Chapter 1: In My Place
Amelia Rowan zipped up her light gray hoodie and made her way to one of the larger fires that had been set up on the beach. Her watch had shattered in the crash the day before so she estimated the time to be around seven or eight o'clock. Eating time. She was surprised everyone was still pretty much normal considered what they'd heard in the jungle the night before; that horrendous whooping clicking noise that sounded like it was crushing through trees. No one seemed to want to talk about what it could be; Amelia was definitely trying to put it out of her mind.
The heavy-set, wiry haired young man, Hurley, was passing out airplane food to the survivors. He caught Amelia on her way to the fire and handed her what looked like a chicken dish.
"Here you go, dude," He said. "It's kinda cold but it's food, right?"
"Thanks." Amelia smiled made her way to the young, blonde pregnant girl and sat beside her on the piece of plane wreckage by the crackling fire.
"Hey, how are you feeling?" Amelia asked as she peeled back the wrapping of her meal.
"Oh, I'm fine." Claire smiled and poked her plastic fork around at her food. "This could be a little more appetizing, though..."
Amelia forked a piece of pale chicken and smelled it. "Yeh, well I guess Oceanic had to cut corners somewhere." Her stomach growled so she hesitantly starting eating.
The pregnant blonde giggled. "I'm Claire." She offered her hand to Amelia.
"Oh, Amelia." She replied. "Mia." She shook her hand. "Good to meet you."
"You, too." Claire grinned and went back to her food. "So us Australians are pretty scarce, huh? Seems like everyone I meet is American."
Mia nodded and swallowed down some chicken; it actually wasn't that bad. "That's what we get for flying back to L.A., I guess."
"So, what was that fight about before?" Claire asked a moment later. "The one you broke up with that Southern guy?"
That Southern guy...Mia thought...that's all he is. "Oh, just...idiots being idiots." She replied vaguely. Claire seemed to get that Mia didn't want to talk about it; because she didn't ask any more questions.
After Mia left Claire to get some rest, she took a wander through the camp. Two days they'd been shipwrecked; surely someone would have come for them if they were going to. Mia had mainly kept to herself. Other than helping Hurley gather food the day of the crash and her dinner with Claire; she hadn't really talked to any other survivors. From listening; she knew the doctor was Jack, the brunette who was often with him was Kate, the bald guy was Locke, the beauty queen Shannon and her cute brother, Boone, and the Arab guy was Sayid; the one she'd separated from fighting with Sawyer.
As she thought of his name; she caught him in her peripheral. Smoking; again. Didn't seem to matter what she'd say to him; he was never able to give it up. With almost everyone asleep, Mia thought now was as good a time as any to talk to him. Maybe no one would see them. The most they'd said to each other was her yelling at him to back off when he was fighting with Sayid. Sawyer had pretty much made himself known as the resident jackass; so no one was approaching him.
Mia didn't want anyone to know they had history; not if her wish came true and they were rescued tomorrow. She'd rather people didn't think she would associate herself with someone like that. That's why, only in the dead of the night, she dared talk to him.
"Are you trying to be hated everywhere you go?" Mia said, folding her arms and standing a good few feet from him.
"Nice to see you too, sweetheart." Sawyer took a long draw from his cigarette and let out the puff of air slowly through his nostrils.
"Sawyer, it looks like we'll be here awhile," She started.
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Don't think I haven't noticed how you've changed your tune." He said bitterly. "Hanging with the pregnant chick, making some new friends...you got it all figured out, huh?"
"I just don't think it's a good idea to get on everyone's bad side right off the bat." Mia replied matter-of-factly.
"Come on, baby," Sawyer took another drag. "You've known me long enough to know that ain't gonna happen."
Mia scoffed. "Yeah...I have." She unfolded her arms and started to walk away.
"But you married me anyway." Sawyer called after her.
When she turned around; he was smirking. That know-it-all smirk she'd used to think was charming; now it made her feel nauseous.
"Yeah, I did." She spat over her shoulder. "Past tense, Sawyer."
The next day, Mia got herself better acquainted with Claire by helping her gather up paperwork and passports. Really, as nice as Claire was, that was just a ruse. She wanted to find her shoulder bag. It had been in the overhead compartment above her on the plane but she'd woken up in the sand. She'd managed to find her plane seat half buried in the dirt just off the beach but hadn't found the time to go trolling through the fuselage looking for it. Her memory of the crash was foggy. The plane had separated in the air so there was a chance her luggage was floating around in the ocean. But, considering her seat had made it safely to the beach she was hoping her bag had, too. Not only did it have some essential items like clothes, toiletries and her cell phone; it had something priceless. Something that was the reason she'd gotten on the plane in the first place.
After helping Claire for about an hour, Mia offered to go into the fuselage to retrieve more bags. Considering that that part of the plane was basically upside down and there was a handful of dead bodies in there; Claire didn't even pretend not to be thrilled she wasn't going back in.
Inside the fuselage, it was dark and it stank of death and decay. Mia clicked on the flashlight Claire had found in one of the bags and started searching. She breathed through her nose and tried not to look at the contorted bodies littering the aisles and slumped over in seats. Because of the angle, Mia had to climb up by stepping on the arm rests of the chairs. It was like climbing a very wide, very awkward ladder. It was tough to climb and hold the torch so she moved slowly, but the inevitable happened and she slipped. To stop herself falling, Mia dropped the torch and grabbed onto the headrest of the one of chairs. The torch bounced off her shoulder and landed in the window pane, shining its light right into the face of dead man. Mia gasped; she recognized him
Not by name or anything, but he'd been complaining about his headphones not working midflight; he'd been two seats in front of her; Mia had had a window seat, too. Slowly, taking the time to find her footing, Mia climbed into the empty chair beside the dead man and retrieved her torch. She shone the light over the chair and saw the row of missing chairs two seats back. And right above that; jackpot. The overhead compartment was still there; undamaged.
With a jolt of adrenaline, Mia clambered over to the row of chairs just behind the dead man; they creaked a little but seemed pretty solid. She reached up and opened the compartment and almost bounced up and down in happiness; her shoulder bag was there. It was upside down and smushed against the back along with a briefcase, a pillow and a laptop bag; but it was there. Her lucky bag with the torn shoulder strap and coffee stain that gave it a tie dyed effect. She'd had it for years.
A rummaging noise from behind Mia made her gasp and turn the torch around. She was sure she'd heard something or someone. But a quick, slow scan of the fuselage didn't show her anything but more bodies and debris. She was starting to get the creeps so she thought it best to get back out onto the beach. Slinging the bag over her shoulder, Mia also nabbed the briefcase and laptop bag and started to make her way back out of the fuselage. She was climbing down the last couple of steps when she lost her footing and fell heavily to the floor.
"Ow!" She cried as she hit the ground.
"Whoa, careful! You alright?"
Mia looked up to see the doctor, Jack, reaching down to help her up. "Yeh, I'm fine." And she was; it was just a heavy fall but she'd landed on her feet.
"What were you doing in there?" He asked, nodding his head into the fuselage.
"Oh, looking for my bag." She proudly patted her shoulder bag. "Found it." She felt a familiar lump in the front pocket and almost gasped. "Oh, my God, my wallet's still in here." She pulled out the leather wallet and opened it up; half expecting all her identification to be missing or something.
Jack smiled. "Lucky you."
She could tell he was eying her driver's license; as if subtlety trying to prove if she was who she was. Poor guy; he was suspicious of everyone. "Are you heading in there?" She jabbed her thumb to the fuselage.
"Yeh, the guy with shrapnel in his leg needs medication." Jack rubbed the back off his head. "Thought I might see what some people have on them."
"Claire, the pregnant girl, and I are searching bags." Mia said. "We've found some pills. Just anti-depressants and Advil so far but you're welcome to it." She smiled.
"Thanks." Jack smiled and started to head into the plane wreck.
"Oh, take this." She handed him the torch. "You'll need it." She smiled at the handsome doctor one more time and then lugged the bags towards Claire. She handed her new friend the laptop bag and flopped to the sand next to her.
"Find anything good?" Claire asked.
"My bag." She held up her lucky pack. "With all my identification still in it."
"Score." Claire winked.
Mia opened her bag and unzipped the main section where she expected to see what she was looking for. It wasn't there. She knew she'd left the large yellow envelope on top of her clothes; it had been there when they'd taken off. She'd made herself double check. Now it was gone. "Dammit." She muttered under her breath as she yanked out most of her clothes; knowing it wouldn't be in there.
"Everything ok?" Claire inquired.
"Yeh, yeh," Mia stuffed her clothes back in her bag and sat it beside her. "Fine." She gave Claire as genuine a smile as she could muster. "Everything's fine."
Mia forced herself to work with Claire for the rest of the day and just put the yellow envelope out of her mind. She spotted Jack leaving the fuselage about twenty minutes later and grabbed the medicines she'd discovered to give to him.
"Oh, thanks." He said when she handed them to him.
"Did you find anything useful?" She cast her eyes over the still smoking fuselage.
"Not sure yet." Jack gave her a shaky smile. "We'll see. Hopefully Sawyer didn't steal anything."
"Sawyer?" Mia repeated.
"Yeh, that Southern guy. He was in there, too." Jack shook his head in disbelief. "Looting from the dead, can you believe that?" He smiled his thanks at her again and headed off back up the beach.
"Yeah, I can." She muttered under her breath.
By nightfall, it was hard to ignore the sounds of wailing agony coming from the makeshift tent Mia discovered Jack was keeping the man with the shrapnel. He was getting worse; and everyone on the beach knew it. Mia suddenly remembered she'd found some painkillers that afternoon while searching bags with Claire. She grabbed them from beside her lucky pack and went to find him.
Mia spotted Jack talking with Hurley about a hundred feet from the shrapnel guy's tent. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but something Hurley said made Jack's face contort in fear. He turned and started running towards the tent, from which Kate was exiting.
"Kate?!" Jack called.
Confused, Mia started to walk up behind him but jumped a mile when a loud gunshot fired through the silent night air. Startled, Mia dropped the handful of meds and covered her mouth as Sawyer came walking out of the tent with a gun dangling from his hand.
Jack stormed up to Sawyer with murder in his eyes. "What did you do?!"
"What you couldn't!" Sawyer said back. "Look, I get where you're coming from being a doctor and all, but he wanted it. Hell, he asked me. So, I don't like it any more than you do, but something had to be done."
A horribly, guttural groan of pain alerted both Jack and Sawyer that the shrapnel guy wasn't through yet. Jack sped into the tent with Sawyer right after him. Mia, still stunned, took off after Kate.
"Kate!" Mia jogged in front of her and blocked her path. "What the hell happened in there?" She could see tears in the woman's eyes. "Where'd the gun come from?"
"He's a Marshall. He was after me." Kate whispered. "He arrested me and was taking me back to LA in handcuffs."
"What did you do?"
"Nothing. It doesn't matter..." She gulped. "He was dying." She wiped her eyes and pushed past Mia.
Mia was rooted to the spot, trying to process all of this information. Kate was a fugitive and had convinced Sawyer to kill someone. What the hell was this island doing to everybody?
Sawyer suddenly exited the tent looking extremely troubled. He whipped his cigarettes and lighter out of his pocket and tried to light one, but the lighter wouldn't ignite. Frustration overcame him and he tossed the cigarette away cursing under his breath. "Dammit!"
"It's a bad habit anyway." Mia said as she came up to him. "But look on the bright side. In a few days you'll be out of them and you'll have to quit." She folded her arms across her chest.
"There something you want?" He didn't turn around to face her; he just spat his response over his shoulder.
"Where is it?"
"Don't play dumb with me. I know you went looting through the fuselage and I know you have it." She could feel her heart racing in anger. "I found my bag, zipped up but the envelope's missing. You're no fool; you wanted me to know it was gone."
This time; he did turn to her. Whatever troubled look he'd had before was replaced by smug antagonism. "Not gonna do you any good now is it?" He drawled.
Mia could practically feel her blood boiling. "You promised me-"
"When we got to L.A." He cut in. "That was the deal. Look around, M, we're not in L.A. We're not in Australia." He let out his dry, Southern laugh. "Hell, we don't know where we are.
"You promised me." She growled through gritted teeth.
He squared his jaw and started towards her, staring her down. He stopped just by her shoulder and hissed - "Deal with it" - into her ear before storming off down the beach.
Mia was frozen in her anger. Of course, he hadn't planned the crash, but he was even using this disaster to play her. It didn't matter where they were; he would never change. Mia suddenly became aware of the silence in the air and then saw Jack looking forlorn as he exited the tent. He saw Mia and they shared a look; a look that told her the Marshall was definitely dead now. Then he left; walking off into the darkness alone.
Turning back to the camp, Mia noticed a handful of people moving around, most likely having been woken up by the gunshot, but Sawyer had already disappeared. Not sure where to go or what to do, Mia sat herself right there on the sand and rested her head against her knees. She listened to the sound of the waves; the peacefulness of them perturbed her. The ocean was so calm; yet on the island they were losing control. Sawyer had a gun, Kate was a criminal, people were dying, food was running out, water was drying up and rescue was nowhere to be seen. If this wasn't Hell; the Devil had a lot to live up to.