Caribbean Island, 2001
I glanced back over my shoulder, feeling guilty for leaving the crazy old man behind. The shack had long since disappeared beneath a sea of beautiful palm trees and dewy green tropical shrubs, but his words still rang in my ears. I hoped he would be okay and yet I couldn’t shake the feeling of uneasiness that had settled in my chest. Perhaps it was just the thought of having to meet back up with Cole. I couldn’t quite decide how to handle the reunion. He had seen me bolt from the breakfast area and I was sure he’d be mad but I was torn between anger and indifference. As I approached the beach, I saw that the group had gathered and were awaiting their exciting underwater adventure. I mentally went over the time in my head, I must have been gone for at least 2 hours and yet I could scarcely recall where I’d been. Anna and two other girls spotted me trucking down the beach and called my name. I was faintly conscious of the girls coming towards me but the rolling clouds and the gentle waves of the ocean had captivated my attention.
“There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. I was worried sick thinking that perhaps that fiancé of yours had killed you and dropped your body off a cliff.” huffed Anna. I smiled back at her as she enveloped me in her tiny arms. “I can’t believe his temper, I know you told me it was bad but the way he grabbed you and hauled you out of the pool. Oh look you have bruises on your arm. Sophia what are you staring at? Are you okay?” Anna was a petite Portuguese girl with perky boobs and a little waist. She was there for an annual ethnic party that the radio station hosted and she was one of the entertainers. They had met her on the first day of their arrival. She had been there for two weeks already and was known as the deeply tanned token party girl. She stood there with Jacqueline who had stayed back at the bar when the two girls had decided to go for a late night swim. Jacqueline was a tall girl with dirty blonde hair and big brown eyes. She was usually calm with a husky smoker’s voice but even she had been a little shaken up by the way Anna had claimed Cole whipped Sophia against the glass door. Anna had run into Jacqueline after being thrown out of Sophia’s hotel room so Jacqueline had raced back to the room to grab her husband Mac for reinforcements but Mac was a sexist dominant male himself who thought they should let the two work it out for themselves.
“Come on Sophia, cheer up and I’ll buy you a shot of Jose.” Anna tugged at my arm trying to get me to run.
“Why would that cheer her up? What is she a twenty year old boy?” I had to laugh at Jacquie’s comment. Now there was a girl who knew how to cheer me up. Mac and Jacqueline were also young socialites who had swum in the same shark pools. Mac and Cole had met at one of the Bexx functions six months ago and the four had become fast friends. Bonding over booze and bars, they had decided to take a trip to celebrate Jacqueline’s twenty-fifth birthday. Not exactly feeling like rehashing last night’s little blip, I smiled and murmured something politely incomprehensible. I would as soon not air my dirty laundry in front of strangers, although I was sure it had already been aired. We started to walk back towards the group which had lined up on the beach. Anna stopped dead, clutching my arm.
“What?” I uttered when I turned to look and felt that sick feeling return to the pit of my stomach. It was Cole standing with Mac and those guys laughing and acting as if nothing had ever happened. Of course, throw me into a door and torture me all night but stand around and scratch balls with the idiots that jumped naked into the water with me. Men, I wondered; would I ever understand them? Anna ever the party girl just smiled and pushed me forward. “Come on let’s just have a good time.” Cole turned arrogantly and smiled, sliding his arms around me and chewing on my ear.
“There you are baby. I wondered where you got off to. Here I got you a drink.” he thrusts one of his half empty plastic beer cups into me spilling most of it on my hand and in the sand.
“I see you’ve been drinking my share.” It was not even 11am and I could see him and Mac were already feeling no pain. Our relationship, like our trip had gone from elegant with crystal to seedy with plastic cups. The tourists began to board the boat and we took a seat up at the front on the netting. The boat cut the water like butter and the waves splashed up through the nets. I was enjoying the spray and the breeze but I noticed a couple of people were looking a little green. The sea was most definitely not everyone’s cup of tea especially the 19 year old kiddies who hadn’t made it to bed from last night yet. We dropped anchor a little ways off some private beach in the middle of nowhere and the snorkeling gear was passed around.
An hour of music and rum and everyone was looking much happier except for me. Having had just about all I could take of Cole’s roaming paws and Mac’s patronizing jokes; I grabbed some snorkel gear and was one of the first to jump in the water. The cool water felt refreshing and the deep dark shadows of the water felt inviting. I swam around with a group of four others admiring the pretty colored tropical fish when I noticed an abyss. It looked like some deep dark cavern. It was the strangest feeling to swim over what felt like a cliff. I noticed there were no longer any fish around me and there was this metallic sort of light coming from within the hole. I decided to get a little closer but chickened out when I realized I was all alone so instead I popped back up to the surface and the sunshine. Turns out I had swam quite a ways around the island. The whistle blew and we were gathered back up on the island for lunch and not surprisingly more booze. Cole mauled me through lunch, all the while eyeing up Ana’s cleavage and flirting with every other female over the age of ten and under the age forty. I decided I needed to catch my breath and figure out a way to end my forever doomed affair with Captain Dumbass when I wandered up a hill to the backside of the island. I was gazing out over the cliff when I noticed that same metallic shiny spinning in the water below. I glanced around the island and realized that was where I had swum to when I was snorkeling. The vision hypnotized me and I couldn’t help but ponder the thought of giving myself over to it. The feeling of hands clumsily caressing my shoulders was enough to jar me from my suicidal thoughts. I turned towards my masseuse, and frowned at a young fraternity boy who faintly resembled John Lennon. I supposed he was drunkenly unaware of what Cole would do to him if he caught him. He stood there smiling dumbly at me.
“You look tense” he slurred. Cole had been angry the second day we got there ranting that this kid had been eye fucking me for days. I had dismissed Cole then, but I suddenly got the feeling that he had been biding his time waiting for the opportunity to make his move.
“Surprised …yes, very surprised,” I muttered. I see you’ve wandered up here to admire the view as well but I really ought to get back. He made a move to block me but was thwarted my Cole’s booming voice. The kid took off back down the hill.
‘It’s not what it looks like. I came up to check out the view and the kid must have followed me.” I whispered defensively. He responded by clenching and unclenching his jaw.
“Oh yes, I believe I’ve heard that one before he said with an unbecoming cynicism in his voice. He stepped towards me silently but I saw the rage in his eyes and a chill went down my spine.
“You’ve been avoiding me all day and imagine my surprise to find you perched here high in the sky with Don Juan. Are you trying to embarrass me in front of my friends? ” I couldn’t help but think of the old man’s cryptic warning. Then he grabbed me and kissed me, biting down hard enough on my lip to draw blood.
“You’re mine. Will you never learn?” I went to squirm out of his grip but I stepped too far back and felt myself falling off the cliff. Cole was holding me by my one wrist. “Where did that ring come from?” he boomed. I couldn’t believe what a stupid question he was asking and at a time like this but I didn’t have time to respond as he reached for it and I slipped out of his grip. It was like some bad dream where I was falling in slow motion and yet I could still spot the look on his face. Cole’s expression changed first it showed slight surprise, faint pity and then there was an undeniable glint of satisfaction. I wasn’t sure if he had pushed me or if I had fell but I knew for sure that I was reeling helplessly into the ocean. I hit the water with a thud which drove a terrible stinging sensation into my nasal passage. I could feel myself drifting deeper into the water and my lungs wanted to explode with panic but I couldn’t help noticing that there was a calming effect to the strange lights and magnetic pull that was slowly encompassing me.
About an hour later I came to groggily asking for some Orange Juice. After several glasses of water and an hour long grilling session, Rochus knew all about my life. Rochus sat thinking with his face all scrunched up. His grey hair was all messy like a crazy scientist and he looked like he never really ever slept.
“I realize now why the potion did not work as planned. Our little Princess is not the key but you are. The potion did not send Sapphira to you but rather sent you to me.”
“So where is the real Sappira?” I asked, still a little taken back and confused.
“She is nowhere really; Limbo. She still inhabits her body; it’s only that you’re kind of acting for her at the moment.
“So I’m now officially a personality for a schizophrenic; Fabulous.” I mumbled. A great smile crossed his face like the truth had finally dawned on him.
“Do you not see? It is you that has the power to change the thread but first you need to return to your time to make more preparations. You have access to higher knowledge yes?” he mumbled more to himself than to me as he was busy mixing various colored fluids together. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about and then it dawned on me. As a librarian I have access to the internet something that they didn’t have here. Not too mention I’d be privy to a lot of ancient archives and I could research the history of the Royal family to find out what happened.
“So I’ll send you back home through another wormhole and you must find out what happened. He looked up with a grave expression. You must find out what the key is to undoing this all or else.” He mumbled. Such a grave warning I thought to myself, why was everyone always saying this to me?
“Rochus, or else what?” I began to demand but it was too late he had already plugged my nose and poured it down my throat.