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One Day I…

(A sequel to Tim

Winton’s Blueback)



Dora Jackson shook her sea-salted hair in the twilight breeze.

The wind had picked up, and she squinted through the gusts

blowing knots of hair in all directions. She pulled off the diving gear

clinging to her body, and pressed her towel onto her strong frame.

Slinging the weights over her shoulder, she trudged up to the broad

timber house where her mother and father would be waiting for her.

Like her grandmother, Dora knew all of the secrets of Longboat

Bay. She didn’t mean to find them, she would just stumble upon

them as she swam into the crystal depths of the bay. As Dora made

her way home, it occurred to her that Longboat Bay hadn’t always

been the same. As a child she vaguely remembered the shock that hit

everyone across the beach. She remembered the smoke that used to

come billowing from the shore. The fumes that intoxicated her

mouth and her nose when she fell asleep. Her thoughts were

interrupted suddenly by her mother opening the door. Immediate

warmth rushed through her joints as she was welcomed home with a

kiss and a hug.

Dora gave herself one last rub with her towel, and hung it over

the rack standing by the door, ready for tomorrow morning’s swim.

She skipped to her room in as few leaps as possible to avoid slipping

on the floor, and flopped lazily onto her bed. After day dreaming for

a minute, she slouched over to her cupboard and threw on a t-shirt.

Bouncing into the dining room, she found her parents sipping on

water, tentatively.

‘Hello, sweetheart,’ said her father, Abel.

‘Hey dad. How’s your day been?’

Her mother smiled sweetly down to her, pleased by her daughter’s

politeness. She looked back up to Abel, her husband.

‘Good, thank you, darling.’ He paused, then continued. ‘Today in

the lab, your mother and I did some more research on the causes of

underwater tornados.’

Dora looked up delightedly, admiring her wonderful parents. She

hoped to be like them one day.

A little bit later, she found herself sitting down at the dining room

table, feeding from a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. The noodles

twisted and twirled around her fork, like leaves falling softly to the

ground on an Autumn day. She slurped the pasta into her eager

mouth. Cherishing every bite, she hadn’t even realised that her

parents were sitting together smiling; her father twiddling his thumb