CHAPTER 6 Bad Dreams.



A bad dream woke me at three a.m. Such dreams were fading but, just when I thought they were gone, back they came. This one was familiar. I was crouched behind a very small rock dodging bullets. As I buried into the dirt, scratching at it with my toes and wishing it would open up and swallow me, my heart pounded. The bullets pinged all around, following me as I scuffled about behind that little rock. When I awoke, hunched in a tight coil, my heart still thumped against my chest. 

It was useless going back to sleep; I might only resume the dream. Instead, I stumbled to the kitchen and made a cup of coffee. As the brew bubbled and filled the room with its tantalizing aroma, I picked up the previous day’s work and started reading it. The story was coming along well. I had tried focusing on all the good times, such as when I ran The Waltzing Matilda, my club in Nha Trang. Finishing the coffee, I made a few corrections. Whenever I turned my pages over to Robin, he made any necessary alterations before typing them up on his old Remington. He always said a book had to be written and rewritten…and rewritten.



Robin, Liz and I dined at a local hotel that evening. The Jamaican owner bustled to our table to greet Robin. While they chatted, a young man approached. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. The owner introduced him as his son, Thomas, explaining that he was seldom home, being a commercial airline pilot who flew to and from the States.

The music started and Thomas invited me to dance. I left my food unfinished and glided around the dance floor in the tall man’s arms. He guided me with the confidence he must have acquired from flying a plane. Hotel guests stared and my spirits soared as his musky after-shave titillated my senses.

An hour later, as Robin rose to leave, I looked at him and said “I’m staying Robin. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“But how will you get home?” he frowned.

“Taxi!” I muttered as Liz shook her head.


 Thomas and I danced until the wee hours of the morning when we ran to the hotel’s deserted beach and threw our hot bodies into the surf. Yellow moonbeams fell like a shower of buttercups upon the gently swelling, dark water. We laughed and splashed, as playful as dolphins. When he rose from the water, towering darkly above me, the heat from his body warmed my flesh in the chill night air. Laughter died in my throat as my long dormant libido awoke. I slid my hands up his chest, reaching for his face. A night bird called out from the darkly silhouetted palm trees just as his firm hands grasped my buttocks. He hoisted me up to his lips and I wrapped my legs around his hips, no longer hearing that night bird or the water lapping on the sand, only the symphony filling my head.  

 Eventually, we waded back to shore and continued our lovemaking on the beach until, sated, I fell asleep. Within seconds, he was shaking me awake. The first rays of daylight streaked the sky.

          “Quick,” he said. “We have to move before someone comes out and catches us.”

          Brushing the sand off my body, I flung my clothes on. “Can we meet tonight?” I asked, knowing a relationship between us would raise a few eyebrows amid the white community.

          “Who’s gonna stop us?” he growled.



          Robin and I were nearing the completion of our book. He informed Liz and me at lunch one day that he was flying back to New York for a brief business meeting. I wondered if ‘The Witch’ was calling.

          “I’m coming with you,” Liz exclaimed. “I won’t stay here with her.” She pointed at me.

          “Sorry dear. Not this time. I’ll be busy and you will only slow me down. I’ll be back in three days.”

          I was as unhappy as Liz about being left alone together. My pilot had flown to the States and wasn’t due back for days. There was only so much sunbathing and solitary jungle walks one could endure. 

 Two days after Robin left, I stupidly made the mistake of going to bed without locking the door of the guest house. 

When The Tea House closed at night, Liz and I were the only two people for miles around. Port Antonio was seven miles north and Frenchman’s Cove a mile further south.

        I tried to read by the dim bedroom light. An army of geckos was playing, noisily contemptuous of my presence. Jamaican geckos emit a strange ‘ack, ack’ sound not conducive to sleep and they were adeptly dodging the shoes I hurled at them. It must have been around eleven o’clock when they scampered away and I fell asleep.

 Liz had obviously been drinking when she burst into the cottage, trumpeting like a charging elephant. She rushed towards the bed, slashing the air with a machete. Still half asleep, I managed to throw myself onto the floor, barely dodging the machete before it sliced into the mattress. I scrambled to my feet, by then fully awake, and ran into the living room with her hot on my heels. Stopping long enough to grab a bar stool, I hurled it in her direction and made my escape.

I ran barefoot through the jungle wearing nothing but panties. Hadn’t I warned Robin not to leave her behind? Amazingly, although she was drunk, she seemed to be gaining on me.

Whoosh! Whoosh! The sounds of the machete were audible above my labored breathing as she cut a swath through the tangled jungle vines. With pounding heart, I struggled through the underbrush as large plantain leaves slapped against my sweating face. A twisted vine caught my foot and I stumbled forward. My pace slowed while I tried to regain my balance before crashing head first into the trunk of a palm tree. I could hear Liz yelling, “Where are you bitch? Come out! Come out wherever you are!”

  I scrambled behind the trunk of the palm tree which had stopped my flight, but had given me a splitting headache. The cloud that covered the moon, making my dash so hazardous, now worked to my advantage. I cowered in impenetrable darkness beneath the ferns and bracken which sprouted below the palm tree. Liz stopped only feet away and I held my breath. The night seemed uncannily still.

          Even in the hands of a drunk, that machete could do harm. I squeezed myself into a tight ball as blood trickled from a gash in my forehead. Nearby, a coconut dropped with a heavy thud onto the dense leaf bed of the jungle floor. My gasp almost gave me away.

          While mosquitoes feasted hungrily on my sweaty skin in the muggy air, Liz cursed and searched blindly. Plop, plop! A large, raindrop coursed through the leafy canopy and splattered onto my forehead. The crack of thunder shook the ground as a sudden deluge punched fiercely into the gigantic taro leaves. Their shiny surfaces shook and quivered like a Hawaiian dancer’s grass skirt. Lightning lit the jungle, and waking birds screeched. Throaty frogs hollered and cicadas joined in, their volume swelling and falling, washing over me in deafening waves.

          Surely Liz would leave now? We couldn’t stay drenched outside all night. My knees had grown stiff from crouching. I was about to confront her when she screamed, “You’re no fucking hero! You won’t face me, so stay out here and rot, you whore!”

           She turned on her heel and was gone.

          “How did I end up in this shit?” I wondered. “Can’t I ever meet normal people anymore? Won’t my life ever return to normal?”

          When I saw the distant slits of light appear through the shutters of Robin’s cottage, I stood. Clumsily, I slipped and slithered downhill with mud squelching between my toes. The rain stopped as abruptly as it had started and clouds drifted away, revealing a weak, partial moon amid a sky full of water-hazed stars. I kicked the guest house door open then slammed it. This time I braced a chair beneath the knob.

          “That whoremonger’s gonna get a piece of my mind when he returns,” I mumbled, reaching for a towel.


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