Fairbanks Island – Day 8

Enjoy chapter 7, unedited. You can keep track of my progress HERE

Banks fell asleep. They did their morning routine and were sent to another part of the island to learn the terrain. The group was the same and would be to the end of the week. Harry was commanding than last time, and as they got used to each other, they cared to listen. Harry didn’t want to come in last and be humiliated like Hjalmar’s group, and neither did they, so they hurried on. Though Banks was in for it like everyone else, he always cast a glance over the horizon, in the hopes in finding the girl once more. He didn’t recognise himself with his obsession, it wasn’t like him to pine over a woman like this. Perhaps it was just the sport of it? The curiosity that there was a woman on this supposed empty island base? Perhaps he just wanted to be sure he didn’t make it up in his head, either way, his dual attention started to take notice and the guys started casting glances as well. It became a game who would find her first, that’s of course after they had found more than half the flags and were relatively safe. Even Harry joined in and they joked about what they’d get for finding her. They figured they were doing Banks a favour and that he would give them something. Banks said he would give them the underside of his shoe in their face. Banks wasn’t usually snarky like that, but his comment went over well and they hit right back with their own snarky comments. To Banks surprise, he almost forgot about the woman and didn’t mind that they didn’t find her.

They were not last, but the last group wasn’t late either so nobody ended up being scolded or humiliated. Which was good but the threat of being humiliated was undeniable, so much so that Banks wondered if this was all planned out by the Lt? It wouldn’t surprise him. Banks decided to stick around with his group at the lunch table. He was staring to enjoy their company. When they sat down, they noticed a crowed gathering at one of the tables. Banks thought it was Hjalmar again and thought nothing of it, when he heard what they were talking about. It was not Hjalmar by the table, well, he wasn’t the one speaking. It was somebody he had met briefly at the boat. He was saying that he had seen the woman and he told a lot of details that Banks didn’t remember. They ate it all up, of course, because that’s what they wanted, a story. Banks saw Hjalmar rise from the table and Banks waved him over who sat next to him. “Somebody else hugging your spot?” Banks said, playfully.

To his surprise, Hjalmar looked really angry, even more so than when the big guy had taunted him. Banks decided not to pursue the subject further. “How did your team go?”

“Last,” he said sharply, without stopping to glance at the guy who had his spot. “Is any of that true?” He said.

“No,” except for the small details that I already gave him. The blond hair, the slender figure.”

“As I thought,” he said and rose.

“Whowe, what are you going to do?” Banks said, grabbing Hjalmar’s arm.

“I’m going to tell him he’s full of shit.”

“Like the big guy did?” Banks said, regretting the analogy immediately.

Hjalmar’s eyes flashed. “So I’m a liar too, am I?” He said and broke lose of Banks grip. He stood for a moment, still considering to go over there, but the story ended and the crowed died off – he had lost his moment.

“To think this would be such a big deal,” Banks said.

“Well what do you expect? A an island full of guys and one mysterious woman… What is she even doing here? Are you sure you saw what you saw?”

Banks nodded, hesitantly, not sure himself anymore.

“They would know, wouldn’t they? The staff,” somebody across to them said.

He was from Banks group, but he hadn’t talked to him directly. He had been listening intently, however, Banks saw it in his eyes. But what he said was true. “They would, wouldn’t they,” Banks said.

“If you can find one of them. Have you seen the Lt. at all, today?”
“Or the staff for that matter… Are they working at night? It’s odd, I’m telling you, very odd.”

Banks recalled what his father said about leaving at the first opportunity if things seemed strange. Banks brushed it away and rose. “I’ll go talk to him,” Banks said.

“To who?”

“The Lt. I’ll just knock on his door, how hard can it be?”

It could be very hard, it turned out. Banks exited the lunch room, the courtyard was virtually empty, except for a few that walked about, talking. They were free until this evening training. Banks looked up at the walls and realised they hadn’t been doing any guard duty at all sense they came. He found it hard to believe they would leave it without defence and wondered where the soldiers were. He suddenly felt unease, as if being watched and he hurried to the door. The door was massive, made with steal, and embedded into the rock. Banks realised that there might be a whole other base inside, even so, he pressed the button beside the door. It chirped, and after a moment, a voice came, distorted. “Yes?”

“I would like to see Lt. Baxter, please.”
There was silence.

Banks pressed the button again. “Hello?”

Just as he did, the door slid open, slowly, and Baxter stood at the entrance. He didn’t seem annoyed, or angry, yet his face was drooping and he looked very very tired. He seemed to take every ounce of strength of him to look friendly, with an almost pity in his smile. Banks stood in attention and salted him. “Private Fair Bank’s, sir!” He said.

Baxter waved his hand to let him know to stand at ease. “What can I do for you, solider?”

It was then Banks wasn’t sure what he was going to say or rather how he was going to say it. I saw a woman yesterday, I just want to know if I was hallucinating… After going back and forth in his mind what he was going to say, he said. “Is the island truly abandoned? By civilians, I mean.”
Baxter raised and eyebrow. “We never said it was… Why?”

“Well… I saw a woman yesterday, and…” Banks didn’t know how to end the sentence, thankfully he didn’t have too.

“Miss (…) Yes, she lives on the island, with her father. Their family owns the island, in fact and we are guests here, you could say. I hope you were on your best behaviour.”
“I didn’t get the chance to speak with her,” he said.

Baxter nodded. “I see. Well, see that you don’t disturb her. Her father is very sick, that’s why she’s stuck here. The last thing she needs is some military boys pestering her.”
Banks wanted to say that he would have to reel in the other men as well if he hoped to do that but he saw that Lt. Baxter was getting impatient. “Is that all, solider?”

“Yes, sir!” He said and saluted.

Baxter did the same and the door slid slowly close. Banks could see the dim inside as Baxter walked slowly down a set of stairs before the door shut close fully. He walked back to the barracks and he was suddenly concerned for her wellbeing.

© Christopher Stamfors

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