The Island Chronicles
BOOK 1: CONSCIOUS
Where did we come from? Where are we going? What are we supposed to do in between? Deep into an existential crisis, triggered by his retirement from forty years of teaching, Christopher William Laughton flees to Orcas Island to search for the meaning of life. There he finds answers to questions he never thought to ask.
Shortly after he arrives, Christopher sees Nadezhda Retovna, the older woman who nursed him through his youthful identity crises, even though she died years ago. Then, he is seduced by the Music that comes at night, which only he can hear.
Eventually, the Music draws him to Eleutheria, the woman who lives in the house with the thatched roof, overlooking Bourani Cove and the ancient lime kiln that still breaths life. There he has a glimpse of both her ancient past and his own near future.
Christopher is joined in his search for truth by a stray dog with whom he may be having conversations. As well as by Lexi, a modern-day Lolita in steampunk who does her best to seduce him, for sport.
Eventually, Christopher must make a choice. If choices are even possible. Either believe what Eleutheria has told him about time, eternity, and power. Or escape the island.
I have strict requirements. It must be in a passionate, lustful, mutually obsessive relationship filled with unicorns and handcuffs. Since I am not incredibly famous, rich, handsome, charismatic, powerful, funny, sensitive, or artistic, then obviously the girl has to be crazy. Sometimes it’s blatant, on-the-surface crazy. And sometimes it’s camouflaged-waiting-until-just-the-right-moment-for-snakes-to-burst-from-her-head crazy. But always crazy.
A road to be traveled alone, searching for signposts to salvation. There are none, of course, except those we nail up ourselves, only to forget and find when we circle back again, pretending they are true.
Since the ending is inevitable, no matter what we believe, the best thing to do is: Pretend the happiest story we can imagine, under the circumstances. As long as it brings no harm to others, what difference does it make? The difference between happy and not happy.
“But if that’s true,” I pressed on, “then we can never know if we are free or not.” She nodded slowly, as though I had been bright enough to discern the obvious. Then she said, “So which way would you rather pretend?”
Truth is a concept that only lives in the past.
From Now forward, there can only be speculation.
What’s the difference between giving up and letting go?
The difference between quiet desperation and peace, I suppose.
This was like discovering a new place, both beautiful and disorienting. Like seeing a chess game from the other side.