Pt. 3 – Skellig Michael Island
The meal was finally winding down. Which was a good thing because Wookie was getting antsy. She was soooo excited at the thought of the derelict island she was practically bouncing in her seat. EM had already spotted her bfff’s demeanour and sent a quick text-
Wanna make a break for it? Done with all the yakking going on here. Ready ta go Wooks?😈
Seeing the text flash up on her phone Wookie grinned, glanced across at EM and nodded once. EM knew to wait for their cue.
As if by magic there was a general consensus from the group to stand up and make noises about checking into the rooms they had booked here whilst visiting the famous island. Wookie shot a look at EM and indicated the door. Within seconds they were walking out side to fetch the luggage in leaving Shannon to register for their rooms. Grabbing the bags and Wee Donkey’s box Wookie and EM turned to go back into the hotel when Wookie noticed Siobhan and Hermione were also out by their vehicles. Wookie put her stuff down and called them over. Once they were all together Wookie grinned as she said “ ladies I believe with all the Toppiness we have just behaved impeccably through, a touch of brattitude would be in order. After all we have to hold true to our Code of Honour ‘Once a brat, always a brat!’ What do you say?”
There was an immediate chorus of “hell yes!”
“Good. Lets get this stuff up to the rooms and make our way down to the boats. I have a one waiting ready to go to the Island as soon as we can get there.” There was an immediate frisson of excitement around the group as they made their way back in. Each working out how to slip away.
Wookie and EM got their stuff and Wee donkey up to the rooms. Shannon was in the bathroom electing to take a quick shower which gave Wookie a chance to slip out having told Shannon she was going to fetch some bottled water. Hearing Shannon’s reply of thanks Wookie was out and away.
EM had deposited her stuff and Wee Donkey’s in with Bubba’s luggage. She saw Bubba had returned downstairs for some extra coffee sachets so EM was also able to slip off with Wee Donkey trotting behind.
Once outside the hotel the girls were all soon gathered. Each one grinning delightedly at the adventure waiting to be had. Wookie led the way to the Marina and soon spotted the small but sleek cruiser moored at the far end of the pier. Walking straight up to it she spotted the owner and called out “Hey Robin, glad you could make it! We have a ready made crew here if that’s okay?”
Robin made her way forward smiling broadly as she jumped up on to the pier hugging first Wookie and then EM. Siobhan and Hermione were quickly introduced and hugs were immediately given. Wee Donkey nudged her way forward until Robin found her hand being gently licked. Without hesitation Robin swiftly delved into her pocket producing a miniature oak paddle brush freshly sanded and giving off a distinctly woody smell. Wee Donkey took it and hopped on to the boat finding a comfy seat next to the engine.
“Come on jump aboard. I take it you are all ready to go to the Island?” Enthusiastic nods and a chorus of ‘yes, hell yes’ etc were voiced. “Great, oh Wookie I got those bits you asked for over in the lockers there.” Robin’s smile got bigger as she saw Wookie’s eyes light up. This is gonna be fun she thought as she started the engine before smoothly steering the boat out of and away from the Marina, making a direct course for the Island.
Although it was extremely prominent all the girls decided not to worry about the latest notice flashing on the Coastguard Information Electronic board at the head of the pier . It read :-
“Gan turns lá atá inn ann, mar gheall ar ceo”
“NO TRIPS TODAY DUE TO FOG”
They made short work of the hour long trip to the island mooring the boat securely at the landing dock. Before leaving the boat Wookie grabbed the miscellaneous bits of equipment and packages Robin had so kindly brought along. Robin brought out some rucksacks to help carry the stuff in and it was all quickly shared out amongst the group.
Without further ado the intrepid band of brats and Wee Donkey headed off to check the island out.
“Oooh, look there’s a cave” Siobhan pointed over to the left of the landing dock.
The girls walked straight past the sign that read :-
“ Contúirt Ná breac isteach”
“DANGER DO NOT ENTER”
directly over to the rocky, dark opening and stopped at the entrance.
Hermione, who had somehow managed to change into an all-weather outfit, effectively protecting her from everything between a heatwave through to a snowy blizzard, strode forward just inside the dank, dark cave .
“Who’s coming with me to see what’s in there brats?” she grinned deliberately throwing down the gauntlet!
The girls looked at each other, the brat bravura already working at hearing the challenge. As one they all stepped forward and continued on walking, sweeping Hermione up as they surged ever onward and that was no mean feat considering her gigantesque size! Entering into the cave proper the light was rapidly vanishing. Robin reached into a side pocket , removing a few flares, passing one to Wookie and one to Hermione. The crew sailed on with Hermione proudly at the head into the pitch black. They all stopped as the stillness crept up on them. However the noble band of brats were not deterred in any way, determined to find out what was there.
“Everyone ok?” Hermione’s deep alto voice rang out softly echoing.
“Yes…yep…all good…” came the chorus.
Hermione carried on walking forward, still in the pitch black almost as though she could see in the darkness. The girls elected to hang on to each other as they followed on regardless.
Then a small voice spoke out “EM is Wee Donkey with us?”
“Yes of course, she’s always with us. She’s right behind me. Why Wookie?”
“Uh behind you, so not in front of us then?”
“Mmm let me think now Wooks… she’s right behind me…yes that definitely means SHE’S RIGHT BEHIND ME YA EEJIT! If she wasn’t I’d be saying she wasn’t, right?”
“Okay EM I was just checking…”
“Checking what exactly?” EM was highly suspicious now
“Well, whatever I’ve just trodden in, it’s not Wee Donkey’s droppings EM!” the slightly shaky voice stated clearly…causing the rest of the crew to stare at Wookie, well at least where the voice came from, since no-one could see anything at all in the Stygian gloom.
“Eeuuw! What’s that gross smell?” Siobhan’s voice sounded muffled as she held a hand across her face.
“Arggh geez that’s awful” Robin joined in, frantically covering her mouth and nose with her sleeve having got an unexpected waft of something not too hygienic.
“It’s not me!” an indignant Wookie growled out.
“No ya donut, we know that’s not you, it’s worse than your smell!” exclaimed EM brightly, interestedly sniffing around at the air.
“EM!” Wookie sputtered out “I do not smell…”
“Sshh…” commanded Hermione “listen…”
The girls fell silent at once straining their ears to hear what Hermione had heard. There seemed to be a slight, almost sonic, high-pitched whistling sound.
“Uh can everyone hear that?” EM’s voice shook a little.
Hermione didn’t hesitate, “Robin, Wookie flares on 3 . Ready 1…2…3!”
As one the flares burst into brilliant light !!!
All the girls screamed out loud as they stared up at the millions of blood-red eyes staring down at them from the black ceiling of the cave…Pausing to take breath as they prepared to scream again, the girls froze watching in sheer horror as the black ceiling with its red eyes moved about and began to descend towards them.
“BATS!”yelled Robin turning to run. Before any of the girls could move though Hermione simply pulled a tab from her suit and a huge almost wing-like cape unfurled as she held her long arms out to the sides.
“Quick everyone under the cape and jog on out of here!” No-one argued, they dove under the billowing cloak and sped off at a steady jog, Wookie and Robin holding their flares out for Hermione to see forward.
The bats flew down emitting sonar- type cries, furious at being disturbed and circled above Hermione’s mighty cape.
Suddenly , without rhyme or reason they stopped their furious descent and began forming into a mighty black wing imitating the shape of Hermione’s cape. As her cape moved and undulated, so did the bats, copying everything exactly.
“Oh my God they think you’re a giant bat Hermione!” Robin called out. All the girls looked up and stopped their rapid exit. Amazingly the bats formed the shape of the cape as it lay around the brats.
Hermione held herself up proudly. “You see brats, everyone recognises style when they see it. Even you my friends of the night” She looked up and laughed out loud, causing the bats to twitter sonically in response. Batting one of her huge eyes Hermione laughed again and almost choked on her laughter as the million eyes all seemed to wink back at her! All the girls stood there with their jaws dropping open in sheer surprise.
Hermione glanced at them all “come on there’s more to do yet and time is wasting. To our night friends we bid you farewell” as she gave them a courtly bow then watched in amazement as a wave of the bats dropped in front of them, mimicking Hermione perfectly before sweeping away like a black cloud back to the roof further in the cave.
“Come on brats. We have an island to see” and she swept them all on out of the cave and into the afternoon light that was somewhat subdued by the heavy fog.
Pausing outside the cave they all looked at each other before collapsing in shaky laughter.
“Well, who knew we had Batwoman in our midst?” Siobhan queried, staring up at Hermione in awe.
“Uh Wooks why do you still smell though” EM asked sniffing her deliberately before being pushed away by a miffed, muttering Wookie.
“I do NOT smell, it’s the bat crap I trod in, that’s what smells…” she continued to mumble as she vainly tried to get the revolting bat droppings off her boot!
Hermione had reached the bottom of the steps, all 640 of them. Waiting for the others to catch up she swiftly changed into a lightweight, lavender body hugging climbing outfit, complete with ropes, pulleys etc. and matching boots. The girls admired her accordingly even whilst they were all thinking ‘where the hell did she get that outfit from?’
“Brats the steps await us. Who thinks they can do all 640 in one go?” Hermione surveyed the motley crew with a critical eye assessing their combined bodily strength and knowing she could outrun them all!
Bravado runs through the veins of all true brats so naturally the yells of them all assured Hermione they could do it.
“Hmm, then I propose a race, Wookie and Robin against EM and Siobhan, agreed? I will of course referee the event and my word is law. What do you say brats, are you up to it?”
Wookie and Robin grinned at each other “Hell yeh” high-fiving, their knowing glances showed their confidence they could beat the other two.
EM sidled over to Siobhan who had already sized up the competition, “We can take them easy” EM muttered. They did a weird kind of handshake, involving lots of slapping either side and fist bumping and then knocking elbows and chests and….Wookie stopped watching convinced they were gonna get way too excited and probably knock each other out! It was obviously some kind of strange Irish folk dancing ritual or a spell to call the leprechauns…you never could tell where EM and Siobhan were concerned!
A genteel ladylike cough from the gigantesque Hermione brought the brats to order.
“So the rules are simple brats. Oh you will need these…” she paused to hand over two sets of scarves to each team. The girls looked suitably surprised wondering what on earth they were going to do with them. Obviously it cant be to blindfold each other. That would be dangerous! It was soon made clear. “This is to be a three-legged race brats. Tie one scarf above the knees and the other round the ankles. When I whistle you will start. Play nice please and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…which pretty much leaves the field wide open. So get tied together and I’ll check they’re safe.”
Hermione went over to a huge boulder and sat on it, filing her nails whilst the crew got themselves sorted. Wee Donkey chose to join her, laying down by her feet nibbling on a miniature walnut spatula as she watched the brats get ready. It didn’t take long apart from EM insisting on wanting to tie a bowline because she saw it once on a sailing programme and thought the knot looked great. Wooks and Robin offered sympathetic glances to Siobhan who had the patience of a saint, having explained to EM the scarf wouldn’t be long enough. In the end Hermione came over, motioned to Siobhan to sit down and told EM to do the same.
Unfortunately EM decided to explain to her that it was possible to do it…when she gave a loud yell as she landed on her backside having had her legs whipped out from under her as Hermione swept her to the ground. Lifting up EM’s leg and taking Siobhan’s offered one Hermione had them tied and secured within a minute. Bending down she lifted EM back up helping Siobhan at the same time.
“Tsk, tsk!” Hermione grinned “So much easier to get on with it EM, just leave the Blarney Stone where it is honey!” as she turned back to the steps. Siobhan hugged EM who couldn’t help but laugh as she rubbed her bottom.
“Brats, remember no removing the ties and it’s the first to the top that wins! Are you ready…” she gave a piercing whistle that startled the entire seabird colony on the far island causing a massive beating of wings and raucous cries in protest! Wee Donkey simply stared out at the cacophony of noise wondering what all the fuss was about.
However the race was on…Siobhan and EM started off with a weird, drunken stagger until they caught each other’s rhythm and they were soon on the steps trying to work out the easiest way to take them. Meanwhile Robin and Wookie took a couple of minutes practising on the level ground catching their partners rhythm quickly. They also worked out a method for the steps so they knew what to expect. EM and Siobhan were already going up the steps at a rate of knots. However Wookie knew EM would not be able to just crack on with it, she would have to look round and that would give them a balance problem.
Hermione was watching with interest below, taking a few videos of the race. This was excellent! What a crew they were. Talk about game for anything!
Robin and Wookie started up the steps. Arms round each other’s shoulders and counting as they went 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4… they soon established a steady pace and they both knew the secret to winning was to concentrate. They had already agreed one would always count aloud so they knew where they were.
EM and Siobhan were also making steady progress and EM was excited because they were winning so far! She couldn’t hear the others and went too turn round but Siobhan spoke quickly “No EM don’t turn we will lose our balance, just look forward yeh’
EM nodded although now, knowing she wasn’t supposed to turn round, she desperately wanted to more than anything.
Hermione elected to get a little ahead of the crew so she could keep an eye on them so she grabbed all the bits and pieces of bags they had left behind and made her way swiftly up the steps easily passing Robin and Wookie and then EM and Siobhan. She carried on for another couple of hundred without breaking into a sweat and sat on a step to wait for them. Wee Donkey chose to have a tasty snack on the sweet smelling grass nearby. After all she still needed vegetables in her diet!
EM and Siobhan had settled into a good pace and were making excellent progress. EM was seriously excited now. The adrenalin was starting to creep in. Siobhan tightened her hold on her friend knowing how madcap she could be at times.
Robin and Wookie had also set an good motion and were actually gaining on the others slowly. Wookie knew it wouldn’t be much longer before EM turned.
True to form as they neared halfway up by Hermione EM said “ Can ya see them Siobh…can ya?”
“No I’m not looking ya eejit, just keep going. Don’t stop now EM…’ but Siobhan knew it was a lost cause. Hard as she might try, she couldn’t stop EM from spinning round quickly to spot Wookie and Robin before spinning back……unfortunately in her excitement EM put a bit too much effort into the spin back around and to her utter dismay found herself face to face with Siobhan as their bodies smacked into each other and continued to roll over around and around as they fell to the ground heading precariously to the edge of the wide steps….where there were no hand rails just a drop down the cliff face!…
Siobhan and EM screamed calling out to Jaysus, Mary, Joseph, Wee Donkey and all the blessed saints as their hearts pounded whilst they rolled ever closer to the edge , as if in slow motion.
Wookie and Robin pounded up the steps desperately trying to reach them but……they stopped in complete wonder, watching as Hermione leapt from her seat on the steps above, landing on the cliff face beside the girls and ramming in an anchor hold securing her line and holding her still whilst she blocked the girls from falling over the edge. As Siobhan and EM came to rest against Hermione they were both struck by her sheer immobility. There was no way they were falling anywhere. EM wanted to hug and kiss her but thought it more prudent to get up and away from the edge.
Hermione soon had them moved to safety and Wookie and Robin grabbed some drinks and chocolate, always a necessity as far as Wookie was concerned!
After a brief respite and all the chocolate had gone…none of this resealing any uneaten chocolate with the little sticky label thingy…total waste of time Wookie thought…who the hell ever has any chocolate left over!?!… Hermione checked they were all okay. To her delight the two teams were back on their feet and ready to finish the race…so without further ado she quickly counted down and the whistle went once more. The teams are off again.
This time there was a bit of jostling to get on the steps and in front of the other team. However it wasn’t long before EM and Siobhan were once more in front and charging up the steep steps. Robin grinned at Wookie and they continued their steady regular rhythm easily climbing the steps and pacing themselves not burning too much stamina at once.
EM and Siobhan could see the end in sight and started singing loudly ‘We are the Champions of the World!’ … They got very caught up in the chorus and were singing exceptionally loud and with great effort just as they came to the corner and rounded it to see the last part that was almost like a sheer climb to them at this point. Gasping for breath they battled bravely on but it was a mighty thing to attempt. “Come on EM we can do it…” Siobhan croaked desperately pulling herself and EM up the steps…..
EM was almost crawling on her hands and knees , looking up just in time to see Robin and Wookie clamber past still beating out that steady pace. She wanted to scream in frustration but instead she put her head down determined to finish.
As Siobhan and EM finally got to the top and pulled themselves over the last few sheer steps onto the final run in to the end they expected to see Wookie and Robin gloating by the head of the steps but they weren’t there…
As the girls dragged themselves up they each felt an arm loop around their waist supporting them as the four brats walked to the finish line together!
Hermione was cheering and clapping them all in, whistling as much as she could. Even Wee Donkey was on all four hooves watching with great interest at this crazy walking the humans were trying to do!
“Brats I declare this race to be a draw… you are all true brats and should be mighty proud of yourselves” she beamed at everyone really happy with the result.
As soon as the scarves were off EM and Siobhan were hugging Wookie and Robin, all absolutely delighted to have reached the end.
EM couldn’t resist it though…”Of course ya know Siobhan and I really won cos Wookie and Robin had taken their scarves off!” she announced gleefully, laughing as she disappeared under a barrage of playful shoves, punches and wrestling moves.
To be contd….