The Moon Pool
and Other Stories

The Moon Pool and Other Stories
‘The Moon Pool and Other Stories’ is a collection of five thought provoking, ‘supernatural’ short stories, each set on a particular Caribbean island. 
  Although the islands are not, in the strictest sense, definitive, they and their locations are without doubt the author’s first-hand inspiration for each tale – hence the Author’s Notes to be found in the end pages.
  Far from being ‘fly & flop’ holiday destinations the West Indies have a fabulously rich and colourful history with equally rich and colourful cultures. It was the sun that beckoned the author there initially but it is the history and culture that ensures his regular return, now for some twenty years. With a little bit of imagination, it’s not hard to re-kindle those bad old days of slavery, when sugar was king and lives were used, abused and discarded.
  By reading local histories and talking to island folk one can begin to put together some very mysterious goings on, which resonate down to the present. Today there seems to a social dichotomy; rum or religion and this too is reflected in these carefully crafted stories of the unexpected.

The Moon Pool and Other Stories
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The Belmont Ghosts
This tale is based on the island of Tobago. Belmont Bay, where the story is envisaged, is situated to the north of the town of Speyside on the tropical Atlantic coast. The secluded bay, a perfect horseshoe, is accessible mainly on foot via an old plantation track from the Blue Waters Hotel or from the sea. The forest scene as described exists, or at least it did; I imagine it has been reclaimed by the jungle by now and its grizzled old inhabitant long gone. It remains a singular and especially atmospheric place in my memory.
 
The Goat Man
The tri-island state of Grenada comprises the main island plus the two smaller isles of Carriacou and Petit Martinique. Neither of the latter two has a ground water supply and the population relies totally on rainfall, which is collected and stored in large cisterns often built beneath the island’s houses. These tanks are the first permanent feature to be constructed when a house is built. The goat man is also a regular feature on many Caribbean islands as is the devotion to religion and the associated churches and chapels. In The Goat Man I’ve combined these elements to produce a parable of generosity, kindness and forgiveness.
 
The Moon Pool
The slave bell and the seasonal pool can be found on a cocoa plantation in the north of Grenada. Everything else, however, is a construct based on island history.
 
De Wytte Chile
The inspiration for this spooky story is Barbados’ St Nicholas Abbey, which is situated to the north of the island. The Abbey is a beautifully restored Jacobean manor house originally built ‘off-plan’, to the extent that it even boasts a couple of utterly redundant, for the Caribbean that is, fireplaces. The old sugar mill and workings have also been restored and today they make excellent rum from the sugar crop. In these modern times it is easy to forget the hardship and horrors that the slave workers had to endure and one hot day, whilst sitting on the Abbey’s shady balcony sipping a cool drink, I imagined what might happen should one of them return, to exact revenge.
 
The Last Harpoon
This story is something of a hymn to a bygone age on the beautiful Grenadine island of Bequia (pronounced Beck-way) – my favourite hideaway in the West Indies. The island has a long whaling history and although they’re still permitted to take a number of animals a year the practice has all but ceased. I got to know some of the whalers and fishermen over the years and have wondered how they feel about the end of a proud tradition – a tradition which now sees them actually reviled in some quarters. Here I try to understand it, while not offering any answers. Times change and people with it. My only personal regret is that I’ve not been able to take up the offer by ‘Julian’ to pursue a whale with him in an open boat. It’s doubtful now that I ever will.