International Writers Magazine:
Island in the Sun
The St Lucia Shake
Lucia- our peaceful Island in the sun.
That was the advert that lured us into the travel agents. It sounded
exactly what the doctor ordered; so we paid our money, packed our
bags, and headed to the West Indies to the Island of St Lucia.
Peaceful? Not always!
Looking back, I
suppose it wasnt particularly intelligent of me to carry, for
a travel companion, An Encyclopedia of Guns and Bullets, their
makes and Purpose, but being a novice crime writer I have to admit
I didnt give it a second thought, until a large brown hand gripped
my wrist as I entered the Caribbean customs, and pulled me to one side,
then interrogated me for five minutes enquiring of my purpose of visiting
their Island, then asked me to step into a back room and open my case.
The next ten minutes was a real eye-opener for an aspiring writer. I
was so fascinated by the contents what the other two people, also being
asked to open their cases, carried in their Island packing, that I forgot
to be worried about myself.
The womans case contained a washing line and a bag of pegs, two
packets of Typhoo Tea, three packets of digestive biscuits, a large
tin of drinking chocolate, bandages, plasters, cough medicine, duct
tape, and a see-through plastic bag containing scissors, a packet of
needles, and approximately sixteen reels of various coloured cottons.
The middle-aged man emptying his pockets revealed about a dozen packets
of fruit flavoured Durex, including curry flavour, and a packet of something
entitled balls for clitoris playtime. He looked seriously embarrassed.
I had trouble keeping a straight face.
My case contents, seemed dull in comparison, but held a fascination
for them. They showed little interest in the eight crime novels, they
were cast aside in favour of examining the multitude of various coloured
G-strings that I brought with me. Maybe the washing line and pegs would
have been less embarrassing I thought as I watched the side of one customs
officer mouth stretch into an amused smile as he replaced the black
knickers with a red silk teddy bear stitched to the front and lifted
out my gold stretchy, spandex bikini. He passed that to his friend who
studied it carefully then slowly flicked his shrewd eyes in my direction
and looked me up and down. Did he think I had something hidden in the
gold bikini? Obviously not, he placed it back and then the same pantomime
went on with my fluorescent pink hair plaits (For bad hair nights!)
They showed no interest in my encyclopedia of guns, they wished me a
nice holiday and sent me on my way.
stepped outside the airport and into the sunshine. Life and its
pace was about to slow down- or was it? The taxi was a four by
four, and the hotel was an hour and a half ride up and down bumpy
hills, through the banana and the sugar plantations, and the fig
and mango trees.
Suddenly the heavens opened. The Caribbean is famous for its short
showers but the one that hit us as we drove through the island
was enough to turn the local steel bands rusty. The taxi driver
told us that the weather was unpredictable and the sea had been
quite turbulent and rougher than usual since Hurricane Ivan, the
famous hurricane that was supposed to hit St Lucia in 2005, but
after most of the island was evacuated, the hurricane turned west
at the last moments, landing, flattening and devastating the island
of Grenada and causing fatalities. Grenada is only just rebuilding
itself back after that.
My driver also told
me that at the end of November last year 2007, there had been a very
bad tremor on St Lucia; it was 7.5 on the Richter scale. It had caused
damage, cracking walls of different buildings on the Island. He told
me that the local supermarket still smells of rum, although now four
months after, as the top shelves of the whole shop was bottles of different
brands of the popular Island drink, and every bottle fell (maybe up
to a thousand bottles in total) and smashed onto the floor.
I asked what caused the tremor, he told me it was the volcano that is
under the sea between Martinique, St Dominique and St Lucia, it occasionally
erupts. I remembered that there was also a sulphur volcano actually
on this island of St Lucia and asked if that was dangerous, but he assured
me it wasnt that it was monitored, and perfectly safe. I asked
how long it was between the tremor last November and the one before
that, he said about two years. That was reassuring. It was less than
four months since the last one.
immediately put it out of my mind and went for a relaxing body massage
when I arrived at the hotel. The masseurs in the Caribbean are always
my favourite, and very quickly lift all the stress of day to day
living from you. It worked; I was now ready to close the door on
everything except peace and quiet for the next two weeks.
I hadnt been to the island for six years and I was determined
to revisit all the favourite haunts. The history of the Island is
that it was a British Colony for 150 years, up to 1979 when the
British granted it its independence, but for a century before that
the French and British were in constant battle over it. There is
a cave where the slaves used to escape, out of a tiny entrance at
the back, in the days of the French Invasion on the island. The
place was called Smugglers Cave, and I had that in my mind. I thought
it would be a good scene in a crime novel.
I also wanted to
visit the Sulphur volcano, if for no other reason but to satisfy myself
that all was safe on the island.
Just cycling around the Island is a treat, the pineapple, banana and
mango plantations are overrun with beautiful and various lizards- three
different species. The bird life is wonderful, black, red -breasted
robins, white doves, and colourful, friendly tiny humming birds. No
beaches are busy, and even if it rains, life is slow and the days are
lazy. I had left the bustle of London behind me and had chilled out.
Then it happened.
It was 2.30pm. I must have dropped asleep on the beach after a long,
lazy, lunch. My book had dropped to the sand. The noise woke me- it
sounded like a freight train had rushed past, and I felt the sensation
of someone shaking my sun-lounger. As I sat bolt upright and awake,
the shaking increased. I looked around, no one there, but I could see
the building behind me was shaking. Then everything went still, not
a stir of wind or a sound from a bird. I could see a lot of other bewildered
beach bathers, looking, and wondering. Out at sea, there were three
small boats, all upright, surprisingly.
I sat motionless and shocked feeling like an invisible spirit had shook
me. But what had actually happened?
Later that day - February 6th 2008, I heard that a tornado had hit Alabama.
Everyone said it had nothing to do with the tremor we felt that afternoon,
our cause was once again the volcano under the sea in between Martinique
and St Dominique and St Lucia. The tremor had reached 4.5 on the Richter
So finally, and honestly, I can say, Yes... The earth did move
Sadly I was alone at the time!
© Linda Regan
Killers is published by Crème de la Crime
Behind You! by Linda
Daniel Alves review
Life long feuds, unsolved hatreds, and more than enough lies to twist
the plot into a maze. This detective novel boasts all the themes that
darken in the eye of betrayal; sex, money, and murder.
More Life Moments in Hacktreks
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