Paulo kept thinking about what would have happened if he hadn’t found the boy in time. He felt morbidly curious about it, even though he knew the boy couldn’t swim, so really it was obvious. The night he’d come home, after the whole rescue drama, he felt like snapping at Tan when she said to Hayley, ‘You know your dad’s a hero, don’t you?’ ‘Daddy’s a hero!’ Hayley said, jiggling around in excitement. ‘What happened, Dad? Was the kid nearly dead?’ Ethan said, cornering Paulo at the back door. ‘For god’s sake, don’t be so bloody stupid!’ he said sharply and Tan’s […]
Seamus once and his mittened cat of Mairead’s second litter: Thomas à Beckett or Beckett or Thompson or Tom. Unlike other housecats inclined to their wry and lissom dignities of the favourite shelf or chairback, Tom à Beckett lay languidly on the coffeetable or beneath it with the dogs like Christ among taxcollectors, his pharaonic chin aloft the ceilingward flank of Baudet the germanshepherd Harriet first fetched home in a box. Tom was a prophet in his own land, but entered the room with a single vespertine miaow and pilgrimmed the occupants of the room where his family had lived: →Mother […]
*Content warning: This piece contains archaic terms that are now considered offensive. It refers to abusive policies from past eras, such as segregation, assimilation and the forced removal of children. 15 October 1918 A R Norman Chief Protector of Aborigines Perth Dear Sir As instructed, I have travelled to Jigalong depot to ascertain the number of native girls currently residing in the vicinity. I was accompanied by Mr Arthur Williams, whose business was to make delivery of livestock to the depot. There has been an influx of vagrants seeking work at the depot. Mostly returned soldiers who are no […]
When you step into the grey boat it bows to the applauding waves and nods to those retreating and then it settles on its stage, poised to break into another round of curtain calls as the wind from the south hurls petals of spray. There are clouds flexing high and grinding so much sleet out of the air—it sparks against your face and tries to fill the boat like a great bowl of water, to be drunk by the ever-thirsty sea. Your mother is wasting in her bed. Her skin is a poor, bedraggled blanket covering her body and her […]
Somehow we get away with the baby. We can’t believe our luck when we land on the train, baby in her stroller cheeky as a monkey and the whole day ahead of us.
Arum held her tongue between her teeth as she poured milk into the flour mixture. The risoles had to be just right. If they were too thin, the crepe would tear with handling. Too thick, and the dough would overpower the subtle flavours of the vegetable filling. Her heart felt tight as the batter clung to the whisk in stubborn tufts. She added more milk. When she thought the mixture was the right consistency, she ladled a spoonful into the saucepan and held her breath as she watched it cook. Carefully she peeled the crepe away, ignoring the sting to […]
She wakes up to the barking, again. Panic bulges. Her first thought is that it’s Monday morning already. But yellow afternoon light winks through the gaps in her blinds. Just a Sunday afternoon nap.
Black Cat stared at the dashboard in front of him. I had recently polished the vinyl with Amoral and the shine reflected light. He told me he wasn’t scared of me at all, that some of the regulars had seen us go off together.
April got out flour from the cupboard, cracked eggs into a bowl. She read the recipe, read it again …
Clara had long dark hair that was as limp as swimming seaweed, and her skin was pale and speckled with tiny dots in patches, like little dot families. They were so small, these dots on her arms and legs and face, that they were not freckles but rather dust, and often I felt the urge to wipe them off with a face washer when I looked at her.
We were waiting at the tram stop on Sydney Road when the traffic light turned red. An old bottle-green Corolla stopped in front of us, a bunch of white guys inside. ‘Informer’ was blasting from their stereo system. I stifled a groan. One of them leant out of the car window, staring straight ahead at us. He locked eyes with Elif, who was standing beside me. ‘Sand niggers! Nappy heads!’ I held my head up proud but didn’t say anything. A middle-aged woman to the other side of us clucked her tongue. Elif raised her fist at the car. ‘Why don’t you […]
If this were a story, it would start with an argument. It would start with Ben and me arguing about something vaguely prescient, something to give the thing that happened a kind of existential echo—a child we wanted to have, or couldn’t have, or used to have. That would work. But the truth is we never wanted children. The truth is that when it happened we were listening to the BBC World Service on the car radio. Two ex-pats and the staticky scraps of empire, the sky heavy with desert grit and dawdling bats. Our radio tuner was stuck and […]