the island, part 1 1/2

(continued from here

The girl was less afraid than curious; there was scant moonlight by which to see it, but she surveyed the tree line anyway. Nothing and no one appeared. She sniffed the air but was unsure whether the smoke she smelled was fresh or just the ghost of her own campfire. Minutes passed as the girl listened and waited, though for what she did not know. Eventually sleep overtook her, and she melted into colorful dreams that carried her deep into a flat, grey morning.

She searched for hours. The girl delved further into the jungle than she ever had before, expecting at every step to meet the strangers she'd heard in the night. She met no one. She found no trace. With daylight thinning, she had no choice but to return to her beach. Exhausted by her fruitless quest, she collapsed soon after dinner, pushing from her mind many unanswered questions.

A voice broke through the fog of her slumber. Indistinct, male, gentle but insisting. The girl struggled, still pinned under the weight of so much sleep. Unsure where she was - when she was.

Come join us, he said.