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Legend Of The Silk Cotton Tree

I wrote this book a few years ago but never really got round to trying to get it published. It's a fantasy adventure set in Trinidad and Tobago featuring characters out of African and West Indian folklore. A few people have read it and liked it. It probably needs a professional editor to give it the once over to be fair.

However it's just sitting on my hard drive and I know a lot of people will have some time to fill now so here it is for everyone 11+

Legend of the Silk Cotton Tree

You can download it for free. If you enjoyed it and want to make a donation that's great but there's no obligation.

 

Here's the prologue:

The Spider and the Story

Rusted red, an old water tower glints in the last rays of the evening sun. Shadows grow longer then merge together as the day’s light is sucked from the valley like a child draining the last few gulps of milkshake. Dusk in a tropical valley is not a quiet time just as finishing a milkshake has its unique sound. This valley is no exception; creatures awake, the night-time chorus begins. Frogs and toads chirp their reedy one note calls, crickets play like tone deaf violinists and Mother Nature conducts it all with lazy, and as far as mortals can tell, random waves of her baton.

On cue, tiny green lights begin to blink as glow bugs wander in the flying equivalent of ambling and in the long grass something else moves. It’s black and shiny but at the same time it’s dark and hairy. It scutters gracefully to the base of the broken down water tower and waits. A meandering glow bug flashes its Morse code salute to all until it stops suddenly held in mid air. It flashes again and tiny silken strands illuminate, spiralling out fatefully from the helpless insect. Below eight eyes blink, eight legs shuffle in anticipation, and if it had eight mouths they would all be grinning.

It is a spider.

He is a spider.

At least for the moment.

He is Anansi.

Then, in a flash, he is gone from the undergrowth. Faint shadows flicker in the struts of the water tower as the glow bug struggles with futility against its gossamer bonds blinking out a bioluminescent S.O.S. In the dark above, Anansi’s eight eyes regard his prey with what can only be interpreted as grudging respect. While he likes a game, the thrill of the chase or the waiting and springing of a trap, there’s no fun in playing with the helpless, no pleasure in that victory and a bitter taste to the prize.

Lowering himself to his web he extends one of his slender legs and begins to pluck at the strands. Tiny imperceptible tings add a harmony to the evening’s cacophony and with a final twang the glow bug is free. It drops towards the earth flashing and flapping frantically to arrest its descent until... chomp. A toad chews happily, blinks his bulging eyes and then hops off in search of another tasty morsel.

‘And so it goes’ Anansi sighs and smiles ruefully. He listens to the night for a moment letting the sound of the valley wash over him. Blinking once with eight eyelids he turns to focus on something in the distance. He climbs to the top of the tower and scans the jungle’s edge.

‘We do not really mean, we do not really mean that what we are about to say is true’ he whispers to himself and to the shadows. He spins sharply and there it is, the hint of a game, a light in the distance, shimmering in the haze of the day’s heat seeping out from the earth.

‘A story, a story, let it come let it go’ his words are caught on a gentle breeze which sends them spinning and rolling towards the light. He rubs his front legs together and the air around them warps and thickens like slowly stirred treacle.

And there it is, the hint of a prophecy.

Anansi closes his eyes, concentrating, and claps his legs once. The thickened churning air expands in a pulse and catches his drifting words like the crest of a wave. They rush towards the light and the hazy night reveals a child’s bedroom window. The invisible wave crashes silently against the glass and washes over the house with a glowing echo until, like all waves, it ebbs and recedes, leaving only the slightest trace it was ever there, but everything is subtly changed.

The spider raises himself up on the rusted flaking roof of the water tower as if tasting the air. Apparently satisfied he relaxes and watches the lit window in the distance.

‘And there it is...’ he blinks once and fades into a silhouette.

‘The hint...’ the silhouette fades into a shadow.

‘Of a story,’ and the shadow fades into something that may never have been.