Greg slowly twisted his hand, slowing the outboard motor behind him to a stop. The vibrations, which had been traveling up his arm and shaking his poor middle aged body for the past half hour, eased as the ship began to coast towards the rocky shore.
Ship. Really, that was a grandiose term for the "True Blue". It barely rated being called a boat. Ten or twelve feet long (he'd never bothered to measure it), the True Blue was just an old aluminum rowboat with an outboard motor. His father had named it, painting a wide stripe of navy blue above the waterline on the grayish metal hull, and the craft had served as the family fishing boat for many a year. With three benches, plus the small seat at the bow where Greg had set himself on their various adventures to places like the Rideau river (where they'd rented a cabin the first week of July for most of his childhood so Dad could fish), the small craft had been large enough to carry the four of them wherever they wanted to go, and dangerous enough to lead to many now fondly recalled stories. Memories...
It was the Thousand Islands, though, that brought him to this place. They had only taken the small boat there twice, that he recalled, but his preteen mind had been enchanted by the small, seemingly unclaimed islands jutting out of the wide river. So too had the slightly larger ones, almost filled completely by summer homes, fired up his imagination. What would it be like, to live on a small island, isolated from the world, cut off in winter from all supply or rescue...
The bow of the True Blue hit the patch of rocky mud on the shore, the traditional stopping method for this craft. Raising the motor out of the water and locking it into place, Greg quickly began to climb towards the front of the boat. He kept low, using his hands on the seats and side for balance as the craft rocked back and forth. A long thick tree branch stuck out from the island next to him, and when a quick tug confirmed it was somewhat secure he grabbed the rope attached to the bow and tied it up on the tree. There. As good as a dock. The True Blue had started to drift back out into the lake during this, as it was want to do. Grabbing one of the blue wooden oars, Greg shoved it down into the muddy bottom to force them back into contact with the shore. Oar back safely onboard, he grabbed a second branch and jumped onto the slippery dirt. Knowing his craft, he quickly turned to grab the bow as the now lightened ship began to leave him. Pulling, he got a good four feet of the rowboat onto the shore. Satisfied, for now, that he wouldn't be stranded here, he turned and looked around him.
The listing on the realtor's website had been interesting: "Uninhabited island on small lake. Room for one summer cabin. No utilities." For someone who had money to spend, and wanted to get away from the world...
Greg hadn't always hated people.
He did now. Not people, generically, as in all of humanity. No, he just hated every individual he came in contact with.
Oh, the nameless ones who worked the registers and counters at the stores and restaurants he frequented were OK, he supposed. His contact was brief enough that they rarely got on his nerves in any lasting way. But, anything beyond that, any in depth relationship, be it personal, business, or, God forbid, romantic, led without exception to deep seated hatred.
Honestly, Greg didn't know why. And, really, hate might be too strong a word...
Naw. He hated the assholes.
He was a good enough guy, he thought. Oh, sure, he liked his solitude. Nothing pissed him off more than those who felt they had to talk to pass the time. He was open minded, though those who voiced opinions that were obviously wrong made him grind his teeth in frustration. He was fair, even if being so meant that others felt they were being cheated. Above all, Greg was always honest.
This, strangely, pissed off more people than he'd ever thought possible.
Well, fuck them. He had money now. Between a very nice week in Vegas, selling his business, and an inheritance far larger than he'd ever thought possible, at age 45 he could retire ... provided he lived a simple life.
He wanted nothing more than that.
Pulling himself up the steep rocky incline, Greg found himself on the island proper. He had wondered, when looking at the place on the map, why nobody had built here before given the lake itself did have some summer cabins around it. Now he saw someone had. An old stone fireplace stood, almost complete, at one end of what most likely was the foundation of some old cabin. Around him were trees, mostly pines of various sizes with a few maples thrown in. That chilly late May, the needles and leaves glistened a bit with the last of the morning dew. Birds chirped. Off in the distance, a motor boat, probably an outboard like his as the lake was a bit small for more than a fishing boat. Closing his eyes, Greg took a deep breath.
It felt like home.
A quick walk around gave him a good sense of the place. On the opposite side of the roughly circular island were the remains of a wooden dock, now rotted and half gone. A path led down, broken bottles showing the place did see the occasional visitor. At about a half football field across, he could easily put a house here. Lumber and furnishings could be brought over on a quickly made barge, just barrels tied together. Get a generator or two with a good reserve of fuel, pipe in lake water to be filtered...
... Once winter came, he could sit in his isolated home, alone and warm.
It was a plan.
Grabbing some sticks, he started marking out possible floor plans.
Not being an idiot, or all that handy with a hammer, Greg hired a real construction crew to do the actual work. Two months later, the house itself was done. By the end of August, he was ready to move in.
Parking his pickup in the new garage at the end of his new private road, Greg grabbed the last of his supplies and lugged them down to the docked True Blue. He'd be making frequent supply runs, he knew, especially until he had a good idea exactly what would last how long, but this should be enough to get him started. Dropping the bags into the boat, he laughed. New house, new garage, new dock ... same crappy boat. Well, the two of them were a team. Walking back up the path, he locked up the garage (built to look like a cabin, the automatic door becoming a wood paneled wall when closed), put on his life jacket, and grinned.
Let the adventure begin!
The sound and vibrations of the motor coursing through his body, Greg regarded his home as the True Blue closed the distance. Most of the trees around the edge of the island had been left, helping to conceal the dwelling, but it was still easy to pick out. Built like an old log cabin, it rose two stories above a new concrete foundation. Coming from the south as he was, he could see the glass wall that stretched across almost the entire second floor, broken up by the occasional wooden support. The old fireplace, rebuilt, climbed the eastern side of the cabin. Solar panels filled the southern roof as well, hopefully easing some of his fuel needs. New steps led down to a new dock replacing the ruins, this time running parallel to the shore instead of out into the lake. Next to it, a small beach area where he could bring the boat up for the winter.
Greg just shook his head, smiling.
It was all his.
Experience had shown him it was deep enough here to just bring the boat in parallel to the shore, the reason for the new dock placement. Swinging the boat around, he cut the motor, grabbed the rope next to him, and with practiced ease grabbed the deck piling to bring the True Blue to a stop. A few minutes later he was climbing up the steps with his duffle bags.
Large stones set into the ground marked the path to the front door. There was a covered porch, running the length of the first floor. Unlocking the door- yes, this was an island, but boating drunks and teens (often both) were about- he went through, dropping his bags. The living room took up most of the first floor, as he expected to spend most of his time here. A nice couch and chair, TV (with satellite dish), large fluffy rug, bookcases ... all you could want. His laptop, hooked up to the house wifi, sat on a coffee table made from half a log, sanded smooth and varnished with a nice clear finish. An open doorway before him led to the kitchen, and another to the bathroom. Waste disposal would be an issue, so the toilet was basically a port-a-potty with a removable receptacle he'd have to take ashore to empty now and then. Just so he wouldn't have to do it often, he had four of them.
The second floor had his bed, a lazy boy for reading with the whole lake spread out before him ... and supplies to build a kick ass 0 scale train layout.
Hey, a man needs his hobbies.
Closing the door, Greg picked up his bags and went to unpack. It was time to get on with his life.
There was a knock at the door.
Greg looked up from his sandwich. A storm raged outside. Even as well built as his home was, Greg could hear the structure groaning as wind and rain pounded the island. A mere half hour ago the skies had been clear, but now thunder and lightning welcomed September with a rather impressive display. Surely, given all this, that sound had just been some random thing blown against the door...
The knock came again, louder this time.
Pushing back his dining room chair to stand, eyes quickly going to the fake Japanese sword hanging near the door, Greg made his way to the cabin door. Throwing back the deadbolt, mind for a moment on various horror stories that had started this way, he pulled it open.
.... There is more of this story ...