The Wandering Island Factory (14 page)

BOOK: The Wandering Island Factory
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[Chapter 28]

The other families had already picked out the land they wanted, marking them off with fallen trees meant to be seen from satellites and a name spelled out in trees or rubble. The others, being friends already, reasonably made their claims close together; Jason and their little group made their claim about four miles down the road, but still within jetski range and reasonable access to the shore.

Getting a garden going wasn't easy, but it wasn't all that difficult either. The land they picked had a portion of a house left on it, and at least four acres of overgrown lawn. Two walls didn't a house make, but it had lots of salvageable wood that they planned on recycling into a smaller, new home.

Because of the horrible transportation situation plaguing the region, building standards were necessarily somewhat relaxed due to the logistics of the normal, frequent inspections. Even so, homes still needed to be inspected, so, just slapping together something was out. Jason and his little group needed the experience of the other families.

The hardest part about their garden proved to be killing the grass. Plastic tarps, bags, roofing scraps, and old papers proved to make excellent barriers to hold the grass back while letting the plants grow.

On most days, two gardened while one assisted the other families with construction and the fourth fished. They rotated every week.

Their first 'completed' home was finished within the first month. It was an odd little thing. Hobbled together from mostly scraps, the siding on the front didn't match the siding on the back, nor those of the two ends. The windows were recycled as well, but their differences were harder to notice. Inside, the building was 'complete' with air ducts, wiring, switches, ceiling fans and fixtures. But most walls were transparent, lacking any sheetrock to cover them, and showed naked pipes and wires everywhere. A few around the bathrooms and such had sheets stapled to the studs for privacy, but in most cases the walls were bare. No carpeting for the same reasons, simple plywood floors all around. And the roof was a mismatched patchwork of multiple shingle colors. But otherwise, the home was complete, weatherproof, and awaiting electricity. For now, it had a well and used a simple drain field, with the hopes of city hookups in the near future.

But it wasn't a tent, toilets flushed, and Stone, the owner of all the tools and most of the trucks, was nonetheless happy to move in.

With GPS and Gina's improvised diving gear, they were able to locate a submerged plumbing store as well as a few other needed specialty places for the hard to find odds and ends.

Jason took his turn on the boat and watched Nathan drive back to shore on the jetski with all the fish from the net.

He went into the back of the sea box and took inventory. The other families hadn't brought nearly enough food and had counted on hunting and fishing to make up the differences. Hunting game was easy further inland, but wild game was scarce in this area, and even if fish fought the current long enough to come near the shore, the second they would cast a line, the current would sweep it into the shallows. Fishing on the coat was like trying to fish a fast moving stream. You could do it, but not from the shore. You needed a boat or Jesus-like walking skills.

They still had a war chest of dried food in plastic trash bags, probably enough to last everyone through winter, if needed.

He visited Makayla's garden next. It was blooming nicely, not that anyone was there to enjoy it. He checked the freshwater tank. It was low. He went to the control cabin to check on the battery levels. The batteries were nearly half charged. He was tempted to run the electric pumps to fill the tank with filtered water, but he had plenty of time on his hands, and very little electricity.

He started pumping it by hand.

Jingle. Jingle jingle. Jingle.

He sat up and looked around.


He ran to the fishing pole and started reeling it in. It was a beautiful Marlin that hardly put up a fight until the last twenty feet. He made room for it in the net cage under the boat. They learned the hard way to divide it into two sections because not all fish got along.

He baited the hook, cast it again, then went back inside and tried to return to sleep.

A family of four, plus one, had more than its share of difficulties. But being alone on the boat, hour after hour, day after day for an entire week was more than a little maddening. Video games, music, and the radio only went so far.

Jingle jingle.

He ran to the reel and gave it a solid jerk. This one was tiny, ten pounds at the most. If he didn't need the hook back, he probably would have cut the line, but he reeled it in anyway.

"Hey, Marvin the marlin," he said through the cracks in the wooden floor, "you hungry yet?"

The marlin swam to the far end of the cage.

"Oh now, that's no way to be. I mean, sure, you're dinner at the end of the week, but, that's days away. We can still be friends until then. You could spend it hungry, or," he dazed the fish by slapping its head against the wood before dropping it in front of his newest pet.

The marlin was cautious, but just for a second.

"There you go, boy. Show me those colors. You're kind of the lion of the ocean, ain't ya? Or, maybe the peacock."

A week by himself should have felt like a vacation, but it wasn't. It felt like he was sharing a cell with Marvin.

[Chapter 29]

Gardening had its advantages, especially when he was stuck there with Gina.

The accommodations weren't good, but they weren't sleeping in a tent either. They hadn't picked the land just for the lawn. The home, even as falling apart as it was, had fallen in a very forgiving way. The corner that remained had shielded a downstairs bathroom and a study that they moved bedroom furniture into. As they dismantled the rest of the house, those two rooms were saved, intact, thanks to the miracle of plastic tarp and a ton of staples.

He woke in bed with the girl he loved as the sun made its way through the window.

This wasn't the first time they had slept without clothes, but it was a first for dry land. He got dressed and lowered the shade as he planned on letting her sleep in.

By the time a second house was complete, and then a third, those tending the garden had reduced the falling rubble into several piles of salvaged wood, shingles, pipes, and wires, ready to be remade anew.

The Georgia boys proved to be as good as their word and quickly assembled a four-bedroom house, long before winter came.

They got married the following spring, and he never had to spend a week on the boat alone again.

Sheetrock for walls came years later.

Note from the author:

Thank you for reading this book. As an independent author, I rely entirely on word of mouth from readers like you. So please, if you liked it, tell someone! Future titles depend completely on you.

The Hummingbird Series consists of:

Patent Mine

Hell from a Well

The Heredity of Hummingbirds


Mourning after Dawn

And the Twisted Timeline Trilogy, which consists of:

Personal Space

Older than Dirt


The Bottle Tossed across the sky

And, as always, thank you for not making copies. By not making copies, you are keeping prices low for everyone and allowing independent authors the months of typing it takes to crank out a book like this. Since most of us 'reclusive author types' are living below the poverty line anyway (we are often strange, a little mentally unstable, and very afraid of the light of day, which makes keeping a 'real' job extremely difficult) the few dollars we get from book sales is the difference between eating Spam and dog food. So again, thanks for not stealing from the poor!

Questions and comments are always welcome! I can be found on Facebook, MySpace, and my blog at

BOOK: The Wandering Island Factory
8.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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