Isle Of Second Chances – Episode 10

“Your niece? Nice girl. She’s nowhere near as fierce as I thought she’d be. I was talking to her earlier, telling her how low I was when I came here. And how you, Sandy and Donald, along with the island’s magic, showed me how to fight my way out from under the black cloud.”

She smiled, and Annie treasured that smile. It had taken weeks, even months, before a genuine smile had crossed Pamela’s face.

“Now I don’t want to leave your island, ever,” Pamela declared.

“But you will,” Annie said. “One morning you will awake, and the only thought in your mind will be to get back to the mainland and build yourself a new and better life. Your mind and body will tell you when you’re ready.”

Pamela leaned over to take Annie’s hand.

“How can I ever repay you for this?”

“Pay as and when you can,” Annie said. “Did Nicola listen to you?”

“I think so. She frowned a lot, asked sharp questions – not about the economics of the place, but for my opinion on the treatment I had been given and what form it had taken.

“I told her that this place had given me back my life, and that everything had worked, from changing my medication through to your and Donnie’s counselling. I said that the most important thing of all was to be treated as a real person again, not as a shadow drifting around the house. To know I have someone to sit down with who will really listen to me, talk to me, after years of being ignored . . .”

Pamela stopped as Sandy burst into the room.

“There you are,” he said, looking at Annie. “How on earth did you get here?”

“I walked.”

Sandy sighed.

“What are we going to do with her? Take your eyes off her for a second and she’s away. She’s worse than the sheep.”

“Then why aren’t you out chasing them?” Annie demanded, deciding that attack was the best form of defence.

“Donnie’s doing that today,” Sandy said.

“Or teaching Ellen weaving?”

“We had our weaving lesson early this morning. Now she’s out collecting the eggs for me.”

“Sounds like everyone else is doing your job, Sandy Brown!” Annie pretended indignation.

The craggy face softened.

“Not so,” he said. “Right now, my job is looking after you . . . and that’s a twenty-four/seven commitment, as they say these days.”

“But I don’t need a nursemaid any more,” Annie protested.

“Like it or lump it, you’ve got one,” he replied.

Halfway up the shoulder of the island’s solitary mountain, the westerly wind was bracing, and the view across the island, the sea below them and the mainland hills beyond, was magnificent.

Conscious that she was stopping too often to admire this, sneaking rests from the steady climb, Nicola paused.

“How much further?” she panted.

“Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes.” Donald sounded as if he were out for a stroll around the bay. “Just keep following the main sheep track.”

He caught her arm as she stumbled over a tussock of heather.

“Steady! If this was a Munro,” he said, “there would be a track as wide as a pavement up it. Instead, we have it to the sheep and ourselves.”

Where he had held Nicola’s elbow tingled.

“I did as you asked,” she said. “Talked to the women. It’s very much a fan club with a common theme. They all said that they had pretty much reached the end of their tether when they came here, and had nothing left worth living for, until you and Annie turned them round. How did you do it?”

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!