It had been a hellish few months.
Work had taken over her life. She had never had a free moment to spare from her work life.
Enough was enough.
Sandra put on her coat. She grabbed her keys, and purse, then walked out of the doorway to her office. She hurried past her secretary.
“See you when I return.” she cast the message over her shoulder. Sandra kept moving to escape before anyone was able to stop her, now, she had made up her mind.
“Where are you going. You have appointments all afternoon. When will you be back.” The shocked face of her secretary stayed with her on the way to the lift. Not once had she witnessed her boss leave the office without her briefcase packed full of work.
“I'll tell you when I make my way back to the office,” shouted Sandra. She waved. Stepped into the lift to take her all the way down to the car park. She hummed a happy tune while she made her escape to freedom. No one would be able to contact her for the next few days. Her hideaway was her castle. A place where she'd be able to rest. Relax. Commune with nature.
Sandra inhaled the salty air into her lungs.
She drove her cruiser across the waves to her island.
The fronds of the palm trees waved in the breeze bringing her closer.
Birds calls lifting the stress from her body. Singing of the other animals made her feel human once again.
Heat from the noon day sun warmed her body bring it back to life. Sandra cut the engine to let the cruiser coast toward the old wooden jetty, where she secured the ropes, to stop it floating away with the tide.
Jumped over the side of the cruiser to the jetty, Sandra strolled away from the jetty along the path leading through the vegetation to her bungalow set well back from the beach. Here it was locked away from prying eyes except those of the animals. Away from all the problems of work to recharge her energy. To be pampered by her friend who had once been her nanny.
Sandra collapsed on to the lounger on the front porch.
A jug of freshly made lemon aid had been set, with a glass of ice, waiting for her arrival.
“Ah. It's wonderful to be free. Do your magic. Restore me to be able to fight another day.” Sandra had a long drink. She pulled the pins from the twist in her hair to let it hang loose. She closed her eyes to sleep to dream of a prince coming to her rescue.
Sandra grumbled on waking. “No prince will be coming, tonight. Only a storm.” She had given up the thought by the time she had taken to her bed.
Jake wanted to be alone.
Since the car accident friends had been visiting him in hospital. At home when he returned there to recuperate before going back to work.
Time alone, would heal all the bruising he had sustained in the accident. The soreness from the many operations he had to have to have him back on unsteady feet.
He needed peace. He needed quiet to be able to cope with what had happened.
His best mate from school had been killed in the accident.
Jake had not been there to say farewell the day his mate had been lain to rest. The sympathy. The understanding looks were setting his nerves to breaking point.
The fragile hold he had on his rising temper had to give, soon, causing him to blow his top at the wrong person.
He went to his bedroom to shove a few clothes into a bag.
He headed to his car. The atmosphere in his unit too thick to stay there any longer. He was suffocating. He walked out of the door setting him free from the world of meaningful friends, and relations.
They didn't know, how he felt. He was the one going through the terrible loss. No amount of talking about the accident was going to bring him back.
A black hole had been left in his life where once his friend had been.
Jake had no idea where he wanted to go. He'd drive until he felt alive once again. He'd find a place to stay.
A billboard caught his attention before he had even came close enough to read the details..
He pulled the car to the side of the country road to read the sign. The picture of a very old house had caught his attention. He wondered if they had a room spare to let him stay for a few days. Taking out a pencil, and paper, from the glove compartment, he wrote down all the details. He decided to ring before he decided to trust his luck on a dirt road.
“Yes, sir. We have one room available on the top floor. You will be able to look out from your balcony to watch the sun rise above the trees. Sit to watch the moon, and stars, in the clear sky each night without lights blocking your viewing. Watch them sparkle on the water of the lake. Sit under the weeping willow down near the waterfall to listen to the falling water. The music of the animals living in the bush. Birds singing in the trees. Listen to the laugh of the kookaburra each morning. Swim in the cool water near the falls. Sit on the rocks under the spray of the water falling. You can...”
“I'll be right there.
Jake booked in. He hired a boat to go for a cruise on the lake. A freak storm hit when he was on the far side of the island.
“I thought this was suppose to be a lake,” grumbled Jake, realising he'd been had by the spiel the owner had spoken.
Day turned to darkness.
Huge waves hit without warning. The engine stalled, The cruiser was being washed out away from the island. One big wave lifted the cruiser from the water to dump it back down of rocks tossing him into the water.
Jake dragged his weary body from the ocean. He collapsed on the sand just as the sun sank below the horizon. He had struggled through the rolling waves to reach the beach.
The tickling of small crabs crawling over his legs woke him. The moon, and stars, now, shone with the passing of the storm. He was marooned on the island. He prayed someone would find him.
Rising to his feel, he stumbled up the beach to the path leading into the trees. He reached a small pool of fresh water. He kneeled at the edge to scoop up water in his hand to drink.
Jake settled at the base of a palm tree to rest his batted body.
Eyes watched him from the vegetation.
“Missy Sandra. Missy Sandra. Come help.” Nanny shook her awake. “I need your help.”
“Has something happened. Who is sick,” she asked, trying to remember where she was
“Man. He hurt. His boat broke. Come.” Nanny tried to make Sandra move.
Sandra pulled jeans, and a tee shirt over the top of her night clothes before following Nanny out of the house.
Jake still slept when they found him. Sandra shone a torch over him searching for injuries. Her mind lost in the survey, jumped, when the man asked, “Have you seen enough, I shouldn't wonder you'd have left me for dead at the sight of me.”
“Takes more than a few bruises to scare me. And scratches. Did you notify the coastguard before you sank.”
“What coastguard. I was told this was a lake.”
“Who told you this was a lake,” asked Sandra, a cold shiver ran through her body.
“The man at the house...”
“The one on the mainland,” asked Nanny.
“Yes. He was...”
“A ghost,” finished Sandra. “You went for a sail in a ghost ship.”
“Tell me another story. I don't believe you.”
“Every time the ghost ship goes out there is a fierce storm. The islanders were keeping watch for any survivors.”
“And you are a mirage,” Jake joked.
“Nope. And you're not my prince. I'm just an overworked boss taking self given leave. Let's get you to my house. Can you walk?”
Jake stood on wobbly legs. Nanny, and Sandra, stood either side of him for balance.
After they had settled Jake to bed, Sandra sent a text to her secretary.
“Having great time. Wish you were here. Don't know when I'll be returning. Do not disturb for at least a few weeks.”