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Tuesday 11 April 2017

I’m Just As Much A Prisoner

    I find that I’m just as much a prisoner today as I was yesterday and the days before that! I suppose it had to happen to someone, and today it happened to me. This morning I woke up to find the Village deserted, everyone had gone but me! The silence was broken only by the wind and the squawking of the sea birds. I washed and dressed then went out into The Village. The General Store was locked, as was the cafe, there were coffee pots and half drunk cups of tea and half eaten cheese cakes on the table on the patio. The Old People’s home was deserted, no-one clambering about the Stone Boat’s rigging. I forced my way into the Green Dome, then into Number 2’s office, I was sure he was behind what wasn’t going on that morning. But he wasn’t there, but there was a note, I read it. It said “Would the last man to leave The Village please turn off the light!” It was signed Number 2 Chief Administrator.
    I went back out into The Village, there was no helicopter, and even if there was I couldn’t have piloted it. I could have set off on foot towards the mountains, but I wasn’t much of a walker, and even less a mountaineer. Then I saw it, an abandoned Mini-Moke. The key had been left in the ignition, I climbed aboard and turning the key the engine fired into life. I drove out of The Village and into the countryside along a well used track way. After a few miles the track ran out, I could go no further, it was the mountains. So having driven back to The Village I wondered what best to do. It struck me that I could do one of two things, the first seemed unlikely as I was no seaman, and besides even if I were there was no boat. I might be able to fashion myself a sea-going raft, but then there was the question of navigation, of where I was sailing to and not knowing where I was sailing from. I was not prepared to risk my life at sea. The alternative was to sit it out, wait for someone to come to The Village and find me.
   I made myself as comfortable as I could, I still have my home, and after breaking into the General Store I had ample provisions. True there was no electricity, but there were candles, and I had two torch lights with plenty of spare batteries. I decided to build a beacon, a distress beacon, and there was no-one more in distress than me marooned in this Village. The Bell Tower was the highest point in The Village, so I found myself an axe in a workshop and with it felled three small trees, stripped them of their branches then chopped the trees up, and hauled the logs, branches and all to the top of the Bell Tower. Then from a supply shed I took a can of petrol and emptied its contents over my beacon and set light to it as night was falling. My beacon burned half the night, I’ve no idea if my distress beacon was seen but no-one came. I rebuilt the beacon deciding to light it only when I saw a sign from my world beyond The Village. I kept a daily watch from the
Bell Tower, there was never any sign of a light, boat, or plane.
    Two weeks had now passed by and I was beginning to get fed up with my own company. Then one morning I woke to find the tide had gone out, all I could see was flat sand stretching out into the distance. This was my chance. First I found two wooden crates into which I filled as many provisions from the General Store as I could, mostly tinned stuff. I found an old wooden keg which I filled with fresh water from the waterfall. I remembered that Number 14 had a camera, so I hurried round to her cottage, found the camera and a spare roll of Village film, and took photographs of all points of the Village.......for evidence. Then I drove the taxi round to a workshop, I found a dipstick which I used to check the petrol tank, the Mini-Moke not being fitted with something as simple as a fuel gauge! The dipstick indicated the petrol tank was only a quarter full. So I topped it up from a large fuel tank, found not far from the workshops, as well as filling four large green Jerry cans. These I placed in the Mini-Moke along with my boxes of provisions, together with the roll of film. I drove through The Village for the last time, it was quite, peaceful, the only sounds were the wind, the squawking of the sea birds, and of course the engine of the Mini-Moke. It had never occurred to me until I drove passed the Town Hall and down the road to the Old People’s Home, that there had been no sight nor sound of the white membranic Guardian. I could only imagine, indeed hope that it had been deactivated, and had not been left to patrol the deserted Village.
   At the Old People’s Home I steered the Mini-Moke round to the left, then after a short way right down the slipway and onto the beach. I stopped the Mini-Moke and looked all about, and waited. Then depressing the clutch I engaged first gear, pressed down on the accelerator while at the same time lifting the clutch and the Mini-Moke moved slowly forward. When I was well out onto the sand I stopped the Mini-Moke once more, looked, listened, and waited. There was nothing, so I revved the engine, engaged first gear and pressed the accelerator to the floor and the Mini-Moke raced across the sand, away from The Village and into the distance..................

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