It wasn't long before we found a few other wanderers on the island. One of them, an overweight, baby-faced boy named James saw us as we first started walking. He told us that he had floated to the island on a piece of debris. Gabe and I exchanged a worried look. There hadn't been any debris when we were on the water.
After James caught up to us, we walked a bit further and found two familiar faces lying in the small patch of shade underneath one of the trees sparsely scattered around the sandy landscape. As we neared them, I called out, "Jens!"
Jens poked his head up, rubbed his eyes, then looked again. Propping himself up on his elbows, he called back "Arnold!" As he did so, I saw the figure next to him lean up as well, and as she parted her blonde hair out of her eyes, my prediction was affirmed. It was Alexis.
Jens Gibson was an old friend of mine, going back to the days before we attended Alfred Daniels. He had been my next door neighbor, and we grew up together. He had always been the lanky sort of kid, tall and skinny, and excelled in anything that required him to be fast. We used to have foot races down to the end of our road and back, which he nearly always won. When we came to A.D. though, we gradually grew apart. He met Alexis in our first year at the school. They both ran early in the morning around the island each day, so they quickly developed a relationship. After that, the two were inseparable, which did not help the fading friendship between us.
"How did you guys get here?" I asked once my group had gotten to them.
"We took Alexis's boat, figured it would be faster than waiting for the school to evacuate us. What about you?"
"We tried to use Lou's, but we got capsized, and had to swim here. Speaking of which, do you have any idea where 'here' is exactly?"
Alexis shook her head, squinting to get the sun out of her eyes, "No, we both tried to figure it out, but we couldn't come up with any island like this one. Who are they?" She evidently had just noticed James and the man in the hood.
Gabe answered this one. "This is James, he found us a little while back. And he's," he paused, looking back at the hooded man, "well, we're really not sure. He was here when we got here, hasn't really said much."
Alexis looked curiously at the man for a moment, shrugged, and stood up. Jens was quick to do the same, and with that they had joined our little party. We once again set off with no real direction, just moving from clump of trees to clump of trees. The sun was high in the sky, the heat bearing down on us all, but there wasn't much we could do except keep walking.
Our thirst was finally quenched when we found a small oasis among one particularly large group of trees. The water was not cold, but it was fresh, and it soothed our dry mouths. Standing up I surveyed my surroundings. There was nothing but sand and trees as far as the eye could see, except those mysterious mountains, still looming in the distance. I looked around at my exhausted group.
James wasn't there. I looked again and again but I couldn't find him. I got back down on my knees and drank again from the oasis. I was too tired to talk right now.