This eBook edition, Copyright © 2012 by Elizabeth Engstrom
Produced by IFD Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-4524-2188-9

Originally Printed in the United States of America


I wrote this short story while on Oahu, teaching an evening class on writing fiction. One morning I woke up to a tremendous tropical downpour, the kind that pounds the roof and the ground so loudly that it’s difficult to hear anything else. The air was hot and humid, the atmosphere sultry, all of which is conducive to a story of bare skin, cold drinks, hot sun, salt-sweaty lovemaking and broken hearts. I wrote this story with pencil on damp paper while watching the earth bathe. It was originally published in the collection The Alchemy of Love (illustrated by Alan M. Clark), and then in the Thirteenth Annual Year’s Best of Fantasy and Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.

—Elizabeth Engstrom


By Elizabeth Engstrom

Part One: Francine

I have always been fascinated by evil. I’ve flirted with it, been tempted by it, but only once have I fallen in love with it.

I live on an island in the South Seas. How I came to be here is a story of young love, foolishness and weakness—both his and mine—and therefore a tale for a different time.

I pour drinks in a poor man’s bar. In the tropics, no walls are necessary—just a good roof, bar stools, a couple of tables, an old sofa that had seen too many sunrises and a room at the back where Godfrey used to live. The liquor shelves have a lockable grate to keep out the monkeys and the thieves. Daily rain washes the island and the open air dance floor which, at the time of Godfrey’s ownership, hadn’t seen a dancer in years—not since the tour boats stopped docking here.

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