Jamie lifted her head into the wind nostrils flared. Flies performed aerial mating dances around her head as she ran then, deft in her foot placement left rock right rock jump over stinging nettle, drop and roll under supple jack run again no pause calloused bare feet making no sound one toenail ripped off arms levering body forward through trees gash in thigh gushing serum and pus. Blood encrusted arm raised high and one kuri was down. The rest fled tails tucked into bums. Jamie scooped up the still warm bambi carcass and slung it over her shoulders yanked the spear from the guts of the dead kuri and sprinted uphill to the caravan she had found.
Under the crusted mud a watch on her wrist still ticked. The date read 20 Sep 2012. A house below her stood empty yellow paint peeling, open windows home to spiders’ webs so thick they were black in the shadows carpet dancing with fleas searching for a feed, dust layer upon layer colouring the sinks the couch the beds the desk grey, empty lawns creeping up the walls green runners of kikuyu and orange nasturtium flowers out of control visible to Jamie who stood sweating on the hill above. She laughed. It came out a cracked cackle. Blood from the deer dripped between her breasts. She dipped her finger in it and licked.
Category Archives: Heather Taylor
Stubby fingers greased the shank of the sparkler as Bernice held it as tightly as a five year old could well past her bedtime and her stomach full of saveloys and half a pint of her Uncle George’s Export. Sparks ripped from the tip as she waved it in circles, tracing yellow lines of fire in the night. She passed wind as she twirled. Her sister Alice made a face and poked her tongue out, pinching her nose. The adults sat in lawn chairs watching and laughing, piles of beer cans growing under their feet, voices raised to beat the yells from their children.
A collision with her brother chipped a burning chunk from the sparkler. It fell onto the crease of Bernice’s hand between thumb and index finger where it buried itself into her flesh. Skin melted and a curl of smoke rose. Bernice stood still to enjoy the sweet smell.
Then Alice screamed and Mother yanked Bernice into the house. Savage and dry eyed, the little girl fought, twisting in Mother’s grip. Unable to escape, she lashed out at Mother’s shin and connected.
When the palm of Mother’s hand found her cheek, the amount of illicit beer Bernice had consumed outweighed the saveloys and she threw up. It was only then, at exactly midnight, that Bernice started to howl. Somewhere a long way from that suburb, hidden in the dark scrub far from the lights, a wild dog heard the little girl’s calls and joined in.
All three murders make the papers but the reasons for them are lost in translation.
The first time he climbed out on the window ledge at work, no one had seen him. He had waited until the cleaner left. Then Joe forced open a window and squirmed out onto the granite ledge in the dark. He worried that someone would look up from the honking streets, maybe some crazy kid. The kid might see the white dazzle of his shirt, might scream. Nothing happened and Joe stood outside enjoying the salty floral stench of the sea breeze as it rushed past his sweating face. It was a hot summer.
Joe got addicted to the ledge. The cleaner never worried why Joe was the only one who worked late. His boss never worried either. Anything after 5 was unpaid anyway; that was the contract Joe had signed up to.
When autumn came the wind washing in from the sea changed. It smelled of funky dead things. High above the tiny yellow cabs things got colder and Joe had to wear his jacket which was black. He was more comfortable in black.
That winter there was freezing rain. The last time Joe stepped out onto his ledge, he had just ended a call with his ex-wife so the fall didn’t seem so bad. He landed on top of a yellow cab and squashed the roof. The ice on the ledge didn’t count in his favour; the city newspaper described the 34th suicide of the year in a small column on page D4, the Metro section.
There are only a few ways to be born: head straight out, breech, Caesarean. There are countless ways to die, some unimaginable, and sometimes death comes before birth in which case the baby is stillborn. Sleep lies somewhere in between.
The dictionary says it is “a natural periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is lost.” The body seems to stay put on the bed, the mattress, the hammock. Yet the mind is on full power dreaming. It isn’t lying on the mattress with you.
The mind is more conscious when it is asleep. It doesn’t have to deal with the distractions of being awake: there’s no need to hold back that fart that’s been threatening; there’s no dried bugger itching the inside of your nostril, no urgent need to pee. No one is talking to you forcing you to listen.
During sleep the mind tells us where we are between birth and death. It tells us in dreams. If we can’t handle that knowledge we either don’t remember our dreams or can’t attach meaning to them.
People who are prepared for their own funerals are those who can navigate their dreams. Those who deny their dreams attach nightmares to their days.
We are what we dream.
Sittin on the doorstep
Pullin on me boots
I can’t wait
Ruby wants to hunt
Lickin my chin
She can’t wait
Paws blasted by gravel
Eyes on me
Tracking gear on
Rifle at half cock
We crawl under the fence
It’s 6 a.m. darktime
The grass is crunchy
The pig won’t wait
Ruby goes hard down the game trail
I hear from the ridge
She’s got em
A hundred metre find
Run through the supplejack
Cut up the bank
Good marks in the mud
Splash through the creek
They’re mixing it
Grab the hocks
Lay on it
Flood me jacket
Out with the knife
In with the knife
Hit the heart
Ruby pulls it downstream
Blood up me elbow
Look at the hooks
It’s the 8 o’clock pig