship went down,” Laura explained.
The sisters were of average height and weight, both around the same age as Kate and Nicole. Laura had long brown hair, wearing a dark red sling bikini that barely covered anything. Carol had short black hair, wearing a thin white sundress and matching sandals.
“You should rest,” Kate said, looking to Carol.
“...I’m fine,” Carol replied.
“No. Kate’s right. You should stay off that leg for awhile,” Nicole said.
“I agree, sis,” Laura said. Carol sighed.
“Oh, fine,” she said, reluctantly taking a seat on the sand.