Everything is vivid. It feels like I am deep in the ocean but the water isn’t stopping my breaths nor bothering my eyes. Something is talking to me but my ears can’t hear clearly. I cover my ears and turn around and finally I can see the foggy jungle. Behind me is so dark but on my north it’s so bright as if I’m standing between where the sun rises and it sets. That voice becomes clearer; it chuckles and sings “A for alpha, B for Bite, Never look back before it’s right.” It’s a little kid’s voice that giggles again before it continues “C for Crane, D for Dark. Hold your whispers before you bark.” Suddenly there’s howling of wolves, I hear them coming closer. I run and I feel them running after me.
I gasp, waking up. All my research papers are around me on the bed, I rub my face and tell myself “I fell asleep on the papers… great.” I look at my wall of theories where I glued many papers on, it looks like I’m an FBI trying to find the murderer of some sort of case. Instead, my case is the location of the island. If I find the location I can go there and gather a lot of data. After I gather the data I can finish my final project and probably get famous because the judges will be really fascinated and help me share my information in magazines and newspapers because my data will be new and something no one ever did research on and that’s what a real journalist does and then I’ll graduate and start having a real job. “Unless this place isn’t real but fairy tales.” I just kill all my hopes with one sentence I tell myself loudly. I take the glass of water I had on the table beside me and pour it on my own face. I gasp from the coldness and start walking around my small room “No, keep going. This thing is real. I know. Once Professor said ‘just because we can’t see doesn’t mean we can’t believe’ so… This should be real. If Professor knows about it then it’s definitely real!” I stop at the corner of my room and once again look at the wall of theories with my fingers locked together under my lips.
Grandma opens the door and panics, “Look at the mess you made in your room! I only cleaned it yesterday!” I look at her quickly “Nana, please. Not now”
“Clean your room before I bring my pan!” her pan is the death of me. She hits me with it when I do something she doesn’t like.
“Come! Come! Help me with this.” I push the papers on my bed away and throw some on the floor so give her a place to sit. I point at the wall of theories and tell her “What can you see in this?”
“A bunch of papers on your walls that you have to throw them in the garbage immediately” she answers in a really serious face. I laugh and say “No, for real”
“It’s 5 a.m. Oh dear, this boy is crazy. What are you working on this time?”
I chuckle, “There’s this island I’m trying to locate its place. There’s not much information about it but I found that there’s something they call Crane in there. Crane is a bird yes but I’m assuming it’s a name. Crane is taken from ‘Cron’ in old English, ‘Krahn’ in German and ‘Kranich’ and I checked in dictionary that all three of them actually mean crown but it’s not common anymore. In conclusion, if Crane is a person, he or she should be their king or someone they follow.” Grandma nods in agreement that makes me even more hyped. “Now Crane is also a bird.”
“Oh, dear God.” She mumbles and I continue chuckling a little at first. “If Crane is a bird it could be that the bird flies to their location; if, only if it’s related to its location or the island itself looks like a crane, the bird.”
“Or Crane is what they call a poor tall, slender man.” She comments. I shrug “Could be.” “I like where your theory is going actually” she adds “They all make a lot of sense but what is this island you’re looking for?”
“It’s called Zalvarés and Dr Phillips approves it too; that it’s real”
“Oh,” she grins “I really like that Professor”
“You’re married, Nana”
“Unfortunately” we both laugh. “Any who, I should be going”
“Where to?” I ask. She gets up and slowly walks out, saying “Work. Don’t be late for university and don’t forget to eat your breakfast and take your lunch”
It took me such a long time to finally find a signal or something that could help me with my project. Asking Dr Phillips for help was no use, he kept many secrets from me, leaving cliff hangers and giving me non completed data. I would ask help from my friends but seeing how they make fun of Professor stopped me from taking the risk. I went to university, I came home, university, home, university, and home was my daily routine for a month or more. The research had gotten me so mad and obsessed that disassociated me from living a normal life. I denied regular hang outs with neighbours and classmates just because I was busy. Nana and Grandpa stopped supporting me for punishment. I didn’t clean my room and I kept drowning in my own research papers. I wanted to let it go, I really did but I couldn’t because all the effort I put on this project would go to waste. If I didn’t feel bad for anyone else I at least felt bad for myself and that’s what kept me from ‘letting it go’. For the last time I went to Dr Phillips to help me, and he finally opened up about his greatest finding that really made me happy and relieved. I had dark circles under my eyes and had the ‘I gave up’ expression on my face. “I can’t do this anymore. There’s no information, no clues, no statistics; nothing! Or maybe I don’t know where to search! I can’t find how you found the things I need and you’re not even telling me! I’ve gone mad, sir. I will change the topic for the last time and I don’t wanna… ugh” I pull my glasses up with my finder and mess up my hair “I don’t wanna kill myself for this stupid graduation project!”
Dr Phillips smiles but I just stare at him, blank minded. He says “3 years I’ve been trying to get in contact with those people. I asked for help but no one believed me and then out of nowhere you showed up, decided to put your entire career at risk because of something you believe. I wish I was that strong” I just listened to him, not saying a word. “I’m actually really happy that you are really taking this seriously like I once did. I didn’t wanna break your heart to tell you not to do this but you’re a really good student and I didn’t want you to put yourself in this situation. I’m worried about you Dominic. Even though I admire your courage and hope, I’m still worried.”
“I don’t know what to say”
“The island is in the southern part of pacific ocean, somewhere between Australia and Asia” my face brightens up and happiness slowly takes over my mood, he continues “But that information is not entirely true. I didn’t find anything yet”
“No… thank you.” I get up and kiss his cheek so hard that actually left a mark “Thank you so much!” I start laughing like a crazy person. “Haha! … Finally…” my ears couldn’t believe what they heard and my heart couldn’t name what it felt. I find my way out of the office, laughing and so energized. I got many awkward stares from people until my friend, Samuel, finally shows up. “Heyy, what’s up? Haven’t seen you this happy for a while, you’re done with your depression phase, mate?”
“Sammy you can’t believe what I heard”
“Let me guess, you’re becoming an uncle?” I chuckle at what he says but I also wish it was true. My older sister has been married for 6 years and still there was no news on little relatives. Samuel and I walk together to the cafeteria in our university.
“I heard the best news… it’s about my project”
He jumps in front of me, walking backwards “Finally!! Good news!! Will you tell me what your topic is?” I pull the chair out to sit and he sits in front of me, grinning, ready to hear the ‘good news’.
“Promise you won’t laugh”
“Why would I?”
“I’m doing the project about an unknown island and that’s why I kicked you out of my group.”
“Your group was just you and I, and this unknown island sounds interesting” Samuel was Irish. He’s one of the famous people in universities; the leader of our football team, so active and good looking. Some people call him brownie because of his hair colour. “No Sammy, it’s the island everyone calls stupid… the one Dr Phillips found”
“Aww!” he leans back on the chair with his hands behind his head “Not with that bull crap!”
“No listen,” I interrupt him “I don’t have full faith in it but Professor gave me its location. I will go there and if there was nothing then I’ll also be one of the people who’ll make fun of him”
“You make fun of Professor Phillips seems so wrong. You admire that old man.” He leans back in; this time his arms are on the table that means he’s going to give advice “I respect you, Dom. And I support you no matter what and blah blah, but this topic? For your final project?” he shakes his head instead of continuing to talk. I nod but still try to convince him “I know it’s risky, Professor also told me to let it go but I really want to do it, really.”
He sighs in disappointment, not knowing what he wants to say. I can see from his face he’s starting to feel ashamed that he has a crazy friend who always seeks trouble as well as nonsense. “I need your help, Sammy”
“Hm?” he looks at me. “I wanna go there. I want your help to find its exact location” I grin, it’s so hideous but convincing and he hates it. His expression tell me that he’s stopping himself from laughing at my ugly grin, he takes a deep breath and starts shaking his head again “I can’t believe I will say this”
“Say it.” I play quick drum roll on the table, waiting for him to tell me that one word that he lets it out after few seconds of pause and deep inhale… “Okay” I knew he’d say that, I was so sure “Thank you, but you look ‘so’ sad, I feel bad” I make fun of him, didn’t even feel a bit ‘bad’. “Shut up” and he finally chuckles.
Sammy and I always worked together on our every project since our second year. My topics were mainly insane but convincing him was never really hard. He and I first met on the second semester of 2nd year, we both felt like we’ve known each other for centuries. We had and still have a lot in common; our music, movie, fashion taste is similar and we both fascinate marvel comics. But there are two things we don’t have in common; he’s a lover of sports and wants audience but I’m a lover of books and want high marks. Samuel working with me on a topic that he hates means the world to me and I am really grateful for his decision.
I invite him over for the weekend to explain everything I know so far. “Brilliant. You have a big brain and you have the location, what do you exactly want from me?”
As I turn around while sitting on a rolling chair “its ‘exact’ location.” I stop turning; Facing him, I say “Professor said he didn’t see anything there… yet!” I emphasize on the ’yet’ part so Samuel doesn’t leave me. “Aha” he rubs his face “And what should we do about that?”
“Find a sailor that goes to those places and….” The movements of my hands tell him to continue my words, in which he does “And ask if they found this island?” I nod and still move my hands; he nods with me adding “And if they can take you there?” “Excellent”
We decided to continue searching after the midterms were done. We went to each other’s house a lot those 3 weeks, we are used to studying and working together but our daily studying schedule didn’t really work. We would spend half of the day playing on Xbox and end up postponing the studying session to the next day. Even though we had a terrible timing to work on the exams we still did great on them. We had 2 weeks off until university starts again and we have found a sailor. Actually Sammy did, he’s known this person from his dad; he’s his dad’s friend so we went to him.
“You’re saying there’s an island between Asia and Australia and there are no reports about it?” we were in Mr Wickers’ office. We tried to be very polite but he still got pissed off. Samuel told me ‘he has some anger issues’ right before we go to his office. “Yes Sir I-” he doesn’t let me talk “Cut off the rubbish and go back to your home. Go feed your dogs and do something useful”
“Mr Wickers there are a few reports; I’ve personally seen them.” I get surprised by what Sammy said, I look at him and shake my head to stop him from lying but he still continues “I went to the news company the other day for my university project. I asked them if there were anything they hide from the world and they told me about this weird unknown island. They’re afraid to report about it globally because no one can believe them if there are no evidence or stats and they were also afraid to lose their jobs. Some of the news reporters there like Mrs Anderson are searching for this island, to collect information and be able to report it. I promise you sir, believe me, if we are the first people to find it and my friend here collects data and shares it, we will… we can fly sir and get a lot of money, not just a lot but an ocean of money, yeah”
I didn’t talk again; Samuel was better in persuading him than me, so I just let him do the talking. What he just said was interesting to me and I started to wonder if that’s the reason he believed me so quick.
Mr Wickers shrugs “What’s in it for me?”
Samuel seemed very confident “we’ll give you 20% of the wage”
“Fifty” Mr Wickers has a really thick voice, he’s definitely a redneck. His arms are huge and full of tattoos. He also has a pipe in between his lips.
“Fine, but only if you find it and take us there.”
“The deal is settled. Come back after 4 days and I’ll see what I can find”
“One more thing… let this be our thing only, don’t tell anyone.”
“That’ll be 15 pounds”
“FIFTEEN POUNDS FOR KEEPING A SECRET?” Sam slides his hand in his pocket and hands him 10 pounds “I’ll bring the rest when I’m back”. We go out of there and then I start talking “You heard about it before? Did you really go to the company?” he laughs at my questions “I lied about it, you dork”
“I mean…I thought so...just wanted to make sure”. “Mm, of course” I was so obvious to him that I too believed his nonsense. I out of everyone shouldn’t believe he put that much effort for a project to go somewhere; he never does that. He brings 50% the data he needs from Google and 50% from my help. That’s how he passed all these years.
We went to a GIS specialist and repeated the same words and same mistakes of giving him a wage in return for information.