A Story by Barry Simiana

the beginning of a piece that i've always wanted to write as a sequel to one of my favourite movies. others want me to make it something else. you tell me.







          An ice-cold wind blew off the Great Southern Ocean, crossing unhindered in it’s thousand mile journey from the Antarctic. One of the first inhabited places it encountered after crossing the icy seas was KingIsland in Bass Strait.  There were many stories about the winds that blasted up from the south, and few bore endings that were good. Shipwrecks dating back God knew when, whenever man first decided to see the Great Southern Land that counterbalanced the planet, people being washed up on uninhabited, wind blasted pieces of rock in the middle of the ocean, to die slowly of starvation, or hypothermia before they could be rescued. And other stories, too. Stories stranger than fiction that no-one really believed, but were told in hushed tones, whispered to frighten children or to put the wind up any stray tourist who came to the bottom part of the world.

          Tommy Smith fought to steer his car along the rough track that led to the airfield. The road should have been scraped and flattened a month ago, but the early cold had stuffed that idea. If it wasn’t part of his job to make sure the transponder was working properly, and to take the meteorological reading every morning, there was bugger all shot of him getting out of bed on a morning like this. Ice nearly half an inch thick on the windscreen of his old Landrover. The engine barely turned over when he twisted the key in the ignition, and he worried (not for the first time) that the battery had frozen and the old beast wouldn’t start. But start she did, almost disappointing Tommy. He’d spent twenty minutes in the freezing wind carefully scraping the ice off the glass,       before turning the heater on in the cab to take the chill off the steering wheel and the vinyl seats. A day off would have been good, and it really wouldn’t matter if some joker in sunny Darwin didn’t know they were freezing their tits off way way down south just one day in the year. Bugger them if they did care.

          The road, all rock and dust with fits of tenacious grass clinging where the wind was at it least severe, rose up along the lip of a ridge that faced almost due south. Every year, for as long as Tommy had been caretaker, he had asked for better maintenance of the track. One day he was going to slid off the face, he told them, down two hundred odd feet to the rocks and water below. And every year his request was denied.

           The wind sheered up over the rock, buffeting the Rover, pushing the vehicle to the right hand side of the road, into the trail of potholes large enough to snap the axles of a normal car. In his time as the caretaker, he’d done a few in the beast as well, but Landrover’s were notorious for that, anyway.

          Tommy eyed the clouds as he approached the highest lip of the ridge. They scurried along - no, he thought, scurrying was quick and furtive. These clouds raced - pushed along by the freshening wind. Freshening, he thought. God, it must be thirty or forty knots now. A big one was coming, he could feel it in his bones, and instantly he though about how his father used to say exactly that on days like this, just before the old bloke went out to milk the cows that produced some of the finest milk in the country. He’d shake his head.

“A big one’s comin’” he’d say, and always he was right. The old man had died on a day exactly like this, at age eighty four, milking his cows in the shed, the wind chill sapping his body of heat until he passed out and basically froze to death. Tommy had been in Melbourne then, studying to become an engineer. He came back for the funeral and never left again.

          Finally, after a buffeting that would have stunned Tyson or Fenech, Tommy edged the Rover over the edge of the ridge again, into the relative calm of the airstrip. It had been built in the fifties in a depression in the rock, probably the most protected spot on the whole island. The wind still made it down into the bowl, but now it was tamed, though still freezing. As Tommy pulled up next to the small shed that served as terminal, maintenance shed and weather station and making sure the driver side door was in the lee of the wind, he noticed the sun coming up over the far horizon. Something flashed - just once - and was gone. The sky was purple, the clouds bruised and full of rain, and in this weather that meant snow. The flash was probably some idiot trying to sail across the Strait. God only knew why people did stupid things like that. Because it’s there, they said. F**k it, leave it there and leave it alone. The planet was a lot stronger than any person, and she could take you out without getting her dander up. Why tempt fate when you were going to die sooner or later anyway? Why hasten the trip?

          The flash reminded Tommy of something. Reports of flashing lights in the night. He’d had a few calls at home. Did he know if anyone was supposed to come in last night? Was a plane coming in? At least three people had called to say they had heard something, it could have been an engine. No chance, he had told everyone. Only a total brain-dead fuckwit would be up in weather like this, and if someone were stupid enough to try it, they deserved to get plastered across the rock.

          Tommy took a deep breath and made himself ready to exit the car. He told himself that he wasn’t going to feel the cold for the few minutes he would be in it. He’d seen on TV some martial arts guys who could do that with their minds, convince themselves that they couldn’t feel heat or cold, but deep in the back of his mind, his subconscious laughed and said to him that of course he was going to feel it and it was going to hurt. Counting to three, he sucked in a last warm lungful of air and opened the door, slipping out into the cold air and slamming it shut again to hold in any warmth he could. If he’d remembered to fill the fuel tanks he would have left the engine running for the twenty minutes or so he’d be there, but he hadn’t remembered. Damn. He ran the twenty paces to the door, the wind shifting around, the icy chill hitting him like a wall, sapping the heat from his body through the five layers of clothes he wore. His breath turned to mist and ice in front of his face as he struggled with the lock, the vapour from his nose and mouth forming droplets in his moustache. At least he had remembered to coat the thing with an antifreeze spray. If the lock had iced up he’d die before he could defrost it. The key slipped in, the tumblers turned and the lock came free. As he opened the door, Tommy wondered why the hell anyone would want to go to Antarctica for twelve months. They could just come here and experience pretty much the same environment.

          A gust of wind pushed the door open, taking the ice covered knob from Tommy’s gloved hand. It slammed into the stone wall, letting the wind burst into the shed. Tommy fought to close the door against the onslaught, pushing as though there were demons on the other side intent on taking his soul to a freezing hell, finally getting it closed. He noticed small chips of ice on the floor. Frozen rain. Not hail, but as bad, if not worse. The Rover would be covered in ice again in a few minutes. Should he go and start the engine, risk his fuel supply while he did the barest minimum needed to say his duty had been done? Nah, f**k it. He was in now. Better to do the job properly now and get out. If the beast froze, then she froze. It was his fault.

          He touched the light switch and heard the generator start up. The landing lights and the beacon were all on main power supplied by underwater lines from the mainland and Tasmania, but the sheds lights and power were all supplied by a diesel generator buried underground. A moment later, the lights came on, growing in brightness as the sodium arcs warmed up. Tommy checked the indoor thermometer. Three degrees inside. The outdoor showed minus two, with a thirty degree wind chill factor. Bugger it, he thought, and hit the switch that would divert warm air from around the generators manifolds up into the shed’s interior. It was a crude heating system, but it worked. The Authority wasn’t springing for a heating system because technically the station was unmanned. If no-one was there, why heat the place. Of course, the monkey who made that decision was sitting somewhere in a nicely air conditioned office, wasn’t he, with a secretary to make him a nice cup of tea. Bloody politicians.

          Tommy made his way into what was loosely termed the control room. The windows overlooking the field were fogged up, but slowly clearing as the warm air circulated. There was a fax on the machine, come in over night. Tommy picked it up and was amazed to find that there was a storm predicted, with gale force winds all long the southern and western seaboards. Fair bloody dinkum? Thank God there were boffins around to tell him these things. He crumpled the paper into a ball and tossed it into the wastepaper bin, noticing that it needed to be emptied again. Bloody Gavin, he thought, Tommy’s erstwhile partner in crime, who came in with his fuel truck when there was a plane in and came along to check the generators tanks every once in a while. Gavin was always doodling while he waited for the tanks to fill. He never took the doodles home to show his wife, he just dumped them in the small bin next to the desk and left.

          Tommy took his readings and filled out the form he had at hand. Wind speed and direction, temperature, cloud mass and type, visibility, and his recommendations for the day. His recommendations? Jesus, that was easy. Stay home. How hard was that to figure out? He faxed the form to the Bureau

then filed it with the rest for the month. He did a diagnostic on the transponder, and as it did every other day of the bloody year, the response came back all clear. Terrific. He could have done all this at home.

          The windows were nearly clear now, and in the growing light Tommy could see out across the field. The dark clouds scudded across the sky, and a sleeting mist fell. But there was something in the shadows, at the furthest end of the strip, near where the wind would be fiercest, punching over the protective edge of the bowl. He reached for the binoculars that perpetually lived on the desk, (used more to spot the humpbacks on their migration north and back than for anything else) and focussed on the gloom. The light outside grew brighter, the shadows shrinking back, and through the misty rain Tommy saw a plane. A bloody plane. Jesus Christ, some fool had come in through the night. But where was the idiot? There was no way for him to get in here, and unless he had someone waiting for him, he’d have to be somewhere on the strip. Probably asleep in the plane. Maybe even froze to death. Just bloody great.

          Tommy hated idiots. He did not suffer fools gladly, and refused to start trying any time soon. Normally a patient person despite that failing, stupidity quickly made him angry. He was going to have to go out now, into the cold and the wind, rouse this moron, get his details, and probably have to give him a lift down to town. S**t! He fumed for a moment, more to make himself angrier so that he wouldn’t notice the cold, then made ready to front the pilot. He cursed to himself as he strode back down the corridor to the door. As soon as he opened it, the wind punched in, knocking him back. He struggled outside, aware that this was worse than he’d ever seen it in fifteen years. The bowl usually protected the airstrip, but today it was like being up on the high ridge with no protection at all.

          He pulled the door shut, remembering before he did to make sure he had his keys in his pocket. The wind pulled at his clothes, tugging at his pants and jacket as though trying to expose him. Tommy pushed back and stumbled toward the plane, three or four steps forward, and one or two back. Fifteen minutes to make a journey that should have taken three. At least the wind wasn’t as strong here. The pilot had shown some sense to park here after all. The wind swirled around and over the plane, rocking it, but that was all. Good thing, too. Without ropes to tie the plane down, it would have been shoved about the field and probably smashed to pieces. God does love fools and small children it seemed, and this bloke was certainly in the first category.

          Tommy reached up and bashed on the cabin door, noticing the plane was a Cessna single prop with the overhead wing. The plane looked fine on the outside, a few bumps, but that came with the territory. He bashed again, in case Captain Wonderful was asleep and didn’t hear him. Again, no answer. The b*****d must have had someone meet him. There should have been a flight plan filed, Tommy thought to himself as he moved along to check the planes registration number. He should have been notified if some dickhead was coming in.

          He made note of the planes registration, and something dawned in his mind. He knew this plane, not personally, but he’d seen it before. But where?

          The plane rocked on its gear, a gust of wind coming up under the wing. It should be safe as long as the wind didn’t swing to the north, and that seemed highly unlikely, Tommy thought. And if it did, then bad luck to the dope who owned it. It wasn’t his job to take care of other people’s planes, especially when they weren't smart enough to do it themselves. Bugger the plane. For good measure, he gave the cabin door another bash, in case the owner was a really deep sleeper, and really for the slim satisfaction that came from bashing the blokes ship. No answer. Stuff them then, let him freeze.

          Tommy made his way back to the shed, this time pushed along by the very wind that had fought him before. If he jumped, he thought, he could probably fly. Back at the door what seemed a record time compared to the trip out, he dug his keys out and opened the lock, fighting to keep the door closed as much as possible, and keep out the wind. He slipped in and shoved the door shut. He could feel the wind push at the closed door like an animal furious that it’s prey had escaped, at the same time feeling the relative warmth that was now inside. Shaking his head, he went back to the control room.

          The first place he checked was the fax machine, but there was no piece of paper there. On the floor either. Next he checked the bin, in case there had been two sheets of the thin fax paper stuck together when he’d taken the weather report off earlier. No luck there. Just in case, Tommy emptied the bin to check Gavin’s doodle papers, in case he’d used the flight notice as a drawing board and forgot to make an entry in the log book. Next Tommy checked the logbook. Still no notice.

          Tommy sat in the chair and hunted for a `request to trace’ form. Someone had to be notified about an unknown plane appearing out of nowhere, with no record of the flight. Drug dealers weren’t common down here, but they had come in before, usually by boat. The last thing he needed was for the b******s to decide to fly their s**t in. Tommy found the forms and started to fill them out, recording the time he had arrived, and making a note of the calls he had received through the night about the lights and supposed engine noise. He then took the logbook from where it was leaning against the wall behind the desk lamp to make an entry. Behind it, stuck to the wall was a photograph. Tommy stared at it. Something formed in his mind. He reached across and pulled the picture from the wall, the tape yellowed with age, it’s glue gone to dust. The plastic remnants fell off onto the desk. The picture had been there since before Tommy had taken the job over from old Bill Watson, the previous caretaker. It showed a young man, in some sort of uniform. The paper unfolded and Tommy found that it was part of a newspaper page dated October 1978. The picture was of Frederick Valentich, a young pilot who had disappeared in 1978 flying out of Moorabbin. As Tommy read the old clipping, he remembered hearing about the case, how the last thing that had been heard from the pilot was that he saw something in the sky, and that it was not an aeroplane. Then there had been silence. No wreckage had been found, despite Navy ships searching for a week. Valentich had just vanished.

          Tommy stared at the paper in his hand, reading it again. He checked the planes reported registration number, then used the binoculars to check the numbers on the plane at the far end of the field. A perfect match. He checked again, worried about an optical illusion or self hypnosis or something. The numbers and letters didn’t change. Either someone had a sick sense of humour, or one of the biggest mysteries in Australian aviation had just got weirder. Tommy put the glasses down onto the bench and looked at the plane outside, then back to the photo of the young man. He would have to be forty, or more by now. He looked back out to the plane.

          “ Jesus.”




          At last the weather cleared. Maybe not entirely, but it was a damn sight better than at daybreak. There were still puddles of water with bits of ice floating in them. The puddles wouldn’t last much longer but they were there. The clouds were still about. Out on the horizon, bruised and dark, being shoved around by the high altitude winds. There were still a few gusts down closer to sea level that threatened to pull a man off the rocks and into a very cold sea, but after eighteen years hopping the rocks on the island, Charlie Barras had learned to read the winds across the water as well as any sailor.        

          Charlie scrounged the rocks, hunting for relics or things that could be turned into relics and sold to tourists. It was a relatively honest living, if you dared sell anything to your relatives. Tourists needed to remember the golden rule: Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware. Charlie wasn’t above dredging up a piece of timber from his private stash in an old snapper trap about three miles out and two hundred foot deep, etching it up with a name that sounded vaguely ship-like and a hundred years old. Visitors from the big island usually came to visit after reading books on the shipwreck coast. Romantic visions filled their heads and those same visions usually emptied at least part of their wallets into Charlie’s coffee tin safe deposit box.

          Of course Charlie found real relics. All manner of things were washed up onto the island. Especially after a big blow from the south like last night. God the wind. Charlie had lost one sheet of tin from his roof, finding it in Benny Milton’s yard. Buried in Benny’s greenhouse, actually. Benny, the local copper, grew roses. The eight foot hole in the plastic side was not going to do the flowers any good at all. Thankfully, from Charlie’s point of view anyway, Benny was not in attendance. Charlie saw him bolt off just after daybreak in the company car - a nearly new Landcruiser that was wasted on Police business - heading up toward the hill and the airstrip. Maurie Biggen and Sheila Barrett were talking - sometimes in Charlie’s direction - saying that a plane had come in during the night. Speculation between the two talkers was rife, with everything from drug smugglers to missing pilots listed as being found in the plane.

          Charlie left when space aliens became involved. He wasn’t that imaginative. He’d actually lost interest in the conversation right about when the speculation began, because he really didn’t care. He’d only hung around because Maurie kept nodding in his general direction, and Charlie felt that if people were making some sort of effort to include him then he should appear interested. Most of the time the locals sort of ignored Charlie. Some locals still referred to him as ‘that new boy’ or ‘the hippy fella that collects s**t’ and refused to address him directly. He didn’t take it personally. The main reason he was here on the rock was because he didn’t want to be bothered by anyone. He spoke when spoken to, added when asked to and defended himself when drunken dicks accused him of ripping off tourists. That these accusations came from idiots who sold sour milk to tourists at seriously exhorbitant prices meant little to Charlie. Anyone idiot could yank on a cows tits and let the milk go off and call it ‘boutique’. It took skill and research and a steady hand to make some of the masterpieces that crossed Charlie’s threshhold.

          He stopped on a rock, more or less his favourite place on the island and s   at down, pulling his backpack off as he did. Lunch time, more or less    he thought. A wave crested forty yards off shore, over the bombora called Dead Seal Rock. It rolled in toward Charlie, grey/green water mixed with spume. A small school of pilchards caught against the light in the thinnest section of the wave reflected blues and reds and were gone as the wave sank into the channel between the bombora and the island. They were lunch for the bigger fish that cruised the gutters and reefs around the island.

          He found a comfortable position in a hip hole that nature seemed to have worn into the rock especially for him and pulled out a salami sandwich that he’d made earlier in the day. Nothing beats a good salami. Snouts and entrails his brother cried every time he’d made one at home, or during the time he’d shared his brothers hearth. Steven was a more cautious person, not given to wandering the world and stinging tourists. Steven had made himself a comfortable living in the bicycle industry, opening five around Melbourne. He’d offered one to Charlie, before the troubles. A job in the BI-CYCLE industry. He remembered the way Steve’s voice used to jump a little at the second sylable. Like someone had goosed him just as he started speaking, a little quiver in the CYCLE part that made the man seem a little ... effeminate, maybe? He wasn’t. No, of course he wasn’t. Not old Steve. He’d fathered five kids, the last on his fiftieth birthday.

          Charlie couldn’t stop the daydreaming. The day was too good. He pulled a slowly warming bottle of Cascade out of the backpack ad twisted off the lid. The beer foamed and spilled over his hands, but Charlie didn’t mind. The smell of beer on him kept some of the nosier neighbours away. Made the customers think they were shafting an old drunk when they paid ridiculous prices for his stuff. Poor old Stevo, he thought. Stuck with five whinging kids and a mad wife who’s only joy was spending the money Steven brought home on s**t like make-up and perfume and come-f**k-me boots that made the fat on her calves sqidge out the top. Charlie shuddered. God, why? he thought. Steve hadn’t been too bad at pulling the chicks when they were younger. Scored more than one stray for his baby brother, too. Why had he married Ghidra the One Headed Monster. Charlie secretly suspected it was a drunken night out and one tequila too many that had done him in.      

          The bottle was empty. Charlie set it back in the pack and pulled out his reserve. A few more bites and the plastic wrap from the sandwich joined the dead soldier. He should have packed two. Anyway, poor ol’ Stevie. Stuck with dragon lady while Charlie the good for nothing lout spent his days in paradise, a slightly chillier version than the popular one but paradise none the less. And those mongrel children. S**t, Billie would have to be nearly eighteen by now. How much had Steve spent on drug rehabilitation and bail on that girl. Her kid must be about two now. Still she wasn’t a bad sort, when you look past the seedy side of the girl. It hadn’t been his fault, back then. He didn’t ask his niece to drop her strides and roll all over her uncle. She’d come to him. For God’s sake, he’d even yelled out stop a couple of times. Or was that Don’t stop? He couldn’t remember. The beginning of the troubles. 

          How Steve found out was anyone’s guess. Charlie certainly didn’t say a word. Billie might have shot her mouth off though. The last time they missed being caught by seconds. Jesus. Imagine the troubles if he’s have come home sooner.   

          A creaking noise woke Charlie up. Timber on timber, maybe muffled by hessian. The creaking got louder. Around the point came Tony Walker’s dory, rowed against the wind and swell by Tony himself. Tony was a big lad, six foot six tall and nearly as wide across the shoulders. Saved Charlie’s life once, back when Charlie had first come to the island. Probably the only person Charlie actually counted as a friend, though if Tony felt the same way he’d never really showed it. At least he acknowledged Charlie’s existence. Tony rowed once around the island every day, rain hail or shine, two inch ripple of eight foot surf. Not much kept him off the water. He checked his traps as he went, pulling in the catch and separating the keepers from the bait and throwbacks before pulling onto the next one. Charlie raised his hand in a wave, but was ignored. Tony didn’t see anything when he rowed. He zoned out into his own personal world where he competed with the sea.

          Charlie finished his second and last ale. The bottle joined the other in the pack. He didn’t litter. The ocean was his workplace and he like a tidy office. He got to his feet and swung the pack around onto his shoulders, hopping off to the west. Three more hours and his favourite holes would have been searched. Hopefully something was up ahead, because, the pickings were still thin. He clambered over a rock he called the Elephant. It had another name, given by some beaurocrat but the elephant seemed to fit better. It was only from one angle, and a pretty treacherous one at that, that you could see it, but there was a resemblance. It looked just like Steve’s wife in a too tight swimsuit.

          Charlie slid down the other side. There was a natural depression in the rocks that seemed to catch the tide and bring in all the best the sea had to offer. Charlie had found plates and china, still in on piece amongst the seaweed. Several pieces of silverware, coins, timber, rigging. It was his bread and butter spot. It never let him down. And before he got to it he knew that his secret spot had served him well. Sailcloth, yards of it. Dirty, torn and in places ragged, covered with weed and mud but so-so saleable. He scrambled down the rocks, flicking off the backpack as he went down to the edge. The cloth was just out of reach, maybe six or so inches, but to reach it Charlie was going to have to go swimming. Damn. Cold arse or money in the tin. A tough choice, but money won out.

          Carefully, now that he was at the tidal zone where oyster shell waited to shred flesh, Charlie slipped into the water. It wasn’t too deep, just below the crutch of his pants, but the water was seeping up into the material and sending signals where he didn’t want them to go. The water was lucky to be ten degrees. His legs started to hurt. He stepped closer toward the cloth, feeling with his toes as he went. He didn’t want to slip and drop whole into the water. F**k that. He reached out. A strip of cloth touched his fingers, pushed in by the ebb tide. Charlie carefully pulled at it, bringing more closer. It felt heavy, but a dozen or so metres of wet cloth probably would feel heavy.  He got to where he could grab handfulls and pulled harder, stopping whenever he felt or heard the material start to rip.

          Charlie let his view of the ocean slip. A set of waves came in over the bombora, each a little larger than the last. Too late he heard the water coming in. Weeds, pushed along by the growing swell wrapped around his legs. Tenuous at best, his purchase o the rock gave way and he was knocked from his feet into the water. He landed heavily on the rock, pain flaring in the small of his back. That was all too quickly pushed aside by the shock of the cold water seeping into his wetsuit. Charlie let go of the cloth and tried to drag himself back on the rock. His fingers were cut to pieces by bits of oyster shell. He felt them sting, then start to numb. 

          Charlie started to panic. The cold, the pain in his hands and the returning pain in his back, the drag of the weeds on his legs. Charlie’s mind started to fizz. A new set of waves rolled over him, pushing him down. He thrashed as best as he could, trying to free himself. The surface of the water was inches away, but it might have been miles, and to his horror, Charlie saw the cloth being pushed over his head by the wave action. Fear totally filled his mind. His heart was thumping in his chest and he feared that the noise might attract sharks. He struggled and kicked, strained and pushed. The air in his lungs expanded as it was converted to carbon dioxide and he felt as though his chest would burst. F**k it, I’m dying, he thought.   

          Black spots started to appear in his vision. Foul air was burning in his throat. Charlie felt light. He looked down and saw that the weed had unwrapped itself from his legs. That’s nice, he thought. Don’t like weed. Bubbles wiggled up through the water past his nose, some getting caught in his hair before continuing on to the surface. Charlie laughed. Cold water flooded his throat. He coughed, sucking in more. The pain in his chest doubled, then was gone.   

          Charlie didn’t see the hand that came down from above, flail around until it felt his collar, take hold and pull. Another hand joined the first and dragged Charlie from the water, up and over the transom of the wooden dory. Tony Walker heaved Charlie’s limp body over the side and dropped him on the floor of the boat. He let his oars drop in the rowlocks, rolled Charlie onto his front then picked him up, wrapping his arms around Charlie’s chest. He squeezed his arms together in a bearhug, relaxed then squeezed again. Charlie’s body responded and he sucked back, the coughed up a flood of water. Tony squeezed again, forcing Charlie to suck air in and spew water out. When he was sure that Charlie was breathing more or less normally, he dropped him on the floor again and picked up the oars. He bent his back and heaved up, pulling the four meter oars through the water, using the momentum of the waves to get the boat moving faster. Occasionally he cast an eye over Charlie, making sure that he was still breathing. It sounded like he was in pain. Tony didn’t speak. He kept his back bent and worked his shoulders, pulling at the oars, leaning back into the pull for the maximum stroke.        

          Charlie rolled over. His eyes were a little glazed but he could focus on the man who had pulled him from a lifetime with Davy Jones. He tried to speak but the words turned to cotton-wool in his mouth. Tony glared at him and Charlie decided to give up trying to speak and concentrate on living. His whole body ached. He coughed again and another small gush of water came dribbling through his lips.      

          “ Spew in me boat and I’ll chuck you back in.”

          It wasn’t a threat. Charlie knew Tony was a man of few words, but the one’s that were said he knew a man should listen to. Tony said you were going to swim, you swam. His chest heaved again, his stomach along with it and his lovely salami sandwich came rumbling up. Despite feeling as week as a kitten, Charlie lifted himself up and draped himself over the side of the boat. A few bits sprayed onto the boat and Charlie washed them away before Tony could see.         

          “ Sit down, you stupid twat. It’s hard enough without you dancin’ about.”          Tony’s voice was little more than a growl but it made Charlie take heed of the words.         

          Forty minutes later and Charlie felt the bottom of the boat touch sand. He lifted himself up and dropped over the side into three inches of water. He splashed around while Tony got out, trying to stand but not quite being able to convince his legs it would be a good idea. Tony grabbed him by the shirt collar again and hoisted him to his feet, dangling him an inch off the ground before setting him down.         

          “ Will you please f*****g grow up. This isn’t the time for paddling around in the kiddie pool. I want to see what’s in the sheet you were playing with.”

          Charlie’s eyes popped open.       

          “ Wha??” was all he could manage.       

          Tony ignored him and went to the rear of the boat.      

          “ Snagged a bit of it while you were flounderin’ about. Tied it to the gunnel line and dragged it. A few bits dropped off but there’s something heavy in the middle of the b***h. Hard to pull her along with your added bulk.”

          Charlie didn’t bother to point out that clothes and all, wringing wet he’d be lucky to make half Tony’s weight. On unsteady legs he followed Tony around and watched as the big man dragged the cloth in. The last twenty metres were hard as Tony dragged the heaviest part up onto the sand. From his belt he pulled a knife and jabbed at the material, slashing through the layers.     

          “ If this is worth anything we’re partners.”         

          Charlie watched as the material split. Tony folded the knife and took hold of the material on either side of the tear. His arms and shoulders stiffened and he took the strain then ripped the rolled up material open. A tangle of bones scattered on the sand in front of them. Charlie screamed as a skull landed between his feet. Tony looked down at the collection.

          “ Good thing I didn’t bring the dog.”


© 2008 Barry Simiana

Author's Note

Barry Simiana
critique away

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Featured Review

I love the way you develope a story. You give all the needed details so the reader understands who the character is, and why we should care. In this case as the main character lives his horridly mundane life, a mysterious twist is brought in at the end. You have me wanting more. Great job cousin! I love how you write - and this is another great one.
So, what happens next?????!!!!!

Posted 15 Years Ago

6 of 6 people found this review constructive.


Awesome loved it very chilling and inspiring. Keep writing stuff like that.

Posted 9 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Barry Simiana

9 Years Ago

Thank you and welcome.
You did really well with the character development in this story. I enjoyed the narration, and the quick flow of the story. This piece is long, but I wasn't tempted to start skimming over parts of it.

The end was nice too. I certainly didn't see it coming.

What movie was this inspired by?

Posted 15 Years Ago

2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Very good Barry! Terrific as always!

Do you want to do a Blade Runner sequel? LOL

Posted 15 Years Ago

3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

"Try to guess which movie i'd love to write the sequel to."- ummm , Napoleon Dynamite ? loved the story mate , your good , cheers

Posted 15 Years Ago

5 of 5 people found this review constructive.

I love the way you develope a story. You give all the needed details so the reader understands who the character is, and why we should care. In this case as the main character lives his horridly mundane life, a mysterious twist is brought in at the end. You have me wanting more. Great job cousin! I love how you write - and this is another great one.
So, what happens next?????!!!!!

Posted 15 Years Ago

6 of 6 people found this review constructive.

Awesome, great descriptions. Wonderful atmosphere and character created while building a plot that captivates and enthrals.
Bloody Brilliant (again!)

Posted 15 Years Ago

5 of 5 people found this review constructive.

Good tale, it pulled at me with an interesting character and a well discribed area. Then, toss in the unknown and mystery, and a hint of sci-fi. I loved it, great work.

Posted 15 Years Ago

6 of 6 people found this review constructive.

I love a great story filled with mystery and intrigue these are the best kind of stories to tell besides children's stories enjoyed this one a great deal.

Posted 16 Years Ago

7 of 7 people found this review constructive.

Love a story that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!

Posted 16 Years Ago

6 of 6 people found this review constructive.

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9 Reviews
Added on February 8, 2008


Barry Simiana
Barry Simiana

South Grafton NSW AUSTRALIA, Non US or Canadian State/Province, Australia

Writer, creator. First published in Next Stop Hollywood: Short Stories Bound for the Screen, 2007 with the short story "Gone to Mum's." Still chasing that one around to get a movie made. 2011 saw the .. more..


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