That same morning Deborah awoke late to the laughing call of the kookaburras in the casuarina trees on the perimeter of the front yard. She smiled, blissfully unaware of the storm that had struck about half an hour ago. The raindrops on her half-open window and the musty smell coming from outside were the only clues of the heavy downpour that had pounded the warm ground. Deborah rubbed in her eyes, stretched for a bit and then rolled on to her side to look outside. She pondered over the dream she had had just before she woke up.
In her dream, Deborah found herself standing among tussocks of spinifex on a vast plain. She looked towards the horizon and noticed the clouds moving faster, as if she were watching a time-lapse recording. How strange, she thought, I can’t feel the wind at all. The words had only just crossed her lips when a storm wind started to blow. “Wandjina,” she whispered, “I’ve been waiting for you.” “Yes, we know,” the cloud and rain spirits answered. “We saw you longing for inner peace, all those years, but you did not notice us.” Deborah thought for a while and then answered: “Yes, I am sorry for that. Luckily, you are here now.” The clouds rumbled and turned greyer and greyer. They brought a smile to Deborah’s face. “Hmm,” she sighed happily, “it feels so good to be home.”
In bed, Deborah smiled. It certainly felt good to be home, even though she did not really know where home was. Then, she placed her right hand on her heart and closed her eyes. In an instant she felt where home was. Home was deep down inside. Now she was able to feel this, she knew she had always been home, she just had not realized it.
Suddenly, she was literally tugged from her thoughts by Dougie, who had charged into the bedroom and gently grabbed Deborah by her arm with his mouth.
“Hahaha,” Deborah laughed. “Good morning to you too, little Dougie,” she greeted, swooping her little friend up on to the bed and cuddling him.
When they were done cuddling, she got out of bed and stood by the window. It was then that she realized that she had slept through the storm. She had not actually experienced it physically, but had sensed its arrival in her dream.
While lingering on this, she glanced at the dresser and saw the conch that she had found on the dining room table on the day of her arrival at the beach house. She walked over to it, picked it up and placed it against her ear like she used to when she was still a little girl. It gave her a shock. Instead of hearing the ‘sea’ she heard a woman’s voice whispering something she could not quite make out. Her first reaction was to throw the conch on to the bed, where it bounded and fell right next to Dougie.
“For fuck’s sake, what do you want from me?” Deborah shouted angrily as her heart pounded in her chest.
A reply came in the form of two magpies ‘chatting’ with each other. It made her laugh nervously.
“Come on Dougie. I’m not letting them get the better of me,” she said, regaining her confidence. By ‘them’ she meant the person who had left the conch and the accompanying note for her to find.
She slipped into her bathrobe and instead of making her way to the bathroom as she usually did, her gut feeling made her hurry to the back door. There she turned the key in the lock, threw open the door and stepped on to the verandah. What she saw made her stomach churn. A dead magpie dangled by one of its claws from a piece of rope tied to a wooden verandah post. There was still blood dripping on to the floor from where its head had been brutally hacked off. With her eyes wide open, Deborah looked from the poor magpie to the side of the house and screeched at the top of her lungs:
On the wall, words written in blood said:
You know I’ll always love you X
‘Kookaburra In A Tree‘ by Melissa Stratton on Freeimages.com
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