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There had been a bit of a kerfuffle when Bengo had seen that the beach on the south-facing side of the island was black.
“For fuck’s sake”, said Joby, impatiently “It’s a volcanic beach, made up of volcanic ash, not some doom-laden portent”.
“Oh I see what you mean”, said Bengo, meekly.
“Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’ve travelled all over the world”, said Joby “You carry on as if you’ve never left the Cabaret!”
“I know”, said Bengo “Please don’t tell Bardy, he’s short-fused enough with me as it is at the moment. If he hears about this he won’t let me come on the shore-party”.
“Yes he will”, said Joby “I can’t see him leaving you out”.
The island was a rocky outcrop sticking out of the lake, but it was surprisingly rich in greenery. Small, wind-bent trees and bushes abounded amongst the large boulders. The vegetation was particularly surprising as the surrounding countryside, on the mainland, was sparse in the extreme.
Bardin led the usual shore-party (the customary six) from the galleon, and they spent a hot, sultry time, carefully climbing through the boulders to the top. At the very top of the island was the only building, a semi-ruined chapel. Its walls were still largely intact, but the door was missing, and the roof sported several large gaping holes. An impressive bell stood motionless, and rusted, inside the bell-tower.
“Does the presence of the chapel signify this island might have been a spiritual place?” Bardin asked Kieran.
Kieran had been unnervingly quiet since arriving on the island. He took off his sun-hat and fanned himself with it.
“It is spiritual”, he said “Whatever has laid waste to the countryside hasn’t been able to reach here”.
“Perhaps it couldn’t cross the water”, said Bardin.
“And there doesn’t seem to be any sign of any caverns underneath”, said Ransey “So it couldn’t reach that way”.
“Never mind that”, said Hillyard, who had been scanning southwards with the binoculars “Look at the far horizon”.
At the very limits of their visibility, a large dark shape sat brooding on the horizon. It was hard to tell from this distance, even with the aid of the binoculars, whether it was a building or another rocky outcrop.
“That’d be a good trip out for the truck sometime”, said Hillyard.
“I might’ve known the truck would come into it”, Joby groaned.
“Well it would”, said Hillyard “After we’ve been here for a bit”.
“Yes it seems reasonable to say we’ll stay here for a while”, said Bardin.
“Why is the chapel all broken down though?” said Bengo.
Bardin gave an exasperated sigh.
“It might just be that whoever the custodians of it were”, said Kieran “Passed away, and no one was around to take up the reins”.
“Yes, so stop it with the doomy portents”, said Bardin, clouting Bengo with his cap.
Bengo grabbed Bardin’s braces and let them slap back against his nipples.
“I don’t know how you two can fight in this heat”, said Ransey.
“They can fight anywhere”, said Joby.
“Anyway”, said Hillyard “We’re agreed aren’t we? We’re staying here for a while?”
Julian was still in charge of the ship’s logbook, mainly because Bardin could never be bothered to sit around long enough to work on it.
“’We have been here now for 7 days’”, Julian wrote “’And I’ve left it this long to deliver our verdict on the island. It’s given us long enough now to get a feel of the place, and it’s largely positive. The only jarring note has been wild animal noises we’ve heard wafting across the countryside at night. But we’re used to that on our travels, plus noise travels significant distances in a flat, empty landscape like this.
Hillyard is full of plans for the island, like a big kid with a new toy. I have a feeling the truck will be taking a back seat in his affections for a while. He has been ransacking the hold and digging out bits of old junk we’ve had festering down there for aeons. He’s even unearthed a rickety old bedstead, plus numerous bits of timber and tarpaulin. He not only has plans to renovate the old chapel at the top of the island, but to build a hut on the beach. He has a hankering to re-create the hut on the desert island they lived in years ago. I expect it will fall down in the first gale’”.
In the galley at this time Joby and Adam were chatting over cups of tea. Somehow Joby had got onto the subject of one night stands.
“I hated ‘em”, he said “Summat soul-destroying about ‘em. I expect you had plenty in your time”.
“You make me sound like a total trollop!” said Adam.
“Nah, just that was the life you led in those days”, said Joby “The days when you first came out of prison I mean. Drinking. Abandoned by everyone …”
“Oh for heaven’s sake”, said Adam “You’ll be having me wearing a shawl in the snow next!”
“I’m just saying it must have been tough for you”, said Joby “And you were still pining after Julian”.
“That was the most preposterous thing of the lot”, said Adam “But yes I did, I pined after him for years. Hard to believe now. These days I often can’t spend five minutes with him without wanting to throttle him!”
“Charming way to speak about your first love”, said Julian, coming into the room.
“Blimey, you made me jump out of my skin!” said Joby.
“Good”, said Julian “Must be the sign of a guilty conscience”.
“To what do we owe this unwanted honour?” said Adam.
“A sudden craving for tea”, said Julian “And to escape from my cabin. Hillyard is making the most god-awful racket right below us. What the hell is he digging out of the hold now?”
“We shouldn’t discourage him”, said Adam “It was high-time the hold was given a clear-out”.
“Yes, but there seems to be no limit to his building ambitions”, said Julian “We’ll have the whole bloody island dotted with them before he’s finished. Hillyard’s Hovels, we’ll have to call them”.
“Well if we’re staying here for a long time”, said Adam “It would be useful to have shelter on the island”.
“Kieran wants to stay in the old chapel sometime”, said Joby “I’ve said not before the roof’s been repaired and a door’s been put on. Anyway, permission to be excused for a few minutes?”
“Certainly”, said Adam.
“I’m gonna see what Kieran’s up to now”.
Joby went up onto the main deck, where he discarded his pinny for a little while. The ship and the beach on the island were a hive of different activities. Kieran was crouched on a rock, rinsing out some linen. He was stark-naked.
“You look like a water-nymph”, said Joby, walking towards him on the beach.
“Pretty disappointing water-nymph”, said Kieran, indicating his flaccid penis.
“You’ll do me”, said Joby, grabbing him in his arms.
“I’ve missed going naked outdoors”, said Kieran “It never seemed appropriate at the other place. Always the risk someone from the town would appear”.
“Well if we’re re-creating the desert island”, said Joby “It seems appropriate somehow. We went nude there a lot of the time”.
“You’ll have to too”, Kieran squinted at him mischievously.
“Not when I’m working”, said Joby “Too dodgy in the galley!”
He kissed Kieran exuberantly, squeezing his skinny buttocks at the same time.
“God, I hope nothing goes wrong”, said Joby , when they came up for air “And we can stay here for a while”.
“Now let’s not have the old traditional English pessimism raising its head again”, said Kieran “There’s no reason we can’t make this place work out. We have a freshwater lake surrounding us, patches of land where you can plant things. The only downside is it’s not much of a view”.
“Hm, no”, said Joby, looking over at the sparse countryside on the mainland “But we only had the sea to look at on the other island. It might be prettier in the Winter, with the snow”.
“And at least we can see for a great distance”, said Kieran “That gives us some advantage”.
He noticed Bardin walking around on deck.
“I just wish I could convince our lad there that no Evil has been in this place”, said Kieran “I can’t seem to get it through to him that the old chapel is just a result of natural decay and neglect, and not violated by Evil. He had the brass nerve to go and bring up Pabbio’s island, and throw that at me again! I don’t think I’m ever going to be allowed to forget that one!”
“Don’t worry about him”, said Joby “It’s high-time he had his island inaugural spanking. The first of many I hope. Might as well start as we mean to go on”.
Hillyard emerged from digging out bits of wood from the hold, and went along to complain to Adam.
“I can’t seem to separate Joby from Kieran long enough to talk about his new garden”, he said.
“Well don’t complain, old love”, said Adam “At least keeps the little perishers out of mischief. I don’t have to wonder what they’re up to”.
“Yeah, but I want to know where he wants his allotment put”, said Hillyard “So I know where to put the main hut when it’s finished”.
“Here’s a novel idea”, said Adam “Why don’t you actually go along and ask him?”
Joby had returned to the ship with Kieran, and they had both gone to their cabin. Kieran’s state of nakedness was exciting Joby to such an extent that he literally couldn’t keep his hands off him.
“I wish I could have you like this all the time”, he said “Might get a bit parky in the Winter though I spose”.
“Oh well then I’ll have me fancy new knickers to keep you amused”, said Kieran.
Toppy had left a couple of neat piles of washed and ironed clothing on their bunk. Kieran plucked a pair of stripey shorts from the top, the ones that he had bought with Bardin back in the covered market in Snow Lake.
“Finia’s taken them in for me”, he said “So they’ll fit a bit more snuggly over me bony old arse when I’m bent over”.
“Blimey, we think of everything round here don’t we”, said Joby.
He looked from the shorts to the paddle which was hanging ceremoniously on the wall. The thought of applying it firmly to the back of the shorts was intoxicating, but he also didn’t want to waste Kieran’s nakedness. Quietly, he tore off his own clothes, sat on the sofa, and put Kieran over his knee. He then spanked him lustily with his hand. Afterwards, they both engaged in some mutual masturbation, and then lay coiled sweatily in each other’s arms.
This hot, intense idyll was interrupted by a no-nonsense knock on the door.
“That’ll be my summons back to the salt-mines”, said Joby “Yeah alright, I’ll be along in a minute!”
“No, it’s me”, Hillyard shouted back “Let down the drawbridge”.
Joby clambered over Kieran and unbolted the door.
“Wassup?” he asked Hillyard.
“Come out now and show me where you want your allotment”, said Hillyard “I’m sick of waiting for you to make up your mind”.
“Yeah alright”, said Joby “Let me put some clothes on first”.
“You can come as you are”, said Hillyard.
“No I can’t”, said Joby “Go and wait up on deck, I’ll be up in a minute”.
“OK bossy-tits”, said Hillyard “Getting as bad as Bardin you are!”
When Hillyard had gone, Kieran got off the sofa and handed Joby his clothes, item by item.
“Right, you stay on the ship now”, Joby ordered “Either here, or up on deck, OK?”
“OK so”, said Kieran.
It was a marked sea-change these days that Joby no longer got suspicious when Kieran promised obedience. All the spankings seemed to have finally tamed him, or at least put him into such a state of contentment that he no longer wanted to be naughty just for the sake of winding up Joby. He certainly hadn’t lost his spark, but he wanted to be docile.
“I thought perhaps about here”, said Joby, standing in front of some rocks on the south-west side of the island “Could get a decent-sized allotment out of this space, once I’ve hoed it free of stones and rocks”.
“I was hoping you’d say that”, said Hillyard “Because then I can put the hut to the other side of it. And then you could use it as a sort of garden shed”.
“You’re gonna build me a shed?” said Joby.
“Well it won’t just be a shed”, said Hillyard “We re-creating the hut on the desert island, remember? But I thought you could use it as a shed when you’re gardening”.
“Be brilliant”, said Joby “I can shove Kieran in it whilst I’m here, and keep an eye on him at the same time”.
They both sat down on the rocks, and looked out at the sunlight sparkling off the surface of the lake.
“I’m glad you’re in charge of him these days”, said Hillyard “It used to worry me sometimes when Julian thrashed him. He gets carried away, and Kieran’s such a little scrap of a thing. Didn’t like all that strap stuff”.
“I don’t like using the strap”, said Joby “It’s gotta be really dire for me to use that. Most often I only use the paddle when he’s got shorts on”.
“He’s an extraordinary bloke. Kieran I mean”, said Hillyard “When I first met you lot he was this scruffy, skinny boy with yellow hair. Could never hold his drink properly”.
Joby gave a bark of laughter.
“And yet he’s done so much”, Hillyard continued “Been through so much”.
“Well, as he always says, he’s tougher than he looks”, said Joby.
“He’s a great bloke”, said Hillyard “And yet he wants to be punished all the time”.
“I think it’s more that he wants to be taken care of”, said Joby “Kept in order. And I enjoy looking after him, so it suits us both”.
Hillyard squeezed Joby’s knee in appreciation.
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