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Outward, the Circles Grow. [7]

Hyle Troy's picture
Submission type:


Kirsten paced back and forth.

At the window to Joe’s study she once again pushed the curtain to one side and looked down the street. Nothing. Well, no red Interceptor, just the usual comings and goings of neighbours and the odd tradesman. She went back and sat bolt upright on one of Joe’s chesterfields. For about two minutes, before pacing yet again to the window for another look.

Joe grunted. “Will you sit down before you wear a path into the carpet!” Joe realised he had let his frustration materialise into words before his brain could intercept.

His outburst was duly rewarded by a furious brown oriental glare.

Well DO something!”

Joe looked down, embarrassed. Annie looked up from her colouring book. Kirsten went on, her voice fed by her own worrying.

It’s been two hours since Tuki called. It doesn’t take two hours to drive from Hope. She could be anywhere. Maybe she crashed.!”

Joe sighed and stood up, joined Kirsten in the window bay stood behind her and took her in his arms. Kirsten kept her arms folded but Joe felt her lean back into him. She was shaking.

With Kirsten being taller than Joe he had to push himself up onto his toes to whisper in her ear.

All will be fine. I’ll make a few calls. Go and give Annie her tea.”

Kirsten turned to look at Joe’s craggy face. “OK.” she nodded. Joe released her and patted her butt as she went to gather Annie up and take her into the kitchen.

As the door closed, Joe made a few calls, called in a few favours. Each call ended with the same instruction “You find her but do not go near. You call me. Clear?”


Silja was sitting in the long dry grass at the edge of the valley east of Hope. It was one of the spots Tuki and her used to come to to while away the hours in interminable teenage girlie chatter while the sun shadows cast their long fingers on the valley wall opposite.

Conflicting emotions had drained her, the whole day and everything about it had drained her. She didn’t know how she was feeling, or how she should be feeling. Her sister. Her father. Ordinarily if a normal person had so much happen to them in a few hours they should be howling in grief. Silja felt no grief. She didn’t know what she was feeling but it certainly was not grief.

Silja let her mind focus on her father. She tried to fill her mind with memories of the good times, when Poppa was a good father. The times when he would carry her high on his shoulders and she would hang on giggling as he ran down the meadow with her. Or when they would take a boat out and fish for herring on the cold grey seas.

But the thoughts of good times crumbled, replaced by visions of the half shaved wreck of a man he became. The victim of the bottle. The short tempered drunken sot who made her mother weep with frustration. The sounds of laughter in her mind faded into the sound of shouting and wailing as she tried to sleep through the almost nightly arguments her parents had. Her mother trying so hard to keep a semblance of a happy family life against the selfish ranting coming from him. The truth was naked. She loved her mother, and she hated her father. How could she feel grief for him? He had destroyed her mother and left them to their fate.

And what of Hanne? So even if she was her sister. Half sister, but the wrong half. Always firmly on her father’s side. She could not feel any bond with her at all.

She had seen Tuki’s reaction when she said she didn’t care, Tuki was right, she did care, but not in the way she thought at the time. Silja did feel sorry for the state Hanne was in but as far as any familial sadness at her plight, Silja could only see her as another person, not as her sister. There was no sibling bond. None at all. Hanne was too tied to Henning to let Silja feel any other way than the way she was feeling now.


Silja deconstructed her thoughts and lay them out on the grass in front of her. She paused and took a sip from the bottle in her hand. The lemonade was sweet, refreshing.


And what of now? Silja added the pieces of her life as it was now to the imaginary jigsaw in front of her. Thoughts of Anneka Of Kirsten and Joe. Of Tuki. Even of Hyle. People who had helped and guided a careering angry teenager away from the edge where she could have quite easily fallen into a world of trouble, danger and darkness. Silja knew she could be headstrong and these people had given her her head mostly but when it mattered, they had guided her, deflected her away and into a more solid happy life. These people cared deeply about her.

Maybe because she was constantly looking inward she forgot to look outward often enough and let the scales fall from her eyes.

She placed another piece, a big piece, into the jigsaw. Anneka. The one who, when she was with her, made her feel as if she could become the only ideal left over from her short childhood. The ideal of her own mother, so firmly impressed into the child Silja, now grown, responsible.


Silja looked up from the grass and watched the auburn shadows grow on the far side of the valley. She stood up, a she had done so many times with Tuki. She felt the presence of Tuki beside her. Silja breathed deeply and yelled as loud as she could across the valley, just as they had done so many times. She listened to her voice return from the other side. A call and response. She repeated this three times, and realised she was smiling.


She did feel sorry for Hanne. She was not heartless. One day she would have to give Hanne the news their father was dead. She would have to be there to support her. Hanne would have no one, and Silja knew how it felt to have no one. Tuki was right, she did care, only she would care in her own way.


It was getting dark. Better she should head back. Kirsten would be wondering where she was. And Anneka. Silja thought about how she and Anneka squatted by the pond throwing pebbles into the water. How each circle spread out from each individual splash in a perfect circle. Until they met another circle spreading from a different splash. Then the patterns became random, each affecting the other. In their own way.



Silja smiled to herself and started the engine. She was going home.


Joe Spivey's picture

((So glad Silja has found something from all of this. Nicely done, a lump in the throat in all the right places.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Joe Spivey's picture

Joe held the evidence bag up to the light.

“What’s this?”

Kopkage watched Joe’s impassive face.

“I thought you should have it.”

Joe shrugged and held it up to his balding pate.

“You going into the wig business? This a sample?”

Kopkage smiled.

“Sure, whatever.” He held out his hand. “If you don’t want it…”

The evidence bag disappeared into Joe’s pocket.

“I’ll show it to Kirsten, she might like me as a redhead.”

Kopkage’s grin broadened considerably.

“Sure Joe.” He turned away. “I’ll see you around.”

Joe watched the policeman walk away. His mind spun the reels of possible scenarios involving Kopkage and eventually the three reels clunked to a stop and the result had Joe’s caterpillar eyebrows rising up on their haunches. ‘A Clean Cop’. The corners of Joe’s mouth twitched. Fine, for now. But time will tell.

Joe walked back towards the auction and dropped the evidence bag into the flames of a nearby oil drum. Maybe it was the lunchtime beer filling his belly but Joe felt almost content. Silja was back to her old self, actually better than her old self. He sensed that whatever burr had been stuck up her arse for the last few years had loosened a bit, maybe fallen out altogether. Again, time will tell.

Several notes were waiting for him when he resumed his position behind the packing crates of his office. One in particular. A reference to Gunman… in Embry. Joe thought for a minute then started making calls.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Hyle Troy's picture

lol  you can't have a bent copper called 'Cupcake' now, can you:)

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

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