Ian Stewart

Lost Souls Of Paradise

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In this story Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Walter Arlin Colburn finds himself called, by his deceased wife Amelia, to leave his home and his Chicago practice and return to the place of their last days together in the wonderfully quirky and picturesque city of Key West, Florida. One year earlier, Amelia had suffered a brain aneurysm while enjoying some dockside snorkeling at Fort Jefferson National Memorial in the Dry Tortugas and had died two nights later at the Lower Keys Medical Center Key West while in the care of a young nurse who had just arrived from Boston College. The nurse, Jillian Dougherty, falls victim to a most maniacal and devious homeless drunk, Patrick Oran Broslen, (Paddy), who masterfully coheres Jillian into a bizarre escapade of drunken endeavor on one of the most fascinating derelict beaches ever trekked by humans. Paddy abandons Jillian in the darkness of an oceanfront stone and driftwood resort built by one of his homeless buddies, then steals her credit cards and I D's leaving her to find her way back to Key West in the darkness along a treacherous and moonlit beach. (See photo gallery #1) Jillian, the main character of this story, suffers a psychotic episode after two months of sleep and nutritional deprivation and slips into the Key West homeless population. After missing an appointment with Key West police sergeant Carl Dixon and the subsequent finding of her car one mile offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, a preliminary investigation is launched and her parents in Boston are notified Welcome now to the under-life of paradise as Jillian's psychosis approaches it's apex and nurse Jillian fades away only to be reborn as Chastity Marrow from Provo Utah. She soon abandons her former identity and acquiesces fully into the Key West “lost” culture of drop-outs. An assortment of colorful characters enter her life and she finds herself at an offshore, out-island hippie fest where she is swept away to a homemade sailboat, The Canadian Soul, by a handsome and very caviler Canadian-born road scholar named Ethan Hall. The next morning, Ethan raises anchor and sails his new found “catch” away without a trace. Jillian's father William Dougherty arrives penniless, leaving his wife and other two children to work the family ice-cream store in Gloucester Mass. and unsuccessfully attempts to ingratiate himself into sergeant Dixon's lost persons investigation and soon resigns himself to his own undercover reconnaissance activities. Mr. Dougherty spends the next twelve months sleeping in the Key West homeless shelters and relentlessly posting and reposting pictures of his lost daughter on the storm washed telephone poles of this topical tourist mecca. Chicago psychiatrist, Dr. Colburn lands at the Key West airport and is soon reunited with his deceased wife who leads him to the lost nurse, Jillian! Thank you! I hope you enjoy the read!!
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