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Paradise

Welcome to the Island

By Kayla ManeenPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 6 min read
1
Paradise
Photo by Nattu Adnan on Unsplash

The first thing I felt was the breeze.

Tingling trickles toyed with my eyelashes, shifted the air around my ears.

It was a gentle thing, full of peace.

The next thing I felt was the sun.

I blinked behind my closed eyelids as I became aware of its heat and blinding golden brightness. I lifted a hand to shield my face.

Sand grains fell from my fingertips.

I pushed myself upright and managed to crack open my salt-encrusted eyes.

For a moment, I took in the view.

An expanse of soft yellow sand rolled down to meet a turquoise sea, waves lapping gently up and down the shore.

I heard a flapping sound and looked down.

Tacked onto the loose white tunic I wore was a white sign. On it were thick, black block letters.

“‘E-V…E,” I read. “EVE.”

I rubbed my temple, pondering my predicament.

I became aware of a shuffling, crunching sound—the sound of someone walking on sand.

I turned and squinted against the brightness of the sun.

“Hello,” a man’s voice said. I couldn’t see him clearly and the light briefly blocked his upper body from view. He had hairy legs and was barefoot.

He stopped a few feet from me and I saw he wore white linen shorts and a similar top, a white placard also tacked to his chest.

His sign read ‘ADAM.’

“You seem so familiar,” I said.

He cocked his head at me.

“Likewise.”

“Do you remember how we got here?” I asked.

“We haven’t always been here?” He blinked, his dark hair and beard tickled by the breeze.

I squinted; pondered. “You know, I’m really not sure.”

“Where would we have been before?” the man asked, reaching a hand down to me. I automatically took it, wondering at the motion as he helped pull me to my feet.

For some reason, I looked out at the sea. “Elsewhere,” I said.

The man cocked his head again, as if listening for the answers from something unseen.

We stood in silence for a moment, waiting.

“I heard a seagull earlier,” the man offered.

“Oh,” I said. “How lovely.”

“A sea-gull. A gull from the sea,” the man said. He scratched the side of his face. It made a scraping sound.

“Do you think there’s anyone else?” I mused, the words feeling right.

“I’m not sure.” The man cocked his head. I decided it must be his trait. “Do you want there to be?”

I looked back at the forest of slim-trunked trees and tangle of dusty green vegetation and studied it. “I feel like I would like that.”

“Me too.” He plopped down into the space I’d just stood up from. I wondered idly if it was my turn to go back into the trees.

“Palm trees,” I said suddenly, delighted. “Those are palm trees!”

“Ah,” the man said, nodding and looking in their direction. “Indeed.”

“This is so strange,” I mused, watching the leaves of the trees shift gently in the wind. I looked up into the man’s dark eyes. “How did we get here?”

The man’s gaze dropped to my lips before he quickly looked away. He seemed to struggle with something. “I think I am attracted to you,” he abruptly said.

This made me smile. “In a good way?”

“Is there a bad way?” He cocked his head.

“I’m not sure,” I pondered. It felt like there could be, but I didn’t know for certain.

“I think we’ll have to find food soon,” he said. He hauled himself to his feet with a huff. He was a muscular man—I imagined he would feel the need for more fuel.

“Hunger,” I said, rolling the word around my tongue. It had a heavier feeling to it.

As if in response, my stomach clenched.

“Yes,” the man said, his brows lowering. “Hunger.”

“I would imagine they would give us food,” I mused.

“‘They?’”

“They, yes. There has to be more of us out there.” When the man didn’t reply, I added: “Where we came from.”

“I don’t think we came from anywhere,” he said in a low voice.

Something stricken clenched inside my stomach. “What do you mean?”

The man’s lips were pursed; he was frowning. “I don’t know,” he admitted.

We stayed in silence for another moment.

“I think I’m going to have a look around,” I offered, and waited a moment, seeing what his decision would be.

“I think I’m going to stay right here,” he replied, sitting back down, frowning out at the sea.

The sand shifted under my bare feet as I made my way toward the vegetation, feeling a vaguely heavy feeling settle in my stomach as I left the man behind.

“Adam and Eve,” I sang under my breath.

The island was not large. In fact, once I was within the trees, I could see the neighboring beach beyond. I paused and cocked my head at it, secretly marveling at how easily I copied the man’s signature trait.

“There seems to be no food here,” I said, coming back to the man, who had not changed his position from sitting on the sand.

He had his arms crossed over his knees and was staring out at the water. “I don’t think we’re supposed to be here,” he said.

“Why not?” I asked, plopping down next to him. The sand burned the palm of my hands when I placed them on either side of me.

“I don’t know,” the man murmured. His brow lowered even further, as though there was something he was struggling to grasp.

“Perhaps we’re the first to arrive,” I suggested.

The man’s eyes were even darker now that his eyebrows were lowered. “Why can’t I remember?”

“I don’t know,” I said. It felt right. I didn’t know why I couldn’t remember, either.

“We haven’t always been here,” the man murmured, looking back out at the sea.

We continued on in silence, waiting for something we could not see.

***

“It’s as we expected,” the woman said, looking at the monitor showing the two people on the beach. “Eve is more accepting of the predicament than Adam is.”

“That’s because she volunteered,” the man at a neighboring monitor said drily. “He didn’t.”

The woman shrugged. “Tomato, tomato,” she said. She clicked a few buttons, zooming in on the couple’s faces. The Eden Project had been funded well: the microscopic cameras placed around the island were virtually unnoticeable, yet were of top-notch quality.

“Would you have volunteered?” the man asked sarcastically.

“Not up to me,” the woman replied. She cocked her head and looked at the onscreen woman’s face. She noted how serene she looked.

The man sighed through his nose and clicked a few buttons of his own. The woman knew the man would never understand how peaceful it could be to forget.

She wondered when the two would start to remember.

“We’ll send the food drone in exactly 54 minutes,” she said. “What’s your bet?”

“That Adam will start to rebel even more,” the man at the monitor said. “That he’ll feel anger, perhaps panic—I don’t think he’ll follow the archetype.”

“You think she will?”

“Jury’s still out on that.” The man gestured at the screens, where Eve sat, seemingly at peace.

Certainly not rebelling against any unsung rules.

“No clever comments about women being the downfall of man?” the woman asked, clicking a button to zoom back off the couple.

The man snorted but didn’t respond.

“I believe she’ll remember the myth first,” the woman said. “And then we’ll see how things play out.” She leaned back in her chair, satisfied for the time being.

“I’m going to see what’s at the Caf,” she said. “Any preferences?”

The man was distracted, frowning at the screens. “No, you decide,” he said.

Funny, how a simple phrase can damn one for eternity, she thought.

While the woman from the monitors waited in line for food, the image of Eve’s serene face kept popping back into her mind.

It would be more peaceful, she mused, if she doesn’t remember.

If the Eve archetype wasn’t stored somewhere in the subconscious mind, ready to bubble to the surface at any given moment.

On her way out of the Caf, she snatched two extra apples, tossing one to her coworker when she returned.

“Look alive,” she said, settling back in. “Things are about to get interesting.”

Onscreen, the lost couple sat, staring out at the sea; memories blissfully blank, unaware of just what it was they’d been chosen for.

And on the island, underneath the vegetation, a snake stirred.

Sci Fi
1

About the Creator

Kayla Maneen

Truthseeker. Storyteller. Heroine of my own adventure. I’m a study of contrasts—an ouroboros eating her own darkness to spit out the light. Pain and hope exist within us, reflected in our stories. Read a few that I’ve created for you.

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