Chapter 17

Samantha watched the motor boat come into sight. She didn't move as it turned toward her and headed for the shore. When it was close enough, she could see there were three men and two women. They were all dressed in fatigues with a British flag patch sewn onto one sleeve, and a patch she assumed was military of some kind on the other sleeve.

The flat bottomed boat skimmed up onto the sand as it stopped. She watched the people get out, all five staring at her. Slowly she stood up.

"Ross… Faverty?" she asked.

Four eyes turned toward the man on the left end. He wasn't a spectacular looking man – but definitely athletic. His sandy blond hair looked browner in the sunlight. He pulled off his sunglasses, showing his bright green eyes.

"That's me. How did you know?" he asked with a distinct Welsh accent

Samantha looked down, and then nervously back into the jungle. There was silence in the jungle. Not even a bird stirred. She'd noticed all the sounds had stopped as she came down. There hadn't been a bug, a bird, or an animal in sight. She looked back at him.

"I can't explain it."

"You can't or won't?" a taller man demanded.

"I can't. Why did you guys come here?"

It was their turn to look nervous. Eventually Ross was the focus of their attention again.

"I… I was told to come here in a dream," Ross said. "Your name is Samantha McNally, isn't it?"

She nodded. "Were you told by Hurley?"

He slowly nodded. "Yes. How'd you know?"

She smiled a little. "Hurley died when Oceanic flight 815 crashed."

"We know this. That was five years. Is that how long you've been on the island?"

Samantha slowly nodded.

They were silent for ten minutes, but they didn't feel the passing time.

"I imagine… You'd like to go home now."

She almost shook her head, but stopped. She nodded.

Ross held out his hand. She didn't move. He took three steps to her. Samantha walked up to him, letting him take her hand. He walked back to the boat with her and helped her in. The other four pushed the boat into the water and got in. The engine was started and it felt like the loudest sound Samantha had heard in a while. She put her hands over her ears. She looked up when someone moved close to her, looking into Ross' eyes. He leaned close, holding his hands over her hands to help block out the sound. She reflected the smile he offered.

#

"I've brought you a blanket."

Samantha turned her head, watching Ross walk along the deck of the ship to her. He wrapped it around her, pulling it tight.

"Thank you," she told him.

He smiled. "You're welcome."

Samantha almost returned it. Her eyes went to the patch on his sleeve. On the way to the ship, he'd told her that he was a Lieutenant of the International Waters Patrol. It was an organization that was only two years old and formed by the United Nations. He explained because the group was without nation, they patrolled International waters without breaking any treaties. The day before, a passing plane had spotted smoke on the island and reported. They arrived late that evening and planned on sending a patrol to the location, but that night, he'd had a dream that told him exactly where to find her.

"Tell me about your dream."

Ross smiled, leaning on the railing next to her. "It's very strange. I don't usually recall dreams, or care. At first it was like I was watching a picture on the screen. There was no sound, just people doing this and that – they were very hostile, very agitated, and strange things happened to them. And then it stopped. They were all sitting in a church. They were happy and content, and waiting for something to happen. I heard a man say to me, 'Someday, you'll be happy and content, and waiting for something to happen too.' I turned my head and there was a very large man sitting next to me. He said, 'I'm Hurley. What did you think of the movie? I liked the ending myself.' I told him I didn't like any of it. I was confused by it. He laughed and told me, 'Never mind that feeling. It'll be gone when you wake up. But hey, I need you to do something really special. Tomorrow, you need to take that search boat out. You'll take these people.' He gave me a piece of paper with the names of four crewmen. He said, 'Go around to the west beach. She's waiting there for you.' I asked him who and he told me, 'Samantha, she likes to be called Sam. She's waiting on you, so don't be late. You two have to hook up after this is over. It'll be worth it. I promise.' I turned to tell him I didn't understand, and I was standing on that very beach. You were sitting on that very log." Ross blushed, looking away.

"What? Why are you blushing?"

"I admit, I think I spent the rest of the dream staring at you." Ross looked at her. "I could spend my life staring at you."

She smiled, looking away. Despite the cool wind, her cheeks were very warm.

"Thank you," she quietly told him.

They were silent for a long time.

"What happened to Oceanic 815?" she asked.

"It was found at the bottom of the Sunda Trench five years ago."

She looked up. "I was sitting at the back. I was—" She gasped when all her memories of the crash returned without warning.

#

The plane was going down. People were screaming. Then the plane began breaking apart. Something hit her in the head and there was black. When she opened her eyes, she was watching water quickly climbing up the body of the plane toward her. Everyone around her was dead. There was Kate, still handcuffed. Hurley was several seats back, his dead eyes staring at her. She struggled to unfasten her seat belt and ended up falling into the water, among the dead people. She could feel their bodies rubbing against her body. She grabbed seats and began climbing toward the sky above.

An engine began to whine as it got a taste of seawater. She made it to the top as the engine exploded. She glanced back, watching the plane rip apart. Then she was falling through open air and landed in the water. The section of plane she'd had a hold of was quickly sinking with her under it. She fought her way out from under it and bolted to the surface. She broke the surface to find she was surrounded by luggage and bodies.

She swam to a large trunk and pulled herself onto it. She held onto it, watching the ocean. Sawyer drifted past her. His body was twisted; his neck was bent too far back. She turned her head, finding Jack on the other side. His face was burned, just like she kept seeing him. Slowly, one by one, all the people she'd seen on the island popped out of the water like dead fish. All of their faces were burned or cut just like she had seen them on the island. A whimper started in her chest until it erupted in a howling scream. She closed her eyes and pressed her face against the hard trunk. The nightmare had to end.

When she opened her eyes again, she had bright red sunburn on one side of her face and there was no sign of bodies or luggage or the plane, just the ocean. She closed her eyes and when she came to again, the trunk had washed onto a beach. She slid off the trunk, and started walking until she collapsed in a meadow. The next few days she walked, finding two empty hatches – one which had been blown up, and finally the building that became her home for the next five years. But never in that time did she actually see the creature, the 'survivors,' or any other human. She spent the five years along on an island devoid of any creatures.

#

Samantha became aware someone was holding her. And then she realized she was crying, and it was Ross holding her.

"Shhh," he whispered to her. "It's all well now, love. You're safe now."

"Did I make the whole things up?" Samantha asked herself. "All that I saw and did and heard… Was that all my imagination?"

"What?" Ross asked.

She looked up at him. "Are you imaginary?"

"Shall I pinch you to find out?"

She smiled a little. "I can't tell if this is real from what I thought was real."

He brushed his fingers along her jaw. "I hope it's real."

"Love at first sight doesn't exist."

"Oh. So now you're a love guru?"

She almost smiled. "No."

He turned away, but kept one arm wrapped around her waist. "If I were living alone on an island like that, with no one around, I bet I'd start making things up too."

She laid her head against his chest. "That makes me feel better."

Ross smiled, giving her a light squeeze. "I'll keep working at it. We'll get you back right as rain."

She didn't tell him she didn't believe that was possible. Or that she didn't truly believe everything she'd seen or heard had been all her imagination. After all, she'd been seeing and talking to dead people since she was five.