Home Sweet Home
The Hammer streaks across the calm ocean, the water is a bright turquoise, he can see the white bottom of the ocean floor. Their Catamaran is traveling at 13 knots, the wind carries them in from the south. Two years on the ocean seems like it passed in the flash of an eye.
“Ted drop the main sail!” Orders his father.
Ted looks up from his kindle fire. He is reading an Anne Rice novel. His younger sister Beth lays next to him on the sunpad, he passes her the device. Getting up he runs over to the crank and begins to lower the mainsail. As the sail tucks into its place the island comes into view.
“Land a-hoy!” Jokes their father. Ted's Father shouts inside the boat.
“Marty! Come above and prepare the tender!” The hum of the engines is heard by Ted once he enters the saloon. His father is at the wheel. Jack Hurley, is a strong man of 45, piercing blue eyes, full lips, black thick wavy hair. His sons are just as comely, only instead of his blue eyes Jack’s children all had hazel eyes like their mother.
Ted spots his mother in the galley section of the saloon. Her name is Kelly, she is a very pretty woman with brown hair, Kelly is currently cooking dinner. Ted caught a healthy-looking Wahoo last night, she is making a fish stew. Ted sees his middle brother emerge from below the left pontoon. He is 14 and a year younger than Ted.
Marty looks like he just woke up, rubbing his eyes he walks towards the back of the saloon, Ted meanwhile makes his way to his father’s side.
“Ted, Marty and I will be going to shore.” States Jack.
“Dad why can’t I go?” Asks Ted.
“Because I want you to stay on the boat to look after your mother and the younger children. Here.” Says Jack.
Ted's father extends a pistol to his 15-year-old son. The pistol is wrapped in a leather holster, Ted can see it is one of his father’s Glocks.
Clipping the holster onto his belt, Ted continues to listen to his father’s instructions.
“It will be around 2 in the afternoon, when we anchor off the coast of the island. That will give Marty and I five or so hours of daylight. I want you to find somewhere to place the boat, survey the island with your drone. In the morning the rest of the family will come ashore.”
A short while later Ted went to the stern, at the anchor release station he presses the button. Once dropping the anchor, Ted watches as his father and younger brother, motor away from the portside of the Hammer. Their destination a lush and green island, among the trees there is a natural mist, the mist is gives the island a mysterious feeling. Going back into the Saloon, Ted finds the space more crowded.
Two of the youngest children came above. “Mommy where is Daddy and Marty?” Asks Paul. Paul’s twin sister also looks up at Kelly waiting for her to answer.
“They went ashore, we are at the island.”
“Wait really!” Says Paul excitedly, both he and his 10-year-old sister run to the viewing window. “Wow it is so much bigger than I expected. When are were going ashore?”
“Tomorrow first light, make sure you get plenty of sleep.” Says Kelly to the twins. Just then Beth walks into the Saloon from the deck.
“Mom, Benny pooped all over the deck.”
“It had to be the leftover clams; he can’t stay out of the fridge.” Remarks Kelly.
Benny is not one of the children, rather he is one of the families Brazilian Mastiffs. Big, brown dogs. They were very intimidating but despite their scary look, the dogs were loyal and even sweet to the Hurley’s. Benny is their male dog, he eats anything. He learned how to open the outside fridge, that is usually where day old fish is left to prevent it from stinking up the inside, they would cut the old fish into bait. Well Benny doesn’t care how old it is, the more pungent the better.
“Paul please take a bucket and brush and clean it off.” Order Kelly.
“Why can’t I hose it off?” Whines Paul.
“We don’t know how much fresh water this island has. Until we know more, the family is going to only use water if absolutely necessary."
Paul grumbles as he walks out to the aft deck, Paul’s twin Leanne finds her way over to the chart table and looks to Ted.
“Whatcha doing?” She asks picking up the remote control for his drone.
“Getting ready to draw Daddy a map.” Says Ted. He always felt slightly weird calling his father Daddy. But his sisters always refer to him as that, so in the sense of familiarity Ted refers to him as daddy.
“Can I help?” Asks Leanne, she bats her eyes causing him to smile.
“Sure, I set the drone up on the tramps, keep the dogs away from it.”.
Ted turns on the remote control, the tablet on the controller also turns on. Several seconds later Ted sees the image of his sisters white flip flops as she walks towards the bow of the Hammer. Hearing it Benny tries to charge the expensive piece of equipment.
Expecting the beast to act this way, Leanne step in front of the dog, Ted speeds up the drones blades. Instantly he is in the air, he sees Leanne enter the Saloon from the camera.
Ted had turned on the tv in the saloon and now the camera image is broadcasting for the family to see.
Beth places Teds Ipad on the table and looks at the image of their boat getting smaller. The drone rises into the air allowing Ted to see the island.
A green forest covers the beach on his approach. Ted lowers the drone seeing his father and brother pulling their tender to shore. After Jack stakes the boat in place, he and Marty take their packs, Jack slings his bolt action rifle over his shoulder. Looking at Marty he sees that he also has a rifle slung over his shoulder. His father looks up as Ted passes over.
Ted increases his altitude, he wanted to get the overhead image. Success, the island is at least nine miles but it still fits into the camera lense. On the island is a small mountain, Ted believes the hill be a height less than 300 meters. “Leanne would you like to control the drone while I draw the map?" Offers Ted
A large smile spreads across the young girls marbled face. She gently takes the controller from Ted’s hands. All his siblings knew how to operate it, She holds it steady.
Leaning over the chart table Ted sets to work on the map. It is not a fun process, soon the image starts to wobble. “Leanne honey please try and hold it still.” Says Kelly, she looks at the TV. The sliding door to the saloon opens, Paul enters the room, Ted hears him grumbling about something.
“You let her fly the drone, Teddy you never let me fly it! Next time make her clean up the dog shit!” Says Paul angrily.
In his anger he lets a swear word escape his lips. Ted rolls his eyes.
“What did you say young man?” Shrieks Kelly.
“Ow, Mom let go!” Begs Paul, his mother tightly grips his ear.
The video on the drone wobbles. “Leanne please pay attention to the screen.” Says Ted, he has just finished the river.
“Sorry.” Replies Leanne. Ted glances out of his eye and sees Beth is watching their mother chastise Paul with intrigue, getting in trouble or Paul finding trouble is what the girls watch for entertainment.
“If I hear anymore language like that I will tell your father.” Threatens Kelly in a serious unforgiving tone.
“Mom please don’t” Begs Paul.
Jack didn’t care that the boys swore, he knew all boys have rebel hearts. However he would not allow swearing around the girls. No exceptions. Marty once said “Fuck” when telling Ted a joke, Leanne was young, around 7 and overheard. She went to Jack and asked him what it meant and why it was funny.
Marty couldn’t sit down properly for a week after that incident, since then Ted tried to never utter swear words within earshot of his family.
“Leanne, fly to the East.” She does, Ted watches the screen, they needed to see on the other side of the hill. “Wait, fly closer, hold it still.” He spots a natural bay, it was perfect, they could anchor in the calm waters.
“Wow mom it is so beautiful. Is it really all of ours?” Asks Beth.
“Yes it is sweetie, it was your father’s dream for this island. It will take all of us working together for it to be a success.” Replies Kelly.
“Leanne, I finished with the map. If you want to explore please keep an eye on the drone's battery.” Says Ted.
“I am fine, anyone else want a go?” Asks Leanne bored.
“Teddy I want t fly it?” Begs Paul.
“Fine stay away from the mountain and you will wash the dishes for mom after dinner…” Offers Ted.
Paul nods his head and takes the controls from Leanne. Ted then begins to draw a second and more detailed map, he took a dozen still images so that he could refer to them.
“Paul, Ted said to stay away from the mountain.” Whines Beth. Ted keeps drawing but then he looks up hearing his mother’s voice.
“Paul, what did Ted say?!”
Ted turns around to see his drone falling from the sky, Paul clipped one of the rotator blades on the side of the cliff.
“You idiot, father is going to tan your hide for this.” Says Ted full of anger.
“Please don’t tell him!” Begs Paul.
“That drone is worth 3,000 dollars. Who knows if it even works after that drop!”
“Please, he is already mad at me for the jet ski” Cries Paul. Many mother ago on their passage leaving Fiji, Paul sank their jet ski.
He had run it into a set of rocks, somehow the rock pierced and cracked the fiberglass hull. Paul made it back, he left it hitched to the cleat on the boat. But it sank overnight, they had forgotten about it, thinking Paul stored it in the tender garage, the following day, their father Jack was wondering why they couldn’t go above 6 knots, with 12 knot wind they should have been easily going 15-17 knots.
That’s when they discovered the sunken and destroyed Jet Ski. After Paul was beaten, he was ignored by Jack, and for months. Ted felt bad, Marty however saw to it since then to make Paul as miserable as possible. If Marty were here, then no doubt Jack would have been told. Yet he wasn’t, as much as Leanne bosses her twin around she adores Paul. The same affection is offered by Beth. His mother Kelly looks at Ted, it was his call as what to do.
“I will think about whether or not I tell dad, regardless the drone must be recovered." States Ted.
“Your father will want you working on the shelter tomorrow. It went down on the other side of the island you won’t have time." Replies Kelly
“Mom I will look for it.” Offers Paul. “I saw berries and fruit trees, I could go over there to get the fruit, and the drone.”
“Paul how would you carry it back it weighs too much?”
“I’ll take the second battery, and I’ll fly it to the boat.”
“We will see what Daddy wants us to do, but all of you enough of the drone, dinner is ready.” Says Kelly.
After dinner everyone went to sleep. Ted left the dogs in the saloon, he felt better knowing they were above instead of being snuggled into his sister’s bunks.
The next morning Ted is already awake in the saloon, he hears the hum of the tender returning. The tender boat is large enough for the entire family, plus the dogs. Jack had the aft deck extended and the fly bridge seating removed to accommodate it. Since Paul destroyed the jet ski, their tender garage had been made into a workshop.
Jack powers down the boat as Ted ties the tender off to a cleat on the portside of the stern.
“Everyone get along fine?” Asks Jack, he looked tired.
“Yes, I lost the drone.” Lies Ted, he would take the fall for Paul after all.
“What?” says Jack in disbelief but not anger.
“Navigating the cliffs were harder than I thought.” Replies Ted.
“Damnit, is it destroyed?” Presses Jack.
“I am not sure, here take a look at this.” Says Ted steering his father to the chart table. He looks at his sons work.
“This is a good map son, so if it is here.” Says his father, who traces his finger to their current position. “Hm, this is going to set us back a day on the shelter. I want you to help Marty, we found trees that are perfect for lumber. I will sail the family to the bay, take the day to bring as many logs as you can to the bay, go now before the sun is up.
Nodding his head Ted follows his father’s wishes. Ted wore black cargo pants, and laced leather boots. He has a tank top for a shirt and straps on a vest, the vest has pockets for nails, a knife and a pistol.
Putting the Glock into its place on the vest, Ted opens the door to the Tender Garage. This room is large enough for a tender that could fit 3-4 people and a jet ski. With neither being kept in the room, it has been converted into tool storage.
Ted takes a chainsaw from the hook and a small five gallon tank of fuel, in addition he places a very sharp axe and two hundred feet of rope into the tender near the saw.
“Ted” calls his father. Ted sees a rifle in his hand, it is Teds rifle, it is a brown Ruger.270 with a stainless steel barrel.
Jack is in the process of loading his sons rifle, Jack kept all guns securely locked in his room, but he allows his older boys to use and take their guns when needed. “Here if either of you sees a deer or a boar take him out. There is plenty of food left over from the passage, but we need fresh meat. Take Bella with you, I can tell she wants to stretch.”
Their female dog is at his father’s heels. “Come on girl” Says Ted. Having essentially grown up on the boat, the dog has no problem leaping from the swim platform at the stern to the tender. Ted presses down on the throttle putting distance between him and the Hammer.
He aims for his father’s landing site from the day before, beaching the tender Ted stakes it into the ground, when Marty emerges from the tree line.
“Marty give me a hand." Requests Ted.
Marty pulls on the mooring line and together the boat is pulled further on shore. Once it is secure. Ted begins fueling up the chainsaw. "Dad said you found lumber?"
“Yeah, the logs are forty yards into the forest.” Ted follows his brother across the packed white sand of the beach. The forest is slightly cold and misty. Ted meanders behind, and soon they come across the grove.
There must be hundreds of trees, which one would he cut down? Measuring the width of the trees Ted began to take stock. The wider a tree, the more blanks of wood could be cut from it. Then Ted spots a cluster of trees all nearly the same height.
Marty swings a rope over a branch of the nearest tree. Once Marty is sure the rope is secured around the trees branch he gives the nod for Ted to cut.
Ted pushes the choke button on the saw twice, once that is done. Ted give three hard pulls on the engine draw start. On his third time pulling the cord, the tool roars to life. Marty uses the rope to guide the tree in a controlled fall.Ted leaves the stump rather high, so that they could rip it out at a later date.
Soon they had a score of logs to bundle, it took both of them to carry each log to the boat, they lay the logs flat. A second log is placed next to the first log. Six feet of rope is cut and used to bind the ends of the logs together as a pair. They repeat this process until five pairs of logs make up the bottom. Then they retrieve the other half of logs and lay them on top. Binding two logs together by pairs keeps the individual logs from moving.
Soon they were off on the water, but the Tender moves slower being weighed down. “What did you and dad do in the on shore last night? Ask Ted breathless, the work on the logs made him exhausted...
“We found several boar tracks, but soon the sunset, and we only ended up exploring several hundred acres. Where are we headed?” Asks Marty.
“I found a bay to anchor the Hammer in... Dad is sailing her and the family there now, we will rondevu with them. After we turn these logs to planks, I am going to have to go towards the mountain. I lost the drone over there.”
“Damn what did dad say.”
“Nothing really he is more mad that we will lose a day on the shelter.” They had just rounded the cover and they saw the top mast of the Hammer, as they puttered into the bay. Ted looks over to the boat and sees his younger siblings waving to him. It was midday, Jack has the Hammer twenty feet from the shore. Then Marty swears.
“What is your problem.” Says Ted.
“Look there, we could have saved ourselves an entire morning.” Ted looks at Marty’s discovery and sighs. There is a grove of at least 1,000 of the same ten trees they cut into twenty logs.
“Well we had no idea of that from the air, come on let's get these to shore.” Say Ted moving past the annoyance.
When they approach the beach they see that their father waded to shore. “Boy’s change of plans, we are going to build a dock, the water in the bay is 8 feet at 12 yards of shore, we can build a bulkhead with the wood you have.
“Dad that could take all day.” Complains Marty.
“No it will take all day we best get started. Ted, go to the Hammer and grab six sawhorses, three planers and some chisels. While you’re at it bring the family to shore, I want Paul in hiking attire give him the 7mm, I want him to go after the drone.”
“Yes, Sir.” Ted walks away perplexed. Never had his father allowed Paul to be alone with a firearm.
Returning to the tender he finds his mother and his sister in their bathing suits. His mother wears a big floppy hat over her frock. “We are going to swim in the bay and play on the beach!” Says Leanne excited, Ted pats her head, she cutely holds up her bag of beach toys.
“That’s great, you will have loads of fun. Paul change out of your bathing suit. Dad wants you to go to retrieve the drone.”
“Wait really?” Asks Paul in disbelief.
Paul goes to pick up the remote control. “No.” Cries Ted, he issues instructions to Paul. “You are going to put in another battery, and you will change out the blades. When it is ready, you will radio in." Ted hands him one of their radios. "Get dressed and help the girls into the tender."
Ted walks below, he makes for the right pontoon, going to his parents stateroom, Ted opens their closet to find a medium size gun safe. Punching in the code Ted looks at the guns inside.
There are 16 long guns and nearly double as many pistols. His father even has several grenades in the safe. Ted knows which rifle to get, it is a 7mm-08 savage. It is lightweight compared to the .270 he had on shore or Marty’s Remington 700. It was powerful enough to knock down a white tail, but does not pack a heavy recoil. It is a perfect gun in the hands of a ten-year-old boy.
He takes small ammo sleeve from the ammo rack, he tucks three rounds into the sleeve, then Ted packs five rounds into the magazine box.” He keeps a round out of the chamber, even though the firearm didn’t have a round in the chamber, Ted flicks the safety on.
The gun has a synthetic stock, even Paul would have a tough time damaging this weapon. Paul and Ted emerge from their respecting pontoons at the same time. Paul’s face lights up in a smile.
“Is that for me?” asks his brother shaking with excitement.
“This is no toy Paul.” Sternly states Ted. “Come here, you have used this before but I am going to show you again. This is the safety push it forward to fire, slide it back to lock on safe. Let me see your forearm.” Asks Ted.
Ted slides the ammo sleeve onto his youngest brothers arm. “Paul, you are to only shoot if you see game. Benny will be going with you to get the drone. Do not shoot him! This is a real chance for you to show dad that you are becoming responsible."
Once Paul had been outfitted Ted gathered all the supplies and tools he needed from the Tender Garage and returns to the tender. When he beaches the boat his father stakes the boat into the ground. “Kids come over here, you too Marty, come over here, I want you to hear this.” Says Jack.
“This is our new home, we do not know this land yet. Girls I want you to stay in eyesight of me or mommy at all times. You can go exploring only with Ted, all of you must be back at the Bay by night fall. That is all enjoy your swim girls.” Once the women departed Jack spoke to his sons.
“The safety of your sisters should always be on your minds, but your own safety is as important. Paul, take this flare if you run into trouble and you can’t get to the radio fire this into the air. Follow the transponder to the drone, then come back nothing else.” Ted walks away from the boat, he can no longer hear his father giving instructions to Paul.
Ted and Marty set the saw horses up and work on cutting the logs. First they use a planer to flatten the side of the logs. Then they cut the log into planks. It was grueling work, they wouldn’t have time to let the wood age and harden.
Treating the woods with a liquid solution would have the boards harden there and then. Per log they were able to cut approximately 7 planks. Once the logs were cut, Ted took a post hole digger and digs three foot deep holes on shore. Fourteen holes were dug, ten feet across from each other, each row is spread out at fourteen feet.
Marty by the time the poles were laid into the poles they had cut an additional 9 trees from the nearby grove. He cut the wood necessary for the frame of the dock. His father mixed a glue, sand and wax recipe and created a type of concrete and filled the holes around the poles.
The Pole placed in the water were harder to manage. Luckily they slide a heavy steel casing around the holes, they pumped the excess water out, this allowed the area to be free of water. Once the concrete set, they pulled the steel casing over the pole and it was set in the ground.
Each pole took 15 minutes to dry. With only one casing it is a slow process. In the meaning time they lay the planks on the frame for the poles that dried. With the three of them working it is six at night when the last board of their dock is finally nailed down.
The Dock reaches the port side of the Hammer. The idea would be eventually the have a dock running out along the starboard side, it would then become a boat slip and would be more secure. For now this was fine. The took up the mooring lines, and attaches the boats port side lines to the newly drilled cleats.
Ted and Marty tie down the boat, as the work Ted wonders what happened to Paul, the sun is setting in a hour. Then he hears his brother’s high pitched voice on the radio.
“Daddy I need help.” Says the boy’s voice with a quiver. Ted looks at his father worried. The two of them stand away from the family near the lumber grove.
“Paul what is the matter?” Jacks voice is worried, Ted has heard the pain in Paul’s voice.
“My leg it is caught in some trap. It is metal and rusty, I can’t pull it off!”
“How close are you to the drone?”
“It is fifteen feet from me!”
“I am coming for you son! Kelly!” Shouts Jack.
Hearing the urgency in her husband's, voice she rushes to his side. When he tells her what happened she worries.
“What are we going to do?”
“We have a second transponder. Ted and I will go after him, keep the children calm, if they ask tell them that Paul needs help with something.”
“What about Marty?”
“Have him keep watch, when the other two are in bed you can tell him.”
It wasn’t long after that Ted is holding the transponder walking towards his brother’s position. Dammit he should have told his father the truth, it would be him in the situation. No who is Ted kidding, he wouldn’t have gotten himself into a trap. ‘Crap’ cries Ted under his breath.
“Don’t worry Ted, we will get him.” Says Jack.
Ted wishes he has his father’s assurance, with nothing but guilt swelling in his heart, Ted walks through the darkened wood, praying for his brothers safety…