Sophie managed to get some shut-eye on our first night back at the estate, but it would be a stretch to call whatever she did sleep. I was not as fortunate. I sat in silence feeling like a stranger in my own house listening to Thomas talk in an excited whisper to his blood brother. This was different than before, when all I felt was regret and guilt. From all appearances Thomas was doing far better than I could hope and perhaps Phillip was as well. Still, I was anxious.
Sophie’s emotionless tone broke my reverie. “Come to bed.” She said. “Phillip will be here soon enough.” 


The Divide

Thomas and Phillip were plenty busy in my absence. Thomas had split the property into two parts to focus on poultry farming and aqua farming. The land was, once more, generating significant income and providing jobs, but as walked past happy workers I could sense that Phillip was not close.
Thomas approached Sophie and I and removed his cap, ceremoniously wiping away non-existent perspiration. He smiled broadly and a few familiar faces just beyond him stopped their work and nodded smiling in our direction. He hugged me and Sophie in turn and I could sense a comfort in him that was enviable.
“Welcome back.” He said, standing back with a slight bow.
“Thank you.” I said, feeling a bit uneasy.
“Things seem well!” Sophie said with some cynicism.
“They are.” Thomas said humbly. “Come, let me show you what we have done.”
It was fascinating seeing how they had transformed the land and how many were employed to look after the Tilapia and shrimp farming as well as the chickens. More remarkable was the absence of fear.
One of their own who I had turned, had done right by them and I no longer felt that the estate belonged to me.
“You’ve done a remarkable job.” I said with some pride and regret.
“I’m happy that you are pleased.” He said eagerly as Sophie looked off into the distance.
“Where is Philip?” She asked devoid of emotion.
“I’m surprise you don’t know.” He said with a little smile. “Phillip moved into the city. He was appointed Minister of National Security by the government.”
Sophie smiled and I knew there was no coincidence that one of us now responsible for stopping the blood that flowed in this nation’s streets…



I have been away with Sophie and we have done things that I prefer not to record. I left Thomas and Phillip in charge of our order and I have stayed away longer than I had planned. It was invigorating being away, initially. Walking among those I did not know as well as those on the island. They had their own stories of course, hopes, dreams, desire for a better life. But I was not invested in them the way that I was with those that I felt a kinship with in Trinidad.
Sophie was very adept at pointing out their weaknesses, the evil they were capable of and so I fed and she reveled in my embrace of my dark nature and hers. But I could only ignore what I felt was my ultimate responsibility for so long.
           We returned without any fore warning and perhaps should not have been surprised that the place which I considered, more than any, to be home seemed a more cynical place now. Newspaper headlines seemed focused on senseless crimes and corruption and I became gravely concerned with what my apprentices were doing in my absence…


Too Easy

The more I indulged the fantasy of an ideal life the easier it was to slip into darkness. My fake Sophie suggested that we would have more time together and I could do more good if I made more like myself, strong and principled, willing to defend those who could not defend themselves. Like a junkie who tells everyone that drugs is bad and that he doesn’t have a problem because he can stop anytime he wants to, I wanted so much to believe what she said.
I made two more at first being, what I thought was, careful at first. They were not to act without my implicit instruction, but they were allowed to feed on those who attacked women and children. The slope was becoming slick. Louis cautioned against my approach and Sophie never spoke an ill word against him, she only continued to speak of the good we could do and how good it could be for us.
Thomas and Phillip were the first in my new order. Sophie had seen something in them. They seemed a bit sad and lost but loyal and they never left her side. I had not yet figured that they were also receiving private instruction from Sophie. I was beginning to lose myself in the frenzy of feeding and look forward to the cover of darkness. The supposed good that was an expected result had not yet increased because of our enhanced numbers. I was too preoccupied with crafting my own narrative to notice initially what was happening. Perhaps I was just tired, but all I knew was that I wanted to feel something and it felt empowering to give in to what I was, to be selfish…it was becoming all too easy… 


Clot - No More Secrets...

It was as if we had found the long lost key to communication between my mother and me. We talked for a while about how much life was going to change and how excited we were about our full time role as parents. The levy broke and I tried to manage the flood of words that poured from me, before my mother’s mood changed. I had seen the swing many times before.
           Sure enough, she seemed slowly consumed by a creeping depression. She had something to share as well, she confessed. She seemed apologetic as she began, saying that she still struggled with knowing and keeping this thing from me all these years. My wife held my hand and nodded. This was it, the one thing I wanted. There would be no more secrets between us. It would be a conversation I would never forget and my last moment of blissful ignorance.


Clot - Mother

“Welcome.” She says hugging me tightly, and then my wife.
“Come in, come in. I made some lime juice, it’s been so hot and on a day like this its great with ice.” Like most houses on the island my mother’s house has two porches so you can sit away from direct sunlight at anytime of the day. We followed her into the front porch, which is elevated about four feet.  It is bordered by a white, waist high, decorative, wrought iron rail. As we climbed the steps I admired the care and detail of the craftsmanship as she ushered us to chairs, whose design matched the rail with seats and backs covered by a pale green cushion. She poured us some lime juice over ice, before reaching for a glass she had been drinking from.
“You look good.” She said, locking eyes with me before looking at Nayasha. “You both do.”
I looked into her eyes and saw only part of the woman I knew. She looked tired and defeated. My heart sank. I focused on our news and smiled.
“How are you Mother?”
“I fear that the spirit is far more willing than the flesh.” She said with another strong willed smile. It was the manner of speech adopted by elders on the island, when they had made peace with their mortality and their God. “But I’m sure that you two have far happier news of your own.”
My wife shot me a side glance as a smile teased the corners of her mouth.
“Don’t look at me.” I said with my hands to the heavens. “I haven’t said a word.”
“I’m sorry dear.” My mother said reaching for Nayasha’s hand. “I didn’t mean to spoil your news, but I have delivered my share of children. I am familiar with the glow of a first time mother. Congratulations.” Nayasha was touched and squeezed my mother’s hand before kissing both her cheeks.
“Thank you Mom.” Nayasha said. I sat back and smiled, feeling the corners of my eyes moisten. I have rarely seen my mother as open or emotional. She looked at me and smiled with considerably less effort.
“Thank you. This is a beautiful gift for us all and I love you both…that is to say the three of you.” Still holding one of Nayasha’s hands she reached for my hand. As we held hands and wept and laughed I felt like we were making amends for the past. Our unborn child had already given us so much and I gained a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of my wife.


Clot - Home

I have not been back since but as we drive to the house now I am surprised by the sense of familiarity and my own calm. My wife reaches over and gently squeezes my thigh.  
“What are your thinking?” She asks as our rental idles in traffic.
“She sounded calm…almost happy.” I say with a grimace.
“Shouldn’t she be happy to see her son?”
“I suppose.” I say shrugging. “She’s probably going to be happier to see you. You’re a lot easier on the eyes.”
“Oh, you’re not so bad.” She says smiling as the traffic eases.
The traffic alternates between standstill and free flowing and it is clear, at least to us, that there might be entirely too many cars on these narrow roads. I guess this is not different to many places around the world but the disparity between the haves and the havenots is more visible when a country is just short of 2000sq miles.
Large houses are alternatively adjacent to or opposite shantys and this is always a recipe for social anxiety and invariably crime. As we near my mother’s house what I remembered as a mostly rural area has become a more densely populated middle to upper class neighborhood.
The street was now paved and wider than I recalled. More than a fresh coat of lime green paint gave the house a different look. It was the presence of life that made the real difference.
The sun was high in the sky and as we rolled to a stop in front the house a gentle breeze seemed to be welcoming us. The house built by my mother’s father is also warm, modest and comfortable. The modifications made by my mother over the years though, have hidden most of the house’s beauty in favor of privacy. 
She has always been so private, isolated from me. The emotions come rushing back, suddenly I’m eight again and I am filled with anxiety. Often I have felt more than history and circumstance between us, preventing communication and now the feeling is overwhelming. For a moment we sit silently as I try to find a sense of clam. My hairs stand on end.
“Richard, are you okay?” My wife asks.
“I’m fine.” I say reaching over to kiss her.
“You look pale darling.”
“You’re the pregnant one.” I say smiling. “Lets go in.”
As we approach the wrought iron gate my mother emerges from the house. Her dark brown eyes are alert and she looks younger than her years, still I can tell that her illness has taken a toll. Her steps are more deliberate and the simple act of smiling now seems to require a considerable effort. Her hair, which was a streaky gray when last I saw her, is now completely gray and neatly pinned up in a bun.
 She opens the gate and reveals a long white dress, adorned by deep red roses. Even struggling with illness, she is a beautiful sight.