Ian is currently developing a Fantasy Novel entitled Calypso’s Island with his childhood friend Ava Craigwell. With 9 chapters already the completed, the book tells the story of a young woman in Trinidad and Tobago struggling with the death of her grand-mother while discovering phenomenal truths about her family’s deep connection to the spirits and legends of the island. The book is scheduled for a 2019 release.
Have a Sneak Peak
CALYPSO’S ISLAND CHAPTER 1 by Ian Royer and Ava Craigwell
THE MATRIARCH’S WILL:
Stephanie was lost. She was urban bred and these Paramin hills high above her world were like a mystic nemesis to her. Lovely but not suited to a woman who knew little about being out in nature, planting and neighborly bonds that were as strong as blood.
No wonder she couldn’t figure this place out. Her husband dropped her off in the lowlands at the base of the hills at the Maraval intersection. Then she took one of the most challenging jeep rides of her life all the while asking ‘which way to Josephine’s Estate?’
The passengers were kind. Everyone knew Josephine’s Estate. Of course. When you get off take a right and turn left until you bend right again and follow the track past the Crisstophene field and keep walking. Straight ahead. Can’t miss it. She got off. The sky cut loose and the rain came down. Crisstophene could have been chive and left could have been down for all she knew she was soaking and had to find shelter.
She saw a wooden café. They called it a rum shop. She went in and the people praised her with good days and good evenings and please sits downs. She did. It was a cozy assortment of weathered tables and steel chairs. Liquor shone in familiar bottles from behind the bar. Someone strummed a quarto. A woman sang along. That brassy rich voice climbed to stunning crescendos and gave her goose bumps. From another corner someone laughed. It was sluggish and joyful. She listened and kept her jacket and purse close for comfort.
She realized that this neighborhood was like a land unto itself. She heard patios spoken like a soup of languages she couldn’t partake of. She heard it in the music and in the way each name was respected, like a bead joined to another bead to yet another. It was an oral history of warmth, identity and roots.
She noted that and wished for a hot coffee. She got strong malt and a crude bottled wine instead. An old man placed it on her table and helped himself to a seat. He urged her to take a drink free of charge, anything for one of Josephine’s great grand children God rest her soul amen. She asked how did he know that she was related to Josephine. He spread his arms to indicate the gathering.
She laughed. A lot of people in the space looked as though they could have been Josephine’s progeny. She was only one of them. Suddenly it made her feel connected.
Then the old man launched into snippets. Snippets got wound into stories and stories to legend. Josephine was a generous woman, look how she helped when he was down. She had a heart of gold. She had a heart of silver. Oh she had a smile. She hosted the best Parang parties. She sponsored the neighborhood children at the Kiddies Carnival every year and she had all these charities.
Stephanie almost cried just then. Not to hear about her grandmother’s goodness but to know that the goodness extended to her without worthiness or reason. She was here to claim the estate that Josephine willed to her after meeting her. It was a single encounter when she was only 3 years old.
Stephanie felt a stinging shame because of that. There were certainly more eligible heirs who were closer to her great gran than she was, so many children and other grand children in line to receive this and why her? Josephine had opened her palm all her life. Stephanie couldn’t begin to comprehend that level of generosity. Yet here she was receiving…again.
That was her thought when the old man’s words bubbled up to her ears once more. He spoke about the bad-mouthing and the bad minded and told her to be careful. Not everyone was in favor of Josephine sweet as she was. Some people said there was a vibe around her. Something they couldn’t explain as if she was touched by angels, by spirits, by spooks, by something. But don’t mind that he said it was just old talk common like the dirt on any road.
And then he smiled. And then someone entered the rum shop shouting their greetings and laughing. It was only a second. She turned back and the old man was gone, so were the bottles. There was just a single drink of malt mixed with wine in a glass before her. She frowned. She knew he couldn’t have moved that swiftly. She waved for the bartender.
“Excuse me where did the old man go?”
“What old man? No old men came in here on this evening.”
Well she needed the drink after that. She took it in one shot. It was vile but it warmed her and now she had to go.
It seemed as if the clouds heard her intension. They ceased to pour and she exited. She was alone and aimless in the fresh topside air and she tucked her hands into her jacket pockets and headed in a direction that felt ideal to her. Well, that was a feeling. When she started noticing more crops than people she checked her smart phone for a map of the estate’s location. The phone had no idea what she was talking about and she should have been looking at where she placed her feet.
The fall was solid and painful but the roll was gentle. She looked around her. She’d tumbled from the road into a chive field at the back of a tiny house. Her limbs hurt, her phone was smashed, and her jacket sleeve had been torn on the sharp edge of a rock. And there was a strange persistent sound. Where was it coming from? She looked down. A large snake was crawling across her jeans. She let out a raw throated scream and kicked it off of her, got up in a one and ran.
She ran blindly until her lungs burned and her breath rebelled. But the adrenaline had caused her to loose track of her surroundings. Now she was on a soggy dirt road shaded by tall green bamboo plants and bush. It was eerie. The foliage formed a dark portal ahead of her and behind her. No no no. This couldn’t be right. This setting didn’t seem to characterize the Paramin hills at all. It made her feel transplanted and out of place. Her heart rumbled. She was beginning to panic.
Then something fell out of the pocket of her purse. It flashed bright in the mud and she bent to pick it up. How could she forget? This was the heirloom that Josephine had left her along with the estate. It was a silver pendant bearing an emblem of the spirit of Trinidad. It calmed her somehow. Her breath evened out and she stood, determined to press on and maybe find someone who could give her more directions.
She faced ahead. The dark portal of bamboo was gone. Did she imagine it before? She rubbed at her temples to clear off the confusion. That drink of wine and malt was probably starting to affect her because she was now on the threshold of a clearing. She stepped through onto a vibrant lawn planted with tall healthy sentinels. At the very center of the scene was a grand house with Greco columns, narrow antebellum windows, slate roof with finials and porches with filigree balusters.
Stephanie smiled to see it. Then she had only one thing to say to herself.
“ I’m home Josephine. I made it.”
This is UNPUBLISHED PREPARATORY COPYRIGHTED WORK by Ian Royer and Google author Ava Craigwell written on May 18th and 20th 2013. This material is not to be published, posted or distributed without the author’s permission.
If you received this preparatory unpublished work then it comes from an illegal source. In that case please notify the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org