Reminder: Free short story – see below “A Pearl for Your Enjoyment”
I do hope your Christmas and New Year Celebrations were memorable – in a good way.
Are you one of those who delve right into those New Year Resolutions?
May it be a safe and Happy 2022 for you and yours.
Thank you to all those out there who have purchased my book, “Rhylla’s Secret”, and I do hope you are enjoying the read.
Current Weather and Tides
My research for novel five goes on – I am finding it all very interesting.
This book will complete a trilogy with Shadow of the Northern Orchid and Shadows on the Goldfield Track and is to be set in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula.
Keep safe, Keep smiling, Keep reading, Keep writing.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
This story evolved from a writing prompt provided by our mentor:
“Show the daily life through the eyes of one of my characters.”
The following is an excerpt from “Rhylla’s Secret”
A pair of underpants riddled with cobbler-peg prickles would not have caused Trevor as much irritation as the sight of the hawker’s wagon set up only a stone’s throw from his own campsite. The sun hung low on the horizon. A blanket of chilled air draped around Trevor’s and Eddie’s shoulders. Following close at their heels, plodded the black packhorse they called Inkpot loaded with supplies collected while in Longreach. Trevor released and reclasped his cramped fingers on the lead rein.
Eddie did not see the frown or hear the soft curse from his friend, but he knew from experience Trevor’s dislike of a tinker camped so close to the herd. They were both burdened by nightmares of a cattle stampede in the Northern Territory – cattle already skittish at the time as they travelled across an area of drummy ground on the Murranji Track. A stampede triggered by the sound of a drink-crazed hawker clanging pans to chase off the demons of his imagination in the middle of the night. Two good ringers were wounded that night – never to work again.
With a short nod of the head and a humourless smile, Trevor returned the greetings of the men at the camp. He passed the saddlebags to the cook.
“Don’t let these beggars pull those papers apart until I finish the stock reports.” He passed Inkpot’s lead rein over to Sunshine. His hand slipped inside his jacket and dragged out several folded newspaper pages. He called Rob over. “Here’s the business reports and share prices. Dad said they were the first thing you looked at when reading the papers. No good me leaving them in the newspaper for this lot. They’d wipe their bums on them before you could blink an eye.” Without further ado, Trevor swung his mount around and cantered over to talk to the new arrivals at the tinker’s camp.
A grey-haired, whiskered man who appeared as round as he was tall, greeted Trevor in a rich Irish accent.
Behind the man, a covered wagon stood with both side awnings up and open. Within the limits of their hobbles, two draught-horses grazed nearby. In the flickering light of a hurricane lantern hanging on a nail at the back corner, a large swag roll peeped out from under the wagon. Nearby a tall, slim woman, dressed in black from the tip of her head to the taped-up shoes on her feet attended a small fire. Her long fingers sprinkled a small handful of tea leaves into the water bubbling in a billycan. She picked up a bent spoon and tapped it three times on the side of the metal can before removing her tea brew to the edge of the fireplace.
“Will you sit? Can we offer you a cup of tea?” Once more the Irishman spoke, his voice gravelled with acres of dust.
As he dismounted, Trevor bit down on his impatience. “Trevor Jackson.” He reached out his right hand. Trevor flinched at the strength in the hand he shook.
“Shamus O’Leary at your service, Sire.” A stubby finger flicked towards his female companion. “My wife.”
Trevor nodded in her direction but received nothing but a black-eyed stare in return.
“Och, don’t mind her. She saves all her speeches for me.”
The men squatted on their haunches near the fireplace drinking their tea from two chipped pannikins. The verbose Shamus O’Leary poured out what seemed a life history to Trevor who regretted having asked the man where he’d come from. In fact, he began to regret having made the effort to be polite. The dregs of the tea leaves dried in the bottom of his pannikin and he had not had an opportunity to say what he had come here to say.