Young Matthew's vacation-inspired excitement is infinitely compounded during his tropical island getaway when he soon discovers his father's allegiance to the most bizarre and magnificent protectors of the planet; and thus he takes his first steps to becoming a Pioneer, and the Pelican King. Matthew discovers that he and three other Pioneers from the island will need to make use of magical abilities and gifts to save handfuls of the planet's inhabitants as Mother Earth puts her foot down with devastating finality.
This is the first part of a two part story entitled The Pelican King (I & II).
The Pelican King came to be king in a very bizarre way, but before we get into that, we need to set the tone, create the atmosphere and tell you about the land of the Pelican's. It all started when I was a young boy during a very confusing and bizarre period of my life. My parents had decided to get a divorce. The word "divorce" was not something I fully understood, but I knew that people saw it as a bad thing and that it meant change, unhappy change.
During this time I spent equal time with my mother and my father at their homes, which was indeed a change, but not an unhappy one. The unhappy change was that my mother and father did not speak to each other like they used to, and although it was pleasant, it did not carry the love it once did. But this is not about divorce, it's about the first time my father took me on holiday, just the two of us. We went to a faraway place of magic and wonder, a place I had never been to before, on a holiday that was to shape the rest of my life. He took me to Mozambique for a few weeks.
To this day I remember the look on my father's face when he told me he was taking me to Mozambique, just the two of us for a whole month. No school, no over protective mother, no over bearing sister and most importantly, no electricity, although I wasn't quite sure about this part. My father's face had an amazing glow to it that I had never seen before. He looked at me as if to say we have already been on this trip before and this time it was going to be better than the first time. Back then I just thought it was my overactive imagination playing its part, but later on I came to realise just how right I was. That was a great day, a day of days, a day that I will get to, I promise you.
There is nothing quite like packing your bags for holiday, it's a magical feeling of freedom that even smells different to other moments. Being in that space is great because the focus on the present allows the packer to see everything else that accompanies that moment, like the warm sun filtering through the open curtains and catching the dancing dust particles suspended in mid air performing intricate manoeuvres around one another.
I remember to this day the smell of the glass of orange juice my mother poured for me. She stood in the doorway smiling at me, the sun catching her radiant face and smile of an angel. I could feel her love and I sensed how excited she was that I was going on this trip with my father. That validation alone made me feel that everything in the world was alright. My parents may not be in love with each other anymore, but I knew they loved us always. It's funny how a complex idea such as this can be communicated in a simple moment like my mother standing in a doorway with a glass of orange juice.
With a little last minute help I was all geared up, ready to rock and roll, all I needed now was to make it past my little sister without too much trauma. I heard the familiar hooting sound outside our house, my father has arrived and added a little extra beep beep to the end of what sounded like a car generated orchestra to me because I was so excited.
I had my backpack on and mom was kissing me out the door and giving me some last minute instructions which never really found any landing place in my hearing, when suddenly out of nowhere she arrived. My little sister had a knack for dramatic entrances. My mother sensed danger and did what any loving mother would do, she kissed me on my forehead and whispered "you're on your own for this one bear," she smiled and went up to the gate to greet my father.
I tried not to make eye contact, I knew that if I did she would have me in her grasp and I would be powerless, but it was like a magnet and I was drawn to her watery eyes. A strange thing happened though, a wondrous thing, she ran up to me and threw her arms around me telling me through her sobs how she was going to miss me, and she made me promise that she could come with next time. I went down on my knees and I did promise her that the next time we would take her with, as if I were the planner of all trips ever.
In true little sister style she looked me in the eyes and said "good, but you can't come with when Daddy takes me on holiday to see the ballet, it's for girls and Daddy's only". Then she smiled and ran up to the gate to see Dad. I walked slowly because I knew she would give Dad a hard time and try wrangle some extra items from him out of guilt, although he was a tough cookie and always presented a no nonsense front which was extremely tough to get through.
As I approached the last few metres to the car I could hear mom giving Dad some safety instructions, bless him, he showed a lot of patience, mom could be a bit overbearing sometimes, but it was always from a place of love. I said my goodbyes and paused as I climbed into the car, one foot in and one foot out and took a mental photograph of what can only be described as a perfect moment.
And with that we were off. Dad had packed some signature car snacks and loaded some of my favourite music in the car for the long drive. I asked him how far it was and what I got was "twice as far as the longest drive you have ever been on". After we had navigated past the "how was your week?" series of questions we settled into a comfortable silence for a long while.
It was midday and the temperature in the car was perfect for dozing, which I duly did and thoroughly enjoyed. I roused from my doze as the car pulled into a petrol station, I could see the sun was beginning to set and the sky was turning that beautiful dark African orange. After filling up the car we travelled for another hour before we got to a border gate know as Ponta da Ouro. This place may be familiar to you, but to me, it was brand new. It was sweltering hot as the car pulled up to the inspection area. Dad and I went into a small office where he duly got our passports stamped and processed some type of insurance for the car. To me it had always been a car because my father referred to it as his baby, but in actual fact it was an off-road ready Jeep.
The whole experience was dull and hardly exciting at all, except for one thing. There were no other cars or people in sight, and everything was processed without a single word being spoken. My father and the officials who had assisted him had remained silent and smiling throughout, almost as if they didn't have to speak at all. Several times I could have sworn I heard someone say hello to me, but every time I turned to see who it was there was no one around.
We left the border post and continued for a short while into the town of Ponta da Ouro, this time we passed many other travellers, families and locals, which was a relief as I was starting to think we had left the world I had known and entered a different dimension. Crazy I know, but that's the imagination of a kid for you. I could smell the ocean and just as the beautiful scents coursed through my head we crested a sand dune and below us was the most magnificent and unmoving dark blue sea of water I had ever seen. I expressed my excitement to Dad who in turn roared with laughter as he sped down the other side of the dune towards the water. His joy and my joy collided into a moment of great ecstasy and a connection between father and son that I can to this day recall instantly.
He parked the Jeep about two hundred metres from the water and we both got out, it was good to stretch my legs and breathe in the fresh sea air. I looked down the shore line and saw far off in the distance some other holiday makers engaging in some beach activities. When I looked in the other direction I saw a point stretching out into the ocean, full of natural beauty and devoid of human interference, at least to the naked eye.