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A Call from the Dark

My hair is not even shoulder length and is dead straight, so I put it in a hair band
and a couple of clips and was ready to go.
This took less than half an hour. Walking to work took longer. But at least I’d be on
time. In fact, I’d probably be there before Crass and I’d have to wait until he turned up
fifteen minutes late looking like a human hangover.
I like walking to work when the weather’s nice. Not too hot, not too windy, and
definitely no rain. If it rained, I had to wake Dad up, and getting Dad up nowadays was
not an easy job.
I walked through Jubilee Park. Only a couple of people walking their dogs and me.
The dogs were all excited, straining at their leashes or running maniacally after tennis
balls. Dogs are always so happy. Every time I see a dog I wonder why I don’t have one.
In fact we don’t have any pets at all. They’ve all gone and died, including a couple of
cats, a goldfish and a white rabbit called Snow that Mum and Dad bought me for my
ninth birthday that lasted about two weeks before it escaped and feasted on snail bait next
door. Dad found it stiff as cardboard in the neighbour’s rose garden. We buried Snow in
the backyard and even now I don’t like stepping on her grave near the lemon tree.
Somehow I think it’s bad luck.
I couldn’t handle a pet, anyway. Who’d feed it? Who’d walk it? I do enough. But
it’d be nice to have some company on a weeknight when I’m alone in the house.
Although that’s not so common anymore. Usually Dad’s home, watching TV or swearing
at the buzzing fridge that has been threatening to blow up for, like, the last two years.
I could hear kids playing cricket somewhere behind the bowls club as I made my
way towards Main Street. Saturday is the big shopping day around here and the Rising
Sun bakery was pretty full when I walked pass it. Men with the newspaper stuck under
their arms were buying coffee and pastries and women loaded loaves of bread into the
storage compartment of prams. One mum was trying to coax her son into shutting up by
offering him a gingerbread man, but it didn’t work. He went on crying and she came out
the door with an exasperated look in her eyes. I heard her say, ‘You can’t have a
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