I opened my eyes and held my breath as I swam from the portal that lay 20 feet below the surface of the water. I had just arrived into this new isolated world and I was already beginning to hate it as the water pressure bared down on me. I swam as quickly as I could to reach fresh air. As I broke the water surface, I could see the coastline of the lake in the near distance; People sitting in the sand, staring back at me.
I climbed from the water and could immediately feel the tension and hostility before any words were exchanged. No one spoke as I rose to my feet. One individual approached me from behind the crowd; I knew he was the leader. He didn’t say much, but instantly began showing me around their island. A few minutes went by and we had already covered everything there was to see on dry land. He took me to the lake again and we dove in.
We swam deep beneath the surface, and statues came into clarity along the lake-bed like an Army of Soldiers. These columns of clay-like sculptures spanned for miles, giving this underwater landscape a life of its own. We swam out a half mile from the shoreline before turning back to land.
As we stood around a fire, drying from the mid afternooon swim, the leader explained that he and his family teleported into this world about 20 years ago. “The island was much more populated during that time” He said. It was during that era that the portal was more active, bringing people in faster than people were leaving, if they could leave. He further explained that during that time, the portal only allowed people to pass from this world if they sacrificed a certain amount of Gold. Over the years, Gold became more scarce in this world and so fewer people were able to return to their world.
Later that evening, in the back of a hollowed out school bus turned office, I met with the leader’s wife to learn more about the people in their village who appeared to have great disdain for me upon my arrival. She had no desire to chat on the subject, but was instead more interested to learn about what I could do to help them escape. She took notice of my watch that seemed to be light years ahead of any technology they had ever experienced. I tried to use my watch’s GPS to triangulate a signal in hopes of being able to lock in location, giving us some knowledge of our whereabouts. My watch failed multiple times to find a signal before I gave up.
In the distance I could hear her husband calling out for her. She quickly informed me that her husband was getting very suspicious of my intentions on the island. He had even threatened to take my life. The other villagers had planted the idea in his head that I was waiting for the right moment to steal what remaining gold everyone had stashed away, and flee from the island; leaving them all forever trapped. I bolted out the door and took a narrow path that led me deeper into the island, and further from the village. My chances of escaping the island were slim. My ability to convince everyone on the island that I posed no threat was even less likely. My only hope of survival would be to go into hiding, avoiding everyone until I could devise a plan.
And then I woke up…