My eyes slowly opened as I sat up, instantly blinded by an intense light. I raised my arm in attempt to block the source. It was all pure instinct; sight was the only sense currently functioning properly.
A sudden wind beat my back. The hairs on my arms rising. I shivered, realizing I was soaked head to toe. Pushing myself to bare feet, I hugged my chest. Where was I?
Everything adjusted into focus. Sand met water roughly thirty feet in front of me. A beach? I rubbed my face with my hands. Last thing I remembered, I was camping in a forest on a mountain. This had to be a dream. A hallucination.
My hearing finally kicked in. The rhythmic roar of the ocean lapped ashore. I took a deep breath of salty air. A lucid dream? However, it all felt so real. If this was real, how did I get here?
Distant barking made me whirl around. My eyes widened, and an eyebrow rose. Before me stretched mounds of socks, keys, phones, cables. What on Earth? What was this place? I started forward, inspecting the socks further. Not a single one had a match.
As I walked further into what I assumed was an island barren of vegetation, I noticed a plethora of remotes and bank cards. Lipstick tubes scattered around. Various forms of office supplies. Was this a place for junk? Junk Island?
The barking became deafening as a herd of collarless dogs rushed me, knocking me to the ground. I couldn’t help but laugh as I was attacked by a thousand tongues. But through the canine fur, I caught glimpses of cats, birds, reptiles, and other animals looking more domesticated than wild.
I eventually found my footing and searched the area. My heart stopping. A soldier in full combat gear approached, wearing more dog tags than I dared counting. I swallowed. He held the hands of two children, and a parade of soldiers and children from varying nationalities followed him.
The head soldier greeted me. “What’s your name?”
My eyes couldn’t leave the sunken features of all the humans before me. They looked starved. “Morgan.”
He attempted half of an exhausted smile. “Welcome to the Isle of Lost and Never Found, Morgan.”
I swallowed again. The very last thing I recalled thinking to myself was how I got lost in the woods on the mountain. Then darkness. But an island of lost things? I would’ve preferred the Island of Misfit Toys to be real. “How big is this place?”
“It expands to fit what appears.”
Rubbing my eyes, I nodded. Dared to ask the inevitable. “Do things ever get found?”
The soldier shifted, a couple of the children sniffed and shuffled. “Sometimes. We assume you go back to the real world.” He gestured to his tags. “We’ve found soldiers from WWI here. Unfortunately, not everything lasts forever. Not even here.”
I searched the man then the forlorn children. Allowed my gaze to wander back to the beach I woke up on. Despite the presence of all the people in front of me, I suddenly felt terribly alone. More so than when I walked in the woods.
I had no idea if I would ever be found.