Friday 17th February
6. 05am – A villa in Vincentia, NSW
“It’s a lovely sunrise, let’s sail into it.”
“You can’t sail into the sunrise, silly.”
“I’m going to try, please come with me. I don’t want
to leave you behind.”
“You’re being silly, come back…come back damn it!”
Ryan grabbed Rosemary’s hand and pulled her back
forcefully trying to stop her from walking into the sunrise. When she turned, he
realised with a jolt that she had turned into a man who looked very much like
her. Then he heard Rosemary’s voice though he could not see her.
“Ryan, this is my brother.”
“But you don’t have a brother.”
“I did once, long before you came along.”
Ryan rolled over to the other side of the bed so
quickly that he almost fell. He balanced himself by placing his hands firmly on
the carpeted floor and was instantly awake. He wasn’t ready to get up yet so
deliberately closed his eyes again and the funny dream returned.
“That’s a funny looking sunrise, look at the sky,”
said a familiar voice sounding very close.
“This town’s got a really bad pollution problem. I’ve
never seen the sky that colour and look at that weird looking orange ball in the
middle of it,” replied another familiar man’s voice.
“That’s not the sunrise, man. I’ve seen it before,
there must be bushfires somewhere close by.”
“Wake up sleepy head, remember what we said about
getting an early start back home.”
“Stop shaking me!” said Ryan; he sat up realising the
last conversation had not been part of his dream.
“Ryan, look out there! I think we’ve got bushfires
close by,” said Christian.
“Turn on the television or radio,” suggested Ryan
sleepily and without much interest.
“We’ve lost electricity overnight,” said Alan.
“I don’t suppose it occurred to either one of you to
ring up and find out what’s going on in the world,” snapped Ryan. He was not a
morning person at the best of times and he hated to be woken up suddenly. Though
he was speaking to Alan and Christian, his thoughts were on the earlier part of
his dream. He felt uneasy about Rosemary. He knew that her insistence on sailing
into the sunrise was not to be taken literally but wondered if she had tried to
do something silly in his absence. The fact that she had suddenly turned into a
man, he interpreted as possibly taking on responsibilities that he would
normally do when he was home. Suddenly he was very anxious to get home.
“Alan, please pass me my mobile phone. I want to let
Rosemary know I’ll be home for brunch.”
Alan took the mobile out of the charger where it had
been all night and handed it to Ryan.
“Damn it I’ve got no battery,” said Ryan.
“The electricity must have gone off in the middle of
the night. Here, use my phone, we’ll charge yours in the car.” Alan handed over
“Come on Christian; let’s give the man some privacy.”
As they closed the door behind them Christian said,
“Alan, I wasn’t going to eavesdrop on Ryan’s conversation with his wife.”
“I know that, you idiot. I thought it would be better
to get you out of the firing line.”
“Why, what’s going to happen?”
“Wait till he finds out he has to take a cold shower
and miss out on his morning coffee.”
“I think I can do something about coffee. There is a
gas stove out on the balcony. I’m sure I saw some gas cylinders out there too.”
“It’s a good thing we’re leaving today. As much as I
love bonding with nature I can only do it when I have all the modern comforts.”
Christian had the gas stove working a few minutes
later. They took coffee and sugar out to the balcony and after a one-minute
consultation decided they would risk the milk that had been sitting in the
fridge all night. They also agreed out of courtesy to let Ryan have the first
cup of coffee…just in case.
A few minutes later they heard a door slam followed
by a few choice expletives. They looked at each and said in unison,
“He’s found out about the cold water!”
Radio station news update on the
South Coast of NSW
The bush fires which started at three o’clock this
morning continue to spread around the South Coast of New South Wales. Eighty
percent of the residents of Huskisson have been evacuated and over two hundred
people are taking refuge in the local R.S.L. There is no electricity, the
Automatic Teller Machines are down and for those who have the cash to pay there
is a fuel shortage. The forecast is for further hot and dry winds and no rain is
predicted for another three days. Back burning has begun. Five hundred fire
fighters, including volunteers, are at the moment trying to contain the crisis.
The roads to and from Huskisson, Jervis Bay and Vincentia are closed…
Huskisson Police Station
The harassed looking constable ran from one telephone
to another trying to reassure the callers that everything was under control. He
had answered eleven calls since his shift started at five a.m. all claiming to
have seen teenage boys around their properties acting suspiciously. The callers
were sure they were arsonists and one and all insisted the police send someone
out immediately. Constable Tate could not ignore the calls as two of them so far
had turned out to be genuine. The firebugs were almost as deadly as the dry
winds. Two seventeen-year-old boys were being questioned at that moment. Tate
grabbed the telephone that was nearest to him and rolled his eyes as the caller
started with the inevitable, “I want to report something suspicious…”
He sighed, “Yes madam, can I have your name please?”
“Don’t worry about my name. Just listen to what I
have to say.”
“Listen to me. I saw someone tampering with a car
last night, a few minutes later a woman got into the car and drove away. I think
she may have met with an accident. Can you please look into it?”
“What exactly do you want me to look into?”
“Have you had any reports of a dead woman in a car?”
“What sort of a car?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did the woman look like?”
“I don’t know exactly, but she had very short hair,
at first I thought it was a man.”
“What else can you tell me?”
“Nothing, just check it out. If you hear of the
accidental death of a young woman with very short hair, make sure you report it
to your superiors as homicide. Someone tampered with her car.”
“Can you give me a description of the person that was
The line went dead. Constable Tate shook his head in
disgust. As if everything wasn’t bad enough. He thought it must be the heat; it
seemed to bring out all the psychos.