The Island Part Two
Crossing turbulent deep waters into the spooky world of Hell Island
The boat trip across from the main island, St Antoinette, to what I would come to call Hell Island, was uneventful.
The boat belonged to a family of boatmen who had served the needs of the island for decades.
If it wasn’t picking up passengers to transfer one of the other islands, it was out on a trip to the lighthouse where holidaymakers could see oily seals strewn out across the jagged sea washed rocks.
Sometimes the boat was used by the police on the main island to carry out surprise raids on the neighboring island pubs and bars to make sure that they were observing the law in terms of opening hours.
This was something of a waste of time since the boatman the police hired would immediately alert the pub owners he was on his way with the men in blue. By the time the police got there the pub was empty and closed
Onboard with me for the short run across the channel that ran between the islands, were a small group of no more than half a dozen other passengers. The sea was as turbulent as it could be which was prescient of matters to come. Fortunately I've never suffered from seasickness, though one or two of my fellow passengers looked a little queasy.
The boatman piloting us was accompanied by somebody who appeared to be a friend. They chatted the whole way, totally oblivious to the rest of us. There was a guy wearing working overalls and carrying a soft tool sack bulging with tools. Some big wrenches poked out of the top of the sack.
Then there was a very pretty, fair-haired, independent looking backpacker with her head buried in some sort of travel guide. And there was yet another worker only this time without tools. He had a rude boozers complexion and a permanently fixed smile, suggesting he didn’t have a care in the world. How little did I know at the time that the two workers would be dead within the next 24 hours. Even less did I know that I was seemingly next on the list to die!
The boat slowly crept up to the wooden jetty under half throttle and bumped gently against some big old rubber tyres. The barman’s friend leapt out and secured the boat to the pier with an old, well used rope.
Up on the pier stood a heavily bearded local farmhand who used a mini tractor and trailer for a taxi service. The island had no roads to speak of and so no cars. When it wasn’t hauling hay the tractor transferred passengers from the pier to either the local nearby inn or the five-star hotel on the other side of the island.
There was only one other person on the pier and he stood out for two reasons. One he was incredibly well dressed in an expensive looking Italian suit and tie, with Gucci shoes to match and Rayban sunglasses. He looked a million dollars, and who knows, maybe he was worth a million too. And as I edged past him I detected the distinct aroma of bitter almonds. It was not what I would call an attractive aroma.
It looked like this guy was waiting for somebody unknown to him to climb out of the boat. He seemed to be eyeing all of us as we walked along the short pier towards him. When everybody had passed him he simply turned heel and slowly followed us on to dry land. He was trying to appear not to look at us and making a very poor job of it.
After that, I just made my way to the inn where I was due to start work as a barman cum cellarman. As I stopped to enter the inn for the first time I looked back only to see Mr Bitter Almonds stood at a distance of a few hundred yards watching me. He had stopped just stopped where the pier was attached to terra firma. I paid it no mind and turned to push on the entrance door to the inn. And there blocking me was a heavily suntanned, brawny, handsome, giant of a man with a healthy shock of blond hair who would turn out to be my saviour.
“ Hi, are you our new barman? Welcome.” Kell said as he thrust out a giant reassuring paw to shake my hand. “ Stash your bag and I’ll show you around the island a little.” The next time I held that hand it was to literally save my life.
A split second later I got a very strong smell of bitter almonds wafting over my shoulder from behind. I turned to look, but all I could see was shrubbery. I gazed down the misty, leafy lane and noticed that the well dressed man had vanished into thin air in the space of one or two seconds.
Kell looked at me concerned. “ Are you ok?”
“Yeah, I just…….errr, it was nothing, just a little sea breeze I guess. Let’s go.” And inside we went. I was entering a little part of Hell island that was to become a safe haven, at least for the next twenty-four hours, maybe a little more if I got lucky.”
Geetika Sethi Terry Mansfield Tony Young, Jr. Britni Pepper Rebecca Stevens A. 🦋 Dr Mehmet Yildiz Dr John Rose Dr Ludovic Gros MD Dr Michael Heng Ruchi Thalwal Denise Larkin Matt Lillywhite Henery X (long) Concierge Jo-Anna~ Communications Connector Adiba Abid