Short Stories

the dreambound tree

The Dreambound Tree eBook

 

Memories define our sense of place.  Friends and family do too.

And sometimes, perhaps, a bit of magic

 

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By the time I was thirteen, I knew I was too old to be sleeping in Mum’s bed. But that didn’t stop me crawling in beside her on that two-inch thick fold-out mattress every second night when I woke slick with sweat from a nightmare.

            ‘Try to go back to sleep, Maddie,’ Mum’d coo and kiss my hair even though we both knew we’d lie there awake until the alarm chimed at three-thirty and it was time for her to get up for work.

            I never lived in a normal house. Well, I did—once. But I hadn’t since I was seven and we didn’t talk about it or actively remember anything of the life before we left. Since then it’s been caravans or share houses; granny flats in someone’s backyard; or a refurbished old shearer’s shed like the place where we lived now. Mum always told me to be grateful because it was the kindness of strangers and her hard work that kept me clothed and sheltered. Continue reading “the dreambound tree”

Short Stories

the carpet cleaner

The Carpet Cleaner eBook (1)

 

Robert liked his job. Well, most of the time. He didn’t like going to uni student share houses to leech booze and dried vomit off every plush surface the day before a rental inspection; and he didn’t like going to Ms McTavish’s place because she had ten cats and let them pee on the carpet until it was sodden and the house smelt like piss long after he’d shampooed and shampooed it again. He also didn’t like nursing homes, because it was too hard seeing people not that much older than he with defeated expressions on their sunken faces, confined to beds, stuck full of tubes and left to stare at the empty visitors’ chairs in their room all day. No, he didn’t like that at all. As with anything, there were good clients and bad, and the one client Robert loved, more than anything, was Mrs Lavingston.  Continue reading “the carpet cleaner”

Short Stories

aunty mim’s lost & found

Aunty Mim's eBook

Miriam Sykes had been called many things and not all of them were kind. A witch, a gypsy. Hermit. Lunatic. Satan. But Miriam Sykes was just a woman—a woman who was very good at finding things.

Miriam lived a good twenty minute walk from Sturtville station. Trains didn’t stop there anymore. Well, not trains for moving people anyhow. There weren’t many people left to move in bum-fuck nowhere South Australia. That’s what my brother called Sturtville: bum-fuck nowhere. He wasn’t exactly wrong. Sturtville consisted of opal miners, a high school of about fifty kids, a Woolies, and one sad little servo that sold over-priced fuel. That was our town. Village. Hole-in-the-ground. We didn’t have a lot in Sturtville (more than one doctor, for example) but there was one thing we had that no other place in Australia did. And that was Miriam Sykes.

Continue reading “aunty mim’s lost & found”

Gardens of War & Wasteland, Short Stories

the collector’s lost things

The Holanian capital, Adria. Rei-Hai Shaw knew it like the back of his hand. For the Tower to mark the city as his next hunting ground was both fortune and cruelty. Two years had passed since he last walked the streets of his homeland; he’d been a shadow then too, lost amongst the crowds gathered for the royal wedding of heir apparent, Crown Prince Kiokharen. But this time, Rei was not here for a celebration.

The Grand Cathedral of Nirhana stood nobly behind the castle proper. Secured within the gated domain of Upper Adria, it was not open to the general populace; the cathedral was the wedding chapel and worship venue of choice for the Holanian highborn. Rei had visited it a number of times in his youth—being the son of the reigning Swordmaster, Rei was privy to the inner circles of nobility. He was of age with the wayward Princess Amikharlia and had more or less grown up alongside the royal siblings. They’d often come to the cathedral to play, to see who could climb the highest up the ivy-coated walls. Rei always won.

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Short Stories

the cottage on peppercorn tree hill

Peppercorn Tree Hill

 

The cottage on Peppercorn Tree Hill was not a cottage: it was a Federation Bungalow with a bay window and Evelyn Millar loved it. From the moment Harold drove her up the dusty road and she saw red brick façade with cream latticework under the eaves, Evie knew they would be happy here. The front was shaded with a large peppercorn tree, for which the hill was named, with a swollen trunk and wide-spanning limbs. Evie jumped out of the car, blonde curls bouncing, and breathed in the fresh country air. A smile curled her lips as she beheld her future looking down at the town below.

Evie and Harold met in a hospital, though neither was a patient. Her mother Vilma had been volunteering at the 113th Australian General Hospital to care for the many repatriated soldiers wounded in the Pacific. Together with her younger sister, Margaret, Evie spent much of her time there, helping where she could, while their father fought in Papua New Guinea. While assisting the nurses on their rounds, Evie happened upon a fresh-faced, fair-haired doctor by the name of Harold Millar. In spite of horror piling up around her, Evie fell in love.

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Gardens of War & Wasteland, Short Stories

the morning of

Ami watched the sun rise over the swell of mountains on the horizon. The golden arms of morning spread dawn’s embrace across the sleepy castle town below. The Holanian capital, Adria, would soon be waking. Her still-made feather bed beckoned, though she would not be joining it. The young princess sipped the wine left on the drawing table along with the remnants of her uneaten evening meal. The dark Bararnite vintage was a sharp assault so early in the morning but Ami welcomed the wetness on her tongue.

It was the Day of Blessing—a humble day of virginal simplicity to be enjoyed in the presence of her betrothed. A day of tradition, of ceremony, of celebration—a day Ami would not see through to completion. Had it been Tallas, she would have endured. Tallas, heir to the neighbouring throne of Bararn, had been her promised one, not his snivelling, unctuous little brother, Reminas. Even before Tallas’s cruel and untimely death, Reminas always believed himself entitled to everything his older brother possessed—his titles, his birthrights, his armies. Now he had the impudence to name himself successor to the Holanian marriage alliance as well. But he would not have Ami. She would not be Reminas’s bride. He would not be her king.

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