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StrangeDreams, Ancient Languages and the Touch of a Long-Lost Love

November 16, 2018


Without further ado, here’s that excerpt of Savage Island I promised you last week! It’s from Chapter 5. This scene comes right on the heels of a casual dinner at Will’s father’s plantation, where an ancient legend about Nin’ti was recounted by Dr. Cornelius Kandinsky Neville, archaeologist extraordinaire.

Nin’ti, for those of you who might be scratching your heads, are rather extraordinary souls. My lovers in Savage Island, unbeknownst to them, are Ninti. They share a deep and powerful devotion that puts them both in mortal danger, while propelling them towards a remarkable fate that ensures they will live infinite human lives…and suffer an equal number of deaths. Together they must solve a mystery that spans the ages, or risk losing one another forever.

Here, they agree to meet alone, in order to talk about a series of peculiar dreams they’ve been having….

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I don’t know why I listened to Will Tongahai when he told me to meet him at the plank. Should have ignored him for many reasons, but the most immediate one is that it’s damned dark out here at night, even with a big old moon, and I can’t bloody see well enough where I’m going. I do, however, catch sight of the plank up ahead. A contorted branch of rock that juts off the plateau, it dangles over the sea, illuminated by unfettered moonlight and a heavy dusting of stars. It’s a rather hypnotizing formation and I forget to even try to look where I’m stepping. For the damned second time I twist my ankle and but good.

“Bugger,” I say, bending down to give it a rub.

A shadow looms over me, long and lithesome, a black stain on a turf of dark indigo grasses.

“Your bones were broken and I was holding you.”

Will’s voice comes from behind me. Soft, like a sad melody. He’s close enough that I can feel the heat of his body and I don’t know how it is that I didn’t hear him walking up.

“The sand was blowing all around us, lashing our faces, obscuring the sun and turning the day into night.”

“Was that your dream?”

“Yes,” he says.

Will puts his hand on my shoulder. His touch is like warm water and I shiver.

“My father says that around a full moon, dreams are made up of memories.”

I look out at the man in the moon, suspended high above the water. “Aren’t all dreams made up of memories in one way or another?”

“I suppose so,” he whispers.

His finger trails up my neck inciting a legion of goose pimples and making my skin feel tender all over. I grab a fist full of grass to keep steady.

“Is that where your tattoos come from? Your dreams?”

His finger stops, resting gently at the base of my skull.

“Images of funeral pyres and night skies, like this one. Oceans of sand and flowers I’ve never seen before. They were all I dreamt about after I went away to school. Every time I closed my eyes.”

He places his hands on my shoulders and my breath quails. I know he can hear it. Slowly, his fingers tiptoe under my collarbone, where he lets his palms rest. They’re all hot and damp, like he ran all the way here to find me.

“There you are!”

It’s Ku, and I just about fall over.

“Oliana’s been looking for you, Will.”

I stand up, wobbling on one foot like a jack-in-the-box.

“And you’re here, too.”

“I stumbled,” I say, stupidly. “My ankle.” As if that’s an excuse to be out in the dark, alone with Will.

We all go quiet in one of those awkward silences.

“The moon will do that,” Ku says, finally. “It’s probably a good thing there won’t be a full one at your hair-cutting ceremony, eh, Will?”

Will sticks his hands in his pockets and looks down. His braid of hair overlays his backbone in the way of those spiny beasties in the outback. The ones that are all muscle with brilliant skins of fantastic colors.

“You’re actually going to have one of those?” Part of me hates to think of Will cutting his long hair. It seems a part of him. But on Niue, hair-cutting ceremonies are crucial for a boy’s journey to manhood. It makes a male child a man in the eyes of his Niue elders.

“Will was supposed to do it before he left for school, but he wouldn’t,” Ku tells me. “Told his parents a boy becomes a man when he takes on a man’s responsibilities. Not when he cuts his hair.” Ku slaps Will’s arm. “That what you’re going to do Will? Take on responsibilities? Maybe make an honest woman of my sister?”

My flesh runs absolutely cold and I look up at Will, my mouth gaping like an imbecile’s.

“There’s nothing dishonest about Oliana and I,” Will says. “We were children.”

“She cried her eyes out when your mum and dad shipped you off to England.” Ku shrugs, crossing his arms over his chest. “And now, here you are.”

“And here I go,” I say, just about wanting to vomit. I test out my ankle and thank God it’ll do. I’m not staying here another second.

“Wait,” Ku says. “I’ll walk you back in case you fall again.”

He rushes up to me, but Will Tongahai doesn’t follow. Damn him! Instead, he walks onto the plank and stands at its very edge, his silhouette stamped onto the face of the very moon that’s inked onto the back of his neck. His head is turned away from us and facing out towards the sea.

“Ah’kwara patu ve,” I call out to him. The words just spill out of me and I cup my hands over my mouth. My heart bats in my chest.

“What’s that gobble-dee-goop?” Ku asks me.

Will cocks his head and I know he understands. Even if he can’t possibly. Even if I’ve never known the words I spoke and can’t imagine where they came from. I only know they were in my dream, and I wrote them down this morning as soon as I opened my eyes.

They mean, I was born for you.

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I’m going to be posting some tantalizing weekly snippets of Savage Island. Tasty morsels of adventure and romance that are more than a bite, but less than the whole cake. If you want the whole damned cake – and it’s going to be a good one – the kind of cake with butter and cream frosting, a layer of pudding in the middle, colored sugar crystals and candied violets. Oh, and sparklers. I love a cake with sparklers! Well, if you want that whole cake you can either wait until Savage Island comes out late next Spring, or you can click on over to my Patreon page, where for the price of a cup of diner coffee, you can not only read a new chapter every week, as well as get behind the scenes commentary, history and photos, but enjoy lots and lots of other artsy stuff, too. Things like my mini-vlog, Writing on the Brink, lots of vintage art and photographs, new original essays, and even some pictures of my dog, Barney. It’s a whole world of magic and meaning curated for you.

Vic Bar

Patreon, for you newbies, is a terrific and reasonable way to enjoy the work of your favorite artists. There are so many really good artists out there doing their best to provide quality, meaning and magic – not fast food. I’m one of them, and I’ll tell you, it ain’t easy. It takes a colossal amount of time – much of which is spent working for well under minimum wage. Please think about supporting the artists you love!

And if you want to add a cherry to that cake we talked about, a third of my Patreon goal will go to Camp Holiday Trails, a summer camp for kids with special medical needs. My daughter’s a camper and it was an awesome experience for her, where she met great friends and was able to do all the things “regular” kids do at their camps.

So, check it out and see if you like it – There are some public posts, too, so click here for access:  Patreon is world in and of itself!


Love at First Write: You will know my name! A Writer’s Thoughts on Monikers and Aliases.

So what’s in a name, you might ask? Everything. Imagine this: The name’s Bond, Jim Bond. NO! As writers, we struggle to get the names of our characters right. So how do we approach this naming business? Listen here and find out!



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