Dec 12, 2012

Teaser to "Illumine Her"

* Subject to change after the editing process *


Samoa, 1918

The last of the day’s light was slowly losing its battle to the approaching twilight, its accompanying opaque horizon threatening to plummet the village into darkness in a matter of minutes. The small islands and its inhabitants prepared to farewell the sun in their customary way—sequestered indoors, chanting prayers and songs. Extended families gathered in their homes, sitting cross legged on the hard floor, with their heads bowed, and young children tucked closely to their parents’ sides. One strong voice would begin, and they would all join in a unified choral effort. Words of praise and thanksgiving would be sung, for the simple meal they were about to consume; for the well-being and happiness of their families; for the hope and anticipation of a safe and productive day the following morning. 

But the chanting this evening would be vastly different from anything the people had ever experienced before. It would be far from ordinary. Far from the norm. The prayers offered would be laced with a sorrow so deep, the songs of despair would be punctuated by painful cries and sobs. Mothers would be huddled with young ones beside them, tearfully mourning the lifeless bundle wrapped in siapo cloth in the center of the room. A father. A beloved grandfather. An uncle. The patriarch of the aiga. Titles and roles that guaranteed a life lived with love. Love from a wife. A daughter. A granddaughter. But a life cut short savagely by a foreign disease that promised no hope once your family was affected. 

There was nothing he could do. The disease was fast moving, killing slowly but quickly.  

The man’s throat tightened and he closed his eyes in agony in an attempt to block out the tormented sobs of mourning in the little fale. With heavy feet he shuffled out of the warm house that had been covered with woven pandanus leaves to the soothing fresh air that came from the sea. It was dusk, and a sudden quiet had descended on the village.  The houses that dotted around the village were beginning to flicker with light from the lamps within. With the clang of the evening bell, the chanting resounded, breaking the silence and surrounding his still form. 

He crouched down in respect, lowering his head in anguish. Another innocent loss. Countless losses. This was too much to handle. His thoughts shifted to the past several weeks. The sickness was too overwhelming for his ability. He had felt it first on the old woman’s head and extremities; the influenza that burned in her blood came rushing back to him to the point that he felt like he had succumbed himself. He wanted to surrender to the pain and illness that had now claimed many lives; take it away and make it his own. But he knew he couldn’t. That it was impossible. There were just too many. He remembered the many bodies piling high to be buried in mass graves and winced.
His mind hovered to the young boy who lay still in his mother’s arms inside, her sobs breaking through his reverie. 

“Doctor?” The boy’s uncle bent down to crouch beside him. “It is happening to my family,” his voice of resignation confirmed reality. “You have seen the others. There is nothing you or anyone can do for us now.” Chase Malek nodded in acknowledgment, his brows furrowed. No. There was nothing he could do. It was all part of a greater plan that was now out of his hands. 

Slowly he rose and retreated to the trees behind the family home. He walked then began to run. He soared, picking up lightning speed, allowing his strength to propel him forward as far away as possible, the wind whipping through his hair, the branches crushing underneath his weight, until he reached the north side of the island. Approaching the port before midnight, he ascended a ship that would take him far away from there. Away from the pain and suffering and away from the inexplicable feeling that was slowly creeping into his mind that he had failed. 

As soon as the ship sailed off into the expanse of dark ocean, its sails high and flapping, he had made his decision. It was time to move on but he would return one day. And when that day arrived, he promised the people of the islands he had come to love that he would somehow make it up to them. For their sorrow and loss. 

And perhaps for his own.  

Check back later for more teasers to come! 


  1. EEEkkk... I'm so excited!!!

  2. OMG that's awesome... can't wait to read more... xoxo