Five - Linkin

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"Come on, breathe!" a voice shouted as I felt the pressure of a ton of bricks on my chest.

Before my eyes were even open, I blindly attempted to swat the hands away to prevent them from giving me CPR incorrectly one more time. In the same motion, I was on my side. Both my respiratory tract and right side were on fire as I started to cough up water.

"That's it, just breathe," the masculine voice whispered, and I could hear a smile in his words.

I opened my eyes as I managed to fill my burning lungs with air. "What the fuck was that?" I gasped out as I glanced up to the two people who looked down on me. One of them was Desmond with a petrified expression on his face, the other was a stranger who looked down at me with green eyes full of a mix of pity and concern.

"Val, I am so sorry. I didn't know-" Desmond cried out, suddenly appearing over me as well.

"Not you! You!" I shouted to Not-Desmond who I assumed had given me CPR. He shook his head, confused. A lock of dark brown hair escaped his side-comb.

I sat up and saw there was a crowd, despite the fact that my white shirt was now clear and it along with my jeans short stuck to me, I didn't care.

"I think you meant 'thank you'," the stranger said, sighing. He sat back on his calves, completely dry except for his hands.

"Thanks for cracking two of my ribs on the right side of my body!"

He scrutinised every muscle on my face as if he was studying me. The look in his eye told me he was holding something back, something that could prove his intelligence.

"Val, he didn't do it, I-"

"It's Linkin!" I snapped at Desmond before I even heard what he had to say.

Desmond froze, biting his tongue once again as the stranger shook his head. Only his eyes betrayed his slight annoyance. "What are you trying to show by not using your first name? That you know everything? Well you don't, we saved your life by giving you CPR, right side or not."

I was a bit taken back by his first comment. I went by Linkin because I chose that name. Valentina was the name my family gave me, the same family who disowned me. My frustration and anger increased as I snapped at him once again, "My heart is on your right, my left. Are you a flamingo-ing idiot to think it doesn't matter? Why didn't you leave it to someone more qualified?"

The guy looked at me with a blank stare, not wanting to encourage my behaviour. I was ready to continue to chew him out when I heard someone groan. My eyes were drawn to another guy who was soaking wet, his hands over his eyes. Despite the fact that every inhalation hurt, I was quickly on my feet.

"Hey, what is it?" I asked gently as I put my hand on his arm. By his drenched appearance, I had to assume this guy had been the one who saved me. Did he hurt himself while helping me?

"My eyes," he groaned.

"Let me see," I whispered back.

My saviour began to peel his hand back when the stranger with too many questions stood and raised his voice. "I'll handle it." He squatted down beside me, trying to nudge me aside. "I'm one of the doctors on this island. Stuart Neville."

I was floored, this buffoon was a doctor? Stuart pulled out his lanyard to show me that yes, indeed, his face matched his name and qualifications. I thought I caught the title psychiatrist. Why would paradise need a psychiatrist? "The name is Doctor Valentina Linkin, and I didn't just give CPR to the right side of someone's body."

"You're..." There was a slip in Stuart's composure as he started to stutter in confusion. I wasn't really a doctor; I just pretended to be one for seven months. Until I was proven guilty of fraud, I could still pretend I actually went to med school, despite my age and the fact that I never finished high school.

"Drop it, Stewie," I growled. I rolled my eyes and turned back to my saviour. For the first time, the doctor's cool composure was broken as he stared at me with his mouth slightly ajar.

My personality completely switched as I glanced at Desmond. "Get these people out of here and grab me a chair for our friend here?"

Desmond nodded and looked at me shocked. "You heard the doctor, show's over!" he called out, motioning for people to get back. For the most part, they were all staring at us like animals in a zoo, something I had gotten used to.

There was some hesitation, but the crowd slowly started to dissipate. "Hey, what's your name?" I asked the guy gently. Desmond and Stuart were getting everyone to leave the area as I pulled over one of the lawn chairs and got him sitting.

"Jaysen," he said gently, his voice muffled by his olive-coloured hands over his face.

I knelt in front of him, goosebumps on my skin as the water started to dry in the heat. "Jaysen, I can't help you if you don't look at me," I told him softly.

Stuart was hovering over my shoulder as Desmond stood back and paced anxiously. I sensed some jitteriness from Stuart, too, but he looked as calm as the fine weather.

"I'm scared, Doc," Jaysen whispered.

"If you can jump in a pool to save a drowning stranger, you can handle this," I said with a weak smile. Jaysen chuckled and his hands began to pull back. "Thanks for saving me, by the way," I added in gently as I noticed the snakebite piercing on his bottom lip; my kind of guy.

Jaysen moved slowly to expose more of his face, despite the smile he was still nervous. "I couldn't just stand back and watch a pretty girl drown. What kind of fired-lifeguard would I be then?"

Despite the situation, he was still joking—that was a good sign. "Did you hurt your eyes when you dove in?" I asked and he paused, Stuart leaning in closer

"I had them open so I could see you. They were burning when I got out. They're just... numb now."

I let out a breath and slowly nodded. "Okay, now let me see." It was probably just too much chlorine in the pool. There was a moment of hesitation before Jaysen's hands fell and my heart skipped a beat. "Ja-Jaysen, do you have heterochromia iridum?" I whispered as I stared at his different coloured eyes in horror, attempting to stay professional and not run away screaming.

Jaysen didn't reply as he started to shift his head to look around in fear. His breath became shallower by the second. "Doc? Doc, I can't see you. Why can't I see you?"

"Desmond, get Valentina out of here. Now," Stuart said, his tone unchanged as he pushed me to the side and quickly covered Jaysen's dual-coloured eyes. "I need to get him to the hospital."

I barely noticed Desmond picking me up as I stared at Jaysen's eyes. It wasn't the difference between the bright blue of one and the hazel of another that had me freaked; it was the fact his eyes lacked anything else. Jaysen's eyes were completely missing the pupils and the whites—each eye was completely iris. Stuart moved forward to cover Jaysen's eyes once again and spoke to him softly. Over the sound of my own heart beating and Desmond whispering in my ear to relax, I couldn't hear what Stuart said. I felt detached from the world as my brain attempted to find a logical explanation.

There wasn't one. This wasn't possible. This wasn't natural; it wasn't human.  

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