Footprints in the Sea Vol 3 53

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Footprints in the Sea Volume 3
Chapter 53
The Enchanted Island
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 53

When we arrived at the holiday beach, well that’s what it looked like with sun loungers and parasols dotted about and an assortment of human bodies lying on them and a couple of cool boxes strategically placed, Emma’s voice came out from beneath a mask of sun blocker, “We’ve brought a couple of loungers for you and there’s lemonade and white wine in the coolers, help yourselves.”

“Did you like the house Penny?” asked Gwyneth.

“It’s huge and the garden nearly reaches the horizon.”

“We’re all moving in there until our houses are built,” said Liz, “And we’re partying every night.”

“No you’re not, Geoff Roman told Will that he will have enough portacabins set up by the time Pacific Wanderer leaves for the science side of the island. You’ll have to make do with them but I will let you use my bathroom once a week as the portacabins only have shower units.” I went over to the folding table that held the glasses and poured Penny and I a glass of wine and sat on one of the loungers. “Did you bring any snack food?”
Gwyneth held up a large carrier bag, “Small Pasties, crisps, choc bars,” she peered inside, “And there’s still a couple of toffee crunchies left.”
“I’ll have a toffee crunchie please.”

Gwyneth rummaged around and tossed one to me, “Penny?”

Penny looked up from where she was fiddling with her phone, “Crisps please.” She took a sip of wine, opened the crisps and then went back to the phone, “That’s odd,” she got up and came over to me, “Look,” she whispered, “The picture I took of the butterfly that Penelopeia was holding,” she held out the phone and I looked at it, “What’s wrong it’s a lovely picture, show it to Emma.”

“No, look closer,” I did and looked at her again, “It’s perfect.”

“The butterfly was resting on Penelopeia’s palm and her hand isn’t in the picture and look,” she took the phone back and run her finger across the screen, “Look at this one, it was the last picture I took of the ones under the trees,” she flipped to the next picture, “And this is the one I took of Penelopeia when she first appeared,” she held the phone out, “There’s nobody in the picture, just the trees and bushes.”

I took it from her and studied the picture closely and then enlarged it and kept doing it until it started to pixelate and then I studied the pixel line and colours but there was no sign at all that there had been a person in the picture, I flipped forward and did the same with the hand picture and had the same result. “She obviously didn’t want to appear in the picture or spirits don’t leave an image when they are photographed, not even a digital image. I do know she can only be seen by people she wants to be seen by so I suppose photos won’t work because if they did, anybody could see her.” I handed the camera back to Penny, “It’s okay to show the girls, let Emma see them first, it’s her speciality.”

“What are you two whispering about,” demanded Faye, “It’s rude to whisper when in company.”

“We think we may have found a new species of butterfly and Penny was asking me who we should show the pictures to. Emma, you need to see these,” and I nodded to Penny, “Take them over.”

As soon as she went over, Liz jumped up from her lounger and went to join them and Faye went to the table, topped up her wine and sat beside me, “You really were in charge when we came into the lagoon?”

“Yes, it was a conspiracy, Will was behind it I think. They dropped it into my lap, no doubt thinking I’d run out of the bridge having a nervous breakdown.”

“What did you do?”

“That’s the odd thing, Faye. I was in a panic but I started giving orders as if I had been doing it all my life. I suppose survival instincts kicked in and I must have picked up a few tips when I’ve been on the bridge and didn’t realise I was doing it.”

She shook her head, “Not me, I would have thrown myself on the deck and started crying.”

“No you wouldn’t, you’d have done the same as me and started giving orders. The trick is to slow the ship down and give yourself time to think and on top of that the helmsman helped and so did one of the lookouts and Martin on the deck understood me when I told him what I was going to try and do. Once you start, you forget about being scared and rely a bit on common sense and use the bits of information you subconsciously take on board whilst living on the ship.”

“Still, you did do it well. I was sitting in the lounge and I didn’t really believe it was you conning the ship. I was sure they were just pulling our legs. When Victor brought you the coffee and gingerbread men and confirmed it was you, I was shocked.”

“So was I when it was over. I tell you what though, I’m going to blackmail Byron into giving us a go on the missile launcher. He can hardly refuse now.”

“I’d stick to the machine guns for the moment if I was you. We still don’t know how to operate those twinned guns on the upstairs viewing bridge deck.” She grinned, “I’ve found out where they’ve hidden the ammunition and distress flares as well. They’ve put them in a ready use locker concealed under the decking over the Jacuzzi.”

I looked across the beach to where Pacific Wanderer was moored, “She does look pretty now and the new funnel makes her look a bit racy. When she leaves to go to the other side of the island, I’ll ask Byron to make her go full ahead and take a video of her dashing past the reef with an enormous bow wave and smoke pouring out of her funnel.”

“And all guns blazing.”

Emma, Liz and Penny came over to us, “It looks like a long tailed blue but the colour is deeper and the brown edges to the wings is a little lighter. I can’t judge the size from the picture but if it is the long tailed blue, it’s a variant at least, possibly a new variety.”

I opened the palm of my left hand and used the finger and thumb of my right to span a distance, “It was about this size with the wings opened,” I looked at Penny, “What do you think?” She nodded and there was the touch of a smile on her face, “About that, not quite as wide as the palm.”
Emma became thoughtful, “That’s what, about forty or forty five millimetres, much larger than a long tailed blue. Can you show me where you saw them?”

“Not today or tomorrow, we’ll be too busy but in a few days’ time we’ll take you up to the glade, there must have been about a hundred or so fluttering about, a sort of colony but apart from the one that came close, we were too far away to judge the size.”

“Okay, that’ll do but I need to try and catch one. Butterflies are important because apart from being pollinators most of them have preferred plants for laying their eggs and if we can identify the butterfly it will give us clues to which plants are growing here. Can I have a copy of the pictures?”

“We’ll blue tooth it this evening.” My radio went live, “Will?”

“Dinner in about an hour and a half and Mark has instructed me to collect you so that you have time to bathe and get ready.”
“What shall we do with the loungers and parasols?”

“Fold them up and store them close to the reef and well above high tide. I’ll be there in about ten minutes.”

“Don’t forget to bring Morris.”

I hooked the radio over my gun belt, “Dinner in an hour and a half and Will said to leave the furniture here.”

We had just enough time when we saw a group leave the end of the jetty and start walking towards us. I recognised Will, he stood an inch taller than Faye’s fiancé Howard and David was the shortest and as they grew closer Emma squinted and said “It’s our blokes as well as Will and David.”

“They’ve probably change their mind about the beach furniture and are bringing it back to the ship,” Gwyneth answered.

I studied them, they were a good bit closer and seemed to be laughing and kidding around, “I smell a rat here. It’s not the furniture, they’ve plotted something. Look at them, they’re like a bunch of college students fooling around.”

Gwyneth stopped packing the wine in a cooler and shielding her eyes. She looked for a few seconds, “You’re right, even David’s playing the fool.”

“You’re too suspicious, I reckon they’ve come to carry us back to the ship. I bet it was Will that put them up to it and if Howard thinks he’s chucking me over his shoulder he can think again,” Faye said.

“Quite right,” Emma stood up from where she had been rolling the table cloth and stood watching them, her eyes narrowed. “If Lawrence thinks he’s carrying me, he’s going to do it properly, in his arms and hugging me to his hairy chest.”

“Me too,” said Penny.”

“Lawrence can’t carry both you and Emma,” I pointed out, ” Not unless you lay on top of each other.”

“I didn’t mean Lawrence, I meant Morris and he’s going to have to tell me he loves me first and promise not to take liberties.”

Faye snickered, “Don’t you mean he has to promise TO take liberties.”

“Do you think I should tell him that?”

“No,” chorused Liz, Gwyneth and myself, “It would embarrass us,” I added.

“Well, I don’t know about the others but if David tries to carry me all the way back to the ship, he’ll have a heart attack and I’ll finish up carrying him. I think he’d be better off carrying the cool boxes and I’ll walk.”

They arrived and the others hung back by a pace and Will opened his arms and walked up to me. I began to lift my arms for a cuddle when he suddenly ducked took another step and his head brushed past my hips and his shoulder caught me in the waist and he straightened up and I flopped over his shoulder and his hand slapped my bum and then slid down to cuddle my thighs. My squeal of protest at the slap was drowned out by Faye as Howard did the same to her, “You pinched my ass!”

“Put me down and stop fooling,” I head Gwyneth shout and immediately after her, a surprised squeal from Penny which quickly changed to an “Ooh.”
I started to giggle when I heard Emma groan, “Stop that you perv.”

“Keep quiet or I’ll caress you under the bikini bottom rather than over it.”

“You wouldn’t dare…Eeek!”

As for Liz, she just sighed and said, “Forget the ship, just carry me up to the soft grass.”

The men turned round, forgot the coolers, shoulder bags, the radio and my gun belt and started back towards the ship and Will turned a little and made for the firmer sand just below the high water mark and the others followed his example.

Instead of turning towards the ship when we reached the water line, Will kept going straight on wading into the sea at an angle. I lifted my head and saw the others following. The girls must have been a bit quicker on the uptake than me and were beginning to yell and struggle except Gwyneth because David had stopped and was easing her down into thigh deep water.

By now Will was waist deep and I had to lift my head to keep my hair out of the water, “What are you doing? My hair’s getting wet and my blouse and skirt are being splashed!”

“Sorry,” he stopped and by now the water was halfway up his chest and I had to lift myself much higher and then he stooped and for a moment I thought he was going to duck under and get me soaked but he didn’t. He straightened up and at the same time grabbed me by the waist and heaved. I left him, arms and legs splayed and hit the water flat on my back with a great splash and sank
I got mad then, and flipped over managed to turn and kicked with my legs and pulled with my arms and went straight for his legs. He had turned and was forcing himself through the water making for the beach but a girl, a strong swimmer and fully submerged can swim faster than a man trying to push himself through chest high waves and I caught him as his left leg left the sand to force itself forward. I swung my left arm and caught him flat handed just above the ankle and forced his left leg over just at the point where it was passing his right and the foot caught the calf of his right leg and he lost his balance and started to fall forward. I came up for air, glanced towards the others where a general melee was taking place and turned just as Will’s head appeared spluttering and shaking . I swam for my life, no ladylike breast stroke a full blown freestyle well almost full blown except my skirt was slowing my kick. I kept kicking and reached down and jerked the hem of the skirt up and forced it into the waist band and started going for the world record.

Will was coming after me now and his stroke was powerful and he gained on me, “Wait till I get you,” he gasped, spluttered, coughed and finished the sentence, “You’ll wish you were a mermaid.”

I was dead, I knew that, the trick with the waistband of my skirt didn’t work, there was still air trapped in the skirt and it was ballooning at my hips. If I slowed down to fix it he would catch me so I duck dived, kept kicking and turned towards deeper water and swam down at an angle. I fiddled with the fastener on the skirt and managed to get it off and kicked for the surface. As I broke into the sunlight he was in front and well to my left looking forward so I changed to a breast stroke and quietly swam towards him and when he was on the point of discovering me I threw the skirt as hard as I could and scored a bulls eye. The skirt wrapped itself over his head and I broke into a freestyle and went as fast as I could.

I didn’t look back, I could tell by the muffled curses and splashing that he wasn’t coming after me yet so I continued and then I heard his triumphant yell as he started swimming again.

I dived for a second time and guessed he would think I would try and make for the beach but I turned away and went even further out, there was a slight swell to the water but I’d swam in worst and I was gambling that Will wasn’t as swim fit as me and would tire a little sooner and we were still about a hundred metres from Pacific Wanderer. I glanced in his direction, he was still about eight meters behind me and much closer to the beach. He saw me and turned to swim at an angle in an attempt to cut me off. I ignored him and just kept going straight ahead and as he got closer I dived again and for a third time I turned out towards the reef and fooled him. He must have thought I would definitely turn towards him this time because when I surfaced this time he had changed direction and was swimming back to the beach. I changed to a breast stroke and swan as quietly as I could whilst still keeping a decent speed up and managed to gain a few metres before he grew suspicious and turned and spotted me. He came after me again but he was a little slower, tiring a bit, he had been swimming all the time whereas I had dived and slowed down a few times and still had energy left to keep going. I glanced towards the ship, now barely twenty five metres away and the deck rails were crowded with sailors all cheering and yelling to me. My mind travelled back to my final year at school and the annual swimming gala. I was in second places and a metre behind and was being cheered by my house supporters and I grabbed strength from somewhere and really put everything into it and won by a fingertip.

It wasn’t good enough this time though, Will was a lot stronger than the swimmer I was up against in the gala and tiring or not he was gaining so I did the only thing I could and dived. As soon as I was about two metres down I rolled over, turned towards the beach and kicked and actually saw him swim above me making for the sea again so I let him go until he stopped, kicked water and then came powering back. My trick hadn’t worked quite so well this time so I went for the surface and Wanderer’s hull loomed over me, I surfaced, swam three strokes and slapped the side of the hull. “Neutral territory!” I yelled and just in time as well because he was a half stroke behind me.

I thought he was going to push me under and took a deep breath but he just grinned, reached around my waist, pulled me in and kissed me, “I forgot you were a diver and you cheated.”

“No I didn’t, diving’s not cheating.”

“You threw your skirt over my head and then all I could see were your legs and a pair of transparent panties, that is definitely cheating. No red blooded man is going to overtake a sexy bum covered in see-through knickers.”

I placed my hands on his shoulders and kissed him, “I’ll make amends tonight.”

“You’ve got to get out of the water first.”

“We’ll swim to the beach, we can’t wait for them to throw a boarding net down.”

“You’ll swim to the beach and walk out of the water wearing transparent knickers?”

“Oh-my-god, the crew are all up there!”

“And our blokes not to mention the girls who are dead keen on inspecting your operation site and taking pictures.”

I let go of him and swam closer to Wanderer’s hull so I could hide under the curve. “You’ll have to swim to the beach and get my skirt.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“Will, swim and get my skirt or I won’t make amends tonight.”

“I doubt I can take advantage of your offer of compensation, I’ve exhausted myself.”

I glared at him and then reached down with one hand and hooked the waistband of my panties and struggled them down and off and held them up, “In that case I’m taking them off.”

“You’ll get out of the water with no knickers on!”

“They probably got damaged with all that swimming and diving and I’m not being seen wearing knickers with holes in them.” I turned, and with my see-through underwear flapping in one hand I started swimming towards the beach, cheered on by the matelots lining the deck rails.
Faye saved the day and waded into the water and threw my skirt towards me, “Put this on or you’ll catch a chill.”

“More than a chill if I’m not careful, there’s a shark behind me,” And I lifted my feet and struggled into the skirt, no mean task in the water and with it ballooning around my waist I waded up to the beach and pulled the hem down and with one hand on Faye’s shoulder I managed to struggle back into my soggy knickers, smoothed my skirt and curtsied to the spectators up on Wanderer’s deck still cheering me.

Once we were together we walked along the jetty, Penny’s trainers squelching , the others with their flip-flops slapping on the decking, except me, mine were probably washed up on the beech somewhere and when we arrived at the landing stairs everybody held back and waited for me to proceed them. I stopped, “What are you waiting for?”

“You,” and Emma pointed up to the entry port and we could see Byron standing there, feet apart and his arms behind his back silently gazing down at us.

“Well go on then, I need a shower as quickly as possible.”

There was a unanimous shaking of heads, “You know how to handle him, you first,” said Liz.

“Handle him? Don’t be silly, he’s okay.”

“You first,” said Gwyneth, the wife of my physician, and she gently but firmly pushed me so I had to take the first step up. I straightened my back and with as much dignity as a girl, a Commander girl, could muster when she was wearing a soaking wet, dripping sea water skirt, a wrinkled blouse and soggy, transparent knickers and twisted, knotted, bedraggled hair, could muster I started the climb. As I neared the top of the steps I saw Auntie Katie, Uncle Ted, Gareth and Mark standing behind the Captain with frowns on their faces and then I knew I was in trouble, especially as the previously cheering onlookers had grown quiet and there was an ominous silence hanging over the main deck.

‘Take the bull by the horns,’ ‘Meet the enemy head on,’ ‘Pray to the Lord and pass the bullets.’ A string of clichés flashed through my head and I turned when I reached the landing, stepped through the entry port, curtsied to the quarter deck, curtsied to Byron straightened and asked, “Commander Broughton, Commander Devonshire and shore party request permission to come aboard, Captain.”

Byron’s eyes opened wide and he stepped back, obviously whatever he had been expecting, it was not my formal approach. He saluted my curtsy and replied, “Permission granted, Commander, welcome aboard and please ask your party to go to their cabins and get dry and changed, they are dripping sea water and sand all over my deck.”

A commander must always put the needs of the men and women under her command before herself so I turned to the others who were crowding onto the landing behind me. “You heard the captain, get yourselves to your cabins and report to the saloon in 90 minutes, no more. You will be dry, coiffed, correctly dressed and don’t forget to clean under your finger nails.” I turned to Byron, “Thank you Captain, perhaps you and your officers would care to join us for dinner.” I heard Auntie Kate snigger and as I led the way towards the stairs to the passenger deck promenade, Gareth suddenly wrapped a blanket around me and Mark grabbed my hand and started feeling for my pulse, “I don’t need a blanket,” I protested, “Or my pulse checked, I had a swim not a mortal fight with a Great White!”

“You definitely need a blanket,” said Gareth, “Look at the front of your blouse.”

I looked down and immediately folded my arms across my chest. The blouse was as transparent as my knickers and the lace bra underneath it was doing its best to follow the example of the blouse but the worst bit was my nipples, they looked as if somebody has stuck map pins in them and were sticking out like a pair of short, stubby pointers. “I need the blanket,” I agreed and wrapped it around me.

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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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