CHAPTER III : lonely island
Like every morning, Sam woke up at six, when the sun rises and shines through the abandoned diner he was living in.
Taking out a cup of tea from behind the bar, he enjoyed drinking it while looking out the window.
The view was breath-taking: the theme park was bathed in fresh sunlight, and only he, watching from his diner at the top of the mountain which overlooked it, could appreciate that.
He had woken up on a beach, the morning after the storm.
There was nobody except him and some ragged pieces of wood from the boat.
Thrown into despair at first, he had looked everywhere to see if one of his friends had drifted there like he had.
But there was no one.
He soon realized that he had ended up on the island they were all supposed to go to: the ghostly, empty, abandoned theme park island – which he renamed “Lonely Island”.
All the doors were still open, so he had made his way to the control tower, re-programmed the machines, attractions, carousels and roller-coasters to work again.
He even re-programmed the voice in the speakers.
At first it had been to try calling out for help, but he quickly realized how pointless it was.
The island was surrounded by storms, and although the sun mostly shines on the park, you would never see a living thing coming close to it.
There was no sight of planes either, but then again, there probably wasn’t any in this world. He and his surroundings still looked like he was in a cartoon; but it all felt as though the colors were fading, becoming a little paler each day.
His worst fear was that this world would fade away with him still in it.
After observing this phenomenon for a long time (almost six months had passed), he had noticed a certain correlation between the use of the machines and lightings of the park and the dying colors.
The colors seemed to get bleaker and bleaker the more he played around.
His solution was to turn off the whole station at night, this way he could keep playing during the day.
All he did with his life was to play like a child, and drink tea like an old lady.
Luckily, he had found the old diner at the top of the only mountain on the island.
It was accessible by cable car, and it had enough canned food and drinks reserves for a lifetime.
And the more he played around, the less he remembered of his previous life.
The cogs were well oiled: up at six in the morning, lights down at 9 in the evening.
He had programmed the whole island to shut down all electricity automatically, that way if he forgot to do it manually he wouldn’t start disappearing; or whatever these fading colors meant.
So, like every morning, Sam drank his tea, took the cable car to the theme park, and started emerging slowly with the sound of the machines coming back to life.
The whole thing was gigantic.
He hadn’t visited all the stalls and ride yet, so he had a check-list he kept updating every day.
The first on the list for this morning was the mirror palace, which was a pretty common thing in parks like this one.
“The mirror palace it is” he mumbled in his beard, “how is it I’ve never done it before? Well, anyway…”
Sam walked down the park, following his little map.
”There it is!” he exclaimed, making himself some candy floss on a stand beside it.
The little house looked a little gloomy from outside, but he was sure that it would be amazing once inside; as it was the only mirror palace on the island.
He went through the door, walking along a narrow corridor, and arrived in a magnificent and vast hall upholstered with mirrors.
The whole thing was poorly lit, but he noticed that the walls between the mirrors were laced with gold, and antique stuff from different ages was lying around.
It seemed pretty devastated, but he couldn’t care less, as he knew for a fact that he was the only living being on this island.
Sam took a few steps, the door closed behind him, light shone in and thousands of people suddenly appeared.
He heard a scream, and tried to turn back to where he had come from.
The silhouettes all moved as one, and he couldn’t find where the exit was.
He ran as fast as he could, stumbling on old Louis XIV style chairs, crushing the furniture, rampaging the place as he was trying to escape from the people screaming and chasing him.
He threw all kinds of stuff at them: toys, mini statuettes, weird clown soft toys, vases from china; but all it did was breaking the mirrors around the room.
He fell on his knees, crippled by terror.
But as he stopped moving, so did the other figures. Breathing loudly, he tried to calm down and think as much as he could. After a minute, he started speaking to himself:
”There was never anyone but me.” The sound of his voice resonated throughout the hall.
“This is just my reflection.”
He rose up again.
“The screams must have been mine too. God I’m losing my mind, I have to go back.”
But back where?
Even though he had said it out loud, he wasn’t sure himself.
The place was trashed, and it felt like all the fun in the world had abandoned him.
He took a closer look at his face in one of the last mirrors still intact, but he couldn’t recognize it.
Sure, he had a beard and looked like a real hobo, but it felt like he was looking at his own reflection through a stranger’s eyes.
He couldn’t remember his name either.
Who was he?
Finally finding the exit, Sam got out of this nightmare.
He wandered through the park looking for a bar.
As soon as he found one, he helped himself to a nice cup of tea and fell asleep on one of the couches.
Waking up late in the afternoon, he thought it would be nice to go drift with the swan-boat across the canal one last time.
For he had made up his mind, and tonight he would fully turn on every machine, every attraction and every light-bulb there was on the island.
And take a gamble on what would happen next.
The slow waters nearly rocked him back to sleep, watching the pink and orange tones embracing the clouds, but he held on until the end of the tour.
The moon was starting to shine, and the first stars began to appear.
If he was going to do something, now was the time.
Running through the island, he looked at all the little alleys, stands and attractions which represented this part of his life, hoping it would last somewhere in his mind if he were to survive what he was about to do.
The tower control was near, and the clouds were getting bigger.
For the first time since he had ended up here, a storm was going to fall down on the island.
The first drops of rain fell as he was climbing up the ladder, nearly slipping to his death as he reached the top.
His fear of heights was gone thanks to the time he had spent on the roller-coasters, and he intended to have one last ride as the world around him faded away and disappeared.
Switching all the buttons and controls to a maximum, the park lit up violently.
It looked like the whole island was burning up in raging colors.
He was pretty sure that if anyone was in space right now this would be the most shining spot on earth, or whatever the people of this world called their planet.
He made his way down, and started running to the biggest roller-coaster, the one on the hill.
The colors were still intense but he knew it wouldn’t stay like that for much longer.
Running out of time, he jumped into the first wagon.
He was used to it and pulled the trigger to start the engines from afar, using an old broom he had found on one of the first days he had wandered here.
It felt like years had passed since then.
The machines were on and the wagon started moving.
A bit slowly at first, but more and more frantically as he began the next ups and downs.
He was not sure that he had ever reached that kind of speed before.
It was intoxicating.
The speed accelerated again, and he felt sorry he didn’t have a way to measure it properly.
The world was spinning around, and the colors that shone so brightly before were starting to get a little paler.
It was like a big shaker, mixing up the colors and the attractions together.
The speakers were going mad too.
The flow of music and voices crumbled in the air.
Leaning into that chaos, he thought it would be better to disappear with a smile.
As he rose up at the top of the roller-coaster, the sound and colors rose too.
Lightning was ruining the island, crushing everything down.
He closed his eyes as the wagon went down.
And then there was nothing.