Monday, November 12, 2007
The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life - excerpt 4
Old Sid watched and waited.
Around him the sky was beginning to redden as the autumnal evening set in. Flocks of guillegulls rose noisily from the marshes at the edge of the city through which the river flowed, their tiny flapping bodies moving in mesmerising, constantly changing formations like giant undulating black-speckled waves in the sky.
The ferryman had witnessed this spectacle many times, yet even today he still felt a twinge of awe in his aged heart at this natural twilight extravaganza. He lifted his gaze to watch the birds and was temporarily transported back to a time, many years ago, bathed in the warm rosy hue of precious memories –he was a small boy of around eight years old, sitting on the prow of his grandfather’s barge with his bare feet dangling over the edge, while his faithful terrier Tujic sat at his side, barking at the birds flocking across the blood-orange sky. Just as he had done then, he did now - watching the shapes changing above his head for some time, he noted each metamorphosis out loud:
‘…diamond, square, ripples, oblong, cloud, wobbly blob, another squ…’
He was suddenly interrupted by a bubbling sound to the left of his boat and, on turning his head to investigate, was amazed to see McBee’s body – shortly followed by a battered brown suitcase – emerging from the river. It was pale and covered in slimy green weed, but definitely – unmistakably – alive.
‘Bugger me,’ the ferryman exclaimed, plunging the punt into the water and hauling his boat over to the floating body. Mustering all the strength he could summon, the old man grabbed McBee’s arms and hauled his bedraggled frame unceremoniously into the boat.
© Miranda Dickinson 2007
Will McBee survive? Find out soon!