Ch36: Stolen Oct 31st - Jan 27th
By lisa h
I reckon I’m about twenty-four weeks pregnant now. Tummy is huge. I’m sure the baby is a boy – I’ve named him Evan.
Winter weather comes thick and fast here on Vanir. It’s middle of the day, and the wind and rain are pounding against the cottage. The door creaks under the pressure, the windows rattle in their frames. There’s a pot on the stove, the water almost bubbling. Noises come from a bucket on the floor. There’s a crab in there, quite a big one, and I’m eating him for lunch.
Before the bad weather set in properly, I’d gone down to the tidal pool and scared the crab out of the seaweed. Every time I take one I wonder how many more there are there. The pool is quite big, but there will be a limited number of crabs. Eventually I will have taken all the biggest ones. Hopefully the mackerel will be biting again before that happens.
The water is at a hard boil. I hate that I have to kill another creature, but I’m hungry for meat, and my main priority is the baby I’m growing. There’s no room for being cautious, that’s how I’ve ended up with nipped fingers. I grab the crab by the shell and drop him in the water. I glance at the clock and start timing off fifteen minutes.
“Sorry Mr Crab. I just happen to be higher on the food chain.”
He looks dead already, when the water is at full boil it seems to happen pretty instantly. Thank god for small mercies.
I’m pretty good at getting at the meat now. When I think back to my first fumbling attempts at eating crab, and how much I wasted, I shudder. Trapped on an island with finite food available, nothing should be wasted.
The time up, I hoik out the crab and let him cool down. I put the plate on the floor and sit cross legged beside it. I’ve got my tools – a hammer and a skewer. Granny would be patting me on the back if she were here. I’d figured out how to deal with a crab pretty much on instinct and a vague memory of Granny on a holiday a lifetime ago. I raise my cup of tea up and gaze skywards.
“To you, Gran. Think of me often up there.” I take a sip and put the cup down. My stomach is rumbling as I start pulling the legs off the crab.
Ian seems to be going several weeks between food drops. I’m a few days shy of another three weeks since I last found supplies dumped on the pier for me. I’m lucky I’ve not lost anything to the sea yet. I’m due food any day now, and the larder is almost bare.
I’ve tried catching fish all kinds of ways, but they simply aren’t biting. Today I’m trying something new. There are a few puffins up on the ridge. Seems they occasionally drop in for a rest before heading out to sea again. Maybe it’s the young ones. I hate the idea of killing and eating a puffin, but I need meat. My baby needs meat.
Walking the island is getting increasingly difficult. I’m worried the entire time, between rabbit holes and bird holes and natural crags in the land, that I’ll fall. If I get injured now, I’m done for. No help for me. I have to be vigilant.
The weather isn’t too bad at the moment. The wind is calmer than normal, and it’s not raining. Taking no chances, I zip into my coat and put the red bobble hat on. I also don’t need to risk catching the flu or pneumonia.
As I walk up the hill I see the tide is out. I really don’t like the idea of trying to catch a bird, so I head down to the beach and carefully make my way out onto the seaweed beds. A large crab darts out just in front of me, and I grab it quick and toss it in the bucket I’ve got with me. It scrabbles around in the bottom.
“Sorry little fellow. Looks like you’re dinner.”
Before leaving I search through the seaweed, the rotten fishy stench almost overpowering me, and tease out some mussels. They’ll make a nice addition to the crab. I don’t like the taste, but can’t get past craving them.
I glance up to where the puffins nest. There’s a few birds there, carrying on. They get a reprieve for today.
Can’t stand the darkness. The sun only comes up for a few hours. At least Ian is still leaving me food. He played silly buggers with the turbine again, but I fixed it today. Getting hard to manoeuvre on the slippy shingle with the bump.
Ian hasn’t been in three weeks. I hoped maybe today of all days, the miracle would happen. I’ve put out so many bottles now, surely one of them has been found by now? I pray every day. I just want to be saved. I’m sorry Mum and Dad. I made a huge mistake. I hope that you’ve forgiven me. I think of you both every single day.
I have a task today. Yesterday’s storm brought half of an old door onto the beach. I have plans for it. I abandon my driftwood collecting chore and drag the door up to the cottage. The knife in the fishing kit is probably the best tool for what I want to do. I fetch it and for a moment stare at the wood, planning out what I’m going to do.
With the fire blazing at my back, I sit cross legged on the floor, the door propped up against the sofa. I run the tip of the blade over the wood. The wood is damp and soft and scores easily. A smile flits across my face and I start in earnest, mapping out what I want to do, then going back and chiselling out the letters and design. By mid-afternoon, I’m done. I know I’ve probably lost much of the driftwood blown in from yesterday’s storm, but it’s been worth it.
I sit back and admire what I’ve done, reading what I’ve etched into the wood.
February 11th 1992 – April 3rd 2012
You died a hero. I miss you every day.
May 25th 2012
You only took a few breaths,
but made an impression to last a lifetime.
There’s only a glow of sun on the horizon when I dig out the hammer from the toolkit and take the door up behind the cottage. I decide to put it halfway up the hill, where it should avoid the worst of the weather. Using the claw side of the hammer, I dig down. By the time I hammer the half-door into place, any hint of the sun has gone and I am in complete darkness.
I kneel in front of my little memorial, thinking of Chris and Gemma. The wind lashes at me, and I concede defeat to the elements, heading back to the warmth of the cottage.
Only about four weeks to go. My bump isn’t huge, but I put that down to not eating enough. Thankfully, there was a pile of supplies on the pier this morning. I wonder if Ian comes up to see if I’ve had the baby yet? Does he peer through the windows, listening for the cries of an infant?
Only about three weeks to go. I’m terrified I’ll have to go through this alone.