“Want another sandwich?” Offers Leanne. She sits in a chair across from him. Paul and Ted share a small twin berth cabin. Leanne had folded Ted’s bed up so that she could sit across from Paul. Dad had restricted him to bed rest for three days. Currently Paul and Leanne wrapped up a game of Rummy. Paul shuffles the deck.
“Yeah, can I have another smoothie.” Asks Paul.
Leanne lights up at the chance to help Paul. He found her helpfulness of late very annoying. The last three days, day and night she would sit with him. Worse she wouldn’t shut up, but there were perks. He didn’t have to help build anything outside., and Leanne waited on him like a servant.
When he had woke up most of the family with the exception of Marty was at his bedside. His father informed him that Paul fractured his leg, his father kept a cast off for the first three days to monitor the puncture wounds left from the trap. Some people might think having a doctor for a father is great. It isn’t, for starters. Jack Hurley isn’t known as a gentle doctor. Paul rediscovered his father’s methods. Nearly every day his father removed flesh that may be infected. It was excruciating, yet that wasn’t the worst part. Jack is a health nut, yes they hunted for meat and fish. But most of their diet comes from fresh veggies and fruits. Jack is so controlling that the last time Paul had a soda was when he was five!
Paul sets aside his cards while Leanne makes her way above to prepare his meal. No sooner had she left the room that his father enters.
“Hi Son how are you feeling? Any change from this morning?” In his father’s hand is a scalpel, this morning Paul had been spared being treated like an October pumpkin. His father unwraps his soft cast, when it peels away from his sticky skin it hurts enough to almost vomit. Jack steadies Paul.
“Easy son.” Jack looks at the injury, it looks like the minor infection from the trap had been beaten. To ensure a clean heal, he would place a hard cast below Paul’s knee.
“Son put your arm around my neck. We need to bring you up to the saloon.” Says Jack. Paul is lifted in the air, he felt uncomfortable being carried like a baby by his dad. He felt his face burning red, his father is completely unaware of his embarrassment.
It was the first time he have been above since the night of his accident; Paul is set on the couch, his father’s medical bag is at the foot of the couch. Paul watches Leanne moving around the Galley while his father works on his leg.
She uses a step stool to full reach the countertop. Fruits are sliced into quarter size pieces; she lifts the small cutting board and pushes the pieces of fruit into the blender. Once placing the lid on, she presses the button. The noise fills the room.
A sharp prick catches him off guard. Paul looks at his father and sees a needle in his hand. He is pricked again, by a second needle!
“Ow” Cries Paul but the blender drowns out his pain.
Leanne brings Paul his meal, Jack seeing the sandwich on the plate and takes a large bite before setting it down. Paul grimaced, he hated eating after people.
“Dad you can eat that half, I am not that hungry.” Lies Paul. His smoothie tastes amazing. Leanne watches as their father puts Paul’s leg into a cast it took him half-an hour to finish it. When he was done he looked over his work.
“Paul, I am going to give you crutches. You can move around outside. But we need to keep this cast as clean as we can. For the time being, you are restricted to the Hammer, the dock and Pavilion.
“What Pavilion?” Asks Paul. Jack smiles.
“That is right you haven’t been outside in several days, here let's step outside.” Suggests Jack. Paul places his crutches under his armpits and hoists himself from the couch.
Under his father's watchful eye, Paul makes his way outside, thankful that he put his sunglasses on, the light would have blinded him. He eases his way onto the dock and is astounded as he looks towards the island. His father and brothers have erected a wooden pavilion, it stood twenty feet tall, the structure offers plenty of shade.
Paul hobbles along the dock. He hears the sound of an axe, between the dock and the Pavilion, Paul spots Marty chopping wood. He is sweaty and shirtless. Marty places a log onto the chopping block, he swings the ax high over his head. Driving the blade down, Marty splits the log clean in half!
“Where’s Teddy?” Asks Paul.
He and Leanne entered the shade of the Pavilion, it stood twenty feet tall, with a vaulted ceiling it allowed wind from the sea to cool the rafters. A sturdy wooden table had been built, Kelly, Paul’s mother is preparing a fruit salad out of the local foliage, figs, blueberries and mangos are what he can see but he is pleasantly surprised to see several strawberries.
Kelly spots Paul hungerly eying the strawberry, she cuts one in half and slides it across the table.
“Thanks Mom, Where is Teddy?” Asks Paul again.
“He is hunting, Dad wants him to bring home something other than fruit.” Says Marty. He had sought shade under the Pavilion.
“Why aren’t you out with him?” Asks Paul.
“I would be, only with you laid up, I need to take care of chores close to the Bay.”
“Speaking of your chores, have you laid out the blueprints to the house?” Asks Kelly.
“Not yet but looking at how the Pavillion turned out I don’t think I did half bad for an amateur Architect.” Muses Marty.
“I admit this Pavilion and dock came out lovely, just don’t delay. We will need somewhere for everyone to sleep once Uncle Nate comes.”
“Rest assured mom, we will have something assembled by then.”
“When is he coming mom?” Asks Leanne.
“He will be here in two weeks.” Says Jack. Paul looks behind to see that Jack and his older sister Beth had entered the shade of the Pavilion. Only Ted is missing from the family gathering…
“Once Nate is here, he and I will get the measure of this island. Leanna honey, I am going to take Beth to the beach, would you like to come with us?” Leanne looks up, out of the entire family she loves the beach and ocean more than anyone. But then she looks at Paul he can tell she didn't want to leave him.
“No thanks, I am fine here with Paul.” Says Leanne. Paul felt his cheeks get red.
“Go if you want I will be fine.” He hated that she won’t leave him alone.
“I am fine here with you, I will go get scrabble.”
“I don’t want to play with you!” Says Paul annoyed
“You should be happy that someone in this family can stand you.” Says Marty. He glares at Paul with a look of loathing. “You should thank her; I couldn’t think of someone worse to play games with.”
“Leave him alone!” Snipes Leanne.
Marty walks over to Paul and looks him in the eyes, Paul can smell the sweat coming off his body.
“I never will understand why she cares for you so much, the rest of us all have seen you for what you are. That is a retard, your such a moron, you will be the end of us…”
“Marty that is enough!” Says Jack, his voice cracks like a whip. “Go and level the site, tomorrow we will lay the foundation to the house.” Marty simply nods his head and walks away from Paul.
Before Jack takes Beth to the beach he radios Ted to see how he’s getting along.
“Ted come in over.”
“I am here dad go ahead.”
“What is your status?” Presses Jack.
“I am 300 acres from the Bay.”
“You have three more hours then head back.”
“Roger” Says Ted.
He turns down his radio, his father’s transmission scared the buck he had been stalking away. Ted is laying on his back, he looks over a lush valley, he had been waiting for that shot for an hour, sighing, Ted clips the radio onto his belt. With his rifle swung over his shoulder Ted continues to the Valley below.
The sun beats down as he sinks further into the jungle. Looking to the trees he spies monkeys leaping from one tree to another. His feet travel along the dirt floor, his eyes stop watching the monkeys and focus on the ground, he stops when Ted spots a set of cloven hoof prints that are shaped like a split heart. He is careful not to touch the prints, he didn’t want his scent in the area. Looking closely, Ted notices the direction the prints are heading. He steps carefully, moving through the jungle, then he spots it, the licking branch.
Deer are very social creatures; every few acres of the woods would be a licking branch. Basically, every time a deer passes this branch they lick it marking their passing. This social behavior is not to be confused with Rub marks, which are when a deer scrapes the velvet off their antlers at the start of the rut “mating season”. Rub marks are much more noticeable than a licking tree, although a buck if they sense a bigger buck on the licking tree, might scrape the ground or rub the bark.
Ted sees a deep scrape on the ground at the foot of the plant, the scrape looks fresh. He is careful moving forward; he didn’t want to meet the same fate as Paul. Watching for traps and signs of game, Ted keeps moving.
The sound of water ahead makes him curious. Wading through the brush he eventually pushes the branches away and comes face to face with the most gorgeous spring he ever laid eyes on. Hidden among the trees, a waterfall in its healthy stream is the source of the noise.
Ted stands on an area of elevation and looks down at the freshwater pool, he is blown away. Dozens of animals gather under the shade of the trees. Ted picks up his binoculars. There are several good-sized boar, birds and yes he even spots several deer, they were all does, then while kneeling down to observe, Ted sees a large ten-point buck emerge from the thicket.
He has a healthy and shiny coat, the does around him wiggle their tails. Fearless the buck walks to the water's edge, his white tail is sticking up in the air to spray his scent to any lesser males of his species. Ted wants to take a shot, but he doesn’t want to spook the animals from the watering hole.
He was going to make his way below to the water and would take the buck on the path. Quietly switching his radio off, Ted opens the eye caps on his rifle’s scope. By staying downwind from the watering hole, Ted had made it below and is walking on a natural path well worn by the animals, one could argue that this well traveled path is large enough for a car to pass through.
Ted looks for a tree and finds one that will allow him to see the Watering hole and ambush the buck. Being careful, Ted climbs the tree and hunkers down on a large branch. He grips his rifle and waits, he can see the deer are still drinking from the Watering hole.
The ground suddenly felt as if it were shaking, Ted places his hand onto the trunk of the tree and feels the ground moving, the sound and rumble grew closer and more frequent. Looking in the direction of the noise, Ted is astounded as three female Elephants are coming down the path he walk earlier. Then he understood the size of the paths through the forest.
It seems that the elephants arrival causes the other animals to move out of the way for the lumbering beast, he hears the noise of a trumpet sounding off. Ted is almost distracted by the elephants that he forgets the buck, the large animal trots down the path, with him are two of the doe from the Watering hole. Ted lifts his rifle and looks down his scope keeping both eyes open, flicking the safety forward, his gun is now ready to fire.
Ted’s crosshairs are zeroed in on the creatures spine, the buck walks towards Ted, without exposing its’s side, Ted will have to aim for the tops of his shoulder blades…
His finger enters the trigger guard, he exhales a breath and slowly squeezes with a steady motion. Bang!
Ted’s trigger rests against the trigger guard. Smoke billows out of his barrel, the deer had dropped instantly, his round paralyzed the animal!. Ted is already in motion, he has landed on the path and grips the buck by his antlers, he feels the rumble getting closer, he and the animal just slide into the ditch as the elephants comes stampeding by!
Breathing heavy, takes a second to catch his breath, then he takes the rifle slung over his soldier and sets it down by a tree, he pulls a rope out of his pack, he ties the rope around the buck’s neck. Then Ted rolls the beast over, Ted ties a piece of foliage into the shape of a cross and places it into the buck’s mouth before quickly saying a thank you prayer. Then Ted withdraws a small knife from his sheaf.
He removes the deer’s guts, and then with it lighter drained of guts and blood, Ted hoists the deer into the tree his gun rest against. Ted makes one more final incision on the deer before radioing his father. With the remaining blood dripping out of the deer’s anus, Ted takes the radio from his waist.
“Dad I shot a buck and have it hanging in the tree.” Radios Ted. He sat on the ground waiting for a response.
“So that was your shot, how far away are you?”
“Go north and I am 500 acres in if you are staying north you will hit a watering hole, I am just off the path.”
“Rodger I am on my way to your position with the wheelbarrow.”
It only took Jack an hour to reach Ted’s position. When he did they wheeled the deer back to camp. Along the way Ted fills his father in on the animals he saw. When he spoke of elephants his father seems very interested.
“Did you see any with tusks?”
“No these were all cows.”
They didn’t say any more on the animals as they had just arrived at the Bay. The sun had just begun to set. Seeing them with the Buck the family gathered around inside the Pavilion. Marty came over, he is covered in dirt. Ted felt bad leaving his brother with the work, but they needed meat. Marty shows no sign of being pissed at Ted, he was easy going and he never understood the feud between Marty and Paul. He likes both brothers equally.
“This is a good haul, need any help skinning him?” Offers Marty.
“Son you have worked hard enough, go wash up mom will be serving a Lobster Bisk tonight, I’ll help Ted.” Says Jack to Marty.
Once Marty had shuffled off to wash up, Paul hobbles over to where, Jack and Ted have suspended the deer. Leanne follows Paul over.
“Leanne honey, please go to the boat and get some wax paper from mommy.” Says Jack to his youngest daughter. She runs off towards the boat, as Ted cuts the fur off the deer. When skinning an animal the important thing to do is strip the carcass of its skin, skin is an insulator, the goal is to cool the meat at quickly as possible.
Jack and Ted work well after the sun set, but within several hours the had the meat packaged and ready to be placed in the ships deep freezer. At the same time, they took a large portion of the meat and had been cooking it in a large pot over a fire. Ted looks up from his work just as his mother enters the pavilion.
“I brought you both a large helping.” Says Kelly with a smile, she had set their food onto the table. Beth and Leanne walk down the dock from the boat. In their hands they carry the other parts of the meal.
“Wow Ted that smells really good, when can we eat it?” Asks Beth.
“Not until tomorrow is has to simmer over night.” Responds Ted he sits between Marty and Beth, Leanne sits next to Paul, she portions out dinner to him. In addition to Lobster Bisk, they also had fresh rolls and a pasta with a balsamic dressing. Before they ate Jack stood up, he had poured himself and Kelly a glass before dinner. Raising his glass Jack looks at the faces of his family.
“Here we sit all seven of us, we can smell Ted’s deer cooking, that hunt of his will feed the members of this family for many weeks to come. Our impact on this island will be very little, we will not hunt for sport but for survival. Ted has said that there are Elephants on this island, I think that tomorrow we should try and capture several cows. Once tamed they can be put to great use. Marty, I want you to and Beth to capture them, Ted do you think you could help me with building the houses foundation?”
“Daddy how are we going to capture them?” Asks Beth curious.
“You and Marty are going to track them, he is going to shoot one with a tranquilizer. Once he drops we are going to build an enclosure around him. Then we will work on breaking her. Avoid any cows with calves, they will be too aggressive to train. Now lets pray and enjoy this wonderful meal Mommy prepared for us” Says Jack and the family and Ted bow their heads in prayer.