Chapter 3 – Extract 8 from The Paradise Induction!
Approaching a road that paralleled the sea again, Chris recognised where they were as they passed the gated Pharisee Islands’ governor’s mansion, neighbouring the estate where Vernon lived. It was a tranquil estate, with large bungalows facing opposite one another along an upward inclined cul de sac.
Nearing the end of the rugged, concrete lane of the cul de sac, the car pulled up in sheltered parking outside Vernon’s bungalow. They relieved themselves from the car. They walked to the boot, opened it, and retrieved Chris’ suitcases from the back.
Chris looked down the slope to see an unimpeded view of the perfect ocean and other islands far off in the distance.
He was here. He’d made it!
Two huge barking Dobermans ran up to an adjacent white fence, cordoning off a massive garden that stretched around Vernon’s property.
Chris stood his ground, but recognised that if the dogs made more effort, they could clear the fence.
“Quiet down! You hear?” shouted Vernon. He walked toward the hugest of the dogs with a coat as black as night.
“Rocky,” he said and stuck his hand in the Doberman’s mouth. He turned to Chris and chuckled. “Can’t be scared of them. They smell fear.”
Vernon walked toward the front door and unlocked it. Chris followed in, wheeling his suitcase behind. The dogs continued to bark outside.
“What I suggest you do is get yourself unpacked and I’ll take you to meet up with the guy for the job,” said Vernon.
“Sounds good,” Chris replied.
“Okay. I’ve also got to take you to meet the dogs.”
“They need to get used to your scent,” said Vernon. “Or they’ll think you’re an intruder.”
“Oh,” replied Chris. “Okay.”
Vernon retreated to a room left of the front door into what Chris remembered was his bedroom.
Chris inhaled the scent of jasmine—a reminder he was in a new location now, a new start, living with a new person, in a new world. He pulled his luggage through to the right of the front door, through the large open kitchen area with its dining table, then passed through the dining room with another dining table. The sun beamed in through the glass doors and drapes, adding an airy feel to the space. A white-tiled balcony led out onto a huge garden below and a view of the sea sparkling with the sun’s rays.
Chris peered into the adjacent sitting room; a picture of Martin Luther King Jr sat on the wall over the television docking setup. Old photos of Chris’ uncles, aunts, and cousins were organised along the television stand. He spotted one of his mother, sister, brother and him. He felt his stomach punch out and his eyes well-up.
He continued walking in the opposite direction through the dining room into a short, cream-tiled corridor. He found his room on the left and further down was his bathroom on the right. He opened the door to his bedroom, his new place of residence. It was just like he remembered it from last time; a king size bed with a leopard printed on the covers as well a matching rug with two of the ferocious big-cats. The sunlight beamed in through the window, illuminating the room and adding an extra sense of space.
He opened up his suitcases and his eyes popped. In the larger one, the compartment where he’d placed specific accessories that could leak had been slashed open. The mesh fabric material lay frayed, taunting that there was nothing to be done. Chris found his brown shoe polish unscrewed and sitting on the lightest of his clothing—his white jumper. His mind drifted back to JFK Airport and he shook his head.