Monday, 30 April 2018

Wholly Unromantic


Martha surveyed the room and decided it was wholly unromantic given what she was going to do. The dining table was set in front of the small bay window. The antique candelabra with its four candles placed at the centre of the table. She giggled at the thought of four candles, she could never say those words without thinking of the comedy sketch that had made her favourite double act so famous. At opposite ends of the table two place settings were adorned with the finest china, cutlery and wine glasses they possessed. Most rarely used in everyday life.

But this was not everyday life. This was something special. The forty-ninth anniversary of her marriage to George, upright, outstanding citizen to the outside world. Boring old fart to her.
The marriage had started well; children came along on cue; George progressed up the corporate ladder as was his due. She could never complain that she had not been provided for. She had not worked seriously most of her married life; sometimes taking on temporary office jobs once the children had left home, more to relieve the boredom than any need to earn money. She could have anything she wanted. But as time went on they drifted apart. They had different interests, which in some respects was good, but meant they didn't really need each other. They were like two strangers living in the same house with her acting as a maid providing food and laundry services.
She turned from her inspection of the table to find George had just entered the room. He smiled, weakly, stepped forward and gave her a cursory peck on the cheek.

'Happy anniversary, Darling,' he said. 'I have a surprise for you but you will have to wait until after dinner.'

'Same here, on all counts,' she  responded. She smiled and stepped away from him. 'Open the wine, will you, please. I'll go and get the soup.'

If nothing else Martha was a good cook, making everything herself from fresh ingredients. The potato and leek soup was made with...potatoes and leeks with a touch of something special making it unique to her.

'Delicious as always,' George said, dabbing his lips with satisfaction.

The evening continued. Traditional roast beef with homemade horseradish sauce. Apple pie with cloves in a light shortcrust pastry sprinkled with sugar, and real custard, not that stuff made with powder or even worse, out of a carton!
George ate with relish. He always enjoyed his food as his rather round figure suggested. Martha ate the same, but with smaller portions. They drank the fine wine that had been bought especially for the occasion, then drank fresh coffee, made the old fashioned way with a filter, not one of those new high tech devices.

They said very little to each other during the meal. After 49 years there was little left to say.
'The meeting at the U3A was very interesting today,' George said suddenly. 'We had someone come to speak about the Battle of Bosworth.'

George had been going to the U3A every week, two or three times sometimes, ever since he had retired. He tried to get Martha to go with him but she couldn't see anything on the programme that really interested her. Ancient history was definitely not of interest to her.

'That's nice, love,' she said. 'There's something I need to tell you.' This was it. She took a deep breath and looked at George as he cocked his head to one side like a puppy waiting for a treat. 'I've decided I'm leaving. I'm going to Thailand to help look after orangutangs. They are endangered, you know. There is a place that looks after orphans rescued from the jungle.'
George blinked a couple of times.

'Why?' he asked. 'I thought you were happy enough.'

'I've spent my whole life being nothing more than chief cook and bottle washer,' she said, a sudden passion in her voice. 'I want to do something worthwhile with the rest of my life and this is what I've chosen to do. It's all arranged. I've had all the shots. I've been saving my pension so have enough money to last for a while. I'm leaving on Monday.'

George sat back in his chair. His mind was racing. He was trying very hard not to grin and show his utter relief. She was leaving him. So he didn't have to tell her he was about to do the same thing! Although he wasn't going off to Thailand, he was planning to leave his lovely house and move down to Mildred's rather tired flat. Mildred, the woman from the U3A who shared his interests. But he wouldn't have to do that now. Mildred could come here. He was sure she would like the house. And he could still potter around the garden. Martha had never shown any interest in the garden.  He tried to look upset, hurt even, but...

'I'm sorry you feel you have wasted your life,' he said.

'Oh, most of it has been ok,' Martha said quickly. 'It's just that we seem to have drifted apart. You must have felt that, too. We never do anything together.'

'Have you told Peter and Jenny?' Again relief that the children wouldn't blame him for the split. He was on a winning streak here.

'Yes. Peter tried to talk me out of it but Jenny was very understanding. I think she would rather like to come with me.'

George made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a laugh and muttered 'Hormones' beneath his breath.

A noise outside made them both look towards the window. A large vehicle, a lorry, perhaps, they couldn't see, but it sounded large, was charging down the hill towards the bend on which their house was set. Martha hardly had time to register it wasn't going to slow down enough to make the bend when it crashed through the bay window.

The headline in the local paper read HAPPY COUPLE KILLED WHEN LORRY CRASHED THEIR ANNIVERSARY DINNER. No doubt some editor thought that was clever. There was no mention in the following story of Martha's dream to help the orangutangs or George's fondness for Mildred!

  The End


Copyright©Kristen Stone 2018

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Single Use Plastic


Supermarkets are being pushed to go ‘single use plastic free’ But what does this actually mean? What exactly is single use plastic? Is it plastic bags that cannot be recycled, or is it all plastic that is used once and then possibly recycled if people can be bothered to put it in the recycling bin?
Assuming the first option, taking a virtual walk around my usual supermarket the following items are in pre-priced/barcoded plastic:
Bags of vegetables including, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, courgettes, onions, potatoes, lettuce, radish plus precut salad and vegetables.
Bags of fruit including, apples of various varieties, pears, various, bananas (even though they come in their own packaging!)
I won’t mention all the fruits, meat, fish and cooked meats that come in recyclable punnets, trays and dishes with plastic tops or sleeves that are not recyclable.  
Then we have plastic bags of cleaning products, with either liquid-tabs or solid tablets. I've never given a thought as to what happens to the liquid-tabs when the disappear. Do they disappear completely or are they turned into invisible micro plastic? Think I’ll go back to powder just in case.
On to biscuits and sweets. All those packs of Minstrels, Maltesers, M&Ms etc, all in plastic packs. Don’t know if they can be recycled but bet they usually end up in the bin.
Biscuits have always been wrapped in plastic of some sort. But PPPick up a Penguin, or any of the other options and you have double wrapping, the outer wrapping for the whole pack, then each individual biscuit wrapped in plastic.
Move on to Breakfast. Breakfast biscuits are great, they come in a cardboard box but each individual serving is wrapped in plastic of the non-recyclable type. Individual sachets of porridge, apart from being ridiculously expensive compared to actually buying a packet of porridge oats, more packaging is involved.
Then we come to drinks. Squash comes in plastic, water comes in plastic; although I fail to understand why we need bottled water in every shop in a country where tap water is perfectly drinkable. I know some areas might have problems, but everywhere? You can always filter your water if you wish, but the rows and rows of water in plastic bottles is surely unnecessary in most parts of the UK.
All this is without mentioning butter tubs, yoghurt pots, cheese wrappers, pizzas, table sauces that used to come in glass bottles, and all the things I have forgotten.
So how do we cut out single use plastics and what exactly are the supermarkets planning to do? Iceland said they would cut out single use plastics but all their frozen vegetables, fish, and some meats come in plastic bags. It sounds like a good idea but we have become so dependent on using plastic bags what is the alternative?
It’s not only drinking straws and coffee cups, I spotted a journalist at a press conference asking questions about plastic waste holding a plastic pen! We don’t even register what we are using half the time.
I totally agree that too much plastic waste is getting into the environment posing a threat to wildlife, but how can we stop it? We even put our rubbish in plastic bin liners!
Right, time to go shopping now!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Loneliness

A recent report stated that loneliness was as bad for your health as smoking. I don't know if this is true but I do know there are far too many people who have no contact with anyone else. Do you know anyone who could do with a visit or even a phone call to relieve that sense of isolation.

This is my story about loneliness.


The elderly man made his way from the shop with a shuffling gait, shoulders hunched, head down watching for anything that might cause him to trip or fall. People hurried by, barely noticing him. Despite being tall and smartly dressed he was all but invisible to the world. He clutched the handles of his shopping bag in his arthritic fingers, fearing if he dropped it he would not be able to bend down to pick it up again.

The girl in the shop had been very helpful. He chuckled at the thought. Girl, was maybe the wrong word. She was probably in her forties but she seemed like a girl to him. She had waited patiently while he had emptied his basket onto the conveyor belt, smiled at him and said 'hello', even put his shopping in his bag for him, but she wasn't the chatty one, the one who asked how he was and who told him about her grandchildren.

He reached his house and let himself in, removing his overcoat on the way to the kitchen, dropping it on the chair in the hall.

Grandchildren, he thought, as he switched on the kettle to make some tea. He had three but couldn't remember the last time he saw any of them, nor his children for that matter. The grandkids, two boys and a girl, were all pretty much grown up now. All at university, with their own friends. It wasn't as if their parents could drag them round to visit any more. And they all lived so far away, not like the old days when families stayed in the same area.

He put his shopping away. A couple of tins of soup and some bread. He never did a large shop, not like the youngsters did. He couldn't carry a big bag and there was no way he was going to use one of those trolley things. Besides, if he didn't go to the shop every day he didn't see anyone.

Winter was the worst time. Cold, dark and often wet. If it was raining too much he would stay indoors. No point in getting soaked and catching a cold. Those days dragged. With only the television for company he often found himself talking back to the screen, especially if some stupid politician was trying to say how wonderful things were.

He took his cup of tea into the living room and settled himself in his chair by the window. He liked looking out at what went by. He was lucky he could see the street. Some might say he was nosey, but what else was there to look at? Four walls and the television? He would rather watch the people and cars going by than stare at the TV all day.

He sipped his tea and tried to remember when David, his eldest, had last telephoned. People, these days, were supposedly never off their phones, yet David never called him. Yes, phones worked both ways, but the last time HE had called David he was made to feel like he was being a nuisance. He was only supposed to call in an emergency, not for general chit-chat.
What would happen, the old man wondered, if he just drifted off here in his chair. Gone to that great, long sleep from which there was no waking. Would anyone miss him? How long would he be sitting in this chair before anyone realised what had happened?


Copyright©Kristen Stone 2018

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Social Media - Good or Bad

A lot has been said about children being upset, targeted or abused because of social media, either mentally or physically. I think the same applies to adults as well. I frequently see posts from ‘friends’ on Facebook saying that they have been blocked by people, insulted by people or generally upset by something someone has said. I think it is time to look at what we expect from social media and whether we should be using it.
   Facebook started as a way for students to share what they were doing and have a laugh. It has grown uncontrollably as everyone and his cat wants his/her voice heard.
   Let’s think about how it has changed our relationships. Before Facebook and Twitter (although I don’t use Twitter that much on a personal basis) the only people I knew were those I met face to face. I freely admit I’m not a very good face to face person. I don’t make friends easily, never have, never will. That’s me. I know a fair few people, but no one I have ever worked with has kept in touch, even the people I met through my Guiding days never contact me apart from one true friend. And that’s me. I have one friend from my childhood, one friend from Guides, one friend in the village and one recent friend who shares my love of writing; but I have lots of acquaintances, or people I know but who never visit me and I never visit them. Even family barely keep in touch. That’s me. My early childhood was one of isolation even though we lived in London. For the number of people we knew and called friends, we could have lived on the top of a mountain somewhere.
   I am now on Facebook and have lots of ‘friends’. I put that word in inverted commas because they are not real friends. They are real people and I am very grateful for knowing them. They have widened my world enormously. I know people in America, Germany, Australia, as well as every corner of the UK. They share their lives, sometimes a bit too much, and their views, and have made me think about things I would never have considered before. For that I wish Facebook had been around when I was much younger. I might have gone out and done something constructive with my life instead of just letting it drift by.
   I have been lucky with my ‘friends’. I have never been insulted by any of them. I would dearly miss going through my newsfeed every day (although I really must limit myself) to see what is happening, and going back to being isolated in my own little world. I joined Facebook in the first place to promote my books. Everyone said you have to be on Facebook. Well, I don’t think that is true. I have a Public profile, whatever that means, I think it means anyone can see my posts if they want to and I want everyone in the world to see my posts because I want them to know about my books. So I try to be careful and not share anything but news bulletins and such, not personal stuff that someone might not want the world to know.
   But what about other people, what are they looking for?
   Facebook has been a nightmare for careless users. People getting their homes trashed by strangers because they mentioned they were having a party and not realising who they were inviting. People getting their characters assassinated (and I’m not talking about characters in books being killed off) because someone they don’t really know decides to take a potshot at them. Children being groomed by unsavoury people wanting to do despicable things to them. So everyone needs to be aware of how to stay safe.
   What rules are there to keep everyone happy?
   Very few as far as I can see. You can request posts be deleted. You can block people you don’t want to associate with. But there is very little check on whether anyone is who they say they are; that what they put on their profile is correct; that any groups that are set up are fair to their followers. After all there are millions of things posted every day and it is impossible for every single one of them to be monitored. I’m sure the people who do monitor it have horrendous stories of the things they have taken down.
   With this in mind everyone should be aware of what they are looking for from Facebook and other media. Keeping in touch with family? Fine. Great way for instant contact with family spread around the world, but don’t forget other people on your friends list can see you posts. It might be better to text direct, Skype or Facetime them. Remember when you post pictures of your children those pictures will be there FOREVER. And despite your security settings they may well end up where you don’t want them seen.
   Sharing general chit-chat? Fine. But keep it general. Don’t give out personal details. Don’t bare your soul to the world, because, surprise, surprise, not everyone in the world is as nice as you think you are (don’t we all think we are wonderful). The world is full of people who are richer than you, poorer than you, more intelligent than you, more stupid than you, etc. etc. And you never know how they are going to react to the things you say. Or the things you do.
   I am sure Facebook benefits a huge number of people who are isolated and lonely. But to be safe, to be happy and secure, it is very important to be careful about what you say and do.

Stay safe and enjoy.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Shadow of Extinction

Now that I have given up trying to do everything for everyone, well, all the writers who were published through Blue Hour, at least, I have finally been able to concentrate on my own writing. I miss working with other people but it was too much and, sadly, the stress was making me ill. Publishing is a lot harder than I thought. The getting the books ready is the easy part, getting people to buy them is the hard part and I have to confess I haven't got the marketing skills required, nor the time to pursue this on the behalf of half a dozen other people. Not to the extent I would like that would do them justice.

So given the freedom to sit down and write for myself I have been busy clearing my head of all the stories that have not had time to emerge. The first is the prequel to my very first published novel, Edge of Extinction. Edge underwent various formats before it finally made it to publication. One had what has become Shadow of Extinction. I have always wanted to tell Kianda's story from birth to death and Shadow deals with the first part. Not so sure I want to see him killed off, or how I would write that, but that is for the future if this is a success.

So Shadow of Extinction is the beginning. A baby born and a child growing up in a remote part of the Amazon in the halcyon days before the trauma that arrives in Edge.

Available as an ebook or paperback Here

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Dragon Who Lost His Hearing

Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a Dragon. His home, for it was a He, was 
in a cave near the top of a tall mountain. At the base of the mountain, surrounded by lush 
green fields and a mighty forest was a village of gentle country folk. They tended the land, 
ploughing the fields, growing wheat and raising sheep for their wool and meat, and cattle 
for milk to turn into cheese and butter.

All was peace and tranquillity. The dragon kept watch over the village ensuring no wild 
beasts or robbers harmed them. If ever danger threatened all the villagers had to do was 
call out:

‘Dragon, oh Dragon, please come and protect us’ and the Dragon would rouse from his 
slumbers, for he spent a great deal of time sleeping, and come roaring down the 
mountainside, scorching the earth before him with his fiery breath, chasing away any 
robbers and gobbling up any wild beasts.

In payment for this protection the villagers would leave coal and wood for the Dragon 
to keep his fires burning.  That’s all he ever asked for. The robbers had long ago learned 
to keep away from the village. The wolves and the bears kept well within the confines 
of the forest, even when the fields were fall of lambs, tempting the wolves to test their luck.
And so it went on until only the people of the village believed in the dragon for they 
were the only ones to see him. Eventually knowledge became rumour, then legend, in the 
wider world. The wild beasts of the forest didn’t forget, of course, because they saw the 
Dragon when he came to collect the coal and the wood. And every now and then one of 
their number would disappear for the Dragon was partial to a bit of meat.

So it came to pass that one dark night in the middle of winter some robbers crept into 
the village. They stole the silver from the church; money from the bank (no sympathy 
there for no one liked the bank manager); and precious things people had hidden under 
their mattresses. The people gathered together, trembling in fear as the robbers pillaged 
the entire village.

‘Dragon, oh, Dragon, please come and protect us,’ they cried.

To no avail. The Dragon did not come. The robbers laughed at their foolishness and 
left feeling pleased with a good night’s work.

The next day the mayor called a meeting of all the villagers in the inn, The Fiery Dragon.

‘The Dragon has deserted us,’ he declared. ‘Obviously the offerings we usually give him 
are not enough.’

‘What should we give instead?’ everyone asked.

‘I think he wants a proper sacrifice,’ someone said. ‘We must give him a young maiden. 
That’s the usual price, isn’t it?’

There was much nodding of heads and mutterings of dissent. The people who had sons 
thought this was a reasonable bequest. Those who had daughters were not so happy. 
But it was finally agreed. A lottery was held and a beautiful young maid was chosen as 
a sacrifice to the Dragon.

The day came and the girl, her name was Gilda by the way, was tied to a stake where 
the people usually left the coal and wood for the dragon. No one stayed to watch what 
happened next. No one wanted to see poor Gilda gobbled up by the Dragon.

What happened next was this.

Gilda was tied to the stake, trying very hard not to cry. Crying made her eyes red and 
she wanted to look pretty for the Dragon, maybe then he would not eat her.
The Dragon flew down from his cave and landed a few feet away from the stake, 
looking for the piles of coal and wood that should have been there. He didn’t seem to 
notice that Gilda was tied to a stake and with a lumbering gait he wandered closer to her.

‘Where is my food?’ he asked, for that’s what the coal and wood were to him.

‘I am your payment this year,’ Gilda said.

‘What, speak up, don’t mumble so.’

‘I said I am your payment this year,’ Gilda said raising her voice.

‘What? Why? What good is one little girl? Tasty maybe, but no more than … than a 
single lamb or bear cub. I would need a whole flock to keep me going.’

‘The villagers thought you wanted a blood sacrifice,’ Gilda told him, making sure her 
voice was loud and clear. The Dragon shook his head. A small ruby popped out of his 
ear and lay in the grass. He did not seem to notice.

‘Why would they think that?’ he asked.

‘The other night we were robbed. We called to you but you did not come. The village 
elders thought you were angry with us.’

The Dragon shook his head again. A diamond popped out of his other ear.
‘Why would I be angry with you? You give me coal and wood to keep my belly nice 
and warm. Those are far more useful than skinny little girls with no flesh on their bones. 
Or even fat ones, for that matter.’

‘Then why didn’t you come when we called. I know it’s been a while, but we thought 
that agreement still stood.’

The Dragon shook his head, quite emphatically this time. A whole shower of tiny 
gems filled the air.

‘You didn’t call. I would have come. I’m programmed to wake to the words. What 
did they say?’

Gilda looked down at the scattered gems that twinkled in the grass. The Dragon took 
no notice of them. A thought occurred to her. Keeping her head down she whispered:

‘Dragon, oh, Dragon, please come and protect us.’

‘What!’ roared the Dragon. ‘Speak up girl, tell me what they said.’

Gilda looked up at the Dragon who towered above her. He lowered his head to just 
a few feet from her. She could smell the strange Dragon-breath of burning coal and wood.

‘Dear Dragon, don’t be cross when I say this, but I think you are a little bit deaf.’ 

The Dragon frowned, if Dragon’s could frown. ‘I don’t think it’s permanent or anything 
to do with how old you are. I think your ears need cleaning out. Every time you shake 
your head things fall out of your ears. Look at the ground.’

The Dragon turned his head and looked at the ground.

‘Well, I’ll be blowed,’ he said. ‘I sleep on my pile of treasure. Could be some has got 
in my ears. What can we do?’

‘Release me and I’ll look,’ Gilda said.

The Dragon couldn’t untie the rope that held Gilda to the stake, but he took the stake in 
his strong jaws and pulled it out of the ground, gobbling it down with a few snaps of his 
mighty jaws. Gilda climbed up onto the Dragon’s back and along his scaly neck until she 
reached his left ear. Dragon ears aren’t like other ears, they are just a hole with nothing 
around them. Gilda gently pulled the skin on either side of the hole apart and peered in. 
Indeed it was packed with tiny gems.

‘Let me get some tongs and I’ll clear them out. Wait here.’

The Dragon stretched out on the grass and waited. Gilda returned with her father who 
had brought a ladder with him and a big basket. Gilda climbed the ladder and with the 
tongs she carefully plucked the gems from each ear, dropping the offending gems into 
the basket. By the time she had finished there were enough gems to make a crown!

‘Now can you hear me?’ she asked in the softest of tones.

‘You don’t have to shout, I’m not deaf!’ the Dragon replied.

Gilda showed him the basket of gems and offered it to him.

‘These are rightly yours,’ she said.

‘No, they are yours now,’ the Dragon said. ‘Payment for restoring my hearing.’

The village rejoiced that night. They gave the Dragon all the coal and wood he could 
eat. The ladies of the sewing circle decided they would make him a giant blanket to 
cover his treasure so that never again would the small gems get into his ears while he 
slept and make him deaf.    

All was well again and they all lived happily ever after.  


The End.


Copyright©Kristen Stone 2017




Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Island of Hope

He paddled the small boat in the darkness, following the star he had been told would lead 
him to the island. The island of his salvation. The island of dreams. The island where the 
streets were paved with gold. The island where all you ever need is there for you. It 
had been a long journey but it was almost over.

Paddling in the dark kept the dreams away. He didn’t like to sleep these days. Sleep 
brought reminders of the nightmare he had lived through. The war that had raged in 
his country, a war he did not understand. The bombing and the gunfire. The men who 
charged into his shelled home who raped and killed his mother and sister. They had 
not seen him buried under the rubble of the house, but he had seen them. He wished 
he hadn’t. He wished the falling wall had knocked him unconscious. No. he wished 
the falling wall had killed him.

Amazingly he had not been hurt but he was now alone. The menfolk of his wider 
family had either been killed or conscripted into fighting for the war whether they 
wanted to or not. It was mere luck that he had avoided this for they took everyone, 
even boys younger than him. All the women had fled or had suffered the same fate 
as his mother and sister. He did not know where to go for safety.

He wandered the ravaged city for days, scavenging food from bombed out houses, 
until time and the heat had turned all the food bad. He joined a line of people with 
all their possessions in packs on their head heading for what they thought would 
be shelter and safety. A refugee camp, although he didn’t know what that meant.

At the camp he told his story to strange people who spoke a different tongue 
which he didn’t understand. They filled in forms and gave him a label then sent 
him to join other boys who had arrived on their own, all lost, all without family, 
without hope.

It was here that he first heard about the island. It sounded like a myth, a fairy story 
you told children. But people spoke of it as being real. It sounded like a good place. 
A place without war. A place of prosperity, where you could get food every day. 
And work. He wasn’t afraid of work. He had frequently helped his father in the 
shop, had risen early to go to the warehouse to collect what goods they needed 
before the shop opened. He was not stupid. He could do his sums. He could read 
his own language.

Some of the older boys and young men who had escaped the war began to talk 
about going to the island. They didn’t really know where it was or how to get 
there but it seemed like a good idea. Better than sitting around in the camp all 
day. They let him join them. All they knew was it was towards the setting sun 
and so they set off in that direction. Some were lost in skirmishes they encountered, 
the war ever present. Some were lost to the heat of the desert as they crossed the 
wasteland. Some simply gave up, turned back or went to join the fighting for
whatever side would have them. By the time they reached the coast there were 
only three of them left.

The island was in the sea. It would be, one of the three explained, that’s what an 
island is. They found a small boat, a rowing boat, but as none of them had ever 
seen a boat before, they paddled it facing the direction they wanted instead of 
rowing it. They paddled for three days before the storm came and two were taken 
by the sea. Now he was on his own, unsure of where he was, unsure of where 
the island was, exhausted but afraid to sleep.

Up ahead something loomed out of the sea, something solid and still. The island. 
Weeping with joy he paddled harder. As dawn lit the sky he was confronted by 
steep cliffs which gave him no landing site so he followed the contour of the 
island until he reached a beach.

He guided the small boat up to the beach and all but fell onto the shore. He had 
been paddling for so long his body had forgotten how to stand, at least that’s 
what it felt like. He crawled up the sand to where the land became firmer. 
Dunes covered in grass. He stood up and walked through the dunes. He could 
see houses in the distance and wandered towards them.

The first people he saw were not friendly. They threw stones at him and shouted 
in a strange tongue he didn’t understand, just like the people at the refugee camp. 
Some big men came and dragged him away. They did give him some food, something
to drink and some clean clothes. But that was all. After that they took him away and 
locked him up in another camp with more strangers.

This must be the wrong island, he decided. There were no streets paved with gold. 
No opportunities. None of the things his former companions had told him about. 
The island he wanted was still a myth.


Copyright©Kristen Stone 2017