Chapter 20:

You can't speak but you can haunt the living

Castaway Isle

The time set in her phone glares in blue light. It says 2:45 am and Sophie is done waiting.

She has texted Mattie no less than 8 times throughout the night and her brother has not responded once. He hasn't even read them. She tried to hold herself back, to say that she's over worrying over panicking. But Mattie hasn't even read her messages, he doesn't have access to his phone.

She can't message or call him but she does know where he is. There's a reason why she bought so many GPS devices after all.

With the GPS tracker on the walkie talkie system activated, Sophie can see two dots beep not that far distance on the beach.

The funny thing was that Mattie's watch, which ran on a different tracking system, said he was in another location. It was the same area Sophie had remembered being the spot they found June the previous time. The same place she directed him to go to. That GPS dot was in the right place. But the two walkie talkies, Mattie's and the one meant for June, were not.

Mattie was safe if he was there, just fine. That was a corner shelter designated for the sick, elderly and displaced. That is what quells Sophie's fear, her paranoia eased with common sense. If she was the old Sophie, she would have rushed to the GPS location shown by the wristwatch system. She would have to make sure her family was safe and check with them immediately.

But Sophie now had to think and act critically. She had to consider past the situation and plan the course of action that would benefit them the most.

It is 3am by the time Sophie is packed up and dressed. She wears dark easy to move in clothing, fully covering herself up. With her hood up and a black cloth flu mask it's hard to tell her appearance or identity. She looks like a burglar, that or a little gangster wannabee.

It feels uneasy leaving without a weapon but she doesn't have many options. The luggage should still be in the lower storage while nothing useful could be allowed in the cabin. The sharpest thing she had was perhaps her pen. After some rummaging, she manages to find a small pair of nail scissors and supposes it will have to do.

She doesn't carry many supplies, only what she can fit in a utility belt and under her clothes.

Perhaps it was a mistake to let Mattie take his backpack, Sophie ruminates.

People would be eyeing the new plane, the whole one. He would have looked like a fat target, coming off the aircraft by himself carrying a load like that. Mattie was a smart kid and leftover half the contents of his pack on the plane, only carrying what he needed, what rations Sophie forced in, and supplies for June. He and Sophie had been so concerned for their little sister they didn't stop to consider this fact. If only they could help June, get her fed and better treated.

They were so single-mindedly concentrated that Sophie lost sight of the big picture. Stupid, she thinks to herself.

It's too late for what-ifs or beating herself up.

Sophie departs seemingly empty-handed. Just a dark figure in leggings and a hoodie, face covered in a flu mask. She leaves a note on the bed for any attendants or doctors possibly checking in and sneaks down the creaky ramp.

The moon is dimmer than the night she got bitten but the darkness does not bother her. She has lived through years of seeing in much worse conditions. Yet somehow she much more visibility than she expected

The antivenom was playing a factor already.

After receiving the bite some people would experience an additional sharpness to their senses in addition to the immunity. Some people chalked it up to survival instincts and growing experience, some believed it was the venom giving them spider man like powers. In reality, it wasn't anything so fantastical, just a slight advantage stacked on top of the venom immunity. At most their reflexes were twitchier, faster and the basic 5 senses stronger, give or take.

That may be why she feels better already, and how why her night vision seemed to have improved over the course of only two nights. She would have found her way regardless but Sophie wouldn't complain about the advantages. The last time she had gotten faster, and it was time to test out if her physical speed has improved in this life as well.

There wouldn't shouldn't be any deaths or series issues among the passengers these first few days though scuffles and petty theft did occur. Now, why would Mattie's backpack and phone system be in one place and himself in an another?


In the covers of the night, she makes her way to where the GPS showed Mattie's phone and talkies, most likely in its case in his backpack.

Sophie takes the fastest route, weaving her way through sleeping camps and people littering the ground. Her steps are silent and light, and though they still leave prints in the sand they are but are only one pair in many.

Eventually, she makes her way down the part of the beach where there no people, and further still. Sophie smelled it before she could see anything though, the scent of alcohol and piss.

She is not all surprised to find Mattie's backpack, phone and talkie still attached, in a whirlwind mess of a campsite. This camp was closer to some high rocks, providing them some shelter from the wind at night and shade during the day. It was further off on the beach where the planes were, allowing a certain sense of privacy, a rather good location.

Sleeping around the camp was a group of 6 men and 3 women, all young adults to their early to middle age. Sophie could tell that much in the dark with her slightly enhanced eyesight. What really caught Sophie's attention were the strewn wrappers across the area. Chocolates, granola bars, even a package of instant ramen.

It was the rations she packed for Mattie and June, no mistake about it.

There was enough food to share with Mary Beth and perhaps with some of the others in the sick and elderly corner June was staying in. That place, however, was closer to the leafier palms and plane and not this rock.

It wasn't hard to guess the general gist of what had happened. She didn't need any further proof than this.

Sophie didn't recognize these people, not when they're curled up asleep in the dark. But she felt it didn't matter, they wouldn't have been all that great for the collective group anyways. Not if they were stealing this early on.

There is a part of her that wants to set them alight on fire, because of how dare they. How fucking dare they?! Whatever the did to Mattie to get his bag, they would absolutely pay. He wouldn't have given it up willingly. Either they confronted him, threatened him or stole ii straight-up behind his back. Whatever they did they would pay.

She has half the mind to set them alight on fire and watch them dance and burn to death. But that plan isn't practical, this rock side wasn't a very fuel-efficient area nor did she have anything like kerosene. The culprits would get away too easy and it really wouldn't benefit Sophie in any way outside of petty violent revenge.

Shame but setting them ablaze could be for another time then.

Instead, she takes photos on her phone, set to night mode, and at many angles. Then sneaks over silently to first retrieve Mattie's backpack and any gear that had spilled out. Luckily his heavier more valuable camping gear was left on the plane. The food was a lost cause but Sophie planned to get her investment back somehow.

Any loose items she found that wasn't absolute garbage went into the pack or bags she had stolen. There wasn't much value and no food itself but it was all these people were carrying on them currently. Purses, jackets, shoes, Sophie took them all, working as silently and efficiently as any top-class burglar.

She even cut and nicked items off some of the heavier sleepers.

In the end, Sophie left loaded on quite possibly a bunch of junk. It would be worth it though when these drunk clown woke up to find themselves ransacked.

After making sure to cover her tracks Sophie booked it. She wouldn't actually stay and watch, that's just asking for uncessary trouble.

Silently through the night, she ran to the cover of the jungle. Now that she had time, she could organize the mess of all the shit she just grabbed. Really only a few things could be useful to her or anyone else, the rest were either personal items, clothing or the like.

Those would just be hidden away somewhere, in case she needs the scraps. Besides, she certainly wasn't planning on returning these items to those thieves.

All in all her little stunt plus traveling time cost her over an hour. Dawn wasn't approaching yet but her phone showed that it was half till 5am. Not bad timing at all. Perhaps her speed really did go up, after all, running on the sand wasn't a very easy feat. Sophie couldn't go as fast as she liked, the main priority being stealth. No one woke up as she worked through, even loaded up on items as she was.

After tossing and tying the remaining stolen junk up a leafy tree she wanted to finally go see Mattie and very possibly their little sister as well.

But she had to think and act ahead. She didn't want those petty thieves trying to wrongly get revenge on Mattie.

She did make her way to their location, but only the leave Mattie's stolen backpack right outside. Left there with all his stuff and more, minis the food, for anyone to see. The shelter was a tarp over tree branches that would look bright yellow in daylight. The inflatable emergency exit ramp refurbished to this cover.

Sophie fights the urge to barge in, to run up and see June immediately and check Mattie for any injures. They're big kids that can take care of themselves in these early years, her mind knows that. But she has to actively grit her teeth and stop herself. She breathes, drops the backpack, then leaves.

They'll see each other again soon, very soon. But not right now, she has to get back to the plane before people start stirring awake. Before the sun rises and people can witness her.

When she does get back she does not attempt to go back up but instead settles somewhere on the floor and faces the sea. Her hoodie on the sand, making a makeshift towel against the rough sand. This part of the shore was a bit rockier, the sand not as smooth and grainy to the skin. She overlooks the receding tide of the ocean as dark slowly but surely turns into something more.

When the light of dawn starts to show it's rays, Sophie finally feels sleepy.

It's funny, just like how she was in her teen years. She could stay up all night but needed to sleep as soon as dawn approached and the birds started chirping. Her mom always yelled at her for this bad habit.

She understood now why now. She understands how her parents could get up so early to start their day and open shop. They didn't have a choice. Dawn was for working not sleeping, not if you wanted to survive.

To wake herself up from this body's natural sleep cycle, she unlaces her boots and does something almost crazy.

Taking off her socks and leggings she's left only in a maroon shirt dress long enough that it goes to her upper thighs. Perhaps it would be a normal shirt on something else, someone taller. Like a madwoman in a dream, she dashes, skips even, to the edge of the shore.

In the early morning, the splashes of ocean water are freezing. Even though it's summer, the pacific ocean is a cold one. It makes her instinctually flinch back, trying to avoid the icy chill.

There's no avoiding this, not the water but everything. She's really going through this island again, hell she's already started. Sophie forces a step, and then another and soon she's knees deep in water that's beginning to sparkle fire gold against dark blue but it is colder than ice. A harsher wave splashes up to her waist and she tries not to yelp. It's so fucking cold.

But she can feel it, isn't that something? She can still feel, not just the cold but everything. Sometimes she can't, sometimes she thinks her senses are broken and her consciousness is cut from her body.

It's the depression said her therapist.

Perhaps the disassociation said her psychologists.

Your PTSD? Asked her friends and family tentatively when she zones out. When she goes places in her mind and doesn't respond for hours. And when she does she's not all there.

They're all right of course. This is the worst part, the comedown from the void, the back to reality. Her body never felt right afterward and now that it's back to before, it still doesn't feel right. She can't ever expect to really feel 'right' again. But it feels, and wow is that something? It can feel cold and anger and it is very much still capable of more. It doesn't have to be numb anymore.

The light is both beautiful and awful as it grows stronger, it reminds her of waking up and how she hates waking up. But she's learned to love waking up with the dawn, she had to, and now she'll do it all over again.

Sophie splashes her foot, jumping up and down to regain feeling as the cold water quite literally makes her feel numb. She's not going any further than this, halfway in freezing ocean waters is more than enough of a wake up call.

When she finally trudges herself out and back to shore, back to her things and to the plane, the door is wide open and two working attendants are have already spotted her. The sun has still not fully risen yet

"Oh God! Child what are you doing?!" yelled the first attendant she talked to.

"I...I couldn't sleep earlier. I wanted to find my brother but I couldn't and...and... I don't know. I don't know where he is in the dark, I couldn't find him. I don't know..."

"Oh honey."

The other one, the man in a sweater vest, had run up the plane as soon as she arrived and smartly came back down with a towel and a blanket to wrap around her shivering frame. Sophie was still barefoot, barelegged while carrying her boots.

"Alright dramatic swim moment over, patients go back inside and stay in bed." he ushers her like an overworked primary school teacher would, a little grumpy but kind.

"I'm sorry.... I didn't mean to worry anyone. It's just...I'm scared. Really scared." if only her old self could see her now, she would be mortified. She had tried so hard to be seen as more mature to counterbalance her appearance growing up and here she was, playing up the childishness.

It works though, the sweater vested uncle sighs with a sense of resignation and bundles her further.

"Teenagers always so dramatic, yeah yeat but that's no excuse in scaring us. So back up you go. Come on dry your feet and don't track sand back up." he scolds

"Oh honey, I'm sure your brother is fine dearie. Come on, I'm sure the doctor's orders were for you to rest." comforts the other.


"Be good and you get a hot chocolate, that works right?" the older man's tone is a bit biting but he wraps her in blankets and kindly gives her instant hot cocoa.

It's too sweet but warms her from the inside out and it has those little marshmallows. Life is about those small pleasures.

Sophie does not know him or his fate, she doesn't know how a lot of people died. For the most part, it wasn't pretty. Not a single flight or cabin crew member made it till the end.

"Call us if you need anything, and please kid try to get some sleep. I'd say you're luckier than others to be in here but given that bite on your arm and doctor's orders, well you know. "

"Thank you and um, I'm sorry for the wrong impression but I'm not really a kid." Sophie trails off

While she doesn't mind fooling peoole, it wouldn't do to try pulling one over on the airline staff she needed these people to trust her, to let her into a position of long term influence.And that meant some degree of honestly, a little sweetness wouldn't hurt though.

"21 right? Yeah I know, that's a kid as much as any. I taught high school, you kids don't change that much in 2 or three years."

Sophie could see that actually. It was in the age behind his dark glasses, but tidy sense of posture and dress. His gray hair was something a little too fashionable for a teacher but she could see him as an English or theatre teacher, maybe even band.

"Oh, I see."

"Good, now sleep before I sick any doctor I can find on you."

After finishing her hot cocoa, the alertness that her morning swim gave her is gone. Why did she even go into the water in the first place? An alibi? That' a shitty one. Maybe the madness of the old Sophie, dream Sophie, rubbed off on her. Maybe it peeked out, just a little.

Sophie should sleep while she still can.


What Sophie does not know was that she was not the only one onshore awake before the crack of dawn. Sensing no threat, she completely misses some curious eyes watching her come and go. They watched from afar as she runs off hidden in the dark, like a cat thief in the night. They notice again when a short girl in a black hoodie walks back to camps around the plane. Watches how she's noticeably heavier with something invisible and goes on to plunges herself in a sprint into the sea.

Sophie does not know what an odd sight she made that morning, though she could probably guess.

She does not know that she was watched or she would not be calm enough to fall asleep again.

But she was, and she was very interesting to watch.


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