John spoke to Mary on the pending of their move to a new home. As they talked over tea, the island was the main subject. They spoke of the hard work that lay ahead. Yes, all personal possessions would be moved, but displacement is something you hope not to do often. John kept his excitement under wraps, but underneath he was like a kid with a new toy; of course he didn't want that to be seen. He remembered back when he had first seen the island. The intrigue, the beauty, knowing that when he stepped out of the boat over a year ago he had to possess this place and that was so, so what? It was like he was being drawn by some imaginary force.
"John, are you okay?" Mary's words brought him back from his reverie.
"Sorry, daydreaming again." Will you join me when I check out the new house?" Arrangements had already been made for Tony to meet him there Friday morning. Getting up to fill their cups she said yes.
David watched with amazement as the various pieces of furniture and fabrics of every colour were brought up to the house. He was so excited his mind was racing. This was the day he had looked forward to for so long... actually prayed for so many times. The doubts were still there, but he kept them at the back of his mind. He wanted to laugh and enjoy the moment. Whatever happens after this didn't really matter; now he was having fun, he had something to laugh about, to enjoy. This was a joy he'd never felt or had before, not in this house... not any time... dead or alive.
Somewhere in the corner of the universe sat a man who watched the scene unfold before him. A man who knew the hardships the boy had gone through. David had been a light, a diamond that shone as bright as any star. Wherever he stood, he shone, wherever he went, laughter followed. The heart swelled with his presence. He saw man, woman, and child get engrossed in a boy who knew no wrong. Yet he took the life he had been given. In the eyes of God suicide is a sin. But even the strongest person amongst us can take only so much punishment. And that would be for an adult, but David was and is just a child. To be stripped of your dignity and all you hold sacred is a travesty. But to be a child and have your life taken away before death is a fear no one should have or go through. The man knew David would now get a place to belong, live, and be cherished for what he is... a child.
John watched from the house as the newly acquired belongings started walking up the path, or at least that's what it seemed. As with a colony of ants they came up the path, bouncing up and down as they walked to and inside the house. He and Mary had been at the house since early that morning. Mary did her level best to keep everyone's thirst at bay, but with a dozen or so workers, male and female, it seemed a thankless task, as the heat and dehydration wouldn't be far behind.
The day had seen streams of adults beckon this once desolate place. The day finally gone, John lay in bed, wondering if this was once how this house once rang with the sounds of people. He'd heard from Jack that its owner was a cruel man. He had one child Jack had said, but it seemed the child could not live with the cruelty of his father; was David his name?
Again the man smiled as he watched and felt the excitement build. David was being given the means to survive as he now wished for his life to return. During his fateful final hours David seemed to lack any fear of what might happen, but as the hours slipped by David got a fear of not spending his time with the people he loved. The workers on the island were more of a family than his kin-sake. How could he have been treated so badly without cause.
David looked up and saw the light. He knew his second father would now speak to him with love and concern. He was taken from his abode and sat beside the man. "Father has my time come?"
"I cannot answer that now, my son, that will be revealed to you in time. I know you are unsure, but take it as you have taken everything else that has been put before you. I know you and your soul is true.
"Thank you, Father."
"My son, take heart as you have always with your resolve and courage. What thou seek, I bestow upon you. Go with my blessings, my angels will be with you." With that, he left the light and stood where the shore meets the ocean. He was happy. Night could surely be day with the smile he now possessed.
At sun up, Mary was in the kitchen making breakfast. After yesterday's rush, it was now possible to come down from the high and relax. She took a sip of her tea looking around, she saw silence and contentment. The previous home she had worked within for John was a far cry from this one - this one could only be described as heaven. John's walking into the kitchen startled her.
"Good morning, Mary. At what ungodly hour did you rise from your slumber?"
"We women can't stay in bed all day as if we had no care in the world." Mary laughed.
Breakfast seemed a long time ago. All morning was spent on the phone. Propane and diesel were all on the shopping list. Both needed a supplier and both needed to be delivered on a regular basis. Missing lunch he headed out to the fields. Most was overgrown but could be cut back. He presumed that the island had been self sufficient and he didn't see why it couldn't be again. There were overgrown remnants of what were once fruit trees. True to thought, the island had nearly all the resources it needed. He again walked down to the shoreline. Peaceful. He turned to walk back home with a contented smile.
David had seen the lady pottering about in the house. He looked around the kitchen in thought. Amazement could only describe what he saw and the noises he heard. He stammered back as a light lit what looked like a bar with chairs round it. He watched the man drink his tea as what seemed a mighty breakfast was put in front of him. He followed the man as he walked around looking things over. A little perturbed, maybe excited as the man stopped near the fruit garden and stared back as if looking for something, but David was still invisible.
Two weeks had gone by and a routine had started to form. On the second day, he had surprised Mary with one of the cottages. He watched at all the different emotions she had... shock... surprise... smiles... tears, then finally a hug which followed her embarrassment at what she'd done. After a few chosen words her emotions changed back to a smile. Tomorrow new furnishings would arrive to fill out the cottage. The colony of ants would be back again bringing new furnishings. With some arguments and disagreements Mary was finally convinced that whatever was bought for her new home was my responsibility, being as I was her employer. Who said a man can't win an argument with a woman?
That morning it seemed that no one slept. At the crack of dawn the day began. Another morning spent tidying up and putting things in their rightful place, guided by Mary of course.
David watched at what was enfolding around him. From the smiles, to raised voices, to a look of defeat, then smiles again. This was new to David. All decisions had always been made by his father. His mother was told who made the decisions. He missed his mother, but again what was there to miss. She in a way was forced out like he was, only in a different way. Sometimes he felt disillusioned, sometimes depressed, but he never let those feelings win. He knew that at last he wasn't alone, if only he wasn't invisible...
It was now the weekend, which you could say was a surprise. All day Saturday both he and Mary had worked till the late hours to try and turn a house into a home - slowly but surely. Sunday was a day of rest... not likely. John decided to do some gardening. Walking toward what was once the fruit garden, David followed. Overgrown was definitely an understatement. This couldn't be done in a day or even a week, at least not by hand. John was glad he had hired a professional landscape gardener - after an hour he was dripping sweat.
"Mary, you're a life saver," he said as he looked up to see the woman coming with cold tea. He talked with Mary while he disposed of what was once a drink, then Mary left with the promise that sandwiches would follow for lunch.
David watched again as the man pulled, then raked the overgrown brush, pulling the excessive amounts of grass out to reveal the soil buried below the growth. John had already come to the conclusion that nature gave this place its beauty, so nature should be the one to continue its work. In certain spots he would take some control and keep things neat and manageable. He made sure the landscaper knew this also. As it's said, if it ain't broken, don't fix it.
David watched the man work carefully on the patch of ground, trying to keep in line with the land. As he came close to the trees he left it untouched. A little confused as to why, but non-the-less happy that he was not destroying it unnecessarily. He had seen this many times, working the land with the children that had lived and worked here. His heart sank when those thoughts returned and he realized how lonely he really was. That night in his corner of the world he prayed to God his father with nothing more than a heartfelt plea.
Quiet... an eerie silence... blackness intense... then candles flickering jumping to an imaginary tune. David walked around in the shadows of the house that seemed to come in and out of focus as the light jumped to a silent sound. The sound of the trees as their branches tapped as a composer and his baton. The grass and its bed mates rustled as the breeze caught. The sound of the night was like an orchestra in full tune playing a relaxing melody. David seemed in sensory overload as he slowly became entwined with the night while taking the path to the sea. He heard the mellowing tones as the waves seemed to bounce off the shoreline. A more relaxing sound you will never hear. Sitting down just under the tree line he felt a complete sense of peace. His head, his mind, his conscience drifted - transfixed in and out of a hypnotic state, being lifted up like a feather so gentle, so mild. A concert like state that could not be re-enacted on any stage or platform.
If the night was serene, the same could not be said for the day ahead. Daybreak slid in. Looking up, the clouds looked menacing. This was a normal occurrence at certain times of the year. Not knowing why, he just knew when the weather was going to turn. At that David's mood changed as grey as the clouds above.
David walked within the outline of the trees getting completely wet - if possible, but highly unlikely. It seemed a daring. Something he'd never done before. With a smirk he thought that now he could do such a dare as his father could do nothing against it. A little bit like a teenage dare you might say. Then the harsh reality came flooding back... constantly he had been shouted at or told off for one thing or another - for anything his father had seen as a fault in his precious son. Then he drifted. Precious son? Precious was his wealth... worthless was his son. "I AM NOT WORTHLESS," he shouted... if only he could be heard.
John gave a final stretch as he walked into the kitchen. "Morning, Mary." A cup of tea was put in front of him before he had time to ask.
A storm was blowing itself into oblivion he saw as he looked outside. John was now used to these storms kicking up every now and then, so he wasn't overly concerned. Tropical storms were something you had to live with in these parts. Some could only kick up a fuss, others let you know they meant business. Now hurricanes were an entirely different matter. With the tropical storms you only needed to make sure everything was secure. With a hurricane you checked and double checked that everything was in place and, if possible, bolted to the ground. That may be bit dramatic 'bolting to the floor', but if you've ever seen one at its worst then maybe it isn't so dramatic.
It looked like the storm was telling us what it thought. It seemed the day had already been mapped out, so after taking a book from the shelf he sat down and read till Mary came into the living room to announce lunch.
"Brrrrr," a shiver went through John that shook him momentarily.
"You okay, John?"
"Just a chill," came the reply. "Just a chill."
David walked under the trees now instinctively trying to stay dry. Slowly he walked, being protected somewhat from the rain that was beginning to pelt down. The wind was starting to blow. Anything big, small, adult, child, animal or insect would be running for cover. David had seen storms that pulled tree roots from the ground. He had even stood on the rocks while the wind sent branches and leaves sailing past him like paper. But somehow this was a strength he had never witnessed before. The waves were pounding the shore hitting everything in their path. Trees that were close to shore were uprooted and swallowed whole by the water that surrounded them.
John looked up from his book as another shiver went down his back. "Mary, close the upstairs shutters please." Looking concerned, she didn't ask, just ran upstairs closing them and doors alike. John ran around the house closing them downstairs. Mary came back into the living room, her apprehension obvious. "It's a feeling" he said. "Just a feeling." John went to the front door. As he turned the handle the door flew open knocking him hard to the floor. A deep cut opened above his eye. Mary ran to the door trying to close it with little success. John gathered his senses and jumped to his feet to help close the door, which was now swinging back and forth. Together they managed to close the door, but with great difficulty. John was in a daze. Mary led him to the couch to sit while she did something to the cut on his forehead. Placing a handkerchief on the wound she went to find some type of bandage. "Mary, put the kettle on." Typical Englishman.
David it seemed was fairing no better. He looked out toward the sea, seeing waves that dominated the skyline. He stood and watched as the waves hit the shore, each bigger than the previous one. A crash came to his ears, looking around he saw the roof on the second cottage collapse into itself. He looked in awe as the roof collapsed. The front wall started to move, swaying in motion with the wind, then the four walls disappeared as if playing 'hide and seek'. As he looked a large branch flew past his arm. He fell to the ground like a stone. Still not realising what had happened he looked up. This wasn't right. He couldn't think. As he tried to lift himself from the ground a pain as sharp as he could remember went though his whole body. Trying to raise up the pain in his arm really hurt. Using his other arm he scrambled to his feet, fear written all across his face. He ran for cover, this time his instinct was for the protection of the nearest cottage.
Inside the house John was thanking his lucky stars that he'd had the roof tiled. Any thatching would have already been a disaster, and by the sounds of this storm, lucky might be the right description.
Running as fast as his legs would carry him David reached the first cottage, fear inside him wouldn't let him close the door. As he looked out the door he could see the waves in the distance, as if peering over the trees. He screamed out loud when he saw the waves climb through the trees towards him.
Inside the house the shutters were clattering and knocking against the window frames. "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME?" John said when they heard the scream.
The wave hit David and threw him against the side wall inside the cottage, taking down the front wall and the right side of the building. Underwater he opened his eyes and all he could see were hundreds of colours, blurry colours. Then everything went black.
Throwing the door open, the wave entered the house. Both got hit with the force of the wave as it made its way thru the ground floor. After being literally floored, it took some time to get some of his senses back. Even though dazed, John peered around desperately trying to find Mary. Mary was lodged up against broken glass panelling that went up and over what was left of the front door. Wading over he could see she was unconscious. He dragged her through the water to the foot of the stairs, then with difficulty carried her up the stairs to one of the rear bedrooms. It seemed the water had not rose high enough to penetrate this level. He laid her on the bed lifting her arm to try and find a pulse. After a fearful moment he felt one. His panic left when he saw her chest rise and fall.
Remembering the scream, John made his way downstairs where he watched the water slowly recede through what was once the front door of the house. Seeing the devastation he took a sharp intake of breathe. Looking to the right he saw what looked like a young boy's body draped over the window of what was left of the first cottage. As he ran towards the boy he saw that two of the cottages were completely destroyed, the third one barely standing. "God in heaven..." was the first thought that went through his head. After checking for a pulse, he gave a loud sigh, picked the boy up and carried him to the house - again having to cope with the debris the water had left behind. Taking him up the stairs he laid the boy on the bed beside Mary, who was still unconscious. John looked up to the heavens with a thousand questions... all went unanswered.