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CHAPTER 2: HAYDEN
My eyes fluttered open, and I took in all of the debris that was surrounding me. I could feel the thud of my heart pounding in my chest, and shocked relief flooded through me immediately. I was alive. I was actually alive.
I tried to lift my knee, tried to stand up, but I couldn’t. The seat in front of me had fallen back onto my legs, and suitcases were strewn everywhere. People’s clothing and belongings that had once been folded neatly and tucked inside of their suitcases, were now destroyed and lying all around the plane.
There were also bodies lying all around the plane. My former classmates. My peers. My friends. All dead. I was the one and only survivor.
Trying not to look at any of the bodies, I used all of the strength I had left in me to push the seat off of my legs. My entire body ached, and as I rose to my feet, pain shot through my muscles. My legs were barely capable of carrying the weight of my body as I climbed out into the aisle between all of the seats.
Holding my breath, trying not to breathe in the putrid smell of all the dead, blood-smeared bodies around me, I made my way down the aisle. I was only about two feet away from the door of the plane when I tripped over a suitcase that was lying in the middle of the aisle.
I fell face-first onto the ground, landing on my hands and knees. I raised my head only to find myself face to face with the flight attendant who was so bright and lively fifteen minutes ago. But now her once cheery blue eyes were glassy and blank. Her once smiling mouth was now forming a grim line. Her once clean and tidy uniform was now stained with blood.
My eyes went so wide when I saw her in this condition that I thought they might bulge right out of their sockets. Hurriedly, I scrambled to my feet, my breathing now sharp and panicked. Once I was standing up stably, I jolted out the door, falling down on my way out.
I toppled over, landing on a rough, grainy terrain. Blinking a few times to adjust my eyes to the sudden brightness, I glanced down at what I was now lying on. It was sand. Warm, granular, golden sand.
I ascended to my feet, using my hands to help push my body up, and then I looked around at where I was. I was standing on a beach. A vacant beach. This beach was part of the island I was on. Circling around, I gazed beyond the sand, back into the jungle of vegetation behind me. I’d never seen so much green in my entire life.
Breathing in the moist, sultry air, I sat back down on the sand beneath me. My legs were weak and aching beyond belief. I rolled up the hem of my jeans, inspecting the dark bruises covering my legs. Biting my lip, I rolled my jeans back down. Even just sitting there, immobile my legs throbbed with pain. I felt miserable.
And it didn’t help that the heat of the beaming rays of sun that were shining down on me, making me hot and dehydrated. Taking a deep breath, I looked back up at the destroyed airplane sitting there in front of me. What was I supposed to do? My airplane had just crashed and I was now sitting here on this island all alone. No one else had made it out of the crash alive. Just me. This made me wonder how I even survived in the first place.
It just didn’t make any sense. Every single person on that plane died with the exception of me. Not that it mattered. I was trapped on some deserted island all alone now, with no food or water. There was no way on earth I would make it out of this situation alive. Not all by myself like this. Even if a few other people did end up living, we’d still be trapped here on this island with no way off.
I sat there for a moment, burying my face into my hands. What was I going to do? This was awful. This was worse than awful. This was horrendously terrible beyond belief. And as I listened to the waves crash in and felt more lonely than I’d ever felt before, I heard something… someone.
Instantly, I got to my feet and called out, “Hello? Is anyone here?” And then I heard it again. It sounded like a frightened whimper. I began jogging towards the direction it seemed to be coming from, towards the plane. I opened my mouth to call out again, but stopped when I heard the sound of something shattering.
Glancing over to the mid-section of the plane, I saw that someone had broken through one of the windows with a bright red fire extinguisher. I rushed over to help this person out, relieved that I actually wasn’t the only survivor.
The person stuck their head out the opening where the window had just been, giving me a chance to see who it was. The second I saw her face, my heart stopped. I was stuck on an isolated beach with Emilee Montgomery. Well this was just great. Me and Emilee, two rivals, trapped together all alone. We wouldn’t be able to last a single day with one another! We hated each other!
Well she hated me at least. I actually kind of liked Emilee’s uniqueness. I kind of respected her for not trying to live up to everyone else’s standards. I even looked up to her a bit for being so self-assured.
But I would never admit this to anyone, including Emilee. I was Hayden Kelly, son of Jim and Kendra Kelly. If I were to ever confess how I truly felt about Emilee to anyone my high social status would go down the drain. I had expectations to live up to. I couldn’t be seen hanging around with Emilee Montgomery.
So I acted like I completely hated her. I teased and taunted her just like everyone else, so that no one would ever figure out the truth. I disguised my feelings, painted over my true colors. I’d made Emilee hate me above everyone else. And it was kind of ironic that she hated me more than anyone else, considering I was the only one who actually respected her strange sense of style and behavior.
But it didn’t matter what we thought of each other right now. What mattered was that we had survived this plane crash. And if we put our differences aside and cooperated with one another, there was a possibility that we make it back home safe to our families.
However, I knew this would be a struggle from the second her deep brown eyes met mine. The moment she saw that it was I who had made it out alive her face fell, and I could tell that she was disappointed. But I gripped her forearms and pulled her out of the plane nonetheless.
“You’re alive,” Those were the first words to come out of my mouth once we were both standing on the beach facing each other.
She nodded, glancing away from me. “You are too,” she replied, followed by a brisk sigh. “Did anyone else survive?” she inquired, peering up at me hopefully.
“No,” I said softly with a gentle shake of my head.
Her eyes went wide, and a faint gasp escaped her throat. “We’re the only ones that made it out alive? Just you and me?” she questioned. Clearly, this was not easy for her to take in.
I nodded my head, “Just us two,” We both looked away from each other, as an awkward silence fell between us.
And then, out of the blue, she burst into tears. Unsure of what to do or how to comfort her, I looked away from her, trying to give her a bit of privacy. I never in a million years would’ve ever expected to see Emilee cry. She just seemed so thick-skinned and unemotional. To see her in such a fragile state was what let me know how truly severe this situation was.
“I’m sorry,” she said, followed by a sniffle. Finally composing herself, she wiped away the tears with the back of her hand. However, this just smeared all of the black eyeliner and mascara she had caked on, making it look like she had raccoon-eyes.
Biting down on my tongue to stifle my laugh, I nodded. “It’s ok, I understand.” I shot her a weak smile, and as soon as I did, she seemed to remember how much she despised me. That look of repugnance clouded her eyes once again and she crossed her thin arms over her chest.
“Well if we want to survive, we have to make sure not to panic. Or break down crying like I just did. We should probably start looking through all of the wreckage inside of the plane for anything useful too.” she declared, her tone assertive.
I nodded, making a silent vow to not argue with anything she said. She seemed pretty sure of herself, and I had absolutely no idea what to do, therefore it was probably best just to follow her directions. So when she began marching back towards the door of the plane, I followed right behind her.
We both stepped inside, taking in all of the remains of everyone’s luggage. “You go through the stuff in the back of the plane, and I’ll go through the stuff in the front.” she affirmed.
“What about the middle of the plane?” I wondered aloud.
She let out an irritated sigh, “Well when you’re done searching in the back and I’m done searching in the front then we can both search in the middle.” she informed me as if it were obvious.
“Ok,” I uttered, turning around and heading towards the back of the plane. When I got there, I glanced around, hoping to spot anything that might come in handy while trying to survive on an island.
As I craned my neck, to see past the bodies, I cringed at all of the goriness. Taking a deep breath, I looked past the bodies. I had a mission to find things that could be useful to Emilee and I, and I couldn’t let anything distract me form this mission.
But it was pretty hard to find anything useful when most things had been destroyed in the crash. I was still unsure of how Emilee and I had survived, but I was so grateful that we did.
I pawed through a small pile of clothes sitting up against a seat, which was thankfully free of any dead body. To my pleasure, I found a few t-shirts, a sweatshirt, and a pair of jeans that weren’t really damaged. Proud of myself for this discovery, I gathered the clothing in my arms and marched back to the front of the plane to show Emilee. But she wasn’t there anymore. I glanced out the window, only to find her making a pile of the things she’d found outside the plane.
When I stepped outside, to show her what I’d found, all of my pride dissolved. My discoveries were nothing compared to what Emilee had found. In her pile were four pillows, five blankets, a few bags of chips, and three bottles of water.
“The chips are mostly crushed, but they’re still edible.” she told me. “But that’s all the food we’ve got right now, so we’re going to have to make it last. She noticed the clothes in my arms and eyed them dismally, but didn’t comment on them.
“Where did you find all of this stuff?” I asked her, as I added the clothing I had found to the pile.
“Well all planes keep a bunch of pillows and blankets stored for the passengers if they request one. And I got the water and chips off of the flight attendant’s cart.” she replied.
“Oh, well it was smart of you to look there.” I complimented her.
She raised her eyebrows skeptically. “You’re actually calling me smart?” she cried. “Wow, you must have hit your head pretty hard in the crash.”
“I’m not that bad of a person you know,” I said, figuring that if we were going to be spending so much time together I might as well let her know the truth about how I really felt. “And I don’t actually hate you as much is it might seem like I do.”
She rolled her eyes, not buying it. “Whatever, I don’t really care whether or not you hate me. Lets just keep looking.”
Making sure to abide by the vow I’d made to myself, I didn’t argue with her about this. Instead, I followed her instructions and headed back inside the plane to continue on with our search.
And by the time we’d scanned the entire plane for anything that might be used in our advantage, it had already gotten dark out. Our final pile of our findings consisted of the items we’d found earlier along with three belts, five sets of iPod ear buds (Emilee said these could possibly be used as make-shift ropes), two packs of gum, three towels, a couple more items of clothing, and an umbrella.
This stuff was currently sitting on the sand, waiting to be put to good use. I still was pretty skeptical as to whether or not we’d make it off of this island alive, but with the things we’d found and Emilee’s clever sense of intelligence, we had a chance of survival.