Fantasy Adventure Fiction

The Redemption had been transported to the beach where Victoria and her father, Marcus, had left many decades before. Over the years, this west English coastline had changed, though it still sported rugged cliffs and a rocky shoreline. Victoria and Marcus sailed away in their 35 ft. Sirius yacht, for their Island.

Where they thought it to be, from their memories, may have been wrong. It had taken two months initially. Indeed, in a modern yacht, the trip should be shorter. They realized their initial idea of sailing away together needed a reality check.

Aggravated by the cramped quarters, many facets of their plan seemed flawed. What should they do first once they find their Island of Greenhaven? What may change once they have done what they need to do, and when should they leave for home again?

“Until we find it and land,” said Marcus, “we can’t decide on anything.”

“I believe we’ll find it. It’s a gut feeling, but we’ve been waiting so long to do this task we cannot possibly fail. Especially as we are doing it together.”

“We travel in comfort and have all the modern navigation tools. How can anything go wrong . . . except if it isn’t there?” He frowned and sighed.

Talk was cheap. Plans on paper, easy to make. It may be his last trip, for reasons he didn’t know but felt in his bones. He had found a new manager, trained her, and farewelled everyone on the ranch, but this barely comforted him in their present circumstance. Who can mold the future? They hadn’t been able to control the past. This fated trip together could lead to their doom.

They woke up on the morning of their fourth week and carefully checked their location. Victoria swore she spotted a speck of land on the horizon.

“Whoopee,” said Marcus. “We are still heading in the right direction. We’re not returning home again by mistake.”

“Oh, please. There’s been no storm. We’ve constantly checked our heading. When we’re closer, we will know.”

The hours passed as they tacked closer. The land seemed to have the signature mountains of their Island. Marcus closed his eyes, smelt the sea air, and visualized himself on the craft's deck they had been on all those years before. He opened his eyes and gasped. “It’s the same. I believe you are right.” His excitement came back. Maybe they could redeem themselves.

Feelings of anticipation took over like the current that carried them ever closer to the shore. Mountains loomed.

“Look there,” said Victoria. “I see a pier. Maybe someone lives there.”

They hadn’t expected this, even though the discovery of the Island in modern times seemed logical.

“There is a boat moored there already.”

“Great. We can moor there too. Don’t need to inflate our dinghy.”

“Oh look, people are walking towards us.”

“How nice. Coming to greet us . . .we hope.” They waved.

Once they arrived, they secured their vessel. Some tidily dressed men carried guns. They marched over the wooden boards towards them. One directed his pistol at Marcus’ head.

“Don’t tell me. You are lost?” said the owner of the gun sarcastically.

Neither of them knew what to say. The truth was not an option.

A young man stepped forward with a massive grin on his face. “Victoria! You’re here, at last, my lovely. Missed me, did you? How long has it been?” He grabbed her hand as if he knew her. "Meet my fellow scientists."

Victoria stared. He looked a little like Tom, but not. The men studied the dark-haired beauty.

“Thom Taylor. Rutger’s University. You took Arts and Media, and I studied the Sciences.” He winked at her.

“Yes,” she faltered. “I remember you now.”

Marcus looked from Victoria to Thom. He detected nonrecognition from his daughter.

“This is my father, Marcus Trent. Dad, meet Thom.”

The man with the pointed gun looked unconvinced. ‘You’ll follow us and be detained until we can establish exactly who you both are and why you are here.”

Thom, not to be thwarted, still gripped Victoria’s hand. “You may have heard of her. We were at the same university. Everyone knew her. A brilliant student and a great artist. Passed with honors. I’m amazed she came here to see me.”

Besides Thom’s cheerful greeting, Marcus didn’t feel welcome or safe as the dour men led them away. They were escorted into a building, searched for weapons, and locked in a barred cell.

“We’ll bring you food, and you’ll be questioned in the morning.”

Victoria looked around at the two narrow beds and bathroom facilities.

“Where is my privacy?’ she demanded. “Unbelievable. It’s worse than being on the yacht.”

The men left, slamming the outer door.

“Dad, there may be cameras or microphones. We need to limit our conversation to the ‘truth.’ Basically, we are lost. It’s a complete fluke that Thom recognized me from Uni.”

“I didn’t think you’d dragged me all this way to see a guy who hasn’t forgotten your face.”

“I learned to defend myself not because of my unforgettable face. Mm, I don’t recall flooring Thom, though.”

By lunchtime, their stomachs growled; Thom surprised them with a lunch tray. He had a huge smile. He became serious after unlocking their cell, popping the tray down, and relocking.

“Cameras,” he whispered, jerking his head slightly to his right. “Tuck in.”

“The Uni campus had so many students; how could you remember me?” said Victoria.

Marcus munched into his salad roll.

“How could I have forgotten the prettiest girl on campus. I had a huge crush. Followed you on Facebook for years. Know all about you. What I said earlier are the rehearsed lines if we ever met.”

“I can’t say I’m flattered. You merely didn’t harass me like the other guys. You stalked me.”

“N-no. I didn’t. It’s just I was too shy to tell you. We shared nerd–dom. We isolated ourselves and studied. Not seeing you has been my biggest regret. I’m so happy you’re here.”

“As I said, you stalked me instead.” Victoria pursed her lips.

Marcus took over. “Where is here? Clearly, we got lost.”

Thom sighed. “Unfortunately, no one will believe you. You see, one of the reasons we are here is because this Island is of interest geographically, scientifically, and geodesically, and when we study oceanography and the cardinal and intercardinal points of this Island, we doubt its existence. Yet here it is.”

“Woe!” said Victoria. “I believe our coming here is meant to be.”

Thom’s eyes opened wide. “So, you believe we were supposed to meet? I’m a scientist, remember. Don’t believe in starry-eyed stuff.”

“After the way you greeted my daughter, I’d believe anything.” Marcus bit into his roll again.

“Anthropologically,” said Victoria. “What people lived here?”

“The indigenous people are dead. Their deserted village is nearby.”

“The only village?” asked Marcus.


Marcus and Victoria didn’t dare say anything as they looked at each other with their eyes wide open.

“So why do you feel free telling us all this if our arrival has alarmed everyone so much?” said Marcus.

“Because neither of you will be leaving,” said Thom.

“But I have to go back. I’ve got my life, career, family.” She pursed her lips while clenching her fists.

Thom seemed to care about their circumstances and told them, on the quiet, to stick to getting lost.

At separate interrogations, they stuck to this. A father-daughter trip gone horribly wrong through lack of experience. No questions were answered, and Thom was warned because of divulging what he had. Their accommodation had one small bedroom. Marcus rolled his eyes when told he could sleep on the couch. It had a separate bathroom and a small kitchen, but main meals were provided in the communal cafeteria.

Thom came to visit them and asked to take Victoria for a walk. Marcus shrugged his shoulders. He knew Victoria could take care of herself.

“I had to take you out to warn you the place is bugged. I want to help you, but we’ll have to be careful. If we act like close friends, we’ll be left alone.”

“I’m sorry about getting you into trouble.”

“It’s ok. I want to help. You can trust me.”

“We have no other recourse but to trust someone. The truth will lead to so much trouble.”

“So, there is a reason you came here!”

“Yes. We’ve planned this for years, decades . . . what I’m about to tell you will sound like the hocus-pocus you detest.”

“I’d prefer to believe our future is written in the stars.” He held her hand, his blue eyes intense.

Victoria ignored him. “It’s not that, I’m sorry.”

When Victoria told him that she and her father had lived many lives, his face clouded over with disbelief. When she explained that they were bound by a curse and their mission was to reverse this, his eyes bored into hers, and his mouth gaped in horror.

“I know you believe this to be true,” he said, “but it’s impossible.”

“We know things. You will have discovered that two distinct cultures lived in the nearby village.”

“Correct, go on.”

“The inhabitants all died suddenly. They were poisoned by the water supply.”

‘I didn’t know that, but they did all perish suddenly.”

“There are the remains of two ocean-going canoe-type vessels.”

“True. And a small unfinished one.”

Victoria looked blank. “Unfinished?” she said..

“One family built a cottage in the woods away from the village,” she said.

“True . . . you have been here before.”

‘That’s what I’m telling you. Hundreds of years ago, Dad and I both lived on this Island. We were cursed from birth but, like you, disbelieved it. The curse was unjust. Now, we have finally returned to reverse it.”

“What else can you tell me about the island?”

“There is a swing bridge over a river inland from here.”

“Yes, the remains of it. Obviously, you’ve been here before. But hundreds of years ago?”

“You have to believe us. We want to do the job we set out to do and then leave.”

“I will help, but you must play it cool and fit in. Lull everyone into thinking all is good. Poor lost souls that you claim to be. We’ll talk another time. In the meantime, you’re my long-lost love, ok?”

“Is this a bribe?”

“No, of course not. I want to help because I believe in you – as best I can with my scientific mind. Let’s go back.”

Victoria couldn’t tell Marcus about their discussion while inside.

“Dad, come with me. It’s lovely here. I want to show you something. . .”

She related what she and Thom had discussed once they were away from microphones and prying eyes. “He wants to help. We can trust him. In the meantime, we stay quiet. For now, he’s my boyfriend.”

“Didn’t take him long!” Marcus scoffed.

“It’ll be our excuse for being together. But we’ll make plans soon.”

But it couldn’t be soon. The months passed. They were given chores and assignments around the complex. Mainly gardening and cleaning. Victoria did many sketches and drawings. The others saw her talent and asked her to draw for them.

Victoria sketched her Tom from the past and showed it to Thom. “Hell. It isn’t me, but there are similarities.”

“You are a lot like him in many ways.”

“Enough to be your real boyfriend?” He took her into his arms.

Victoria grinned. “Yes, I like you.”

“Enough to take me back with you when you leave?”

“. . . Yes . . . but I didn’t think we could. Won’t there be trouble?”

“We’ll have to plan around that.”

Many months into their stay, Thom got them together to prepare something.

“So, what exactly is it you need to do?”

Marcus related what he had been told before they had been ordered to leave the Island so long ago before being time-warped back to the village where they relived their last fateful days. Instead of returning to the shore to reverse the curse from the beginning, they had played unwittingly into the hands of the living death that awaited them. They needed to find the hut, find the letter, find the bone dice, and reverse the spell once and for all.

“Spell?” said Thom. “This sounds more like magic-mumbo-jumbo every minute.”

“Humor us, please. It can’t hurt to do this,” said Victoria.

“You know that a barbed wire fence is placed around all of the village's dwellings, including the one in the woods.” Thom ran his hands through the hair of his bowed head.

“Wire cutters,” said Marcus, “and the key to unlock the padlock to our yacht so we can leave.”

“I believe you are sincere about this curse thing. But I’m not happy about you leaving. Victoria, is that what you want? To leave me?”

Victoria looked at her father. “I know you stayed on the Island before when I left. You could only help me by staying behind. History proves it, even though we have lived in an alternate timeline and died. I believe you need to stay this time. Sorry, Dad.” Her eyes pleaded.

Thom put his arm around her protectively. “I’ll get what you need. Stash what you want to take to grab afterward.”

The wire cutters got them into the wood, and they searched for the hut. It was well camouflaged by ivy and shrubs. The door hung off its hinges, and it had disintegrated past the point of no return. It was no pristine gingerbread house. They pushed the door ajar and crept inside. Nature and spiders had taken over.

“I believe you lived here hundreds of years ago,” said Thom, rolling his eyes.

“Actually, we didn’t,” said Marcus

“Are you so sure?” Victoria picked up an old slingshot and an ancient rag doll. “Do you think we lived here with the twins?”

Marcus shook his head. “We never got here, remember.” He tried to prise out a loose hearthstone. It came out, and he reached inside the cavity and withdrew a pouch. He tipped out five bone dice with engravings and a letter with words written on it.

“How did you know about this?” said Thom, his eyes wide.

Victoria opened a chest and sneezed. “Atishoo! Oh, wow! These falling-apart clothes are mine. We did live here. I must have left them behind.”

Marcus looked rattled. “Can you please focus? This is important. Who cares about that.”

“But, don’t you see? If we lived here but didn’t, it means this Island is where two alternate timelines converge. What do you think, Thom?”

“I don’t know.” Thom had watched as Marcus arranged the five dice in a line with the engraved skulls uppermost. Marcus read out the words on the sheet. Thom looked from him to Victoria. Marcus recited the poem of doom. In the end, he held the dice together in a line and turned them once, twice, and then a third time. The uppermost line of symbols was doves. “That should do it.”

The bone dice crumbled to dust before their eyes.

“What was that?” Thom’s mouth gaped.

Silence descended. No insect or bird sounds. Then it started; the earth beneath them vibrated, then shook perceptibly. The three looked at each other.

“I don’t like this,” said Victoria.

“I think you should both make your way off the Island. Who knows what will happen. I’ll have to stay.” Marcus tried to remain calm.

“What about the others?” she said.

“They’ll fend for themselves,” said Thom. “There is the boat and a plane if they decide to go. This will distract them. What will you do, Marcus?”

“There is a village in the hills. I know the bridge is broken, but I’ll swim if I have to.”

Thom opened his eyes in surprise. “Were you ever going to tell me about it?”

“Victoria will tell you the whole story. I think you should go now. I’ll be fine.”

Victoria clung to him. “I’ll never forget this. I love you. I hope you find what you are looking for.”

He kissed her on the cheek and hugged her. “I made a promise to get you back home. Off you go. Thom will get you there.”

“Thanks, Marcus,” said Thom. “We’re off.”

Marcus took the wire cutters and marched away in the opposite direction. The ground still rolled. He reached another wire fence and cut through it.

On he went. Past the field of wildflowers that waved a welcome, to where the swing bridge had detached at the far end . . . except it stood intact, as sturdy as ever. He tore across it as fast as he could and ran on.

“Cinders,” he muttered. “Please, God.”

The ground remained still beneath his feet, with the air alive with chirps, tweets, and buzzing insects. He followed a path . . . Strange, as no one could have walked here recently. He felt like he had drifted back in time. Up the zig-zag track, on through the woods. He sweated and puffed. Late afternoon arrived. Sunlight filtered through the leaves, making dappled patterns on the ground. A familiar sight. As he neared the village, he stopped in surprise. He saw someone he knew running towards him.

Could it be? It reminded him of the ‘Yankee in King Authur’s Court’ story or the ‘Brigadoon’ story in which drama student Victoria had starred.

Marcus’ beloved redhead threw herself into his arms. “You came back!”

“I ran all the way, Cinders. You have always been the love of my lives. I missed you.” He gave her an enormous hug.

“I can’t believe you’re here. I waited for you.” Her eyes filled with tears. “Don’t ever leave me.”

“Never again, my love. I promise.”


March 01, 2024 07:36

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Darvico Ulmeli
21:36 Apr 12, 2024

I couldn't resist so I read it. A lot of thinks made it more clear. Astonish the same I was on the story before this one. You created a beautiful and interesting story that hooked me from the start. Liked and read it. I would try to find more time to visit for more reading.


22:36 Apr 12, 2024

Thanks for reading, Darvico. Glad you enjoyed. This story would have been great for the prompt a few weeks ahead but I had submitted it here, to this prompt. That's why I wrote another story about the characters (Deja vu) and it is related to this story. I have so little time for reading others stories myself. I will try to find time to read more of yours. They look interesting. Thanks for reading mine. I'll tell you a secret. (Stories are supposed to be stand-alone but sometimes we Reedsy writers use our characters over and over in differ...


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Zavier M. Ames
00:17 Mar 28, 2024

Hello again, I like the change in writing style when you switch timelines. A good series of twists here. The sense of immortality in the characters when you mentioned places they had lived hundreds of years ago was also interesting. Well done.


03:32 Mar 28, 2024

Thanks for reading and your encouraging comments, Zavier.


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Helen A Smith
06:47 Mar 20, 2024

Great characters in this Kaitlyn. I was relieved when Thom appeared even if the connection seems somewhat tenuous with Victoria. I got a real feel of the island and the situation they found themselves in. I wouldn’t have a clue how to write a story about crossing timelines, but you’ve made me feel it might be fun to give it a go.


08:04 Mar 20, 2024

Thanks Helen. The hardest thing about the story was achieving all the elements of a good story without making it feel too crammed. So much to cover to make this kind of fantasy seem real.


Helen A Smith
08:11 Mar 20, 2024

You’ve picked up on the innate difficulty (at least, for me) of any short story. It’s easy to get so involved in the characters and plot, it could easily turn into a novel. There aren’t enough hours in the day!


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Helen A Smith
08:14 Mar 20, 2024

You’ve picked up (at least for me) the innate problem of short story form. It’s so easy to want to write more and then it could turn into a novel or novella. There’s not enough hours in the day. I’m trying to learn how to shorten stories further, but it isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s hard to get across depth by making them too short.


08:43 Mar 20, 2024

Good word to use, "depth"


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Chad Eastwood
10:27 Mar 07, 2024

A great story! Alternate timelines are always great fun to write, and this one to read - thanks!


22:25 Mar 07, 2024

Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading. Will check out one of yours.


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Howard Halsall
10:55 Mar 03, 2024

Hello Kaitlyn, I’m a big fan of stories that play with time; shifting timelines and converging pathways etc. The romantic angle added an interesting dimension and a satisfying result for Marcus completed the story neatly. However, I think there were a couple of moments that called out for more sensory descriptions e.g. “He felt like he had drifted back in time…..” & “As he neared the village, he stopped in surprise.” Maybe you could’ve described the feeling and the experience in order to make it feel real? How did drifting back in time feel ...


04:34 Mar 04, 2024

I would have liked scope for more sensory details. 3000 words didn't allow for much of that. LOL. I couldn't help feeling I tried to pack in too much. Unfortunately, a story comes to mind, it gets written, it gets edited, and chunks discarded, extra thoughts crammed in where you can. Some stories are better suited to a series or a whole novel. The sentence about the feeling like he had drifted back was an additional thought I put in to confirm that things changed after he crossed the intact bridge which had been broken earlier. It could ha...


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Kristi Gott
09:53 Mar 02, 2024

This is great! I love creative time travel stories. Well done! It engaged my interest and I read through rapidly. Good pacing. Lots of imagination in this unique story. Keep up the good work.


20:40 Mar 02, 2024

Thanks Kristi. Encouraging. I had so much I wanted to pack into it and wondered if it felt too busy.


Kristi Gott
21:49 Mar 02, 2024

I write time travel stories too and I know what you mean. You did a great job. :-)


04:12 Mar 03, 2024

Thanks Kristi


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Mary Bendickson
16:25 Mar 01, 2024

Great fantasy and adventure tale. It is a follow up to one of your others-right?


20:02 Mar 01, 2024

Thanks Mary. I didn't want to do a follow up. But the story popped into my head and had to be this one. The idea took over. It more or less completes what Marcus and Victoria had mentioned in 'The Invitation'. The challenge was to get it stand alone, fantasy and understandable in 3000 words. And for all the time it took I still did a small bungle. Did you spot it? Fixed now.


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Alexis Araneta
08:39 Mar 01, 2024

A very immersive story, Kaitlyn ! I love the details you put in this. I sort of thought that when Thom fancying Victoria was revealed that he lured her and Marcus to the island so he could marry her. Hahaha !


19:56 Mar 01, 2024

Haha indeed. Thanks Stella. It's supposed to be a Fantasy, not a romance. I kind of like the idea of the romance though. But it would seem too fast if they only met in the story. so...his already loving her seemed a good idea. Also gave an opportunity for backstory and character portrayal.


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