Ch 31: Stolen Aug18th-Aug 30th
By lisa h
The turbine is bothering me. I am certain I saw Ian flip a switch to get the blades turning again. All yesterday I mulled it over, thinking through what that little action means. No matter how I try, I can come up with only one solution. Ian’s been coming onto the island to mess about with things. I’m freaked out about the thought of him roaming the island while I sleep and I’m so glad I still shove the sofa against the door before settling down for the night. At least he can’t sneak up on me.
The day is glorious; I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt, my hair pulled up in a high ponytail. The wind is almost non-existent, and there’s a pull to go to the loch and sunbathe on the fishing platform. Instead I’m making my way past the sea lions to the turbine. They bark at me as I pick my way through them. They’re enjoying the sun as well. Out in the water the young ones play. Further out there are adults flipping fish in the air. They make me think of mini killer wales playing with sea lion pups.
As I round the corner the cliffs recede and the turbine appears. The blades are turning lazily around in the light breeze.
My palms are sweating as I grab hold of the screwdriver and start to make my way in the belly of the machine. This is going to one of those moments of truth. I place the panel to the side and find the switch. Staring up at the blades, I flip it down.
At first I don’t think anything has happened, so lazy is the movement. But then I realise that it’s coming to a halt.
“Dammit!” I mutter and flip the switch back up. The propellers begin their gentle movement once again.
It’s the proof I didn’t want. As if I didn’t have enough evidence that Ian was an evil man, now I’m going to have trouble sleeping at night, wondering what else he’s up to. He could find the tins I hid in the logs. Or take the coal to punish me.
I put the panel back and make my way back to the cottage. Time to be more subversive than Ian.
I spend the morning searching the cottage for a good place to hid things. Despite it being such a small place, I find several places. The morning is wasted trying to decide which one would be best. I decide to put tins behind the linens in the wardrobe, and start to dig them out from under the woodpile. It’s when I get the first lot back to the bedroom that I realise there’s a better place.
The bed has a divan base with drawers on one side. I pull them all the way out and as I suspected, the other half of the divan is empty space. Fantastic. There’s enough room for tins and bags of rice and pasta, and less worry about mice. There’s also plenty of room to start hoarding coal. I won’t be left in the cold, not if I can help it.
It takes me a couple of hours to arrange everything, and I’m happy with my hidey-hole. Not that I expect to be here much longer. I’ve sharpened the knife so the cut will be as easy as possible. I just need Ian.
Since the radio made a reappearance and I heard my parents appealing for me to come home, the first thing I do in the morning is turn it on, last thing I do at night is turn it off. I’ve not heard anything else since then. Last night, for the first time, I left the radio on as I slept. By the time I wake up the power has gone, and it is silent again. I roll over and without even opening my eyes turn the crank. I’ve got it on Radio Two. I think the news is better on this station and music choices are growing on me. There’s an old Frankie Goes to Hollywood tune on, the Relax one, I think. Better than the more talky stations, I get so bored I forget to listen out for the news.
I roll back over and lie there a while. The sun’s been up for about an hour, and although it’s not even seven yet, the sun is bouncing off the water and reflecting towards the cottage, it’s doing battle with the curtains. As I lie there, half asleep, I think through my list to do. There’s not much, really. Go to the lock, go to the tidal pool, sit on the grass and talk to Humphrey. Make sure I eat, stoke the fire in the stove, collect any driftwood I can find. It’s the same stuff every day, but it’s become routine, and comforting.
The hard lump of my uterus is growing past my pelvic bone. I gently press there. My baby is in there. My little one. My gut feeling tells me it’s a little boy I’m carrying, and I have to think about him as a positive thing. As the presenter comes on the radio chatting about silly stuff, things to make people smile and laugh, I picture my mum in the kitchen as she gets the breakfast ready for her and Dad. She’ll also be making each of them a packed lunch. Tear spring to my eyes and before I know it, I’m sobbing into my pillow. The pain of missing them is so deep, so physical, there could be a knife stabbed in my guts.
Ian is due back today. I think I’m prepared for him. My chosen knife is sharped, obsessively so. There’s a small but very hard lump of wood stuffed down the back of the bed between the mattress and the wall. I even jiggled the bed about to stimulate what’ll happen if we have sex to make sure it doesn’t crunch against the wall or fall to the floor. It seems secure.
I go out to the hill and start my vigil for his boat. The radio is with me, it rarely leaves my side now. Graham Norton has come on. I find him irritating, but it’s not him I’m tuned it to listen to.
The white motor boat with the wide blue strip appears from between Mainland and Bressay. I’m watching with the binoculars. There’s a sailing boat heading out to the east. Several windsurfers brave a windy day nearer to Mainland’s shoreline. People are out enjoying their days. Cars wind up and down the long road going to the south or north end of the island, people out enjoying their freedom. I’ll never again moan about feeling tied down to work once I get off Vanir and away from Ian. I promise to be grateful for the good times and the bad. Because nothing will ever compare to what I’m going through now.
The news comes and goes with no mention of me. Has the media given up on me already? Just another young adult deciding to take themselves elsewhere and live their life without the attachment of family. I’m not that person, I want nothing more than to get wrapped up in one of Dad’s bear hugs, and feel Mum against me as she tries and fails to hold back the tears. I miss visiting Chris and Gemma at the graveyard. I miss my friends and nights out in town. How I hate Ian right now. My eyes narrow as his boat slowly approaches.
The turbine hasn’t stopped over the last two weeks, but I’ve been super vigilant, checking every morning for any sign that he’s been here. The sunset is drawing in rapidly now, and I’ve had almost no need of the electricity other than to charge my iPod every few days and for my baths. The last few nights I needed to put a light on right before settling down. After cranking the radio, the next thing I usually do in the morning is try the lamp bedside the bed.
As I sit on the hill, Humprey playing with Hazel and Tawny nearby, I run through my plan again. Seems all I think about these days is murder. I have it planned out in my mind. Seduce him. Wait until the middle of the night and then slip out of bed, as if to use the toilet. I might even do so, just in case he’s listening. Then to the drawer. I’ve oiled the runners so there’s not a squeak to be heard as I pull it open. Pick up the knife and hide it behind my back as I go back in the bedroom. Settle down and make very sure he’s asleep. The raise the knife up and… this part I haven’t decided yet. The thought of jamming it in his chest seems hard to do. Maybe slitting his throat would be easier.
I nibble at my nails as the boat comes up on my island. Time to put the radio away and go to meet him on the pier. Time for the performance of a lifetime.