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Chapter 1

            He is with me always, even from the beginning. He is with me yet. I am not sure when I first became aware of him, but it was long ago when I was yet a boy.

I was born in the small fishing village of Kadan Kyun on King Island across the channel from Mergui on the archipelago in Burma. I am called Maurice. You will forgive me if I use that name only. You will understand why by and by. I am Moken, although people who know no better say Malay. The Burmese of my homeland call my people Selung or Selone. After many years, I grew tired of correcting people, and now identify myself as simply Malay. For some reason, that seems to satisfy most people. I have far fewer questions now. I do not like questions. Perhaps what offends me are the answers.

I was born on the island sometime around or just before 1865. My people were known as sea gypsies. They roamed from place to place, without a true homeland. We spoke a common language, but I have not used it for so long I can no longer remember. My father grew rich in the spice trade, and settled on King Island before I was born. His wealth afforded me all of the luxuries of life. I had no siblings. I had loving parents but they were very busy, and allowed me much freedom to roam. I spent my early years running free on my island and exploring the area around my home, including the heavily jungled forest. When I was old enough for school, my parents hired a teacher – an Englishwoman who taught me English, reading, and basic arithmetic. It has been so long now since I spoke my native tongue, I converse, think, and dream in the English language. I am told I have a British accent, which amazes most people. I am a brown man with an English accent, which is quite a novelty in some places it seems.

At the age of ten, the local authorities, despite my race, allowed me to attend their local school. I am quite sure my father’s money had something to do with the decision. It was around that time when I first met … shall we say, “him.” Perhaps that is not the right expression; it was about that time when I first became aware of him.

This is the story of myself – and of him. Of how we met and became close. How I took care of him all these years. How he became obsessed with me, and how I tried to get away from him so many times. How he always his way back into my life somehow, and how I protected him when I believed he was innocent. Mostly, it is the story of why I now sit in a darkened room, waiting for … “him” to come home, so I can kill him in cold blood.

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