When HIRS Rules the World: Part III
Today’s mission: explore the exterior. Eddy had grabbed paper and a pencil to draw some sort of plan of what we would find outside. It was a good idea, something to add to our informative collage.
We stood in front of the door, waiting for Antoine’s hand to twist the handle and send us on the mission of finding something new.
The door was about to open when he stopped abruptly and said: “It’d be helpful if we split into groups.” We nodded, and the groups were instantly formed. Syb and John, Louise and Eddy. I was left with Antoine. I smiled; I’d gotten close to him in the last couple of days. We agreed that we should all be back at the building by sunset.
After what seemed like an endless instant, we finally stepped onto the golden sand of the island. I was relieved that the sand wasn’t white; those past days had fed a feeling of hatred towards the color—or the lack of color, for that matter. It had become a symbol of uneasiness and discomfort. Straight ahead, we saw nothing. But the island was immense. Antoine and I headed forward, and the others didn’t need instructions to understand where they should start exploring. They diverged and were soon out of sight as we kept walking.
A good ten minutes had gone by, and as I was about to open my mouth to ask if we should consider returning to the building when Antoine exclaimed: “Hey, have a look at this!” He waved me over, and soon I was observing a black line drawn through the sand, and it seemed to continue further down in the same direction. We followed its path, and after about ten more minutes were surprised to find we had reached the shore of the island. The endless ocean sent its waves crashing onto the sand violently, eliminating any hope that someone could escape the island by swimming. The dark line ended there, and there were two words written on either side of it: Eddy and John.
I dropped to my knees, closely examining the letters. I didn’t know what to think about it. A heavy silence. Antoine broke it: “This must be linked back to what you said before… Having something special…” Noticing I did not have anything to say, he added: “We should probably start going back… Sunset’s soon.” I nodded, followed his footsteps.
For a while, the only sound we heard was the motion of the distant waves, back and forth, ever so violently. Then, Antoine spoke again, and I was glad he did.
“It’s surprising that we haven’t seen any trees or plants. Not even the sign of a bird or any other animal. Not a single hint of life.” He said the words and they lay there, for me to process them. “It doesn’t match what my vision of a normal island is” He chuckled a bit.
“I didn’t even notice that…” I mumbled under my breath. Why was I so distracted?
“You know, that note we showed you, it must have been…” He kept on talking, but I wasn’t quite listening anymore. He stopped short and looked at me with concern rather than annoyance.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah… I’m sorry. I got lost in my thoughts. I just don’t understand the purpose of this. There are so many things that don’t add up!” Frustration emanated from those words, and Antoine felt it, because a look of compassion and reassurance settled on his face.
“Hey, Abby,” he began, in a modulated soft voice, “it’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed. You came only three days ago and all the information we’ve collected in weeks was thrown at you. Just take it slow and breathe. I don’t know what’s going on either, but if it ever helps to talk about it, you can come to me. Okay?” His brown eyes glistened, waiting patiently for an answer.
I nodded. “Thank you,” I said to him. A genuine smile formed on his face, reassuring me all the more. We continued our journey back to the assembly point.
Back at the main entry of the building, Eddy and Louise were waiting for us. John and Syb appeared shortly after. No one spoke at the beginning, but Eddy soon broke the silence.
“So, what did you guys find? Anything extraordinary?”
“If you consider a one-kilometer-long black line on the ground to be extraordinary, then yes,” replied John, not particularly enthusiastic.
I glanced at Antoine right away, and he did the same. We weren’t the only ones who had observed those lines.
“We found one, too,” announced Eddy, “except when we got close enough to the shore, we saw you guys’ names written on the sand as well” He pointed at me and Antoine.
I let Antoine do the talking; I had too much going through my brain. “Our line led to the names of John and Eddy.”
I finally had something to say. “Your line must have led to the names Syb and Louise, but you probably didn’t go far enough to reach that part,” I said to both Syb and John.
Syb nodded. “Yeah, we didn’t go up to the shore,” she said.
“It’s as if the island was split into sectors, one for each of us.” Eddy drew a plan of what it possibly looked like as Louise spoke.
“Antoine and Abby went in the direction of the sun, and it was before noon, so they were going east. So the two sectors to the east are mine and John’s. We went south, where Antoine and Abby’s sectors are. The two sectors in the north must then be Syb and Louise’s,” reasoned Eddy. He obviously knew what he was doing.
“The question is: what are we supposed to do with those sectors? It must have something to do with ‘fulfilling our purpose’” exposed Louise.
“We obviously don’t know yet, but I bet that when we figure it out, we’ll be able to get out of here,” speculated Syb. I felt she was right.
“Let’s wait for the next note. Tomorrow’s a Wednesday, isn’t it? Maybe it’ll tell us something useful,” I offered. The others nodded.
We stood up from the doorsteps where we’d been sitting, and walked into our building, satisfied that we had finally discovered something new.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
© 2017 H Bakerley