Water lapped the shore as the blood red sun began to sink below the crystal shimmers on the surface of the ocean. The jungle, a mass of tangled vines and trees tightly woven together as though by a thread, was darkening and all sounds of life were quieting. Sand stirred about as many feet moved away from the beach and through the dark tangles of woods.
A solitary fire sat on the beach, burning low yet giving off just enough light to illuminate the dirty face of a handsome man sitting with his head hanging. His eyes were closed but he was awake, listening hard. He didn't know why he was listening, by himself on this beach, but the peace was soothing. It kept his mind from running amuck, which it had been doing a lot for the past two months. His face gave the impression that it had once looked young and spry, yet now it looked lined and worn, as though having endured a hard battle that was still raging.
The fire began to simmer to embers and only when a fine mist sprayed him did he looked up. Gazing all around, he didn't see anyone nearby. The fire was almost completely out, and he stoked it enough to light the end of his torch. Then, standing, he kicked dirt over the small pile of twigs to ensure it was out, and turned to walk away.
One hundred yards down the beach, someone fell to their knees and let out a scream.
"What was that?"
Kate sat bolt right up in the place where she slept right at the entrance to the cave. She had been dozing, something she had been trying to hold off until Jack would return from the beach. Nearby, Hurley turned over in his sleep.
She listened. It had definitely been some kind of a yell. But it didn't sound like it came from a man. It had sounded almost…could she be wrong…drunk?
The scream echoed again and this time she was up and running. The small path they had beaten down by their many trips back from the beach was easy to follow, but it was tight and she ended up scratching her arms on branches and stumbling over roots. Her heart was racing. Was it possible someone was hurt? What if Jack was hurt too?
She came out onto the empty beach and stared around. It was almost too dark to see. If not for the sliver of the moon, it would have been pitch black. The ripples of the waves crashing into the rocks were vastly contrasted against the dark sky. Kate walked forward a few steps.
"Jack?" she shouted, only the ocean answering with the waves.
Turning, she walked right into someone who stood, hair dripping over their bare shoulders, staring up at her. Kate screamed.
"Kate!" Jack came scrambling up behind her, grabbing Kate's arm and yanking her backwards, away from the drenched girl.
"Who is that?" Kate shrieked, stumbling and trying to hide behind Jack.
"I don't know," Jack whispered.
He stepped forward, the torch in his hand. He could better see her, and he realized she couldn't be much older than twenty. Her shoulder was bleeding badly and looked infected. Her hair was dark, long to her shoulders and was still dripping. She wore only a thin white gown that was sticking to her body and ripped at the hip and at the bottom. She was shoeless, and her feet were cut up badly. Her face was what mesmerized Jack. It was round and he knew that at one point it was probably even cute. But now there were dark circles around her eyes and her face looked sunken in. A long gash ran from her jaw to her collarbone. Her dark eyes stared up at them hollowly.
"Who are you?" Jack said quietly to her, peering close to her face.
The scream that came from the girl was unearthly, something Jack and Kate wished they'd never have to hear again. John Locke, who had been in a deep sleep almost a mile away, awoke with a start to the scream and clutches his hunting knife as he took off towards the source of the sound. Hurley jumped and stared around the cave worriedly.
But Kate was the only person who covered her ears.
"STOP!" she screamed.
The girl didn't stop, instead she turned and took off running down the beach. Kate watched her go, expecting the girl to turn sharply to hide in the cover of the jungle. Instead this soaked girl ran straight towards the ocean, her feet splashing as she reached the edge of the sand and both Kate and Jack watched as she tumbled back into the water.
"Jesus," Jack sprinted towards the water, Kate hot on his heels. Locke emerged from the edge of the jungle and hurried towards Jack.
"Who is this?" Locke demanded of Kate as she stood back while Jack gripped the girl, who was still screaming, and tried to drag her towards the sand.
"Help me!" Jack shouted at Locke.
The girl was flailing and screaming, trying desperately to get back into the water. Her thin gown was coming undone and Kate was mentally pleading with the girl to faint or even die.
Jack and Locke were able to get the girl back to the sand. She had stopped screaming and was now flailing as they tried to hold her down.
"Alright," Locke said angrily, before using the handle of his knife to hit her hard on the head.
She ceased moving immediately, going limp on the wet sand.
"JOHN!" Kate shouted, hurrying over.
"She wouldn't have let us help her," Locke said sensibly, lifting the tiny girl in his arms. "Let's get her back to the caves and bind her so she can't run again."
"How did she get here?" Jack asked as they followed Locke towards the woods.
"I don't know," Kate muttered.
Sayid saw Locke coming through the trees and could not figure out for the first few moments what was in his arms. Then, as he cleared the trees and came into the fire's light, he stood.
"What is this?" Sayid demanded as Locke set the girl down gently on the ground.
"We found her on the beach," Jack explained, rushing towards his sleeping quarters to grab his leather pack. Kate only just now noticed how worn it looked. It had been brand new when they'd crashed. She pushed this from her mind.
"What? Do you think she's…"
"No. We know who all the Others are now. She's probably…"
"What's going on?"
Claire came quietly from the back of the cave, her baby swaddled in her arms. Charlie wasn't far behind. Even though she wasn't speaking to Charlie, he was never far off.
"We'll explain later. For now we have to figure out what to do with her," Jack said, dousing the large wound on the girl's shoulder with a large amount of peroxide. Everyone grimaced, glad that the girl was asleep for that.
Quickly, Locke bound the girls hands to one of the stakes in the ground holding the tarps up. Next, he moved all of the nearby rocks and wood away from her and then sat back.
"She's waking up."
Slowly, the girl's eyes were flickering. Kate suddenly got a whiff of something very strong.
"Jack," Kate whispered hurriedly.
"JACK! I think she's drunk."
Jack and Locke both looked at Kate with wide eyes.
She slowly opened her eyes, looking around wildly. Her hair was still wet, now matted to her head. Twigs and leaves stuck to her wet nightgown. Kate suddenly wondered if the girl was freezing.
"Who are you?" Jack asked the girl quietly. She remained lying down, gazing around at them as they looked over her.
"She's badly injured," Sayid said quietly.
Slowly the girl sat up, her eyes still wide gazing around. They all took one step back as she suddenly looked down and sat her hands bound to the stake beside her.
"Untie me," was all she said, her dark eyes gazing down towards her wrists.
"First tell us who you are," Jack demanded, although he never raised his voice above a whisper. Many of the survivors had gathered now and were watching with curiosity.
"Who am I?" the girl laughed a laugh that made shivers run down Kate's spine. "Maybe I should ask you that since you have so kindly tied me up."
"You were trying to hurt yourself. You appeared on the beach and tried to run back into the water," Locke explained from beside Jack. Both of their faces were stony.
Looking around, the girl felt herself panicking. She was used to getting panic attacks but nothing like the one she felt coming on. Her breath came in short gasps as she looked around.
"She's panicking," Jack said quickly, hurrying forward. "Calm down. Calm down, please. What's your name?"
But she wasn't calming down. Her breathing was even more labored now and she started to struggle.
"Where's my mother?" she demanded in short gasps. She wrenched her wrists hard and cried out at the burns the ropes made on her skin. "Let me go! Please! Don't do it to me again!"
Jack and Locke exchanged a look.
"Do what?" Jack stepped forward.
"Jack," Kate whispered. She pointed down at the girl's nightgown. There was blood soaked into the front of it. It was fresh.
"I need everyone to clear out!" Jack stood, putting his back to the girl who was now trying with all her might to untie the binds. She was barely breathing, gasping in and out without making much effort to speak. The rest of the survivors backed away and disappeared to their own quarters. Only Kate, Sayid, Jack, and Locke remained.
"What's your name?" Jack asked the girl again. She continued to struggle, her hair flying as she ripped at the ropes. Her wrists were beginning to bleed.
"LET ME GO!" she screamed, kicking now. Jack and Locke backed away.
"PLEASE! SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
"What in god's name is going on here?"
Sawyer stood at the entrance to the path, looking down at the girl. He wore nothing but his jeans, his bare chest gleaming with sweat from the humidity. Jack only noticed the silence when he turned back to the girl.
She had gone completely motionless and silent. Her eyes were locked on Sawyer, her breathing suddenly back to normal. Her eyes were wide and shocked, her mouth open in awe.
"Who the hell is that?" Sawyer demanded, stepping into the small circle where they were crouched around this girl. "And what the hell…"
"We found her on the beach. She…"
They all turned to face the girl. She had somehow gotten her wrists undone and was standing, facing only Sawyer with her eyes locked on him. He looked skeptical.
"Me?" Sawyer said in his southern drawl. "Darlin, you don't know me."
"Yes I do," she stepped forward, her wet nightgown still dripping. Blood was spreading on the front of it. "You…"
"Maybe we should tie her up again," Sayid suggested from beside Kate, whose eyes were fixed on the girl.
"You don't remember me," the girl was standing right in front of Sawyer. She was no taller than five foot and her head barely grazed his chin. She looked straight up at him, her head craned. "But I remember you."
"Is this some kind of duet we're supposed to be singin'?" Sawyer asked. "Who are you?"
"I'm Mary," and the girl gave a terrible, horrible smile that made Jack's stomach squirm. "And you killed my brother."
Sawyer never saw the punch coming as it hit him in the jaw from below. It was a low hit, knocking his teeth together painfully. He stumbled back, not seeing for a moment. Then he opened his eyes and saw the girl cradling her fist, her eyes burning into him.
She launched herself at Sawyer, reaching out with her hands and trying to hit him everywhere possible. The girl was probably a quarter his size but her attack was so sudden all Sawyer could do was yell and try to push her away. Jack and Locke ran forward and seized her by the arms, dragging her back.
"You killed him!" she shouted, tears now streaming down her face. "You…you…"
"I didn't kill anybody," Sawyer was still massaging his jaw. "That little brat is in for a …"
"You set him up. You were friends with him and you set him up!"
Sawyer stared at her, his insides burning horribly. This girl, or Mary as she had called herself, was now staring at him with so much hatred it was impossible to look back at her. Locke and Jack held her arms tightly, but she did not struggle. Tears poured down her face as she stared at him.
"James Morrison. He was your colleague, was he not….Mr. Sawyer?"