“Oh, no. Not again,” the young woman said. She immediately whirled around to check who bumped into her. “I’m sorry!” she apologized to John. The mid-20s man looked at her, then he glanced around their island environment before settling his gaze on her again.
“You did this?” he asked. “Where are we?” She nodded, then brushed long strands of blonde hair out of her face and tucked them behind her ear. The movement revealed a pink star tattooed on her neck with the number 35 inked in red.
“I did this,” she sighed. “But, I don’t know where we are. Sorry.”
“How’d you get us here if you don’t know where here is?” John asked. She shrugged.
“I don’t know how it works yet. It’s only the second time I’ve done it,” she said. “We’re in a different universe, I know that,” she said. “It took me some time to figure it out the first time I did it.” She turned in place to survey the island while she explained what she knew. Then, she started walking toward the only building on the island.
“A different universe?” John caught up to her and asked. “Like a real alternate universe?” She nodded. “Wow.. if I wasn’t walking on a beach right now I wouldn’t believe you,” he added.
“With some work, I think this’ll be a pretty decent shelter,” she said when they reached the run-down hut. The palm-thatched roof was dry and brown and the front doorway had no door.
“How long do you think it’ll take?” John asked. The woman turned to face the tree line.
“There’s plenty of palm leaves. We can probably get it done in a day or two.”
“Not that,” John said. “I meant how long does…,” he made a gesture at her with his hand. “… whatever you do take to recharge to get us home? Are we really stuck here long enough to warrant working on a shelter?”
“I’m sorry,” she apologized again.
“You said that already, it’s fine,” John smiled but she shook her head.
“I told you, I don’t know how it works yet.”
“Yeah, but you got home back home the first time, right? How’d you do that?”
“This is only the second time I’ve done it, remember? ” she hung her head. “I was stuck in your universe until..,” she spread her arms to gesture at the island around them. “…this. I don’t know how to get either of us home.”