The Island Part Nine
The footsteps and clicking noises got closer by the second. Suddenly they stopped right next to where Kell and I were taking cover behind some bushes.
“ And I told him, no Arthur, you are totally wrong, there’s a very big difference between a theory and a theorem……"
The clicking noises persisted, click, click, click…
“……….here, give me a lighter will you Richard, this bloody thing won’t light.”
“ I don’t know why you don’t just give up those filthy things, they’ll be the death of you, you know. And that’s not a theory or a theorem, that’s a stone-cold bloody fact Jacob.”
A soft glow appeared with the use of Richard’s fag lighter. For a brief moment, Kell’s face lit up a little. Fortunately, these two drunken science buffs were too pissed to notice anything.
“……And what did he say to that?”
“ He said fuck off you old fool, don’t you try to teach me, I wrote the bloody book.”
“Well he did, didn’t he?” Richard bellowed out loud, chuckling.
And with that they set off walking again, peeing themselves, laughing out loud as they went. Whisps of cigar smoke hung like miniature cloudlets in the hot summer air.
Kell stood up and tapped me on the shoulder. “ C’mon, let’s go, the coast is clear.”
We set off down the path towards the inn. We walked in silence. Within two minutes we arrived, happy to be off that dark track. There was always the possibility that the Arsey Kid was out looking for Kell to finish off what he had started, only this time with something more explosive. You could never know what somebody like that had stashed away at home. And as a very good friend of mine once told me, a hand grenade at home is just waiting to be used.
We stopped outside the inn main entrance under the soft glow of a weak streetlamp.
“ Right" said Kell “ I want to go into my room get cleaned up and I want to check up on the builder I put to bed earlier, see if he’s ok. And you?”
“I’m going to my room, but I’m not too sure I want to sleep there tonight Kell. There’s been some pretty weird shit happening around here. Got any ideas?”
“ Hey, I get you, me too huh, not sure if that Arsey Kid knows where my room is. Tell you what, let’s go do our stuff and meet back here in ten minutes, sound good?”
“ Yeah sure, sounds good to me Kell.”
I suddenly had an attack of gratitude towards Kell that I wanted to express.
“ Kell, thanks for everything man, looking out for me and all that, appreciated man, really.”
“ Shaddap, no thanks needed mate. You got my back and I’ve got yours. Today could have been a lot worse with those two goons who rammed my boat if you hadn’t given me the heads up on what they were planning.
“After your warning, I ventured out in my new boat no more than I knew I could comfortably swim back. I had been planning to go right out to the Queen Rock lighthouse where all those bloody daft oily seals flop on the rocks. That’s quite a way out, maybe five miles? Between here and there the water is well deep man. If they’d rammed me there, god knows if I would have made it back to dry land. You probs save my life huh. Thanks for that man. Ok, go, be back in ten.”
And with that, he went inside the inn. I set off for my room in the wooden staff accommodation hut next to the beer garden.
As I passed the garden out of the corner of my eye I saw that crow on the picket fence again. I quickened my pace a little to get to the hut door.
I walked along the short hallway and when I got to my room door I noticed it was ever so slightly ajar. I slowly eased it open and looked inside before stepping in. At a quick glance, all seemed ok. I stepped inside and almost immediately noticed three things. My bag was not where I’d left it and the contents were hanging half out. As I looked around again, I noticed the book ‘Beyond the Body’ was missing. And then I noticed that all too familiar aroma of bitter almonds.
I just grabbed my bag off the floor and stuffed things back inside as I hurriedly made my way out into the hall.
Suddenly I had to stop dead in my tracks. There was ghost girl blocking the hut doorway.
“Hello.” I blurted out. “ Errrr…..can I help you?”
“ You have to go, now.” She said emphatically.
“ Who are they, who are you….I mean what in god’s name is this all about? I’m just a frickin’ barman. I haven’t got anything. I haven’t done anything to anybody. Who are you? C’mon, what’s your name?"
“ Charlotte” she answered. “ my name is Charlotte Bingham. I want to help you. I don’t want what happened to me a long long time ago to happen to you. You have to go. Your life is in grave danger. Please, just go as fast as you can, run. Get out of here, get off this island, this evil place.”
For all of a minute, we just stared at each other. Then she broke the silence.
“ If you do manage to get off……” she nervously glanced around herself. “……I want you to do me a favour.”
Suddenly she thrust the cute teddy bear out in front of her.
“ Please take this with you to the mainland and look for my mum and dad. Tell them I’m sorry I didn’t listen to them about not going to that museum on my own when I was just a kid. Tell them I’m ok, please. They’re very old now. Tell them I’ll be here waiting for them. Give them this teddy bear and they’ll know it really is me you spoke with.”
I gingerly stepped forward to take the bear. One arm of the teddy bear slipped easily into my hand. For a few brief moments, we each held an arm of the teddy, like a gentle tug of war.
I felt connected to another world. I felt her energy passing through the teddy to me. I felt all of her deep sadness, her pain and suffering, coursing through my entire body. That poor little girl from all those years ago, somehow all grown up, here she was stood right in front of me. Connecting with me. Trying to save my life.
As I clung on to the teddy bear I bowed my head. Pictures began to appear like magic in my mind. I saw the museum of figureheads. I saw the young Charlotte happily skipping around, singing to herself a happy song. Then I saw mister bitter almonds appear. Charlotte stopped and became afraid, like she intuitively knew that there was something bad about mister bitter almonds. She turned and ran. Bitter almonds went after her.
Charlotte was running over to the nearby rocks. She slipped and fell. She'd broken her ankle. Bitter almonds caught up with her. She was on her back crying out in pain. Bitter almonds reached down and firmly placed his right hand around her throat and squeezed. He choked her to death.
Then I saw Charlotte's parents looking all around for her. They were crying out her name. They didn't know she couldn't hear them. And they couldn't find her. She was lost to them forever. Their sweet little angel was gone beyond help. And here she was, stood right in front of me. She tenderly let go of her beloved teddy bear. I clutched on to it as tight as I could. Charlotte spoke in a beautiful whisper.
" Forget the book they took, now you know anyway. You've seen it all. I'm so sorry you had to see that. Please, just go and look for my mum and dad. Tell them what I told you and what you saw. But please, break it to them softly. I love them still and don't want to see them upset for me. Tell them I'm ok. Thank you.
" You can go now. You'll be ok. I'll watch over you. Just be careful. Do not go to the Elysian Fields. It's too dangerous there for you. Just go now."
For that brief moment, I really did believe in lost souls becoming angels. Guardian angels, out to protect others from their own tragic demise.
Then in an instant she turned and ran out of the hut door and flew off god knows where.
All I could do was hold on to that cute teddy real tight and hang my head crying. After a couple of minutes, I lifted my tired head and went outside, tears running down my cheeks. I had seen with my own eyes the murder of a young child. It was all too much for me. I couldn't do anything to help her. I was so, so desperate to grab a hold of bitter almonds and strangle the bastard until he choked to death. It crossed my mind that I might still get that chance, if Kell was up for it.
Kell was already waiting by the inn door when I got there. He looked cleaner and fresher, yet I didn’t like the expression on his face.
“ What’s up, Kell?” I said, trying to conceal my own upset.
“ The builder I went to check on……he’s dead man. Dead."
I looked up to the fiery skies and just wanted to scream up to god…. God in heaven's name, stop this, please stop it now, make it all go away, please…..”
I dropped my head. Tears were running down both my and Kell’s cheeks. And it was far from over yet, very far from over indeed.