The Tropical Island

Story about sun rises in the west

The island was called The Island. Nothing more. Yet, everyone knew all about The Island. It was a magical island in the south; warm white-sand beaches, tall coconut trees, big waves, and endless parties. At The Island, the sun had always set at 6.30 pm. It was never too late, nor too early. It was just how things worked on the wonderful, tropical island.

Except for that one day in early July, where the beaches and the bars were packed with tourists, that the sun refused to set. It was already 6.46 pm and the sun still hung low at the edge of the horizon. Above The Beach, the dimmed sunlight radiated a vivid fuchsia shade into the sky. People at The Beach were congregating in awe with their phones recording the whole spectacle. At first, they tried to make a joke out of it, telling the sun to go home; after a while, they could only whisper anxiously because it didn’t seem to budge. Even if they felt a little scared, they were unwilling to leave.

Around 7 pm, someone was shouting, ‘It’s gotta be a tsunami!’ Everyone was panicking and started rushing to get out of their spots, trying to get somewhere far and high up. Someone else then said it couldn’t be a tsunami. The waves weren’t pulled back to the sea. The tides were not greater than usual, it was actually calm. The surfers still surfed. So some people stayed and waited. Some cried. At that moment, everyone seemed to have a different opinion on what was going on. Nevertheless, one thing that everyone agreed on but couldn’t say out loud was that the world was coming to an end very, very soon.

It was almost 9 pm when the local police officers came to the area. They were afraid someone would instigate a ruckus, which was highly likely, considering how agitated people were. But the police couldn’t dispel the crowd since there was no reason for them to do so. They could only stay, waiting for things to happen. Waiting for what, they also didn’t know. Waiting for something to change, perhaps. 

Not long after 10 pm, the sun suddenly plunged as if someone slammed it into the ocean. Everything went dark right after. The moon was nowhere to be found. In the dark, people were frantic. The police tried to lit up the place with headlights from their cars. Then they started to holler at people, telling them to go home calmly and orderly. People were restless but they finally went home. Even the surfers were gone. They couldn’t catch the waves anymore since there were none. Most people couldn’t sleep that night, wondering what tomorrow would be like.

The next morning, the sun didn’t rise. It was still as dark as the night. The sun didn’t rise the next day. Nor the one after. Nor the one after that.

People went to the temple, made offerings to the Gods. They prayed for the Gods to help them. They wondered if the sun would come back the next day. It didn’t. They prayed some more, with more offerings, more food, more dancing, more songs. They prayed for the doomsday not to happen. Well, it did not happen. At least not the way they expected it to. 

After the sun hadn’t risen for three weeks, the crops at The Island no longer grew. Rice fields withered. Coconut trees died. No one went to the beach. What was the beach for if not for its sun? No tides at the sea either. The surfers had long gone by then. They didn’t have any purpose in life anymore. They were as languish as the trees. People left and didn’t come back. 

Beach hut owners took the initiative to put up artificial lights to brighten up the beach. It was nothing like the real sun, though, but at least they tried. It lasted only for a few days since no one wanted a fake sun. 

A month went by and all resorts were closed. Bars and restaurants were empty. Most tourists left The Island already. The locals couldn’t do anything to prevent it. They could only wish for a miracle. They thought, what had they done? Why did the Gods punish them? When would everything end?

No matter how hard people prayed, The Island stayed dark. It wasn’t until forty days after everything went dark that the sun finally rose again. This time, it came from the west. Now the people knew that this was the end. Nothing could be worse than the sun rising from the west. They hid inside their house with their family; some of them threw feasts and parties, the rest were begging for the Gods to repent their sins.

In the middle of the day, out of nowhere, a propeller plane landed at The Beach without a sound. Its technology concealed it from prying eyes, making it invisible. It looked extra-terrestrial, except when the door opened, out came four human beings. They were normal people wearing white coverall jumpsuits, much like those of racers. They looked like engineers carrying sophisticated tools and machinery with them, nothing like anyone from The Island had ever seen in their life.

“Everyone’s ready?” asked a lady with a long black ponytail. The way she walked radiated importance, as if outranking everyone else.

“Yes, ma’am,” said the rest of the group.

“Then you know what to do.”

They split into two groups; the first group went to scan the beach with tools resembling metal detectors. The second group stayed nearby the airplane, setting up other instruments; wrenches, drills, and whatnot. They moved swiftly, almost as if hovering over the sand. Suddenly, a detector beeped loudly.

“Oy! Found it!” 

A big guy with olive skin and a square jaw pulled out from his backpack a long stick with a claw at the end, then stuck it in the sand. The stick made a clicking sound after a few seconds.

“Finally. Now move away from the center.”

Everyone else stepped back when the sand started moving and collapsing, creating a three by three-meter hole, three-meter deep. The lady with the ponytail approached the edge of the hole. She nodded her head to two other men from her team, cueing them to jump inside. They landed on a flat metal barrier with a bolt in the center, resembling a door of a bank vault.

“Hold still. Wait for my instruction.”

She typed a few commands on her gadget; a sound came from inside the vault as if a machine was restarting.

“Now open it.”

They pushed the door to the side, revealing intricate screens and modules behind it. As fast as they could, they typed in commands, trying to find what was wrong with the system. One of them then climbed back up, showing his screen to his boss. 

The lady nodded.

“I see. Integer overflow. Goddamnit.”

“Appears that way, ma’am. If we restart it, it’ll work for another eon or so.”

“Hm. Go ahead then.”

He went back down, yanked a lever and cranked up the machine.

“It’s restarting soon.”

“Alright, good job lads. Let’s clear up and get the hell out of here.”

Originally published at: for Reedsy Prompts Writing Contest