Anathi and Cedric’s plan was that they would arrive in Nosy Be on Monday. They’d relax and enjoy the hotel, Madagascar and its beaches for a few days. Then they’d fly out on the Thursday morning from Nosy Be to the capital Antananarivo, before returning for the teenagers two or three days later. Anathi tried to secure meetings with the right people, but her secretary had struggled to confirm anything. Only tentative appointments had been set up on the mainland, and she hoped that when they arrived they’d be able to see the relevant people and plead their case.

Lying by the side of the pool, Karabo watched the adults from under her sun hat. Jez had slotted into a conversation with Cedric and Anathi, as if she’d known them forever. At first, Karabo wondered if her mother would be annoyed by Jez’s French accent and overly-friendly manner, but she hadn’t. In fact, Karabo noticed that Anathi liked having Jez around to distract Cedric’s attention. Karabo enjoyed the way Jez used her arms to speak, and how she’d flick her long dark hair back dramatically before laughing loudly. She also smiled a lot and had a way     of recounting hilarious stories. A definite extrovert, thought Karabo, very unlike her third son William. Karabo wondered what William’s brothers were like. They had chosen to go into business with their father — to stay close to such an evil, cruel, delusional and single-minded man. They were probably just like him. Karabo shivered at the thought of more than one Edward English in the world.

Isla climbed out of the pool and slunk towards Karabo, flicking her wet fingers at her. The water droplets felt cool on Karabo’s hot skin.

‘You look hot. Why don’t you go swim?’ asked Isla.

‘Thank you for your concern, but I’m perfect and I will swim when I’m ready,’ replied Karabo, taking off her hat and sitting up on her elbow. She watched Isla lie down next to her.

‘So, I think it’s working… what do you think?’ asked Karabo from behind her reflective glasses. Isla placed her hat over her face and smiled,

‘I would have to agree,’ she said. ‘Things have definitely picked up.’

Karabo lay back down on the lounger. Since she’d summoned some assistance from her ancestors, William and Mzi had dropped their guards and become great fun. After snorkelling together, they danced after dinner to some less than average music, and they’d laughed at each other and stopped being all cagey. No one had kissed anybody; it had all been just plain fun. Karabo’s hex (as Isla had dubbed it) had been less effective on William — who was less awkward with her and less spiteful to Isla, which made life far more pleasant. Their last two days had been perfect island holiday material, and Karabo was beginning to feel excited about the Libertalia Festival, which began on Thursday and ended on Saturday night.

Once they bought their tickets for all three nights, they decided which bands and DJs they were going to see. Isla took over the organisation of the schedule, as only Isla could. But neither Mzi nor William seemed bothered by Isla’s control freakiness.

On Thursday morning they all met for an early breakfast with Jez, Anathi and Cedric. Dressed once again in suits, the adults looked uncomfortably hot and stuffy, and annoyed to be leaving.

‘We will see you on Saturday guys,’ reminded Cedric, as he climbed into the waiting shuttle. ‘The hotel is aware that you are all unaccompanied and will take care of you. They are also aware of your daily spend limit, so don’t overdo it,’ he said in a warning

tone, his eyes resting on William, who nodded vigorously in response.

William was prone to bad choices, and last year had ruined his matric dance by arriving drunk, insulting his date, and trying   to kiss other girls. That said, on this holiday he seemed to be keeping it together. Karabo hadn’t even caught him smoking — another self-destructive habit that William cultivated. Perhaps it was because William was trying to make a good impression in front of his mom. Karabo had been watching the interaction between William and Jez. At times it was stilted, and at others she would catch them laughing together at one of Jez’s stories. His whole face would light up when he laughed with her, and his dark broodiness evaporated. That was the William she always hoped to see more of.


Question: How do you think the holiday is going so far?