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The Rock-itt : January 2014
I A Model A Serialised Novel by Charlotte Chancey PART 6 The week that followed my friend’s migration to the Byron Bay Rock Festival seemed to fly contradicting my original aspirations that it would be a slow boat to China. I had my head down and backside up as I swatted the books going over and over again what I had been taught over those past years in high school which were now rapidly coming to an end. Harry and Rachel sent text messages constantly informing me of what was going on up at the coast, but even though I appreciated them very much I knew that in a few days they would be back home again, so everything was okay, but if I blew the HSC that would be a catastrophe and I wasn’t about to let that that happen. I kept a constant vigil checking out young Harry sparrow whenever time allowed and could see small feathers beginning to appear on his tiny body. Mr and Mrs Sparrow were really good parents and fussed over their offspring just as human parents would do to theirs. Friday arrived and with exams about to begin on the following Monday, I decided not to completely engross myself in text books, rather than just brush over some things which were my weaker subjects. However, all in all I had never been as ready for an exam as I was at this moment. I sat out on the swing bench on the porch and contemplated seeing that little blue van turn into our street with speakers blaring and Harry and Rach leaning out the windows waving to me as they drove up to the front of the house. Just one more sleep and they would be here and now I was beginning to realise just how good it was to have so many great friends, and how much I really did miss them even though I had the HSC to keep me occupied for that week of their absence. Early in the afternoon I had received an SMS that they were packing up and heading off and would make it home by about 6am Saturday morning. I was so excited as my thoughts began playing out little scenes of me in Harry’s arms as well as talking to Rach across the way from our bedroom windows, laughing and joking as she told me all about what happened up at Byron Bay. I must have drifted off and found myself coming out of my nap just as a pair of headlights illuminated our street as a car came up to the front of Rachel’s house and stopped. I had to rub my eyes and focus to see who it was and when I could see more clearly I could make out a police car. Two uniformed police, one male and the other female alighted and slammed the doors. They walked up the path of Rachel’s front yard and rang the doorbell. I could hear the door open and Mr Smith’s voice. Without realising it I had got off the seat and walked across the lawn and around the side of the house and toward the Smith’s front door. I stopped in my tracks at the sight that confronted me. Mr Smith was holding Mrs Smith in his arms and they were both weeping loudly. The police officers turned toward me and I could see their eyes were also moist and that they also appeared distressed. The female officer held out her hand to me as I got closer and took it, and it was at that precise moment that I realised that I would never see my beautiful friend Rachel again. Something had gone terribly wrong on the trip home from Byron Bay and I sensed my world was about to change forever. ‘W ere you a friend of Rachel Smith’s dear?’ Although the female officer’s voice was soft and sympathetic I didn’t want to hear what she was about to tell me. ‘Of course I am, she is my best friend. She’s okay isn’t she? ...W ell isn’t she?’ The officer led me away from the Smith’s front door and over to the bench swing on my porch. We sat and she turned me toward her. Her face seemed to say it all even before she began to speak. She took my hands in hers and began telling me about the death of my friends, how the little blue van had been crushed under the front of a semi-trailer and how my four beautiful people were killed instantly and would not have felt any pain at all. It’s a funny thing you know, when something of this magnitude hits you, your senses seem to go into slow motion and everything seems surreal. Although I could hear the officer’s voice, somewhere outside my mind, it was as though I had closed the door and had begun to shut the outside world down. How would I deal with this situation so as I could survive and go on living? Should I go on living? Or did I want to go on living? After that night of horror which I began to push further and further into the distant extremities of my mind, Dana Winters changed forever. It was as if the happy young teenager who lived within me had moved on, leaving the girl I was to become empty and fragile. I was told by my school that I could do the HSC at any time I wanted to because of the extenuating circumstances. Yes, I would have to postpone that. On the Monday morning I went to my classroom and emptied my desk before anyone arrived. Also I wanted to say good-bye to Mr and Mrs Sparrow and baby Harry, but when I opened the window the sparrow family weren’t there. I could hear them below chattering away and looking down saw them. Little Harry had fallen from the nest and lay dead on the bitumen. Certainly God could not be this cruel to me. For god’s sake, what had I done to deserve this? I ran down and out into the playground and over to the bottom of the tree. The ants had already begun to crawl over the tiny bird’s body and I picked it up and brushed them off. I went to the bottom of the playground where there was a garden and as I lay little Harry on the soil, Mr and Mrs Sparrow flew onto the fence and began watching as I cleared a small area and with my hands began to dig a grave which I eventually lined with soft dry brown leaves. Laying the tiny body in the grave I said a prayer, watched all the while by Mr and Mrs Sparrow. Little Harry looked so tiny and alone. I took the silver ring from my finger and lifted Harry up, slipping the ring over his body, then placed him back in his grave covering him over with more soft brown leaves. Then ever so gently, I sprinkled the dark brown soil into the grave until it was full. I made a little cross of twigs and placed it on the grave as the tears from my eyes gradually wet the ground. I stood and left saying my last goodbye knowing I’d never come this way again ... ... ... to be continued!