Category: Writing (Page 1 of 12)
It was a brutal affair, from the discovery to the chase, from the ambush to the frontal attack. The collateral damage was immense. The broken glass, the upended rice tin, the scattered biscuits and oh god, the spilled bottles of seasoning. The panic came as an escape appeared likely, prompted by a careless miscalculation of the hastily prepared fortifications. But the worst moment came mid-morning as the hunter and the hunted faced off in the confined quarters of a dark, dingy setting, one that meant only one would come out alive.
It’s Christmas Day, late afternoon, and Michael O’Shea is walking down the side of Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda.
There is too much floor in this room. The shiny linoleum is squeaky clean but depressing in colour. That colour would be called ‘dun’. And there is, literally, room for a pony. I could actually have a pony in here. But I’m not sure the pony would enjoy taking the lift to the second floor. Do ponies do stairs?
“No, I have not been drinking!” my mother insisted as she paused to take a sip. “This is the national drink of those marvellous people from the New Guinea Highlands. It’s called Kava Kava!”
Chase Mason had been to the library three times in a week and he was beginning to feel like a loser – a real loser with too many cardigans and not enough friends. He was also finding the visits mildly unsettling. It was not how he remembered the libraries of his childhood; dark and silent places, haunted by pensioners in tweed but perfect for getting lost in. This modern library was noisy, bright and chaotic and it left him feeling slightly nauseous.
It was the hottest Christmas Day on record. A north wind tore through the town, whipping up clouds of red dust that swirled around the children’s heads and fell into their eyes. Long-suffering livestock stood in crackling, brown paddocks and an oppressive silence hung all around as birds and insects sheltered under the eaves from the baking sun.
‘Shit, this is the worst.’ Gary checked his mirrors, looking for an opportunity to change lanes. The four lane thoroughfare, laughably referred to as a freeway, was clogged with trucks, cars and buses all simultaneously discovering that one of the four lanes was gradually tapering into non-existence, thanks to some gleefully brazen yet emotionally uninvolved fluorescent orange cones. Why these cones were blockading the leftmost lane was anyone’s guess, as there appeared to be no roadworkers, no machinery, no potholes, nor even the slightest hint of loose gravel which might pose a danger to the peak hour traffic that the lane’s closure was exacerbating.
As soon as it was safe to return, the people of Unst marched back into their town. Excited and defiant, they dared the lava to come spilling down from the mountain top again and send them scurrying back to the mainland.
My grandfather was a man of sawdust and sweets, skinny legs and cardigans.