Chapter 1

James suddenly jolted awake. Scared and hurt, he coughs and groans loudly while reaching for his side. He blinks a few times and brushes his brown hair away from his eyes, trying to sharpen his image at what he was seeing. A tree? A boulder? He hears water rushing onto land. The ocean? How is he by the ocean? James coughed a few more times and tried rolling onto his back.

"Argh!" he shouts, "Fuckin… AH!"

"Hey!" a woman's voice calls out, "You alright?"

"No I'm not! Fuck!" James complains while trying to see where the voice was coming from, "Who… where… what happened?"

The mystery woman rushed to his side.

"I don't know. I was in the kitchens when the crash happened," she explained.

"Wha-crash?" James was too much in pain to think clearly or remember anything that happened.

"Sh-sh. It's okay. I have some bandages. Maybe I can…"

The woman started to lift his shirt, but James started to fight back due to the pain.

"Ow! That hurts!" he argued.

"I'm trying to help you. Stop moving!" she shouts.

James finally stops after seeing her face clearly for the first time. She had a beautiful face. Blue eyes, pink lips, light skin and strawberry blonde hair. She appeared to be around the same age as him, if not a year or two older. The woman lifted his shirt and revealed a long cut going down his side. It was not deep, but it still needed to be aided since it was bleeding.

"Okay. Hold still. I need to bandage it… somehow,"

"Somehow?!" he exclaimed.

"It's a long cut, I need to apply more than one bandage," she insisted.

James groaned and plopped his head back into the sand. He stared at the tree above them, which allowed some of the sunlight to shine through.

An island? Are we on an island?

He turned his head to the left.

That explains the ocean sound.

He watched as the water rushed onto the land and back again into the ocean.

But… what happened? Why don't I-

"OW!" he shouts.

"Sorry! I'm sorry but there was a piece of wood stuck at the end of the wound,"

"Fuck!" James winced, "That hurt!"

"Sorry," she muttered.

James allowed himself to go limp while she finished applying the bandages.

"What happened?" he weakly asked.

"I wish I knew. I just remember being in the kitchens and then there was a loud blast," the woman commented.

James sighed.

"… and finished," she added.

James heard this and tried to sit up, but the pain made him fall back down.

"Damn it!" he shouts.

"Easy! Easy. Do not overexert yourself. You don't want it to get infected,"

"Ugh!" James rested his arm against his forehead, feeling defeated.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Cinderella," she responded, "but you can just call me Cindy,"

"Cinderella? Like the story?" James lifted his arm to look at her.

"Story? What story?" Cinderella asked.

James chuckled and laid his head back down.

"Where are you from?" he asked.

"Earth," she replied.

"What year?"

"What year? What do you mean what year?"

James lifted his head again and carefully studied Cinderella's face.

"You… you don't know what year you left?"

"Of course I do! 1812,"

James tried to sit up again but only made it halfway by leaning on his elbows.

"So then… you don't know how time works outside of Earth?"

Cinderella looked like she was about to cry.

"Why does everyone keep asking me that?!" she huffed.

She quickly turned and walked away.

"Hey! Hey wait!" James shouted.

Cinderella kept walking.

"Argh! Alright fine! Keep walking! I don't need your help!"

Cinderella yelled something incoherent and then disappeared behind a large boulder.

James slowly stood up while resting his hand against his wound. He tried to take a step, but the stinging pain in his side made it rather difficult. He had to take small painful steps.

"This… is…. Fucking…. Great," he mutters through gritted teeth, "I… don't… know… where… I… am…. Or… what…. Happened…."

He stops to rest against a tree. It was a thin flimsy tree with leaves only growing from the top. James wasn't sure of the name of the tree, but he did see them in pictures of beaches on Earth. He sighed and glanced around.

Is there anyone else here? Anyone willing to help, at least?

Then, as if on cue, Cinderella reemerged from the boulder and made her way to him.

"Oh no," he whispered, "here we go,"

Cinderella approached him and took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have left you like that,"

"Ah I'm used to it," James joked.

Cinderella was not amused. She stepped forward and reached for his right arm that was resting against the tree.

"Here, let me help you. There is a little settlement on the other side of the boulder," she explained.

James was reluctant at first, but he knew it would take him forever to get there by himself. So, he let Cinderella take his arm and help him walk.

"AH!" he growled.

"What's your name" Cinderella asked.

"… James,"

"Hi James,"

"… Hi," he chuckled, "so… are you a… nurse or something?"

"No. I was a maid on the ship," she clarified.

"A maid? Is that… how you know… so much?"

"No," Cinderella admitted, "Back at home, I was a servant. I learned a lot of things before becoming a maid,"

James glanced at her. Curious, he wanted to ask about her home, but he knew that would lead to another upsetting argument, so he decided not to ask. They finally made their way behind the boulder and Cinderella helped James sit down against it.

"Thanks," he sighed.

"Of course," Cinderella chimed, "I felt bad leaving you there. I knew I had to make up for it,"

"Oh I'm a charity case now," James smirked.

Again, Cinderella was not amused. She turned away and kneeled next to a pile of sticks. She grabbed one and started to rub it against another. James raised an eyebrow and scoffed.

"You ever made a fire before?" he asked.

"No," she answered, "but I've seen this one movie about it on the ship. It looked easy enough," she confessed.

"Oh boy," he whispered.

Cinderella stopped and turned to him with an annoyed expression.

"What? Have you ever made a fire before?"

"Yes. I have… once," he said.

"Well then do you wish to try?" she angrily offered.

"I would! But" James pointed to his side, "I kind of can't right now,"

"Well then leave me be so I can concentrate," she stated.

James nodded and pressed his lips together. He watched her some more until she finally gave up from exhaustion. When she started turning towards him, James quickly looked toward the ocean. He was not sure what to expect but he felt her eyes on him and that was enough to make him recoil on the inside. That and it was slightly amusing to him.

"How?" she asked.

"What?"

"How do I made a fire, sir?" she drawled.

James let out a very deep sigh and groaned.

"Please don't call me sir!" he yelled, "I can't stand that,"

Cinderella chuckled.

"Fine. Just tell me how to make a fire. We can use it to cook some fish I managed to catch earlier,"

James sat up and looked around for the fish.

"Where?" he asked.

"I'll show you after we build the fire," she smirked.

"Fine," James sighed, "You have a piece of bark or a small log somewhere?"

Cinderella looked at the pile of sticks and shook her head.

"No. I can find one though,"

She stood up and began to look around the area for a bigger piece of wood. James took this time to look around at their little 'settlement'. The large boulder appeared to be a small piece of a mountain; tall and it stretched nearly 30 feet across from him. The pile of sticks rested on top of the white sand and it was surrounded by a ring of rocks.

Cute

After a couple of minutes of looking, Cinderella called out that she found a big piece of bark.

"Great!" James replied, "Now, look for some dry grass,"

Cinderella nodded and started looking around again. James studied the landscape where Cinderella was at. It was mostly shady due to the trees surrounding the area and a lot of sticks were scattered around on top of the lush green grass. He saw some large brown objects on the ground too, but like before, he was not sure on what they were called.

"Okay. I got them all!" Cinderella called out.

"Great!" James smiled.

Cinderella happily kneeled by the pile of wood again and waited for more instructions.

"Okay, put some of that grass onto the bark and grab a stick,"

Cinderella did as she was told.

"Rub that stick against the bark. Not too fast," he instructed, "it won't happen right this second but just keep rubbing it,"

Cinderella did was she was told. She rubbed and rubbed until her hand got tired.

"Here," James began to remove his jacket, "use my jacket. It'll help you with the stick,"

Cinderella sighed and got up to retrieve the jacket. James easily got it off his right shoulder, but he struggled with the left. Cinderella quickly went to his side and helped him remove the jacket.

"You alright?" she asked.

"Yeah just… use it for the stick," he winced.

"Okay,"

Cinderella rushed back to the pile and used his jacket as a cushion for her hand. Several minutes went by and finally a fire started on the pile of dry grass. Cinderella cheered loudly and James just chuckled.

"You did it," he said.

"Yes! Thanks to you!"

She almost rushed to give him a hug, but then remembered about his wound and took a step back.

"I'll get the fish now," she said.

"Yeah. Sounds good," James agreed.

Cinderella smiled and turned to go get the fish. James watched her as she kneeled by the grass line and began digging with her hands.

Did she bury them?

After a few seconds, Cinderella pulled out a small cooler from underneath the sand and carried the box back.

"You put them in there?" James asked.

"Yes," she nodded with a proud expression.

Then she put the box down, opened it and pulled out a decent sized fish.

"How did you catch them?" he could not help but ask.

"I used the stitching line from the first aid kit and the hook to catch them. Luckily, they were all gathering around the shore over there," she pointed to the ocean.

James was impressed.

"Hm. Not bad,"

"Not bad?" Cinderella scoffed, "Don't tell me you know how to fish too,"

"Actually, I don't," he admitted.

"Oh," her smile disappeared, "Sorry,"

"For what?" James laughed.

"I don't know," she chuckled.

She then put a stick through the dead fish's mouth and placed it over the small fire.

"Shouldn't we bone that thing?" James pointed out.

"Yes, but I do not have a knife," she explained.

James then remembered that he had a pocketknife. He tried checking his pants pockets but found nothing. Then he looked at his jacket that was on the ground.

"Hey, check my jacket for a pocketknife. I know I have one somewhere,"

Cinderella positioned the stick into the ground so that the fish remained over the fire before checking his jacket. She felt something heavy and found the source in an inside pocket. It was the pocketknife.

"Found it," she smiled while trying to open it.

"Oh! Here let me," he offered.

Cinderella glanced at him.

"What? You think I can't open a pocketknife now?"

"No," James said sternly, "The knife only opens with my thumbprint,"

Cinderella looked skeptical, until she realized that James was not joking.

"Fine," she sighed.

She handed him the pocketknife and he positioned it in his hand to where his thumb touched the side of it, allowing it to scan his thumbnail and the small blade shot out from the top. Cinderella was shocked.

"How… how did you did do that? Magic?"

"No. Just basic technology,"

James handed her the pocketknife. Cinderella took it and tried to study it.

"Technology," she repeated.

That is when James realized that she would not know about his technology because of the year she left Earth. He wanted to explain this to her but again, his instincts told him not to. Cinderella finally shrugged and put the pocketknife down next to her and continued cooking the fish. James' stomach began to rumble, but he tried to ignore it. Time went by and the sun was beginning to make its way down. Cinderella and James ate the fish and put the rest back underground for later. Now, they needed water. Cinderella admitted to finding a couple of water bottles, but she drank one up, and so the last water bottle went to James. She then tried to scout the area for more water bottles, but James was not so hopeful about the results. He remained on the rock drinking the water until he saw something small and shiny bobbing on the ocean.

"Hey," he called out, "Hey! Cindy!"

Cinderella turned around and saw him pointing toward the ocean.

"There's something there! On the water!"

Cinderella looked and noticed the shiny object.

"What is that?" she asked herself.

Curious, she made her way to the ocean.

"Careful!" James yelled.

Cindy turned and waved at him, assuring him that she would be alright. As she approached the water, she began to see the object a little clearer. It was round and clear like a crystal ball.

"Wow!" she thought out loud, "it's beautiful!"

She stepped into the water and walked to the crystal ball. The water went up to her waist by the time she grabbed it. The water was rough, but she managed to make it back onto dry land. James watched her make her way back and he tried to make out what she was holding.

"What is it?!" he inquired.

"I think it's a crystal ball," she replied.

"A crystal ball?"

"Yes!" she called out, holding up the heavy object.

"How could that be a crystal ball? Wouldn't it have sunk?"

"Your right. It is heavy," Cindy agreed.

"Let me see," James reached his hand out.

Cinderella gave him the ball. He examined the object all around, but it did not give him any indication on what it could be.

"Hm," he let out, "I never seen something like this before,"

"It's not something from your technology?" Cindy asked.

"If it is, it was made for more personal reasons. Like how my knife only activates with my thumbprint? Maybe this activates with someone specific,"

"Really?" Cinderella muttered.

"Yes. Possibly,"

James gave the object back to her. Cinderella did not care if it was useless, she just thought it was interesting and beautiful. She placed it against the rock-wall and looked down at her wet dress.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, "I better get changed,"

James almost blushed at her statement. She quickly disappeared behind the boulder again while unbuttoning her dress. She was gone for several minutes, leaving James to let his imagination run a little wild. He tried not to picture her possibly changing just beyond the wall, but his mind wondered on her waist, her shoulders… her breast.

"Stop it!" James grunted underneath his beath, "Just stop it. That is not happening,"

Soon, Cinderella reemerged with a clean dress on. She was carrying the wet dress in her arms and placed it in the sunlight to dry.

"There," she said, "it's the best I can do without any washing materials,"

"Yeah," James gulped.

Cinderella turned to him.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah!" he lied, "yeah, I'm fine… just hurting,"

"I'll look for some painkillers," she insisted.

James glanced at her but said nothing. As she disappeared again, James turned his attention to the ocean, hoping for a passing ship. Instead, he was met with an empty horizon and a sun starting to set. The beautiful colors of pink and purple started to fill the sky. He began thinking of his home, the Benbow Inn, and how the clouds would change into different colors during the sunset there. At home, the clouds would change into orange, blue and green. Montressor sure was a different planet from the others. Based on the colors now, James suspected he was either on Earth, or maybe a planet like Earth.

If that's the case, then maybe the ship I was on crashed somehow and we ended up here… alone? Are we the only survivors? We can't be, there has to be more passengers here somewhere…

James shifted himself off the rock and carefully laid himself down onto the sand. He rested his head on his jacket and stared at the clouds.

Maybe this is a dream… or a simulation… yeah. I'll just go to sleep and wake up back on the ship! Sounds like a plan.

And with that, James closed his eyes and let sleep take over. He listened to the sound of the ocean and the trees rustling against the passing winds and an occasional seagull squawk by.

Please… let me wake up back on the ship… or at least at home…