Ch34: Stolen Sept 20th
By lisa h
I have no idea if Ian is going to come today. My supplies have lasted the extra week thanks to my new ability to fish. But I need him to come with more. I’m craving fruit and strangely eggs. As I stand on the hill waiting for the sight of his boat, I wish the puffins were breeding now so I could steal some from them. Guilt consumes me moments later at the thought of stealing their young. But this is survival of the fittest, and for not the first time, I stare at Humphrey and try to judge how difficult it would be to eat him.
I’m about eighteen weeks along now, and my bump is rounding out nicely. There’s very little of anything else on me, lack of extra food keeping me slim.
When Ian’s boat appears from between the islands, I’m very surprised. I’ve half-convinced myself this past week that he’s never coming back, and will leave me to die here, alone. But there’s his boat, the blue stripe helping me pick it out from among the other Saturday sailors.
My heart jumps at the sight, and I feel betrayed by my emotions. I want to be cold, hard towards the man that’s keeping me prisoner here. Instead I feel excited nerves fluttering in my stomach.
The baby wakes and gives me a good prod in the bladder.
“Daddy’s on his way,” I say, watching as the boat slowly comes closer. “And I’m going to be ready for him today.”
The bedroom is set up for his downfall. There’s a knife hidden under the mattress where I can reach easily. There’s the lump of wood hidden down the back of the bed to batter him with. I intend to do him harm. The wind is gusting and threatening to throw me to the ground. Even the rabbits have quit keeping me company and are back in the security of their burrows.
Part of me hopes that by being pregnant he’ll be forced to take me back home. He can’t leave me here, it’s simply not safe. I need medical care. No matter how much preparation I’ve made to do him in, I’m still not sure I can go through with it.
Nerves flutter in my stomach again as his boat comes up on Vanir. Time for me to go to the harbour and greet him. I chastise myself, what am I, some long lost lover? I’m a captive, a hostage. I shouldn’t be meeting him with smiles, fake or otherwise. Yet my feet start moving, they’re betraying me, taking me down to the harbour and out onto the pier.
“Ian,” I say as his boat docks. He chucks me the ropes without a word. Is he still angry with me? It’s not just my fault that I’m pregnant, I think, but that doesn’t change his cold attitude towards me. Despite his cold shoulder towards me, his boat is laden with supplies.
Finally he speaks, “Sorry I didn’t get over last week. Couldn’t get away from work.”
He doesn’t look at me, and to be honest he doesn’t sound the least bit sorry.
“Hope you didn’t go hungry.”
I take a bag from him as he hands it over. “I managed. But there’s not much left in the larder.”
I want to shout at him, yell at him, tell him off for starving a pregnant woman. What harm is he doing to his unborn child by denying me? But I need to stay calm. I need to get him into bed so I can stab him.
My heart beats hard as he hands more bags to me and then finally disembarks. “Winter’s fast approaching.” He looks out towards Mainland. “Weather gets a bit rough here.”
I feel my insides go to jelly. “Please, Ian. You can’t be thinking of keeping me here all winter?” All thoughts of harming him disappear. He’s no intention of taking me off the island, and that’s all I can think of suddenly. “You can’t, it’s not safe for the baby.”
He glances at my belly. “Not much I can do about that.” He grabs a few bags and starts going towards the cottage.
“Yes, there is, there’s plenty you can do about it!” I yell at him.
Ian turns around his expression cold. “Getting stroppy won’t make things any better.”
I grab at his arm. “It’s not right keeping me here. I want to go home. Look, I won’t tell anyone. I’ll say I had this grand adventure, apologise for disappearing for months, and everything will be okay again. No one need know that you kept me here.”
He laughs, but it’s a short, humourless sound.
I hold onto him as he tries to start towards the cottage again.
“I don’t mind staying with you. You can keep me in that house of yours in Lerwick. You don’t need to lose me.”
Ian seems to consider my words for a moment, then shakes me off. “You’re better off here. It’s a horrible world out there. I’m doing you a favour.”
I stare at him as he walks off. What kind of delusions is he under, what are his excuses for keeping me here? I need to get to the knife.
At the cottage, Ian puts down his bags and glances at my stomach. “You start putting stuff away, I’ll fetch the rest.”
So now he’s trying to be gentlemanly? I don’t understand this man.
As soon as he’s out the door, I run for the knife. It’s there, hidden under the edge of the mattress, just where I left it. Ian’s down by the boat, on the pier, picking up more bags of supplies. There’s nowhere to hide, nowhere to jump out at him. The room is too basic. Somehow I need to, because once he’s brought everything up to the cottage, my bets are on him leaving.
I pace the room, the handle of the knife digging into my palm. Ian’s halfway up the path. Somehow I get myself to the larder and tuck the knife onto one of the shelves, hopefully just out of view. I busy myself putting away tins. Inside the second bag I find antenatal vitamins. A fleeting moment of doubt passes over me, then he opens the door, heading my way with the next load of bags.
Ian doesn’t acknowledge me, doesn’t even look at me, and I take advantage of his distraction. As he bends over to put the bags on the floor, I grab the knife and swing at him. The blade sinks into his upper arm, and Ian lets out a shriek that turns to a snarl.
Groceries scatter as he lunges at me. Somehow I manage to yank the knife back and I brandish it, stabbing at him a second time. The knife digs into his chest, but the ribs deflect the blade and I only score his skin. I let out a scream as Ian throws himself at me, grabbing my wrist and hand and gives them a bone crunching squeeze.
“No,” I scream as the knife drops to the floor and clatters over towards the sofa.
“Going to kill me, is that your plan?” Ian’s eyes look blue bright and very insane. He forces me to the ground, sitting on my legs and holding my wrists in one large hand. Blood from his chest drips down on me.
“Please, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt the baby.”
He leans closer, so our noses are almost touching. His breath smells of the coffee he’d had before coming here. “You think I care about the baby?” Ian leans back and pushes his fingertip into the middle of my forehead. “You think I care about you?”
“Please, Ian. Just let me go. I’ll vanish, disappear. You’ll never hear from me again.”
He raises his eye brows. “You’re right about vanishing. Your family don’t have a clue. The police don’t have a clue. As far as the world is concerned you already have disappeared.”
“If you don’t want me, why keep me here?” I scream in frustration, bucking, trying to get him off me, but he stays firm.
“Because I can.” He swings at my head and everything goes black.
I come to and the cottage is dark. My body aches, and at first I don’t try to move. I listen, unsure if I am indeed alone. After a few seconds, I realise I have to move, I’m bursting for the toilet, and the baby is making the need urgent. Slowly, I roll on my side and climb onto my knees. Pain pounds through my head where he hit me, and I touch my scalp gently. The skin is spongy and swollen, but I can see straight, and I hope I’m not concussed because there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.
After relieving myself, I soak a flannel and put it to the side of my head. The coolness helps with the pain a little, and as I hold the cloth there, I dig in the medicine cabinet for some ibuprofen. I swallow them down and go back in the living room. Groceries are still scattered everywhere, and there’s a trail of blood leading outside. I throw on my coat and open the door. The night is so dark here, no street lights or house lights to help, just the moon if I’m lucky.
Tonight I am lucky, there’s a fat moon and a break in the clouds. The boat is gone from the harbour, but there are still the rest of the supplies on the pier. The weather is shaping up towards a decent storm, and there’s no way I can leave the food and fuel there. Zipping up and pulling my hood on, I step out into the wild autumn rain.
By the time I have everything in the house, the time is near ten, and I’m exhausted. My head is pounding more than ever and my arms are aching, probably from attacking with the knife. I’m still trying to understand Ian, I don’t get why he’s keeping me here. Why not let me go?
There’s no energy left for questions. Somehow I manage to shove the sofa against the door. The electric’s out, which means Ian’s flicked the switch in the turbine. The only thing left to do is fall into bed.