Anne Jones peered out the porthole window at the side of the plane. She was amazed at the beautiful sight of acres of jungle, broken only in some spots by towns, which they passed over completely after several minutes.
The plane ride had been nearly two and a half hours long so far. Luckily she had been forced to sit next to no one, and, to her surprise, only two dozen or so people were on the plane.
The plane rocked, and Anne looked back out the window. In the distance she could see the outline of another town, but it quickly disappeared behind a mountain. Above her she heard her suitcase rumble around, and she closed her eyes for a brief moment.
Someone coughed. There was quiet talk behind her, and she heard mumbled Spanish.
She watched as a stewardess walked by pushing a cart. Anne says, “Um…”
The stewardess stops, turning at Anne. She flashes a nice smile, her hair nicely placed underneath her cap. “May I help you?”
“Can you bring me something to drink?”
“Yes ma’am. What would you like?” The stewardess opens a lid on the cart and begins to reach in, still staring at Anne with that haunting smile.
“Sorry ma’am,” the stewardess says, beginning to pull her arm back. “We don’t allow that on the plane.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“I’m very sorry.”
Anne sighs. “Water?”
“Ah, sure.” The stewardess closes the lid, realizing that Anne didn’t ask for soda. She continues smiling, and says, “I’ll be right back with your water ma’am.”
The stewardess nods, and continues pushing the cart down the aisle, until she disappears beyond a curtain. Anne returns her gaze out the window, where the jungle still rolls on underneath the plane. Several moments later, she hears, “Ma’am.”
Turning around, she sees the stewardess reaching across the chair next to Anne from the aisle, fumbling with the folding tray built into the back of the chair in front of Anne with one hand. She pulls it down, and sets the glass of water down on it, and smiles.
Anne nods, scooping up the glass in one hand, and takes a sip as the stewardess walks away. After several more minutes of silence, she sets down the empty water glass, as a crackle fills the plane. She tenses, before realizing that it’s the speaker.
There’s jumble in Spanish, and she looks around as several people begin to smile, and converse between each other. What’s going on?
Finally, the cabin fills with clear, well-spoken English: “… And for those American travelers with us, this is your pilot speaking. We’ll be landing at Juan Santamaria International in several minutes. Please put on your safety harnesses for safety precautions. On behalf of the crew, we like to thank you for flying with us, and we hope to see you in the air in the future. Once again, this was your pilot speaking.”
Anne peers out the window to see the city of San Jose lying below her. The streets disappear from view as they pass over a small building. The plane rocks, and she fumbles with her safety harness. The intercom crackles again, this time the voice speaking is female: “Keep safety harness on until further notice. We are now preparing to land.”
Anne begins to feel her body press against the seat as the plane descends. She slowly eases back to normal as the plane touches down, a screech coming from outside at impact. The plane continues on down the runway, moving slower until it finally begins to turn, and Anne sees the exterior of the terminal of the airport.
As the plane finally stops, the female speaks again over the intercom, and Anne realizes it’s the stewardess who had given her the water. “Thank you for flying with us. You may now remove your harnesses, and move to the exit. We hope you’ve enjoyed your flight.”
Anne unbuckles the harness and gets up. She arcs her back, reaching to unlock the tiny plastic slider-lock on the cabinet. Once she does, it pops open, flying upward, knocking her hand back. She curses, and reaches into the confines of the cabinet, and feels the suitcase.
She slides it out, gripping it with two hands once it reaches the edge, and pulls it out. She grunts, as she heaves it over the seats, and into the aisle. Anne slumps as she gets behind a slow moving elderly couple.
When she finally reaches the exit, she’s greeted by three stewardesses and several men; one easily recognized as the pilot. She nods, as they all simultaneously say, “Thanks for flying.”
She steps out of the plane, into the loading tunnel, and begins following the ramp-way to the end of the tunnel. As soon as she walks out, she finds herself in the terminal, where she sees straggles of people here and there.
The airport is filled with a light hum from the other people, and she looks around, spotting several signs in foreign languages, until she finally sees a sign with an arrow pointing left marked: ‘Entrance/Exit.’
She follows the sign, quickly finding the entrance of the airport. Anne pushes open the glass doors, where she finds people passing by carrying luggage: either going into the airport or moving to a nearby parked taxi.
“Lucky me,” she says, moving to a nearby taxi. She goes to the passenger side, and peers in through the tinted window. The driver is asleep, and she taps the window.
He doesn’t wake.
She tries again.
She taps a third time, this time a bit harder. She smiles, as his eyes slowly open. He glimpses her, and jumps to attention, rolling down the window. The driver smiles, and says in accented English: “Sorry ‘bout that.”
“It’s okay. Looks like business is a little slow anyway.”
“You’d never guess,” he laughs. “Anyway, where you need a driving to?”
“Um,” Anne says, closing her eyes in thought. Jaco. “Jaco.”
“Jaco it is then. Well, come on. Get in.” He laughs.
Anne opens the back door, and throws her suitcase in. She crouches down, sliding in onto the leather seating. She closes the door behind her, as the taxi starts. As it begins to pull out, the driver says, “My name’s Enrico. I guess you better know, since we have quite a drive ahead of us.”
“Oh yeah,” Anne asks. “How long?”
“Around an hour and a half. Maybe a little more. Jaco’s on the coast, and it’s a nice little town. You’ll like it, especially if it’s your first time. Is it?”
“Yes. This is actually my first time in Costa Rica.”
“Ah, I see. Well, I hope you like it here.”
“I loved the flight view. The jungle was beautiful.”
“Yes,” Enrico says. “It does have that affect on tourists.” He pauses, and asks, “You here for surf?”
“You surf? You know, on a board?”
“Ah, too bad. You look like you’d do good.”
“Well, uh, thanks.”
Enrico laughs again. Anne asks, “Can you tell me anything about Jaco?”
“Yes,” Enrico says. “It’s definitely popular with tourists, because of the beaches. I like to visit occasionally, when tourism isn’t high.”
“Mostly through December to April. It’s also a popular surfer destination, that’s why I asked.”
Enrico glances into the rearview mirror, and then back out the front. Anne pushes her suitcase aside, sliding over a bit more. She looks back up at Enrico, and asks, “Can you tell me anything about, uh…”
Anne scratches her forehead, and changes her mind. “Do you know anything about Isla Nublar or Isla Sorna?”
“Ever since that accident took place in that American town, tourist interest in those islands has erupted. It’s against the law now to enter the area around either island. That’s what draws in thrill-seekers. I heard some people are trying to start an illegal parasailing company to take people near the island. I don’t know if it’s true or not.”
“How about the islands themselves? What about them?”
“You seem awfully curious about them. Do you plan on going?”
“No way! It’s just that I’ve been interested ever since I first heard. I’m just curious, is all.”
“Ah, ok then,” Enrico says, a little hesitant. “Well, Isla Nublar was owned by that company, um, InGen. Several town-folk where I lived back then were hired to help and work in the early nineties. Some big, top-secret project. Then the stories came about creatures appearing on the shores, attacking tourists and residents. After that, people who were working on the island were being flown back during several accidents that occurred. A few died.”
“Then in 1993, several people went to the island, and only a few returned. I think five or six. They all kept silent, even though one of them was badly injured. None of them said anything, and it was rumored that the island was destroyed. The rumored creatures on the shores began disappearing, until it was all gone from memory.”
“But myth rose again in the mid-months of 1997, when a British family supposedly landed on an island in the La Cinco Muertes island chain—“
“The Five Deaths.”
“—on Isla Sorna. Their girl was attacked by a group of creatures like the ones rumored living on the shores back in the early nineties. Then a few weeks later dozens of people went to Sorna, and not many returned. But the ones that did brought that dinosaur to that American city, where it got loose.”
“San Diego, in California.”
“Yes, I think so. Anyway, they recovered it and brought it back. Ever since, the government’s kept a strict watch on the island, as well as Nublar. It’s been nearly a year since, and in that time the company’s founder that started all this went public. I heard he wrote a book, but it never got to us here.”
“Yeah, I have it.” Anne pauses. “But I don’t have it with me. “
“Well, I hope your curiosity doesn’t land you there. You probably won’t come back alive.”
Anne nods, and sits back. “Hmm…”
She glances up at the rearview mirror to see Enrico staring back.
Nearly an hour later, the taxi stops at a corner in the town of Jaco. Across the street Anne could see the beach, lined with several onlookers cheering on a group of surfers challenging the few waves that occasionally rolled in.
Anne gets out of the taxi, sliding her suitcase across the leather. She closes the door, and leans down through the open passenger side window. Anne asks, “How much?”
“How about five American dollars?”
Anne pulls out a ten, and hands it to him. He looks up at her, “I don’t have change.”
“That’s fine. Just keep it.”
“Thank you. Have a nice vacation here in Costa Rica.”
“Thanks to you too. I’m sure I will. It’s been good so far.”
The taxi starts up, and Anne waves as it turns the corner, disappearing from view. She picks up her suitcase, and walks across the street towards the beach. She steps up onto the curb, moving across the sidewalk to a guardrail.
She sets her suitcase down, and looks at her watch: 2:38 P.M. back home. It’ll be awhile before Jill gets home from her outings and decides to call her and learn she’s really gone.
She watches as the onlookers begin to clap, as a surfer begins paddling out. Nearby, a man with his back turned to her rubs his hand through his black hair. He turns around, and smiles at her, revealing a nice, white smile. He walks over, saying, “Hello.”
“Hi,” Anne says, shading her eyes from the sun to look at him.
He reaches the rail, and extends and arm over. She shakes it, and he says in more deeply-accented English than Enrico, “It’s not common I find a lone tourist out here.”
“Oh, actually I’m not a tourist.” She mentally reprimands herself, reminding herself not to trust this man.
“Ah,” the man laughs. “Well, you shouldn’t be alone. My name’s Marquez. Marquez Santiago.”
“Hello Mr. Santiago.”
“Please, call me Marquez.” He was devilishly charming. “And, if I may, what is your name?”
“Um, Anne. Anne Jones.”
“Ah, Anne Jones.” He seemingly absorbs the name. “I know this may come on a bit, so to say, strong, but I would like to know if you’d accompany me on my plane tonight. I’m taking a dozen or so people on a tour of the offshore islands, and then to some of the islands in the La Cinco Muertes to top it off. It’ll be my best yet, since the weather’s perfect. I have room for a few more. It’s your choice, and I recommend you come. I’d hate to know that you come here and do nothing.”
“Well, thanks, but—“ Anne stops, and ponders. “Ok then. That would be nice.”
“Ah, wonderful,” Marquez exclaims. “Where are you staying, so I can pick you up?”
“Um, actually… I haven’t found a place yet. I just got here.”
“Well then. Will you accompany me to lunch then? We can eat, then come and watch the remaining surfers for a while. Then we can head off to the plane. We’ll be back in time for you to find a place to stay. There’s no need for you to freshen up or anything.”
Anne shrugs, with a smile. “There’s a nice little place down the street called Jose’s. It’s a pretty nice outside restaurant. You do like burgers, right?”
Anne nods. He smiles once more, “Well. Let us go eat then.”
Ten minutes later Anne finds herself sitting across a table from Marquez. A third empty seat sits to her right, and she watches as he takes a sip from a glass of water. They are sitting outside, alongside the small building in which the kitchen is confined.
Past their table is the beach, about two dozen yards away. In the distance she can see the outlines of people lying down in the sand, and the same with surfers running out to the water.
Marquez rubs a finger over his nose, and says, “So Anne. You like it here so far?”
“Yeah,” Anne says. “I know the sights are pretty good. And the people are very friendly.”
Marquez laughs, setting down his glass. “Can you tell me why such a beautiful woman is out in this beautiful country, alone?”
Anne shrugs. “I just haven’t found the right guy.”
“I’m sure they fall at your feet.”
“Claw at your door then?”
“Ah… Well, I for one am enchanted by your beauty.”
Marquez laughs again. “Let me guess. You don’t like men?”
“I like men, it’s just that it’s hard to try and date them when all they do is try to get you into their room.”
“Ah,” Marquez nods. “I know what you mean.”
Marquez looks out at the beach, starting a moment of long silence between them. Finally, he breaks the silence, and asks, “How long you plan on staying in Jaco?”
“A few days,” Anne says. “Maybe go see other towns.”
Marquez nods, and gets ready to say something when the waiter comes over and asks something Spanish. Anne guesses he asked what they want to order.
Marquez replies in Spanish, and then turns to Anne. “Go on, tell him what you want.”
The waiter bows his head, and says, “I do speak English.”
“Uh, ok then. I’ll have this.” She holds up the folding menu to the waiter: her finger planted on the image of a double-layer cheeseburger.
The waiter nods, writing it down, and walks away, leaving the menus. Marquez scoots his chair in, and asks, “You going to go to any of the offshore islands?”
“Really? There’s one up the coast I think you’d really en—“
“I’m staying here.”
“Ah, well. Maybe you’ll change your mind on the plane ride. Maybe when we fly over La Cinco Muertes.”
Anne’s mind flicks. “Tell me about it.”
“The Five Deaths.”
“Depends on what you want to know.”
“Did that company InGen ever buy any other islands in the chain besides Sorna?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs. “Why?”
“Curiosity has overtaken me in the last few months.”
“That’s not a good sign. It may lead you there.”
“No, it won’t. I know my limits.”
“Good. Anyway, maybe you’ll lose your curiosity once you see the island.”
“We’re going to see Sorna?”
“From a distance, probably. If the fog doesn’t get in the way. We’ll be a few miles away from it, since we’re not allowed to fly in Sorna airspace, but it’s still looms there. In the way it always does.”
“Can you tell me about it?”
“You’ll see when we fly tonight. Just for you, I’ll try and get a bit closer. If there is fog, maybe we could risk a bit more for you, using the fog as cover.”
“You don’t have to do that for me.”
“Ah, hey. You seem like you’re going to have a boring trip anyway.” He laughs.
“No problem.” Marquez looks away. “Hey, here comes the food.”
Anne pulls her chair closer as the waiter sets down both plates on the table. Her burger is split up in parts, and her fries outline the rim of the plate. She quickly assembles the burger, spraying the beef with a little ketchup, and then takes a bite.