Authors: Lydia Arcayne
by Lydia Arcayne
Copyright © 2015 by Lydia Arcayne
Cover Design by Lydia Arcayne
Cover image from depositphotos.com
Book design by Lydia Arcayne
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
First Published: September 2015
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As he dragged the last of his luggage from the boat ashore, he stood up and surveyed his surroundings. It had been a couple of years now since Guy had last visited the family cabin. It was situated in a deep bay filled with tiny islands. Most of them had summer cabins of various sizes, ranging from mini mansions, to little huts. The Murtagh's cabin, was family sized, 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen and one tiny bathroom, the large porch and decent sized free land surrounding the cabin, made up for any claustrophobic feelings inside. Growing up he and his two siblings had spent every summer here, helping his folks patch up the area after winter storms, fishing with dad and generally having a lot of fun. The nearest island was about twenty miles away, fifteen minutes by boat, but he didn't think any of the families he had grown up with owned them anymore, folks sold in the boom times to investors and holiday home companies. His parents were both gone now, his father passing away this time last year. The house had been left to Guy and his siblings, but they were all busy with their families and kids. He planned to spend the whole summer there, his brother promised to visit with his family in August. His sister lived on an army base in the South, they didn't get to travel much, so he wasn't going to hold his breath on them visiting this year.
When he got into the cabin the first thing he did was open all the windows. The cabin was two floors, with two bedrooms on the upper floor. He began taking the dust sheets off the furniture and then put all his belongings in the room upstairs that had been the boys room. Even though it was larger, he couldn’t face using his parents room as his own, yet He lay on his sleeping bag on his bed and looked about the place. There were posters from Star Wars and Duran Duran. The age difference was only one year between each sibling, which now as a grown up, he realised was crazy. His mom had three young kids all at the same time for a good seven years, but they had been pretty close to each other, they looked out for one another and if one kid learned something cool, they would quickly teach the others, like where babies came from. He chuckled as he remembered his brother John, the eldest of them coming in when he was nine years old, Guy, who was the youngest was only around six years old and he told him, that "babies came from the mans peepee, it’s a tiny baby and he puts it into the woman’s peepee and then it grows in her belly". For a few years Guy was terrified that there were babies coming out every time he peed, until his mom told him this was NOT true and then filled him in on all the gory details.
There were framed photos filling the cabin with memories of many years of fun at the cabin, Guy looked at them fondly. Especially the one’s with his parents in. They had been a very happy couple, having all the kids leave the house in such a short space of time had been great for them. They rebuilt their relationship, taking long vacations abroad, eventually selling the house and buying an R.V and travelling the American continent. They had had to return and move in with John when dad had taken ill. Dad, Jack, had to have gallbladder surgery. They treated it and he did well, recovering and then going back out on the road. Not long after that, Guy's mother, Tracey had suffered a heart attack, she never recovered and died from pneumonia in the hospital a few months later. Jack had taken it very hard, he moved around from son to son, the only one not willing to take him was his sister Lucy, she had this stubborn notion it was her fathers fault their mother got sick, as she had been under so much stress from Jacks surgery, that nobody had paid attention to her health. She wouldn't listen to reason and slowly left herself out of family calls and meetings. Guy had let his father move in with him in his place in Virginia. It was a one bedroom house, but he let his dad have his room. It made more sense, Guy spent most of his time staying up late on his computer in the office area anyway. His father had spent nine months living with him. They had enjoyed their time together and John would invite them over for dinner, or bring dinner over to them occasionally.
It was the week before they were planning on going out to the island last spring, that Jack had suddenly taken ill again. This time it was his breathing. The doctors found cancer and it had spread to his lungs and his liver. They did not give him long to live. He passed a week later in his sleep, with all his children beside him, having made up with Lucy shortly before he died. Guy was so happy his sister was back in the fold, it hadn't felt right knowing she was out there, but just not talking to them.
The funeral was brief, just like dad had asked, no long speeches about him from anybody, just a reading of a poem that he and their mother, his wife Tracey had loved. Then he was cremated and placed in the tomb alongside his wife. The siblings had said their goodbyes and promises were made of Thanksgiving dinners and shared Christmas's, but none of them evolved later that year.
Jack took one last thing from his bags before he made his way into the kitchen. It was a small black box, with Jack and Tracey written on it. He was to spread some of their ashes off the shore of the island on midsummers eve, at their bequest.
He had taken food and other supplies with him, but decided to leave all that until tomorrow to sort out. All his reminiscing had tired him out. He found a bottle of scotch in the cupboard his father always kept around, poured himself two fingers and stepped out onto the porch. The sun was going down and there was a chill to the air. The tide was lapping around the island, he could see his boat bobbing up and down where it was tied to the dock, about sixty meters from the cabin. This is where you are going to be stuck for the next few months Guy, he thought to himself. Other then heading to the mainland for supplies, it was going to be just him and his brain. He knocked back the last bit of his drink and headed up to his bedroom. He was too tired to wash, or change his clothes, so he stripped off and got into the sleeping bag and was out like a light.
After a brief moment of confusion as to where he was upon awaking, unzipped his bag and walked to the window to see what the day was like. It was a misty morning, rolling up from the sea and almost bordering the island all around him. He grabbed some clothes and his toiletry bag and went to the bathroom downstairs. After his shower he felt refreshed and began to take all the food and other pantry supplies and put them away. He made himself some coffee and some toast with butter and some rhubarb jam he found in the pantry, it was still good. He took his breakfast at the dining table in the living room, the kitchen was too small for one. He realised he couldn't check his mail or the news yet, as he hadn't hooked up the new router, so he grabbed the radio and turned that on instead. Local weather reports were good for the next few days, sea mist at first but then brightening up by afternoon, some clouds, but dry. Good he thought to himself, that meant he could get to clearing some of the mess around outside.
By midday, the temperature had rocketed to a high of 8c, he didn't mind, the hard work of clearing storm debris had kept him warm all day. He had cleared all of the left side and back of the island, he would leave the right until after lunch, as that area got most of the debris from the trees on that side of the garden. He made himself some ramen and had a banana and another coffee, then hooked up the router before heading back out again. He was thinking of what to do for dinner when he heard a noise. It was coming from just outside the cabin. He walked outside expecting to maybe see a boat pulling up to the shore, but what he saw was a seal pup! He slowly approached it and the pup made a loud sound, almost like a cow. He walked around the cabin, inspecting the rushes and under the porch, to see if the mother had washed up alongside its pup. He was disheartened when he discovered the mother down by his boat, she had pulled herself half onto the land but the wound on her body was too deep, a huge gouge in her underside, meaning she had bled out. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind of what to do first. Bury the seal or feed the pup? Call the police to tell them somebody was joyriding around and killed a seal, or call the rescue centre and have somebody come out. He decided to call the rescue centre. They could give him advice on what to do next. He had known about the rescue centre due to a sign up at the offices of the boat shop. They advertise that you can visit and look at their various rescue animals healing before being let back out into the wild. They rescued sea animals, birds, but any animal not typically treated by the vet and needing time to heal.
He called the centre and told them he had found the seal pup, after explaining that the mother was dead, the woman on the end of the line told him to haul the carcass farther out in the sea. That would keep any predators away. She said the quickest they could send somebody out to pick up the pup was tomorrow evening. He could just leave the pup outside but if he had any fresh fish around to just leave that nearby to the animal. It would be best not to get too close to the pup as the less contact with humans the better. He went to the shed at the side of the cabin and found a large rope. He tied it around the seals mother's large belly and pushed her into the water. He retrieved his fishing gear and headed out in the direction of the open sea. When he got about thirty minutes out, he cut the rope and watched as the carcass floated off, then sank down into the ocean.
He sailed back towards his island and then stopped. Taking out his fishing rod and setting up the bait on his line, he cast off. Over about two and a half hours he caught about a dozen fish, storing them in the ice box, he returned home, hoping the pup was okay.
As he tied up the boat and gathered the ice box and fishing supplies he heard the pup again. It didn't sound distressed as such, but was drawing attention to itself, he guessed, calling out to its mother. He put the fishing supplies back in the shed and walked onto the porch. There were two wooden steps up the porch and the pup was right at the bottom of them. He, or it could be a she, was just lying there with its head popping up and down like it was looking for something. Guy reached into the ice box and pulled out a fish. The seal took notice of this and began almost jumping, or for a seal what jumping would be like. He bent forward and was going to put the fish to the side of the seal, but the seal lunged forward and took it straight in its mouth. Guy stumbled backwards and almost crashed into the porch swing. Gathering himself he stood up and laughed at what the seal had done. The pup was finished, so he took out another fish and approached it in the same way, and again the seal lunged forward and ate straight from his hands.
"Okay," he said to the pup, "you are fed now, so it's time for me to get my dinner. I've had quite an adventurous evening and I have to go in now. I haven't even finished what I wanted to get done for today, let alone started to work yet!"
Great, he thought to himself, I'm talking to a seal.
"So, I'm going in now and you have to stay out here, the nice lady on the phone says so. She will come by tomorrow and take you to a lovely place that is probably filled with lots of seals that will teach you how to be a good seal too."
The pup just watched him.
"I'm taking the fish in, but I'll give you one more before I go to bed tonight, I don't know how much you should get, but I don't think you are going to starve."
He shook his head at himself and went inside taking the ice box with him. He was so hungry, but was too tired to make anything big, so he grabbed a tin of soup and some bread and after heating up the soup on the stove, sat down at the table and devoured it all. He felt very content and satiated and at the same time, heard the seal call out again. Guy grabbed his laptop from the table and flopped onto the sofa. He scrolled through the news and weather, all looking well for the next week anyhow. After an hour of surfing, he went out to feed the seal pup once more before bed. The seal was very animated when he approached him, seeing the icebox in his hands had obviously sparked the memory of getting fed. He repeated the motions from earlier on and the seal grabbed the fish again. Guy said goodnight to the pup and went up to bed.