The next morning, Deborah was woken from a deep sleep by her phone ringing loudly.
“Oh, blast,” she groaned drowsily while trying to grab it. She missed, sweeping it off the bedside cabinet and on to the floor. Reluctantly, she got out of bed, but it was too late. The moment she got hold of the phone to answer the call, it stopped ringing. As she rubbed the sleep from her eyes with one hand, she swiped the screen with her thumb to see who had tried to contact her.
Gavin’s heart grew heavier with every step he took in the silent forest. The looming darkness of night seemed to reflect his gloomy thoughts. Thoughts and memories of his early childhood when he had taken a walk in the same forest with his late father. As he trudged onward through the red and golden autumn leaves that covered his path, he began to speak out loud as if he were composing a letter.
With a glum look on his face, the young Aboriginal hunter, Manimanuk, looked out over the plains from the rocky outcrop where he was standing. Angry words had been spoken earlier that morning in the camp of his people. To Manimanuk it seemed as if there were two camps. One, led by one of the elders, was determined to move on to better hunting grounds before the dry season came. The other camp felt it was better to wait until one of the mothers fully recovered after breaking her leg while foraging for yams.
“So, what was that stupid mistake you were talking about?” Deborah asked Jenny curiously, when they had finished talking to Norm on the footpath just outside the beach house.
The question made Jenny blush with shame. At the same time, Jenny knew it was better for both her and Deborah to get it off her chest. So, she cleared her throat and began to tell Deborah about the mistake that was troubling her.
“You mentioned stalking back there and that’s when I realized who could be stalking you.”
Deborah’s eyes opened wide as she listened closely to her sister’s words.
“Let’s go inside,” she suggested.
“Good idea,” Jenny replied, and they went inside through the front door.
The next day at work found Dave Frankston feeling elated. Everything was going as planned and now Conno had phoned him yesterday evening with the news that he was coming to the reunion, he could start making arrangements. First on his list was contacting Debbie’s biological mother. Suddenly, elation made way for a surge of anxiety. How would her mother react? ‘Well, mate, there’s no turning back now,’ he said to himself as he poured himself a cup of nice strong tea and walked over to his desk.