Ch41: Stolen Feb 14th
By lisa h
This is it. Today is the day. I’m on the hill overlooking Bressey and Mainland. Ewan is tucked up in his baby carrier, only his face exposed. The weather is nice today – nice for Shetland, anyway. No rain, clear skies, and the wind is behaving. Even the rabbits are out, Humphrey and his harem bounce around, sniffing at the baby if I give them a chance. I can see Ian’s boat. It’s about halfway to Vanir. Somehow, today, Ewan and I are getting off this island.
Ewan stirs, making little noises that tell me feeding time is coming up. As if on cue, my milk comes in.
“Time to go back,” I say and get up. I’d like him to be fed and done before Ian arrives. I reckon I have just enough time. Ewan is a guzzler, he doesn’t mess about with his meals.
When Ian walks in the door, all smiles, his hands weighed down with bags of shopping, I’m buttoned back up and burping Ewan.
“How’s my little chap today?”
“He’s good. You know, considering.” I am having one last go at getting off the island in a nonviolent way.
Ian stops and turns around. “Considering what?”
I dab Ewan’s nose with his bib. “I think he’s coming down with a cold. I’m sure it’s nothing. You should pick up some baby paracetamol and olbas oil and maybe one of those syring thingys to get the gunk out of his nose.”
Ian puts the bags down and sits next to me on the sofa. “Do you think it’s something serious?”
I give a wave of my hand, dismissing his worry. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Like you said. Who really needs a doctor these days? Pick up some medical supplies for him and I’ll make sure he’s right as rain.”
Ian looks at me and I can see the doubt on his features. “What if it gets worse? Babies can go downhill so fast.”
I’m loving being able to manipulate him for once. “Just make sure you come back tomorrow with the things on the list.” I take a piece of paper from my back pocket. It’s the back of a wrapper from a tin of baked beans. I thrust it at him. “He’s been projectile vomiting as well. That’s new, but I know some babies just do that.”
“Projectile vomiting?” Ian holds the list out and reads it. I’ve added everything I can think of that might trigger worry, grip water for colic, baby ibuprofen, zinc cream, baby cough syrup, an ear thermometer and more. It’s a good thing Ian brought a baby book for me to read last week.
“Yes, he’s like that girl in The Exorcist. Plastered the wall earlier.” I nod at a damp patch on the wall. All I did was take a wet cloth and wipe it down. The most Ewan has brought back up is a bit of creamy spit. He’s not a puker so far.
“Really, it went that far?” He glances over to the wall and back to the sofa.
“Uh-huh,” I say, playing it cool, barely glancing over.
Ian doesn’t say anything for a moment, he looks between Ewan, me and the wall.
“It was probably something I ate, something that went through my milk.”
Ian starts emptying the bags. “You been at the crabs again? Don’t think I didn’t realise what you were up to.”
That surprises me. Has he cameras hidden in the cottage? If he does then he might know about the knife down the side of the sofa. In fact, I have weapons of various sorts hidden around the place. Doesn’t matter where it goes down between me and him, I’m prepared.
Before I can reply, he says, “You do know that if the seafood is off it’ll affect Ewan?”
He’s angry, standing by the counter and glaring at me.
I’ve had it. I can’t keep the pretence up any longer. How dare he judge me when he’s the one keeping a prisoner? “What the hell did you want me to do?” I yell at him. “With you not showing up for weeks and leaving me hungry, what choice did I have? I could starve or hunt for food. And in case you didn’t notice there’s not much choice on this island.”
I’m so angry. I’d wanted to hide it, surprise Ian with my fury, but it’s there, uncontrollable.
“All you had to do is say…”
“Like I said I wanted off this island? Like I said I wanted to go home? What more could I have said, Ian? Tell me? How else could I have asked?”
Ian paces up and down the room. Ewan wakes, he’s never heard me shout like this before. I hold him to my chest, but the cries start. I rock the baby, shushing and staring at Ian with narrowed eyes.
“It’s not my fault, you know. It just happened.”
“What just happened?” I ask, my voice low, my tone cold.
“Keeping you here.” He puts his hands through his hair. “I hadn’t meant to do any of it. Then you were here, and you stayed and if I’d let you off you’d have gone to the police.”
“I told you I wouldn’t. I told you I’d disappear. Hell, I don’t even know your last name, Ian. How could I even implicate you?”
Ewan squalls and I try putting him against my shoulder.
“And you think just anyone owns an island? They’d identify me as soon as you said you were on Vanir.” Ian slams his hands down on the back of the sofa. He takes a steadying breath and says, “Once I knew you were pregnant, I realised I’d have a child, an heir. I hadn’t realised how much I wanted that.”
I stare at him, boggle-eyed. “And what about me? You have your son now, what becomes of me?”
Ian backs off, his head tilted as he stares at me. “Well, there’s not much choice there, now is there?”
Time slows as Ian lunges at me. I manage to duck his fist and he grabs at my hair, catching a clump and ripping it free. I fall to the ground, protecting Ewan as I land and before I’ve stopped moving, my hand is under the cushion and pulling the knife out.
There’s a thud to the side of my head. Pain reverberates around my skull and tiny stars threaten to fill my vision. I tumble onto my side, cradling Ewan. Ian lands on top of me, grabbing at the baby. I hold on, but I can feel Ewan’s tiny body being stretched between the two of us. Ian gives one last tug, and I have to let go or risk breaking him, and suddenly the baby slips free from my grasp.
“No!” I scream, jumping up.
Ian makes for the door and I swipe low with the knife, catching his thighs. Blood erupts and Ian staggers then falls against the door. Ewan goes flying and I go after him, gathering him up as he hits the floor by the bathroom.
“Leave us alone!” I scream, waving my knife in the air.
Ewan screams with me, his cries filling the cottage. Ian joins in with a war cry. He grabs at my knife and I stab at his hands. Blood seems to be everywhere now, all I can see is red. I’ve got one arm around Ewan and the other brandishing the knife, Ian grabs at my wrist and twists hard. There’s this horrible cracking noise and pain shoots up my arm. The knife drops and then he has it.
Ian thrusts at me, catching me on the ribs. He stabs again, getting me in the stomach. Then again and again. Ewan is wrenched from my arms again and I’ve no power to stop him.
“Please, don’t. He’s all I’ve got!”
Ian gazes down at me, Ewan screeching in his arms. He snatches up the baby’s coat and runs from the cottage. Blood is pouring from me. I manage to grab the blanket from the sofa and press it to my stomach before darkness takes me.