Footprints in the Sea Vol 3 52

Footprints in the Sea Volume 3
Chapter 52

The Enchanted Island
By
Frances Penwiddy

Copyright©Frances Penwiddy 2015

The characters in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Footprints in the Sea is not suitable reading material for minors.

The Chapter numbers of Vol 3 continue from where Volume 2 ended. If you have not read Volumes 1 and 2, it is recommended that you do so before starting Volume 3.


Footprints in the Sea Volume 3

Chapter 52

Martin came down from the bridge, “Captain Wellington’s compliments and Aurora is asking for permission to moor on the other side of the jetty.”

I smiled at him, “At least he’s not asking me to do it. Tell him yes but don’t hit anything.”

“Captain Wellington has already sent him a message reminding him you did it without bow and stern thrusters.”

“Does Aurora have them, that’s cheating. Shall I order him to do it without using them?”

Martin shook his head, “He might hit Wanderer and dent the hull or demolish the new jetty.” He grinned and turned away but Liz stopped him, “Was Charlie really in charge when we docked?”

“Of course, there’s nobody else who knows the lagoon well enough except Commander Devonshire and he couldn’t be spared from the engine room.”

He went off and Penny asked, “Can I do it next time?”

“No, you’re not tall enough for the captain’s chair.” I got up, “I’m going over to the island, there’s something I want to do and Penny, go and get ready to come with me and wear flat shoes.” I looked down at my skirt, I’ll change as well, this skirt and petticoat got in the way a bit when I was conning the ship,” I grinned at them, “I’m wearing flats on board from now on.” I looked at David, “If you have a word with Byron, he’ll tell you when it’ll be okay for everybody to go ashore. They’re unloading the cargo for this side and the day after tomorrow Wanderer will be going over to the south side with their stuff so the ship’s going to be noisy for most of the afternoon. There’s beach loungers up in the cave if you want them, I’ll only be an hour but I need to show Penny something, Will knows about it.”

I went down to our cabin and changed into an A line skirt and collected Penny, “We have to go up to the bridge first and get permission to go to the island and we’ll need a radio so they can get hold of us if there’s a need.” I used the lift and when we arrived at the bridge I told Penny to wait whilst I went in. “Byron, do you have a moment?”

“Yes, are you offering to help to unload the ship?”

“No thank you, I’m not strong enough to carry the crates. First can Penny come onto the bridge, she’s never seen a ship’s bridge before?” We turned to look at her and she was standing where I had left her, her mouth open and looking around her with eyes on stalks. Byron chuckled, “Yes ask her to come over.”

“Penny,” I called and when she looked I waved her over, “Come over here and don’t touch anything,” and almost on tip toe she walked over. “Penny, this is Captain Wellington, I know you’ve spoken to him in the saloon but this is him in his official capacity, the Master of Pacific Wanderer.” For a moment I thought she was going to salute him but he held out his hand, “Welcome to the bridge, Penny.”

“Yes, thank you, isn’t it exciting, all these machines, dials and telephones and so many people. What are they all doing?”
“Nothing at the moment,” I answered, “I generally have to come up here and do it for them.”

“And you was in charge of all this? It’s scary just standing here.”

“Much the same as rowing a boat with an engine in it. Captain, I would like permission for Penny and I to leave the ship and go over to the island for an hour.”

“I’ll need to know where you’re going.”

“We’ll be about three hundred metres up the path that runs off the cave track. There’s a small glade up there I want to show Penny and then I’ll take her down to the house and then back here. Will knows exactly where we’ll be and I’ll borrow one of the two-way radios so we are in touch but we need to go alone.”

“I would rather send somebody with you. Or you’ll need you to carry a sidearm.”

“You’re as bad as Andy Bryant and Harry Fellow’s but okay I’ll take a pistol in case we meet a boar or snake.”

He nodded, “Okay but stay in touch and be careful around the cave, we’ll be unloading your goods and storing some of them there, the same applies to the house.”

“Thank you and I think the others will want to go onto the beach and David will be speaking to you about that. If you ask him to take them up to the area where the reef curves into the beach, to the left of where my house is, they will be out of your way there and most of them are familiar with the island.”

“Very good but stay in touch.” He turned to Martin, “Draw a pistol from the armoury and a two-way radio for Miss Broughton will you please Martin and walk her to the steps down to the jetty, she is returning to her island.”

I stepped of the jetty and took two steps forward, stooped down and picked up a handful of sand and watched it trickle through my fingers then I took Penny’s hand in mine and poured the last of the sand into it. “Here, put this in your bag wrapped in a tissue. It’s your first piece of my island and if you put it into a locket, when you’re old and wrinkly, you can look at it and remember the first day you landed here.”

“Did you keep some from the first day you landed here.”

“I did but it was an accident. On the first day I had to dip below the water to get our boat free and when I got back to Pacific Wanderer and took my clothes off to have a shower there was some in my knickers and I kept that. I kept Will as well because I discovered him that day.”

She smiled, “It’s very romantic, sort of comforting. I think you’re an exciting person and bringing the ship into the lagoon and being in charge of the bridge was awesome.” She looked back towards Wanderer, “Look, from here she looks really huge.”

We reached the steps and climbed up onto the lawn and Penny stopped, “There’s a house, a large house, who lives there?”

“Me or at least I will in a few days’ time.”

“That’s huge as well, was it here when you arrived.”

“No, just a few remains, the fireplace and chimney. The navy rebuilt everything else for us so that it was hurricane proof.”

“Is this what we’ve come to see.”

“Not the main thing but we’ll come back and I’ll show you around when we’ve done what I came here to do and that’s introduce you to a friend of mine.”

"Is she a native girl or a warrior?”

I shook my head, nothing like that though I suppose she’s a native girl in a way. We had reached the corner of the house where the path to the cave began and I stopped and turned round to look back at the lagoon, “What do you think of the view?

“Oh, God, it’s beautiful, just like a postcard, a desert island and there’s even palm trees.”

“Coconuts, be careful when you walk under one, the coconuts have a tendency to fall off and brain people who are unwary.”

“Are they edible?”

“Of course, I’ve eaten loads and the milk inside is really sweet, we’ll collect some on the way back and you can try it. Come on we’ll have to get a move on and we started up the path. “The cave where all the goods are stored is at the end of the path and you can get back onto the beach from there but we’re going a different way this time, up the hill.”

We reached the path to the glade and turned onto it and started to climb. “Are there any wild animals up here?” Penny asked with just a little bit of concern in her voice.

Wild boar we think and I’ve seen a small deer and there are large lizards and snakes but nobody has been bitten yet. The animals are more scared of us than we are of them and vanish when we appear.”

“Hadn’t you better take the gun out of the holster just in case.”

I shook my head, “I can get to it quickly enough but I doubt we’ll need it. We reached the gap beneath the trees and I took Penny through it and stopped. Here we are, this is one of my special places, one of my special, special places. See up there at the far end where the fallen tree is laying, that’s where I finally discovered who I was and where I realised that I was going to stay like I was and always be a girl and never go back to being a boy.”

“It happened suddenly for you? I just sort of grew into it a little bit at a time.”

“Suddenly,” I agreed, “In less than a five days after I discovered I was shipwrecked. I was frightened to death but when I came here for the first time and sat in front of that fallen tree, everything suddenly became okay, it was a magical moment.”

“Where is the person you’ve come to meet?”

“Here somewhere I think.” I looked around and as far as I could into the trees and undergrowth but there was nothing there yet. “She may not appear today she may not want to meet you but don’t worry, she will want to see you soon.” I led her into the glade and up to the tree, “We’ll sit here for a few minutes and see if she comes. If I suddenly start talking to somebody and you can’t see them, don’t worry, that will be her but she may not want you to see her yet.”

“She can make herself invisible to people but allow you to see her?”

“Yes.”

“She won’t know me and will probably not reveal herself.”

I shook my head, “She’s already seen you and knows who you are. She visited me in England, in the house and went into your room whilst you were sleeping and saw you. I’ll explain it all later but there is no need to be frightened, she’s a friend.”

Penny nodded and started scanning the bottom of the glade, “There’s lots of butterflies under those trees, do you think she’s hiding behind them?”
I studied the spot that Penny was pointing to and sure enough, there must have been over a hundred butterflies, they were a lovely shade of mid blue but there was no sign of Penelopeia. “Do you have your mobile phone,” I asked.

“Are you going to phone her, I didn’t think phones worked out here in the middle of the ocean?”

I smiled, No, I’m not going to phone, I want you to take a picture of those butterflies, Emma will be interested in them.”

She rummaged in her bag and took a phone out, “It’s okay, the battery is charged but there’s no signal.” She held it up and started taking pictures, “Use the zoom, Penny as high as you can get it,” and as she busied herself taking shots I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye and looked a few metres to the right of where the butterflies were flirting with each other. A figure stepped out from the trees and started walking towards us. I heard Penny gasp, “Who is that?”

I stood up and waved, “The person I came to visit; a friend.” Penelopeia waved back and walked slowly forward the dappled light of the glade playing tricks with her gown, making it appear to move independently of her body. I felt Penny rise to her feet, “She’s beautiful, really, really beautiful and strange.”

“Strange?” I asked as I took a step forward preparing to greet my visitor.

“Her gown seems transparent and yet I can’t see her body beneath it, that too seems half transparent, I can see the trees beyond her. It’s almost as if she were a ghost.”

Penelopeia called softly, “Stay where you are, Charlotte. The afternoon is hot and it will be cooler beneath the trees.” I felt Penny’s hand on my arm and she slipped it between my arm and my body, “She is so really beautiful,” she whispered hugging my arm closer to herself, “Does she live here?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

Penelopeia reached us and stopped. For a moment she said nothing and looked at Penny, “And this is our lost child? Shall we sit.”
We lowered ourselves to the ground and sat in a circle of three so that each could see the others, “You have brought her here safely.”

“Only just, the last part was a trifle testing.”

“But you passed the test.” She was smiling and looking directly at me, “Passed it rather well I thought.”

“Was Artemis behind it?”

“No not at all but I do believe she may have asked Poseidon to assist you if his help was required but it seems it wasn’t, you proved yourself capable.”

“I’m not so sure of that, I had a helmsman and others who assisted me, who corrected my errors before I dashed the ship on the reef or ended up driving her onto the beach.”

“But it was your orders they were following and here you are visiting me and keeping your promise,”
she turned towards Penny. “And you are Penny, the Penny who came to Charlotte and asked for help?”

Penny was looking at her open mouthed, “You know my name, you know things were bad for me, you know I went to Charlotte’s house and asked her for help, you know all about it?” There was no fear in her voice, a faint touch of awe but no fear, “How do you know so much about me? Who are you?”

“Charlotte’s friend and I was asked to do what I could when you first cried out for help so I guided you towards Charlotte’s home.”

“Are you an Angel?”

Penelopeia smiled, “Not an Angel, simply a mortal woman like you who once needed help to find the strength to wait a long, long time for her husband to return to her.”

“You have a string of good grades in your GCSE’s, Penny,” I said, “You must have learned something of Ancient Greece, Odysseus and Penelopeia, Homer?”

Penny nodded, Some. I didn’t read all of it but I was taught something of what happened to Odysseus and of his trials and adventures when he was trying to find his way back to his wife.” She returned her attention to Penelopeia. “He was very brave and even more determined to return and if you are Penelopeia, I can understand why. But you said you are mortal and the Battle of Troy was thousands of years ago and happened in a world of Gods and fabled heroes and heroines and strange monsters?”

“A mystical world that perhaps only exists within the minds of men?”
Penelopeia held out her hand, “Take it and feel me.” She waited until Penny reached out and took her hands in her own. “Do I feel warm, can you feel my heart beating through the veins in my arms, can you hear my voice?”

“Yes, yes I can but those stories from Ancient Greece, the great battles, the tricks, the weird things that happened to people, Jason, Hercules, Medusa, some mortal some immortal, Gods and people all mixed up, sometimes fighting sometimes helping each other. I always thought things like that happened in Heaven or some magical place, a place where fairies, monsters and Angels lived?”

“And so they do but where do you think that place is?”

“Well up there somewhere I suppose,” she let go of Penelopeia’s hand and pointed towards the sky,” In the sky, no above the sky, out in space, I don’t know really know. I suppose there must be somewhere because I think I still believe a little bit that Father Christmas is real because I still get presents but sometimes they are given to me when it’s not Christmas. Like the time Charlotte took me shopping and bought me all those clothes and makeup, perfume and let me drive her posh car, the Bentley.” She smiled, “Silly isn’t it, a girl of my age still believing in Father Christmas and fairies and monsters that hide under the bed. But I do have an excuse because when bad things have happened to me, there has always been somebody there to help me, first Clementine and then Charlotte and they chased my demons away.”

“It’s not silly,” I said, trying to hold back the tears, “I believe in Father Christmas as well and Penelopeia is here and she’s real enough at the moment.”

Penelopeia stood up and we followed her example, “I must go now, Charlotte but I will be near when you need me and so will the others that I promised. You will not have to call for us, we’ll be watching all the time and will know when we are needed.” She turned to Penny, “We share the same name and if I am beautiful then you too share that with me. Take heed of what Charlotte tells you and let her be your guide,” She held her hand out, “Prepare your camera and point it to my hand,” and when Penny did as she was asked, Penelopeia opened her fist and there in the centre was one of the butterflies and Penny’s camera started clicking. Penelopeia smiled and looked at me, “We’ll always be close and Poseidon was near but did nothing, he had no need, you really did bring your ship into safe harbour…” and she faded away.

I looked at Penny but she was still taking pictures of the butterfly and hadn’t even noticed that the hand holding it had vanished. After a few seconds the butterfly flew off to join it’s friends who were still dancing amongst the trees and she looked up and then around and asked, “Where’s Penelopeia?”

“Gone home, she lives in the Mediterranean. Come on, we have to see the house and if we dally any longer we won’t have time before Byron sends out a search party. Tomorrow, if we have time, I’ll take you up to the cave and then show you the waterfall but that depends on what other urgent work I have to do.”

“This glade is enchanted.”

“Yes, I told you, it’s where I came to terms with who I am and my decision to go on and be the real me,” we started to walk towards the path down the hill, “Penny, say nothing of this to the others, they will think we’re a pair of crazies and blame it on our being intersexed or something like that.”

“Will it make them hate us or accuse us of being witches like some other people would?”

“No, definitely not, of that I am sure. They are real friends, they know about us and have accepted us and we’re as much a part of the group as they are but asking them to believe we can see and speak to people who lived thousands of years ago is asking a lot.” I paused and thought about that and remembered Faye and her insistence on aiming to miss when she was hunting with her father. Emma and Liz and there excitement and wonder whenever they found something new, something a little unique so perhaps they might believe us, might even have little spirits of their own they spoke to when they were touching a flower or stroking a fury animal. The land of Magic, ancient gods and even demons existed in the minds of children and was very real, who was to say there weren’t millions of people who still believed a little of it and just shrugged it off as superstition, wishful thinking. Mankind’s belief in the hereafter was a part of it and most people believed that we went on to somewhere else after we died, “Perhaps one day I’ll mention it to them but until then, Penny, it’s our secret.”

Penny nodded, “Our secret but I like her, I like what happened and I hope this is not a dream. I hope that there are not hallucinogenic plants in the glade that fill the air with pollen or something that makes us have dreams like that. I really would like to believe that the land of magic, the land of heaven, the land of beautiful women and handsome men was real.”

I smiled, “It is, trust me. Will and I have places that are secret. Places where only we know about, places where we are alone.”

“When you are making love?”

I smiled and nodded, “Places where our love-making takes us and don’t you speak about that either, that is our secret.”

“Of course I won’t but I would like you to tell me how I can take Morris and I there.”

I laughed then, a really happy laugh, “If you really are in love and he loves you back, you’ll find the places without any help from me.” I took her hand and gave it a squeeze, “You’ve made up your mind about him then?”

“Yes and I’m pretty sure he feels the same about me but he’s never taken liberties, you know what I mean, never tried to force me to let him…”

“Make love before you feel you’re ready?”

“Yes. The man I lived with and I thought I loved did push me and said it was the only way we could prove we loved each other so I let him and it didn’t work. I’ve often lost boyfriends because I wouldn’t do it straight away and they just went away but with Morris its different, more gentle and when he thinks I am getting nervous, he sort of slows down or stops.”
“Take your time and when that time does arrive you’ll both know and if you ever want to talk about it then do. Speak to me or Gwyneth, she helped me but it still took a while before Will and I went to bed together but it was terrific when we did.”

“Which was best, before your operation or after?”

I thought about that for a moment, “After I think, it’s gentle most of the time but still exciting and lasts much longer but before was good as well. I think that for us it was as much a mental thing as well as physical, we seem to join together, merge with each other’s bodies, become one person and fly away to our secret places.”

“It sounds so romantic.”

“It is and I’m going to have to stop talking about it or I’ll leave you here and go rushing back to Wanderer and tear his clothes of.”

She giggled. “I’ll do the same with Morris.”

We arrived at the end of the path and turned towards the house and I stopped to let Penny admire the setting again. I gave her a minute and then took her to the front porch, climbed the steps and we went into the house, into the sitting room, “That arch leads to a passage and the bedrooms are on the right hand side, then there’s a bath, shower and loo and a door on the left that goes into a small hall where the larder and utility room are and there’s another door that leads into the kitchen.
“Over there is my office and the arch beside the fire place leads again into the kitchen, another larder and a door out to the rear garden. In fact there’s a door to the outside of the house on every side so if there is a big storm, tsunami, volcanic eruption or Zeus tries to hit us with a thunderbolt, it doesn’t matter where you are, there’s a quick way out and a chance to run for the cave. Other than that, it’s very quiet apart from the seagulls, albatrosses, song birds and for all I know parrots and penguins."

“And all this bit is the sitting room!”

“All of it, Gwyneth reckons it’s large enough for a ball or state dinner.”

“She’s right, is that what you’re going to use it for?”

“No, we’re having a building put up when we need it to do all the government work. I don’t want it here because I’d have to spend all my time telling the children to be quiet and I’m not prepared to do that, it’s going to be their home when they arrive.” I took her through to the kitchen and once again she just stood and stared, “All this is just the kitchen? Big isn’t it. Look at the cooker it has six rings and two ovens and there’s two sinks side by side and the cupboards and work areas, my goodness, it’s larger than the whole of Clementine’s flat, almost as big as the kitchen in your other house.”

“I like space,” I led her over to the French doors that led out to the back garden and we went out.

“It’s beautiful and the size of the lawn and all the flowers, what a lovely view and you could have garden parties out here.”

“You see those trees in the distance?”

“Yes.”

“That’s the end of the garden, the trees are fruit trees and the bit in front is the midden and between the midden and the far flower beds is the kitchen garden.”

“How are you going to look after it all?”

“Everybody will pitch in and take some of the fruit and vegetables as pay. There’s far more than we’ll need.” My radio started ringing and I lifted it, “Countess Charlotte.”

It was Will, “The others are on the beach down by the reef and Wanderer is almost unloaded but the stuff is still being moved up to the cave and then our furniture is being delivered to the house. Do you want to leave it to me to organise where the furniture is placed?”

“I labelled everything including the packing cases, just put it in the rooms indicated.”

“Okay, what about you, where are you going?”

“I’ll join the others near the reef and lounge around for a while.”

“Okay, I’ll come over when we’ve finished and carry you back to the ship, should I bring Morris to carry Penny?”

“Of course.”

He chuckled, “Did you meet who you went to see.”

“Yes, she appeared and even Penny met her, she was even more beautiful in the sunlight than she was in the house. I’ll tell you about it later.”

“Okay, I’ll get back to work. Bye, I love you.”

“You probably do but I’ve gone off you a bit, you conspired with Harry Fellows, Andy Bryant and Byron Wellington probably to make me take command of the ship.”

“Of course I did, I won a good few dollars as well but I’ll tell you about that later. Bye again.”

[email protected]

Footprints in the Sea Vol 3 is now published on Kindle Ebooks.
Vol 4 will follow in November.

I will be posting a little more of Vol 3 here but I cannot publish the full volume because it contravenes the Kindle terms.
I mentioned in my blog that some of my work under my other name is being moved to my Frances Penwiddy Amazon Author’s Page.
I drew attention to it because they are not TG books and when I add them I will give you notice so that you don’t purchase one thinking it may be TG. They will not of course be sampled or teased here other than to mention the name.
The first of these books will probably be transferred and authored under Frances Penwiddy on or soon after the 9th August 2017and is entitled Pagan Dawn and is a light comedy.



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