The Boy from Castlebay Down
Dad's car turned left into a road that fell downwards and I suddenly got a glimpse of the sea. Almost five hours I'd now been in this car and my legs and back felt well and truly shot due to my tall frame. We'd stopped once for fuel but I hadn't got out. The others however had gone for comfort breaks and grabbed a bite to eat so it was probably my fault for feeling like a squashed up jack in the box. Leah had got me a pasty to eat along with some salt and vinegar crisps when they returned, food which is now just sitting in my stomach bloating me.
As our car reached the bottom of the steep road dad turned left again onto a cobbled surface that ran along a kind of high concrete wall. I assumed it was there to hold back the ocean when the weather got bad. Today though was calm but chilly, the sun above trying to break through the clouds that shrouded it. As we drove along the wall I could just see the tops of boat masts and up ahead a pub which looked to have a couple of people standing outside, a glass clamped in their hand.
"Such a beautiful setting, my senses dance with anticipation," Zoe said over the sound of the radio. Lean and I smiled at her excitement.
"Once we arrive at the new house I'll give mum the car and you can both go and make sure your horse has got here in one piece," dad remarked.
We passed an area that looked to be a boat servicing yard as I could see a large wooden ramp that ran down into the water. There was a big building a little further up that had a trawling boat just being pushed outside as we went by and I wondered if they had any jobs. 'Pfft who was I kidding?' I thought. Working in a diner was one thing but tinkering with old bits of boat engine was not really going to be my speciality. However I did need to earn a little money if just to keep my independence from my bastard father for the next year until I could get out of this place and off to Uni.
It felt like we had been going along this bumpy old road for ages now and I was just about to ask how much further it was until I saw a huge lorry up ahead with sign writing which read 'MoveYouRight.' It had to be ours, unless of course it was a massive company. I wasn't convinced though looking at the two men that had cleared us out.
"Good they're here," Dad commented coming to a stop behind the truck.
"Well, that was good timing, I thought we would be here long before them and they beat us," mum said.
"We did stop though Lynda, maybe they didn't," Leah added to my mum.
Dad got out of the car and went to greet the men who were just bringing down the tailgate on their lorry.
"Corbin, Leah, Zoe, do you want a tour before they start moving the furniture in?"
I looked at Leah and shrugged. "Why not, doesn't look like there is much else to do around here unless you're an alcoholic, all I've seen is that pub we passed."
Mum laughed. "Oh Corbin, don't be so negative. I'm sure there is plenty to do. The place is actually bigger than I remember."
We all got out of the car and Dad wandered back over to us. I cringed as while driving his shirt must have come loose from his jeans revealing his rather revolting pink overhang.
"The removal guys are going to start with the heavy stuff first and then take a ten minute break for a quick lunch, shall we go and have a look round?" he suggested.
At first, I thought he meant for all of us to go sightseeing, a prospect I almost vomited at, but thankfully he started heading towards the front door of our new house and a wave of relief came over me.
Unlike our old house this one had no driveway. The front door literally opened up onto the path outside. It had a faded red door complete with a brass knocker and the house itself looked oddly small from outside.
Dad pulled out a set of keys from his jeans pocket and smiled at mum. "Want me to carry you over the threshold, dear?" he asked her. I rolled my eyes and immediately felt sick. I dunno what made me feel worse, imagining him doing it or the fact he was actually in a good mood.
"I think I can walk this one Don!" she said, giggling.
We all moved over to the door and dad put the key in. We all walked through in single file. What hit me first was the smell. It was a dampness mixed in with the stale smell of cigarettes. The hallway was thin and led on to a large kitchen straight ahead. There was a door just inside which I opened revealing a single toilet. I closed it again pulling a face and saw that Leah and Zoe were heading upstairs. I followed as mum and dad headed for another doorway downstairs which I was certain would be the lounge.
At the top it actually felt a little more spacious. Although the landing was small there were four bedrooms and a good size bathroom. We mingled separately, the floorboards creaking as we walked across them.
"Smells don't it," I remarked, meeting the girls on one of the bedrooms.
"Awww, I think it's a sweet little house," Leah commented. "I guess we don't get to pick a room?"
"Meh, the control freak downstairs has probably already worked that one out on his first visit."
"I will miss the décor of my old cabin, these colours do not delight," Zoe said, peeling a small strip of loose wallpaper from the wall.
"I'm sure they got plans to spend some money on it, we can't live in this surely!"
What was evident about the place is that it needed an update badly. The walls were all decorated in a sickly floral design that stank of the past. Most of the carpets were threadbare and grubby. I imagined the house to have once been a family home until the kids left and eventually either the wife of husband had died leaving an old widow to live here until they croaked it too.
As we became accustomed to the new rooms upstairs I could hear more footsteps coming up the stairs until mum and dad came into sight.
"Well kids, what do you think?" She asked with a jolly tone.
"It is quaint," Zoe responded.
"Looks great," added Leah.
I remained silent.
"So your father and I were thinking. Corbin and Leah, you can have the bedroom next to the bathroom. It's nice and big so you can put up your easel in there Corbin."
"Great, more fucking paintings!" dad grumbled under his breath. I think he expected me to hear none the less. Mum nudged him with her arm.
"Zoe, you can have the front bedroom here," she pointed. "You may have noticed there is a large cupboard inside to keep all your riding equipment in if you want?"
"I shall make it the best it can be, thank you for this granting of space ma'ma."
"Dad and I will have the master bedroom and we'll leave the other for storage until we can figure out where to put everything."
I nodded and put my hands in my jean pockets before wandering down the stairs to take a look at the rest of the place.
I hated it already!
The removal men were now in full swing and I was doing my best along with Leah to keep out of the way as big items from the old house came shuffling through every few minutes. Mum had gone with Zoe to meet up with the horse box containing Diamond and dad was in a small annex room off the kitchen that he looked to be turning into an office. I walked in on him bending down to plug a lamp in and got an eye full of a huge hairy ass hanging out of his tight jeans. I reeled back in horror at the site just as he got up and we made eye contact.
"Yes?" he grunted.
"Uh… I was thinking, unless you want anything done, we might just get out of the way until these guys have finished.
"Hmm, very well, just be back in an hour to get your room set up and things put away."
I nodded politely, feeling surprised by this rather painless encounter. "Sure, we'll be back soon."
I met Leah in the hallway and we both stepped out onto the path. She tried to hold my hand as we started walking but I didn't want to, deciding instead to keep them locked in my coat pockets.
We crossed the cobbled road to the other side where the sea wall was and walked slowly alongside it.
"You ok?" Leah asked, looking up at me staring straight ahead.
"Just thinking," I said before sighing.
"About how I am going to survive here."
"You have me?"
I looked down at her and smiled. "Yeah, I guess." It was a half-hearted reply. "God I miss the old town already, I mean look at this place."
"What about it? I think it looks picturesque."
"It's dead, there is no one here. Where are all the cars going past, where are the people, where are the shops?"
"Corbin, it's a small seaside fishing village, it's not going to be bustling like some big town, but people do live here you know?"
"Yeah… they probably just come out at night and do rituals and shit around a pentacle."
Leah laughed. "Always the optimist."
As we walked further the view opened up revealing more of the village. Looking over to our right there were in fact a lot more houses that were dotted all over a large hillside away from the water. I followed a single car with my eyes as it wound its way up the hill in a zig zag formation until getting to the top and disappearing out of site.
"I don't remember seeing all these houses," I said, looking upwards at the perching dwellings.
"That's probably because you and Zoe were too fixated on the sea down here at the bottom. In fact, I would almost have said you were excited," she declared, nudging me with a grin.
I was not impressed.
We wandered past the boat repair place and stopped outside. Through the huge building doors I could see sparks coming from some power tool a guy was using on the side of a trawler, while another was hammering something into another. There must have been about 8 or 9 people working away inside and outside looked to be some of their either finished jobs or ones waiting to go in.
"I guess it must be pretty cool working down here on the coast especially in the summer," Leah remarked, looking through a gap in the sea wall. I came up behind her and looked out. The wall that we were by seemed to have a section that went out a little, creating a small harbour. This was where most of the boats sat stationary.
Leah began walking again and I went with her until we reached an opening in the wall around 4 metres wide you could walk through. It led onto a concrete structure that sloped down to the water itself.
Leah started walking down it. "Leah that looks kinda slippery," I said, eyeing the black seaweed that clung to the surface the further down I looked.
"I'll be careful… you coming?"
I rolled my eyes. "Guess I have to otherwise I'll probably have to call the coastguard to get you out."
We carefully shuffled down the concrete slope clambering on the rough sea wall as we went until finally reaching the bottom which led on to a ledge that ran along the wall. The water was around 3 feet below which allowed Leah to sit down and let her legs hang over the edge. I followed her lead and we both looked out across the sea.
"I bet this is lovely in the summer," she remarked, kicking her heels on the stone surface.
A gentle breeze had worked up causing thin metal ropes that connected to the boat masts to bang against them. Seagulls squawked overhead and the combination made you realise you really were in that seaside environment that to me just seemed so stereotypical
"I need a job!" I said, bringing my knees to my chin.
"And you'll get one, it is only day 1."
"I guess if there is anything to take from this place it's the fact there is plenty to paint.
Leah smiled. "See, there you are, there are positives to be taken."
"I just don't like how quiet it is. I used to enjoy walking into town and hearing the traffic and the people. Here just feels like we are cut off from the world," I said, my mood turning reflective.
"I think this place will be good for us. Once you get a little job and settle back into your painting you'll feel better."
"And what are you gonna do?"
"Yeah, for work I mean."
"Don't you listen to anything I say? I told you weeks ago that I had that money from Aunt Silvia. That will see me through until we go to Uni, and then I'll get finance."
"Oh right, so you'll be doing what in the meantime? I'm just asking because as you can see there is not a lot to do here, I just don't want you getting bored when I'm out working."
Leah rested her hand on my knee. "Look Corbin, you are the one who is up in the air at the moment so let's just concentrate on getting you settled. I'm kinda of the opinion just to go with things, so don't worry about me. Besides, I'm sure this place has loads of little places to go and seek out."
"I like to walk anyway, so while you are out earning us our fortunes I can take long strolls and hang out with your sister. Hey, I might even learn to ride a horse."
"Yeah, it's ok for you girls. When I get on Diamond the saddle crushes my nuts! Dunno how people can spend hours on them."
Leah smirked. "As long as you don't turn out to be infertile, we might need what's in those nuts one day!"
We had stayed for another half hour at the sea wall until I suggested we had better be getting back. As we walked past the small pub again along the route it seemed to be a little busier, perhaps from people taking a late lunch. As I looked inside the sight of more life did fill me with a little hope that people did actually live here after all.
We got to the front door just as mum was pulling up in the car with Zoe. They both got out and greeted us.
"Been for a walk have you, was it nice?" Mum asked, holding a bag of what looked like groceries.
"Yeah, we just walked along the wall and sat for a bit chatting," I replied.
"Good for you. Looks like the removal guys have gone, I bet your dad is a right state in there. Shall we go in?"
"If we have to!" I said. Zoe grinned and took my hand leading me through as mum opened the door.
"Fucking cowboys!" he bellowed as we all walked through the hallway to the kitchen.
Mum looked startled. "What is it?"
"Whoever lived here wired the fucking cooker up to a normal 13 amp plug!"
We all looked at him like he was speaking a foreign language.
"Is that bad?" Leah asked.
"It should be 32 amps," he said as if the world was ending.
"So we'll call someone out to get it done as it should be, there's no need to lose your temper Donny," mum said, hauling the bag of shopping she'd had in her hand onto the worktop. "I got some essentials from a little shop on the hill, its small but they do everything. Apparently the nearest supermarket is about 8 miles away so we'll need to either go there monthly or get it all online once the internet is connected."
"I noted a round space dish perched on the house, could this be for the purposes of unsatisfying cable television?" Zoe asked.
"You mean a satellite dish honey?" mum asked. "We'll get sky, just like last time. Now, who is for toasted sandwiches, I got bread, cheese, ham and slaw. All I need to do is dig out the toaster," she stated, rummaging through some of the nearby boxes.
"Yeah I'll have one," I said.
Just then I had a feeling of dread come over me as I realised the removal men had indeed gone and that meant my paintings would have been left in my dad's care. Without saying a word I quickly left the kitchen and ran up the stairs and flew into our room, stopping sharply just inside the door. It was evident that mum and dad must have paid for the 'economy tier' of the service seeing as everything seemed to have been just dumped in the middle of the room. None the less a smile returned to my face as I saw, leaning against the wall, all 3 of the large paintings I had almost lost to my dad's temper.
I walked over to my canvasses and pulled them forward one at a time. They looked undamaged along with my easel that stood behind them. I breathed a sigh of relief and decided to move them to a corner and cover them with a sheet usually used for bedding.
Once that was done I turned around and saw Zoe just walking into the room. "Hey, how was the horse?"
"Dear sibling, your referral to him as… the horse, fills my heart with sorrow. If you are referring to my prince, Diamond, he appears to have come through his ordeal unharmed."
I bent my lips down stretching my neck. "Whoops… hmm, so that's good. Do you like the new stables?"
"The living quarters for him are satisfactory, however I will need the tubby man to purchase a new door as the current one is dilapidated."
"I see, well perhaps we'll go down tomorrow and I'll see if I can do anything. I doubt dad will have time."
"True, as I understand it he will be meeting a man who has our new trawling device and small warehouse deeds."
I walked over to her and bent down. "So do you know anything about this business they just bought?" I whispered, feeling nosy.
Zoe shook her head. "All I am aware of is that father will be captain of his ship until he can get hired help. This thought is obviously one that causes great amusement on the mind."
"You got that right. I bet he even has the hat bought and paid for!"
We both laughed but stopped when dad walked in. "So you better get this shit in order, I want this room tidied asap!"
"Ok dad, we have just got here you know!"
My comment caused him to put his face right up to mine. "So you better get started then, hadn't you!" With that he walked out and into what I assumed was the bathroom as I heard his zip being undone and a sigh escaping from his mouth.
It was now getting into early evening and Leah and I had almost sorted our room out to a decent standard. I had constructed the bed back up while she dressed it. The furniture was in place and I had made myself proud by fixing my flat screen TV to the wall and tuned it in. it was going to have to be Freeview until mum and dad got Sky TV connected but that was fine with me. I had my PS4 ready to go for the nights when I felt like gaming and Leah had charged her laptop.
"We really need a brighter bulb, it feels depressing in here," I said, looking around the room.
"I'm sure we can get that somewhere," Leah answered, putting some more of her clothes away, leaving me very little room for my own.
"I guess I'll collapse these boxes ready for the loft," I said, as most of them were now empty. Leah nodded before going back to what she was doing.
"CORBIN? Come down here!" Dad bellowed from downstairs.
"Oh great, what now," I said, as Leah wondered what I had done.
So did I!
I trotted down to the kitchen and walked in where mum and dad were putting away pots and pans. "Here is some money. If you walk out of here and turn left there is a fish and chip shop. Go get 5 bits of fish and 3 large chips… oh and I'll have a gherkin!"
"Turn left you say?"
"Yes, that's right turn left, walk down it's on the left of the road. Can you manage that?" He asked, his tone sarcastic.
Zoe walked in having heard his demand. "I'll come, I would like some fresh air."
"Sure," I responded, heading out to the hall to grab my coat. "Leah?" I called from the bottom step of the stairs. She appeared at the top.
"I'm going to the chip shop with Zoe, won't be long. Can you put some of my clothes away?"
"Yeah no worries have fun and don't talk to any strangers," she said, winking. Zoe giggled and I just rolled my eyes.
"Let's go," I said, heading for the door. "Mum? Don't forget I don't have keys and as far as I can tell the bell is not working.
"Then knock, improvise boy!" dad called, answering for her.
"Oh fuck off," I muttered under my breath.
We stepped outside into the fresh breeze and Zoe immediately pulled her coat zip up as far as it would go. I closed the door and we headed left along the path passing a few more houses much like our own until once again we could see all the way up the hill.
"Look Corbin, look at all the lights on people porches, it looks really pretty, much like a Disney toy town," she remarked. I stopped and looked up. She was right, in a way it did look very calming and the further up you looked the more houses looked like little miniature models.
"No, my body core is warming now… say brother until we reach the chip shop, can we please cross so I can walk along the wall?" she asked as we got to a road that seem to lead up the hill.
"Sure," I replied, thinking it would be nice for her to see.
I stopped at the small junction and looked left, Zoe just started walking across. Then, out of nowhere there was a buzzing coming down the hill road. I looked up seeing a motor bike travelling at speed before looking in horror as Zoe was now a quarter of way across the road.
"ZOE! Get back," I screamed! She jumped at my outburst and stopped as I grabbed hold of her by her sleeve and yanked her back towards me. The bike travelling down skidded to a stop with the handle bars just missing her delicate body.
"Jesus man, you were going too fast you could have killed her!"
"She should have looked, like you did… yeah I knew what was going to happen," the male voice replied, almost arrogantly. His accent was American I could tell, but where from I didn't know. I put my arm round my sister and manoeuvred us around his bike to the other side of the road before crossing again so we could be alongside the sea wall.
"Stupid idiot!" I blurted, more to myself.
"Apologies brother I should have looked."
"It was his fault he was speeding," I remarked. I heard his bike engine rev before he pulled up alongside us for reasons that immediately escaped me.
"Hey!" he said, before switching off his engine.
I turned around to see him flip up the visor on his helmet. "Yes?"
"I've never seen you two around here, you both new?"
"Why does that interest you?" I asked, looking him up and down.
"Hey, you can drop the attitude, I was just being friendly."
"Drop the… sorry but you almost killed my sister!"
"A bit dramatic I'd say, I would have never hit her, I could see you both about to cross." He said, his tone softening a little.
"Then you should have slowed down if you knew people were ahead."
"Yeah well, the hill is steep you know?"
"Fine, so uh… if you don't mind we'll just be going?" I said, getting bored of the conversation. I noted Zoe hadn't said a word and assumed she felt the same.
We were just about to walk off when he suddenly took off his helmet and hung it on one of the handlebars. Zoe seemed to twitch next to me. I looked down at her and frowned.
"My name is Troy, and sorry missy for almost running you down," he said, shooting out a hand to us. I stood there perplexed while Zoe immediately took it and giggled.
"A pleasure indeed Trooooy," My sister said in a sickly dreamy tone. Troy winked at her and smiled.
"You can let go of his hand now," I said as she seemed to zone out staring into his eyes.
"So you both have names, or is it just me who got given one?" he asked, directing his hand at me as I had still yet to shake it. I wanted to wipe that stupid grin off his face first though. I took his hand and shook it tightly signifying my dominance over the little cocky shit.
"My name is Corbin and this is my sister Zoe."
Troy grinned. "Hey, you do have names, thats great, nice to meet you."
"Do you pitch up to every stranger and ask them their name?"
The boy on the bike chuckled. "Only those I almost kill apparently."
I rolled my eyes and looked down at my sister who appeared to be somewhere else with this boy already. Ok, so the guy was good looking I had to admit that to myself and yeah I envied those fucking looks. Very few people could pull off a sweaty bike helmet and still come out with a hair style that looked fresh from a salon.
"Well, nice to meet you… Troy, but we gotta be going, dinner calls!"
"Awww, but you still didn't answer my question?"
My shoulders dropped quickly and I let out a sigh. "Which is?"
"Are you new?"
"Yes Troy, we are new, just got here, the newbies, the strange ones that appear to have taken over an empty house, the outsiders, the non-believers… are you happy, do you need more information?"
"Sheesh, dude you need to stay indoors when the period is on man!"
Zoe giggled and I went red… yeah fucking red.
"I like your bike," Zoe said as she eyed his black and red sporty 2 wheeler with the name Aprilla splashed over the side.
"Thanks, it's a 250cc. All I can ride right now, at least until I'm 18."
"So how old are you?" she wined, twisting her foot on the ground and moving her hips.
"Just turned 17."
"Okey, I think we need to go now Zoe!" I said, getting impatient.
"Hey look, I won't take any more of your time, it was good to meet you both and sorry about earlier, I'll get out of your way."
Thank god he took the hint, I thought.
"Goodbye Troy, a pleasure to meet you."
"And you Zoe, see you… oh and Corbin? Try practising on that friendliness a little. A small town like this? Well, you might need it, that's all I'm saying."
With that he placed his helmet back on and flipped down the visor before giving a thumbs up and riding away. Zoe creeped towards the sea wall and lent on it looking wobbly.
"Zoe, please don't say it!"
"He was GOURGOUS!"
I slapped my forehead with my hand. "Sis you are 14!"
She started to walk in little circles. "Did you see his eyes, and his hair! Oh, his dark brown eyes were just captivating… and that bike apparel he was wearing, I think I may dribble. Corbin, I think I'm in love!"
"He's too old for you, and anyway you already have a stud in your life and his name is Diamond!"
"My dear brother, king of my siblings-"
"There is always room for something that easy on the eyes… oh how I imagine him stepping off his bike and sweeping me up into his arms. I want to be carried through a field full of red tulips to his powerful castle where I imagine him to swagger throughout its interior wearing… bike leathers!"
"I think we should be getting those chips now Zoe, you need to soak some of that love hormone up, or whatever disease you have contracted."
Zoe audibly sighed. "Ahhhh, let us go, we have a family that needs feeding and I must sacrifice these lucid dreams for but a moment."
I placed my arm round her shoulder and we started to walk again. "You need help!" I stated.
She just smiled and nodded.
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