Black In Any Language by H. C. Turk | Script Revolution

Black In Any Language



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my novel
After accidentally killing a boy in the Philippines, a GI suffers a nervous breakdown. Years later, his peaceful life is disrupted when his past returns.

In 1991, an American soldier in the Philippines—William Ellis—is sent to investigate a toxic waste dump in a primitive village. He arrives at the village temple as Franck Vigneux (an historian) is threatening the local clan's "song boy." If nearby Priest Pawesi does not reveal the temple's "treasure" (a song), Vigneux will shoot the boy. To prevent a murder, William shoots at Vigneux, but kills the child.

After suffering a nervous breakdown, William goes AWOL and returns to the village. The villagers come to accept the killing, but William cannot. Weeks later, Vigneux returns with a new gambit for stealing the "treasure." He, Pawesi, and William come together again, but Mt. Pinatubo erupts, destroying the temple. The men are separated, and William struggles to return to his base.

Twelve years later, William is married and living in Florida. He owns a nursery. His wife, Gail, knows little of his past. She is dissatisfied with her job and longs for a child. William refuses because he fears Gail will have a boy and he'll be killed. Gail cannot comprehend this.

William gives lectures about seeking transcendence in life even as a love of simple plants can transcend lousy jobs and dim futures. Attending one of William's lectures, Cathy Emerson, a student, becomes infatuated with him. She gets a job at his nursery. Cathy sees that William has built a version of the Filipino temple. William's past returns as Vigneux and Pawesi arrive at the nursery temple. Pawesi has decided to pass the song on to William, for the song is the key to his people's heritage. Though Pawesi transfers the song, the men scuffle and Pawesi is killed.

Vigneux escapes, and William is deeply distressed. Weeks later, he receives an airline ticket to Chile. Vigneux has found the origin of the Filipino heritage, which is a type of paradise. But this paradise cannot be achieved without the song, and only William knows it. He leaves immediately.

William meets Vigneux and a guide on Chile's desolate coast. The three begin climbing the Andes. After a few hours, the guide sees a human scalp dangling from a crack (a sign of Pawesi's clan) and runs away. Vigneux tells William to sing the song here. William complies only to cause a snow avalanche that kills Vigneux. William is rescued.

William survives, but may have suffered brain damage. He can barely function until receiving Vigneux's journal in the mail. William revives enough to plan a return trip to the Andes. Gail does not know of it until after William leaves. Cathy accompanies him.

Retracing the original route, William and Cathy arrive at the entry to the "treasure." William quietly sings the song and follows the echoes. He and Cathy come to a lush land in the mountains. Primitive people live here akin to those in the Philippines. But this lovely place is no paradise. William finally understands the fallacy in trying to transcend the failures of his past.

Bitten by insects, Cathy becomes deathly ill. Aided by the primitives, William rushes her down the mountain. Returning to Santiago, their boat capsizes, and both nearly drown. A Chilean coast guard cutter with Gail waiting aboard sends a rescue boat.

At home again, Cathy is recovering. Though scarcely able to function, William is happy. Gail is pregnant with his child. William has achieved the serenity of acceptance.

Submitted: April 6, 2017
Last Updated: April 6, 2017

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H. C. Turk's picture

The Writer: H. C. Turk

I'm a self-taught writer, sound artist, and visual artist living in Florida. My novels have been published by Villard and Tor. My short fiction, sound pieces, videos, and visual art have appeared in numerous magazines, web-sites, podcasts, film festivals, and radio programs. I hate writing bios and résumés. There, I said it. Go to bio

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