Yvonne Romano

The myth lives on

(A giant, a castle, a secret document, descent into the underworld)

The silhouette of his huge head dwarfed the backdrop of milkwoods, lagoon and sky.  He picked distractedly at the stubble on his neck.  A larger-than-life figure, his presence pervaded the cavernous bar room which was lined with mirrors and yellow wood shelves that bulged with macho mementos, gadgets and trophies.  An outsized beer mug frothed over, creating a pool of foam on the highly polished mahogany counter.   He sighed loudly.  He was bored and needed a change – some new diversion, an exciting conquest.  A sexy bombshell …  His fleshy lips glistened with saliva.

The room was cold; its hard surfaces made his booming voice reverberate from wall to wall.  A servant entered uncertainly.  “Wat kan ek vir Master bring?” she asked twisting the corner of her frilly white apron.  “Ek het sterk koffie nodig – soet and swart soos my vroumense!”  She flinched and disappeared quickly in the direction of the kitchen.

He looked around at the priceless antiques and Persian carpets that depressed him so.  He felt trapped and the urge for adventure surged through his large frame.  How to increase his fortune?  There was very little prime property left along the coastline and those bloody industrial shares that Mike had recommended were not showing much growth!

His wife seemed to be getting steadily greedier and making more and more financial demands – her son studying medicine in Edinburgh, her mother doing the grand tour in the States and all at his expense!  It was time to shed some of this entourage and bring some fresh talent into his castle.  He reached for the mobile phone which looked like a silver snuff box in his massive hand.

“Hello baby angel!  How’s Plett?” he crooned.  “So why don’t you stay on if the weather’s so ‘divine’”.  The corners of his mouth curled in contempt.  “ Have I got a surprise for you, baby!” he continued. “ How about a few luxury nights at Botlierskop?  The manager there owes me one!”

It shouldn’t be difficult to stage an ‘accident’ on one of the elephant rides or game drives. “Oh Gol,” she cooed, “that sounds amazing!”  He could visualize her big green eyes widening and those lush eyelashes fluttering like butterflies.  A glint of steel flashed in his eyes as he stage-whispered “Love you too, baby!” and put down the phone.

The giant lowered his bulk onto an enormous black leather settee and gazed into his coffee which seemed to ripple out into ever-widening circles.  He became mesmerized by the bottomless blackness into which he slowly began lowering himself, sinking ever deeper into diabolical schemes to end the life of his fifth wife, Pet.  A murky plan began to form in his warped mind.  Elephants and game were too unpredictable. Better to bribe a ranger into enticing her onto the river on the pretext of bird- watching upstream.  After all, small craft have been known to capsize on occasion, he mused.

As he re-surfaced from the indigo liquid, a shimmering package caught his eye.  He reached out and picked up an envelope wrapped in plastic.  He unwound it carefully, untied the golden ribbon that bound it and began to read the contents of his great Uncle Basil’s last will and testament.  His eyes bulged in awesome disbelief.  The proceeds of the vast fortune would be his, but only on condition that he remained a faithful, loving husband to his wife.  Should anything untoward happen to her, not a cent would be his.

Mentally reeling like someone snatched from the jaws of death, he gratefully wiped the perspiration from his brow and reached for the TV remote.  A beach scene filled the gigantic screen.  He watched in growing horror and a crescendo of his anguished groans gradually flooded the room.  Cradled in the lifesaver’s bronzed arms, Pet’s lifeless body hung limply.  Her kayak had overturned.


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