Bonfire on the Beach (2)

Bonfire on the Beach

Part 2

[Tuesdays with Carol is on hold as a certain virus has accosted a close family member and so, we are in isolation. By the way, Carol, when I informed her, was most thankful her godson (my son), needed my assistance as mum’s taxi for some shopping last Thursday. If he hadn’t, I would’ve visited her that Thursday afternoon potentially putting her at risk.

Anyway, here’s the conclusion of Bonfire on the Beach where the murder mystery begins…]

Hit and Run

With a hip flask between best friends, Fifi and Lillie slipped away, gliding along the shore and up the ramp to the road. Kangaroo-skin blanket wrapped around them, the girls perched on a seat overlooking the miniature party scene. The orange glow of the revived bonfire danced in the cove below them. While they gossiped, topic of conversation focussing on Wally, the crisp air carried the beat of The Doors and Sven’s Ford Falcon XB rumbling up the ramp.

Lillie rubbed notches in the seat. Four lines scratched into the backrest. ‘What does this mean?’

‘Some local stud’s score, I reckon.’ Fifi traced the lines. ‘Fox’s probably.’

‘Not much of a stud, then,’ Lillie scoffed, ‘Geoffrey Fox must’ve had more than four conquests. Surely.’

A roar ripped through their conversation.

‘Excellent! A drag race!’ Fifi said and tore the blanket from Lillie.

Fifi waddled to the empty patch of bitumen.

Shivering, Lillie followed and peered down the peninsula. As the headlights approached, a dull thud and a torso, arms and legs flying, altered their curiosity. One headlight wobbled; its radiance extinguished.

Fifi tottered towards the action. ‘What was that?’

‘Probably just a roo.’

‘And what roo has two legs and arms? I definitely saw two legs and arms. I’m going to have look.’

The girlfriends reached the spot. Motorbike shattered on the pavement. Body tangled around a pole, eyes glassy, staring into eternity.

Lillie’s gaze fixated on the human wreckage; mutilation mingled with man’s frailty into her memory.

Fifi dragged Lillie down the ramp. ‘Come, we can’t just stand here. We better tell the others, someone.’

Fox reclined by the fire hypnotised by the flames.

Jimmy, through a mouthful of crisps, said, ‘A good thing that Wally wasn’t there otherwise he would be raving about the grisly details till morning.’

‘It was Wally,’ Lillie said and wiped her dripping nose.

‘Oh,’ Jimmy said and popped a large curly crisp into his mouth and munched.

Unimpressed Fifi yanked at Lillie’s arm. ‘Come on, Lillie. We better see what we can do for the poor bloke.’

A group of pensioners hovered over the blood-stained sheet. Leaning up against the warped pole, a man with black rimmed glasses and bulging nose wagged his head. ‘There was nothing we could do.’

Wrapped in a lavender quilted dressing gown, a woman, hair in rollers, gawked. ‘Poor fellow. What a waste!’

Blood splatters glinted in the streetlight. Acid brewed in Lillie’s stomach. She held her throat and gulped. ‘I don’t feel so well. Let’s go back down.’

‘If you insist.’ Fifi trailed after her friend, hanging back, stopping as the ambulance arrived, watching as it ferried the latest statistic towards the red glow of Adelaide.

Back at the bonfire, Lillie nestled up to Geoffrey Fox. She didn’t want to be alone.

Later, Fox’s Kombi became the couple’s refuge and passion Lillie’s comfort.

Morning: sea watery blue, translucent. Sven emerged from his Falcon. He leant against the bonnet and nursed a jagged dent in the fender. Lillie watched banter between Sven and Jimmy through her flickering sleep-salted eyes.

‘Guess what!’ Jimmy’s mouth frothed with stale left-over beer.

‘What?’ Sven did not look up but continued to stroke and inspect a cracked headlight.

‘Some hoon killed Wally up there.’

Sven shrugged and then adjusted a pair of chipped Polaroid sunglasses on his fine pointed nose.

Crawling out of the Kombi, Lillie hobbled over to the Falcon. ‘Hey, just wait a minute. What’s Wals – How come you’re wearing Wally’s shades, Sven?’

Sven surveyed the placid blue sea. ‘Dunno, they were there, I s’pose.’ He rubbed the damage to his bonnet, frowning as flecks of red paint floated in the breeze. ‘‘Sides he wrecked mine!’

‘And your car? How did you get that dent?’

‘I dunno. Can’t help it if that stupid fatso gets in the way.’ Sven wiped his faded jeans, blotched greasy and brown, purging his hands of sand. ‘It’s what I do to people like Wally and dirty old men.’

‘What do you mean?’ Lille caught her breath and stepped back. ‘Have you done this before?’

‘Ha! Ha! Fooled you!’ Sven tossed his head back and laughed. ‘Geez, sis, you’re so gullible.’

Her brother then climbed into his Ford, spun the wheels, and flew over the firm damp shore, shrinking into the distance, towards Aldinga beach, then returning.

Lillie kicked sand into the ashes. ‘I feel sick. What are we going to do?’

Fifi squirmed in her sleeping bag. ‘Huh? What do you mean?’

‘Last night. Wally. You know.’

Poking her head from the hood, Fifi faced Lillie and narrowed her eyes. ‘Last night? Nothing happened, okay? Nothing happened. We were at Dee’s party – If anyone asks. Okay?” She turned her head to the others and enunciated each syllable. ‘Isn’t that right.’

Jimmy charged his stubby and nodded.

Fox poked his head out the Kombi’s open window. ‘Yep, Dee’s.’

‘But – but…Dee’s my worst enemy. No one will believe that I would’ve been at Dee’s,’ Lillie said and heaped more sand on the coals. ‘We can’t just – they’ll know. And the old people…up there…they saw us.’

‘Look, Lillie,’ Sven said, ‘the police are up there right now investigating. No one has come down to interview us. So, leave it alone.’

‘Look, Lillie, I’ll figure something out. Okay? Anyway, we didn’t see anything. It’s not our problem.’ Fifi scrambled from her bag and smoothed sand with her foot over the campsite. ‘Now, we better disappear.’

Sven dusted his hands of sand. ‘Best we don’t get involved.’

In silent haste, the group joined Fifi’s efforts to erase all evidence of their existence there.

As the golden orb of sun peeped over the barren slopes, the red Ford Falcon and orange Kombi made a slow procession, tyres treading with respect over the shards of glass, then pelting on the highway North to the city.

A young traffic constable Dan Hooper admired the sleek red Ford Falcon as he made his way down Main South Road towards the fatal accident scene from the previous night. Reminded him of the Mad Max film he had watched on a video player at Dee’s party the previous night.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Fire © L.M. Kling 2008


Free till Thursday April 21

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Sunday Story–Bonfire

Bonfire on the Beach

Part 1

[I first wrote this story over thirty years ago in response to a newspaper murder mystery competition. Upon completing the story, I never submitted it for scrutiny. Since then, the tale has endured several edits and reworkings, the latest being just last week.

The story is pure fantasy but is based on real life events from my youth. Over the last 30 years the characters have evolved to become on the whole, fictional.

Note, bonfires are no longer permitted on beaches near Adelaide. However, cars are still allowed to drive on the sands of some beaches south of Adelaide, such as Sellicks Beach.]

The Uninvited

The five friends huddled in the firelight, reflecting on the ritual burning of Lillie’s matriculation Modern History textbooks and the year past. The Doors boomed in the background.

A sand-splattered blood-red Ford Falcon XB and a bright orange Kombi-van, guarded Geoffrey Fox and Lillie Hughson, Lillie’s older brother Sven and her best friend Fifi Edwards and Fifi’s brother Jimmy from any unwanted intruders.

An old man on the cliff top waved an angry fist, his threats carried away by the sharp November breeze. Sven returned the gesture shaking his fist with menace at the old man.

‘Sven!’ Lillie slapped Sven’s arm. ‘Behave yourself! You might be a brickie, but you don’t need to act like one.’

‘Nothing wrong with brickies, Lillie. Anyway, that old man, he’s probably calling for Wally,’ Fifi said while rubbing her nose. The sea air icy and stung with salt. She had moulded into Sven’s embrace. ‘Hey, Sven, you’re so cool, yet so hot.’

A burst of laughter. The tape came to a climactic end and petered out.

‘Hey, hey, have you heard this?’ Fifi wet her lips. ‘Six o’clock. The whole street was quiet, not a sound was heard. Except the occasional croak of a cricket as night fell.’ Mesmerized by the lapping waves and rhythm of Fifi’s voice, the others listened. ‘All was calm, then out of the darkness, a cry pierced the air.’

Jimmy, Fifi’s older brother shovelled a handful of salt and vinegar chips into his mouth and crunched. Lillie glared at him. He paused, chipmunk cheeked, and glued his attention to his sister Fifi.

“Wally! Wal-Wal-Waaalee! Dinner’s ready!”

The five young people roared. Jimmy’s potato chips sprayed out and fuelled the coals. Fifi pouted mimicking Wally’s mother, Mrs. Katz. Lillie joined her. Jerking her legs as if in a Monty Python sketch, Fifi broke free of Sven’s hold and walked a Wally walk, while Lillie jumped from Geoffrey Fox’s embrace and flailed her arms and danced a Wally dance.

Sounds of puttering filled the cove. ‘Who could that be?’ Lillie craned her neck over Sven’s leather clad shoulder to see bulk roaring wheels.

The girls froze, and in unison uttered, ‘Oh, no! Wally!’

More chips spluttered from Jimmy’s mouth and fuelled the coals. Sven rolled up his sleeves. Admiring his wiry yet powerful form, Fifi preened her blonde perm and sighed. ‘Just when we’re having a good time!’

Sand plopped in the flames and their faces. With a grunt his Kawasaki bike scudded, throwing Wally towards a rocky outcrop.

Wally picked himself up and dusted grains from his blubber. He advanced towards the group laughing, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’.

With his thumbs inserted in his tight pockets, Sven stepped towards the Wally. ‘Who invited you?’

‘Gate crasher! Gate crasher!’ Lillie and Fifi cried, hurling abuse and wads of sand.

Sven pitched his cider bottle. ‘Go home to your mummy, Wally!’

Wally dodged Sven’s missile. ‘Hey, I just wanna good time.’

‘You are not welcome here. Go away.’ Sven plucked up a rock. ‘Move it!’

‘Why not? I have every right to be here.’

‘Are you thick or something?’ Sven shook his stone-wrapped fist.

‘Did you call me thick? Did you call me thick?’

‘Yes, you moron! Now, go home!’ Sven spat and then hurled the stone, crashing it into Wally’s helmet.

‘Hey! That’s my head you hit!’ Wally raised his fists and leered at Sven. ‘You wanna fight?’

‘Be my guest, fool!’ Sven jabbed Wally’s rounded shoulder with his right fist.

‘Oh, cut it out boys!’ Fifi marched to the stoushing males, splitting the two cocks sparring in the shadows.

Uneasy truce, Wally one side of the fire, in the smoke, Sven and the rest of the group crowded on the other side. Waves crashed, the sea’s beat interrupted by the rare plop and thud of dead conversation.

Fifi nudged Lillie. ‘This is boring!’

Lillie rubbed her hands over the glowing coals. ‘Mmm. Why doesn’t Wally take the hint?’

Jimmy munched through his third bagful of chips. Chicken, this time.

Wally coughed. Wally spluttered. Wally blew his nose into a grimy handkerchief and inspected the contents. Wally sidled out of the smoke, closer to the group.

‘Oh, no you don’t!’ Sven poked the embers emitting brief flames. ‘Too crowded over here with you, Wally.’

‘Why not! I’m choking over here,’ Wally said and then cupped the rag over his mouth and insisted edging to the smokeless side.

‘Are you dense?’ Sven lunged at Wally, forcing his boot into the glowing coals. ‘Go home, Wally.’

Wrestling, the rooster and the sumo teetered at the rim of fire, toppled onto the sand crushing beer cans, steam-rolled one on top of the other singeing leather pants and denim jacket, rising from the ashes in a slow dance of boxing and fists and cuffs, and culminating in Sven’s $50 Reflecto Polaroid sunglasses flying into the fire. They melted on impact.

‘My shades! You’ve destroyed my shades!’ Sven clutched Wally’s throat. ‘Get outa here before I kill you!’

Fox who had been hanging back and watching the action, stepped up to Wally. ‘You better go Wally. Nothing personal. But you better take the hint and go.’

Fifi patted Sven on the back, ‘Come on mate, that’s enough fighting for one night. It’s only sunglasses.’

Sven loosened his grip and sauntered towards the boulders, silhouetted by the cliff-face. Wally skulked back to his bike and with a departing roar, pelted sand over the dying coals.

[continued on Tru-Kling Creations…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Sellicks Beach, one afternoon in September © L.M. Kling 2015


In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Sunday Story–Sowing and Reaping

Revenge is best served with a side-salad of Schadenfreude

I have been doing some “housekeeping”, on the computer, that is, searching for files, and sorting them. I came across this tale from my high school days. Wish it were true, but more likely it’s wishful thinking from an over-active imagination.

However, as is the case with so many authors’ works, the following is based on real events, but the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Sowing and Reaping

She perched on the kerb waiting. The minutes stretched, ticking into what seemed to her, an eternity. Cars whizzed past. With each car that emerged around the corner, the hope—her mum’s car. That battered blue FJ Holden, had suffered many knocks in its fifteen years of life. Like me, same age and having suffered hard knocks, she thought. But cars with anonymous drivers passed by and so did her hope…until she just sat…waiting…expectations drained…waiting.

A mixture of gloom and uneasiness had shadowed her all day. Ever since the first period, home class, when Dee, yes, that’s right, Dee, her arch enemy, had sidled up to her and hissed, ‘He’s mine, Lillie. He’s mine. He never liked you. He likes me.’

Dee slithered into her seat; pink lips pursed in a smile. She flicked her brown mane, and then glancing at Lillie, she smirked and then rubbed her hands together. ‘Mine!’ she mimed. ‘All mine.’

Lillie imagined Dee at that moment morphing from the budding model she was, into a female form of Gollum, bent on possessing the ring offered by her latest conquest—Danny. Why else was Dee gloating?

Lillie’s heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach. A drop of rain plopped on the pavement and sizzled. Lillie sighed. She’d seen him—Danny—that morning. Lofty, blonde hair tousled, framing his high cheek-bones, strong jaw and his face all tanned. But Danny hadn’t seen her. He never saw her.

On the way back from chapel, Danny had been walking behind her and she’d worried about her uniform. Was her dress hitched up in her regulation stockings? Autumn and the school demanded girls wear the winter uniform with the awful scratchy woollen skirt. The month of May in Australia, that day, hot and all steamed up, clouds billowing with purple bellies, threatening a storm, but not before all the students at College were fried having to wear their blazers as well as their uniforms woven in wool. The principal threatened suspension if they shed any part of their school attire.

Plop! Another drop. A rumble of thunder.

During the day, her usual foes added to her discomfort. She was already hot, sweaty, and itchy, and then they had to weigh in. On the way to English class, Dee and her clutch of fiends attacked from behind. They threw verbal abuse; the usual “stones” of “loser”, “dog” and “no one wants you, Lil”.

Lillie fixed her eyes ahead even as the heat rose to her cheeks. She trod up the stairs to Dee chanting, ‘Poor Lil, poor Lil, what a dill.’

As Lillie turned the corner of the stairs, she glanced down. Danny leaned against the rail. Dee slid up to him and pointed. ‘Hey look! She’s got a hole in her stocking. Poor Lil, poor Lil. Too poor to buy new stockings, Lil.’

Dee laughed and her gang joined in.

Lillie turned and continued plodding up the stairs.

‘Charge!’ Dee yelled.

At her command, Lillie quickened her pace. She knew what was coming. The thudding, the cries and the horde as her foes surged upon her. They crowded in and jostled her. Big beefy Twisty jammed her into the lockers and then bumbled down the corridor.

As Lillie straightened herself, Dee strode up to her and poked her. ‘He’s mine, understand?’ She then waved her hand in front of her nose. ‘Phew! You stink! B.O.!’

Danny lingered an arm’s length from Dee, and as she minced into English class, she blew him a kiss. Lillie’s stomach churned, and with her gaze riveted to the floor, she followed Dee into class. Her scalp prickled with the sense that the eyes of every class member had set upon her. Her orthodontic braces took on astronomical proportions and her pig-tails drooped like greasy strips of seaweed.

Then Scripture class. Just her luck! Lillie picked Dee’s name out of the Encouragement Box. So she had to find a verse from the Bible to encourage Dee. Dee? What sort of blessing could Lillie bestow on her worst enemy? The girl who had everything—popularity, beauty and a boyfriend.

Lillie opened up her Bible and picked out the first verse that caught her attention. She wrote down the verse from Galatians 6:7: “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” She plopped the note for Dee back into the box. From what she could tell, Dee seemed happy with her note, if not mildly miffed by the message.

After school, as she sat on the kerb waiting, Lillie reflected on the verse she received. Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” She nodded and mused, That’d be right, Dee had me. Still, it does say I’m blessed.

A flash of lightning. A crack of thunder. Fat dollops of rain splatted on the footpath. Lillie sighed and muttered, ‘I’ll just have to risk getting laughed at. My mum’s car. What a relic! How embarrassing!’

She shrugged her bag full of books over her shoulder and sauntered to the shelter of the chapel. Rain pelted down on her and she sought refuge in an alcove hidden behind a diosma bush. There, she drew her knees up to her chin and sniffed. The rain and then the tears had melted her mascara. Her vision blurred. She drew a soggy tissue from her blazer pocket and wiped her eyes.

The downpour stopped. Fellow students emerged from shelter and straggled along the road to the carpark where their cars or parents in their shining white Commodores awaited them.

Lillie examined her calloused knees that had broken through the holes in her stockings. When would mum be able to afford new stockings? Dad and mum barely scraped together the school fees. ‘We go without for your education,’ mum says. Lillie had begun to understand how that worked in a posh school like this one. No friends, no choice but to study and get good grades.

A car screeched. Lillie looked up. She saw them. Dee and Danny. They held hands. Dee nestled into Danny’s side as he held an umbrella over her, even though the sun now shone casting an eerie golden glow over the gum trees and oval. Lillie winced.

The couple perched on the chain fence where they swung back and forth and whispered into each other’s ears. Lillie parted the diosma bush. She watched and cursed them as wrapped in each other’s arms they consumed each other’s lips.

‘Ugh! How could they? In public!’ Lillie muttered. ‘I hope the principal catches them and puts them on detention.’

Lillie heard a familiar roar. She stepped from the bush and strode towards the carpark.

The FJ Holden raced up the driveway, it’s wheels crushing the carpark’s gravel in its rush to meet Lillie. Dee and Danny remained oblivious in their passion on the chain fence.

Mum’s car cut through a large puddle. Water flew high in the air and then dumped on the couple.

Dee shrieked. They stood like two drenched rats, their legs and arms spread in their sodden clothes.

Now Dee really does look like Gollum, Lillie thought. Her nemesis’ mascara streamed down her face and made her eyes look like a panda’s and her hair was pasted on her head.

The couple glared at the FJ Holden as it screeched to a stop in front of Lillie. She smirked as she jerked open the white door of the mostly blue car and then scrambled in.

‘How was your day, dear?’ Mum asked.

‘You’re late,’ Lillie snapped.

As the FJ Holden with Lillie and her mum merged with the crowd of cars on the main road, Lillie glanced back and smiled. Revenge is best served cold…and wet.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

Painting: Vine Light Before Strom © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022


In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Short Story Sunday–Much Ado About Golf

[Triggered today by all these shifty and inconsistent rules by which we must abide in this day and age, reminds me of some traumatic experiences concerning rules playing golf with my beloved late father.

This story is based on those experiences, but the characters and situation have been changed. As so often happens with us writers, life experiences can be good material for a short story, or even a chapter in some future novel.]



Australia Day, and the last vestiges of a less-than-perfect summer holiday wilt in the sweltering heat in the foothills of Adelaide. A blowfly beats against the window, in time to the droning of the radio, doom and gloom, global warming, and politics. Nine in the morning and thirty-four degrees Celsius—already!

I sit at the kitchen table. I’m the sitting-dead, the zombie of no sleep after a hot night, no gully breeze and me sticky and sweaty, tossing and turning and Mum’s chainsaw of snoring filling the house.

Mum enters the family room and I recoil. ‘Ugh! Mum! How could you!’

‘It’s our family day, Polly, dear. I’m wearing my lucky golf shorts.’

‘Those legs should not be seen in public! Oh! How embarrassing!’ I cover my eyes shielding against the assault of mum’s white legs under cotton tartan shorts. At least she wears a white T-shirt; better than nothing. Matches the legs, I guess.

Dad drifts into the family room. He’s looking at the polished cedar floorboards while tying up his waist-length hair in a ponytail. He wears his trademark blue jeans and white t-shirt with a logo of some rusty metal band. That’s Dad. He’s a musician.

I look to Dad. ‘Dad, why do we have to play golf? Why can’t we just have a barbecue by the beach like my friends?’

‘Because, this is what Mum wants to do,’ Dad says. ‘We’re having a family day together before Mum gets all busy with work, and you get all busy with Year 12.’

‘But, Dad, we always play golf. And it’s not family-building, it’s soul destroying.’

‘We’re doing this for Mum.’

‘That’s right, Polly.’ Mum strides down the hallway and lifts her set of golf clubs. ‘Ready?’

Dad and I follow Mum to the four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle. The only terrain that vehicle has seen is the city, oh, and the only rough terrain, pot holes.

‘The person who invented golf should be clubbed,’ I mutter.

‘Polly!’ Dad says. ‘Mum loves golf. We play golf on Australia Day because we love Mum, okay?’

I sigh. ‘Okay.’


‘What a way to ruin a pleasant walk!’ I grumble as I hunt for that elusive white ball in the bushes. Rolling green hills all manicured, a gentle breeze rustles the leaves of the gum trees either side. My ball has a thing for the trees and bushes and heads for them every time I hit the ball. And if there’s a sandbank, my ball plops in it like a magnet. And don’t get me started on the artificial lake.

Dad and Mum wait at the next tee ushering ahead groups of golfers.

My ball doesn’t like the green and flies past it. I’m chopping away at the bushes near Mum and Dad.

Mum smiles at me and says, ‘Are you having a bad day, Polly?’

Understatement of the year. I swing at the pesky white ball.

‘Remember to keep your eye on the ball,’ Mum says.

I fix my gaze on Mum and poke my tongue at her.


It gets worse.

I straggle to the tenth after twenty shots on the ninth. Mum and Dad sit on a bench sipping cans of lemonade.

‘Well done! You’ve finally made it halfway,’ Mum says.

I stare at her. The cheek! Now she’s got white zinc cream over her nose and cheeks. ‘You look stupid, Mum. Like a clown.’

‘You look sunburnt, dear,’ Mum offers the sunscreen, ‘come and put some on. There’s a pet.’

I glance at my reddening arms. ‘Can I stop now?’

‘You may not,’ Mum says. ‘We’re only half way. Now, come and I’ll put some sunscreen on. You don’t want to get skin cancer.’

‘I won’t if I stop.’

‘Come now, Poll, it’s our family day,’ Dad says.

‘Oh, alright.’

Mum pastes me with sunscreen. ‘Where’s your hat? Have you lost it? You need your hat.’ She finishes covering me with a bottle-full of sunscreen and offers me her tartan beret. ‘Here, you can wear mine.’

I jump away. ‘No! Ee-ew!’

‘Come on!’ Mum thrusts her hat in my face.

‘No!’ I say. ‘I’m not wearing any hat! It gives me hat hair.’

Mum shakes her head, replaces the beret on her bleached bob before placing her ball on the tee. As she stands, legs apart, eyes on the ball, the wooden club raised ready to strike, I watch her behind; not a pretty sight, I might add.

Mum turns slowly, her eyes narrowed at me. ‘Would you please stand back? You’re casting a shadow. Don’t you know that it’s against golfing etiquette to cast a shadow?’

I step aside. ‘No, I seemed to have missed that one.’

Mum swings her club back. She stops again. She rotates her body and glares at me. ‘You’re still casting a shadow.’

‘This isn’t the Australian Open and you’re not the “Shark”. Have I missed the television crews?’

‘Don’t be sarcastic,’ Mum says. She’s acting like a shark.

‘Sorry!’ I say with a bite of sarcasm and then retreat behind a nearby Morton Bay Fig tree.

Mum arches back her polished wood, then stops a third time. She marches over to me and snarls, ‘You are in my line of vision. Take that smirk off your face!’

Dad shakes his head while tossing his golf ball in the air and catching it.

‘It’s not for a sheep station,’ I say and then edge further around the thick trunk.

Mum stomps her foot and rants. ‘Now, that’s just ridiculous! Over-reacting! You haven’t changed. You always over-react. Grow up, Polly!’

I slink over to Dad and stand next to him. ‘Am I in your way, now, Mum?’

Mum shakes her club at me. ‘I’m warning you.’

Dad tosses the ball higher in the air and says, ‘Ladies, calm down.’

Mum puffs, lowers the club and strolls back to the tee. She swings.

‘She’s not in a happy place, Dad,’ I say, ‘she can’t be enjoying this family day. Next Australia Day we’re having a barbecue. And we’re using her golf sticks for firewood.’

Mum looks up. The club having shaved the top of the ball, caused it to dribble a few centimetres from the tee. Mum’s fuming.

I snigger and then say, ‘Good shot!’

Mum points at the ball. ‘Pick it up! Pick it up, Polly!’

Dad hides his mouth and giggles.

‘What’s your problem, Mum? I’m the one losing here.’

‘Oh, stop being a bad sport and pick up my ball!’

‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ I stride up to the ball. ‘I’m not one of your students.’

‘Do it!’

‘Get a life!’ I say and then grind the ball into the recently watered earth.

Dad claps.

Mum sways her head and clicks her tongue. ‘You have seriously lost it, Polly.’ Then she places another ball on the tee. ‘Oh, well, I was just practising, considering the circumstances.’ She swings and lobs the ball into the air. Shading her eyes, she watches the ball land on the green.

‘That’s cheating!’ I say.

‘It’s just a game,’ Dad says with a shrug.

‘Mum’s psycho,’ I say taking my place at the tee.

A crowd has banked up behind us. I chip the silly white ball and watch it hook into the thick the pine tree forest. Mum and Dad head down the fairway and I commence my next ball-hunting expedition.


I catch up with my parents on the eleventh. I’d given up forcing the ball in the hole.

Mum holds a pencil over a yellow card. ‘Score?’

‘Twenty,’ I fib.

Mum says, ‘I don’t believe you.’

‘Thirty, then.’

‘Oh, come on!’ Her beret flops over her left eye. She looks ridiculous.

I wave. ‘Whatever!’

We reach the circle of smooth green grass. Mum races up to the flag and lifts it. She grins at the sound of a satisfying plop. She stands still, her eyes fixed on the hole. Then she raises her arms and dances a jig on the spot. ‘I did it! I did it!’

‘Is she okay?’ I ask Dad.

‘Hole in one, Polly. Hole in one.’

I gaze at Mum performing a River Dance, trampling over the green in her tartan shorts and white legs. She still looks ridiculous. How embarrassing, there’s an audience gathering, watching her performance. Now she’s hopping and clapping away from us.

I sigh. ‘Just my luck! Now she’ll be gloating for the rest of the game.’

‘It has been her day,’ Dad says. He waves at Mum. ‘Well done, dear.’

‘She’s demented,’ I turn to Dad. ‘I don’t know how you put up with her.’

Dad pulls out a handkerchief and wipes his eyes. ‘It’s called love, Poll. You put up with the good, the bad and the ugly.’

‘I say you’re putting up with ugly most of the time.’

‘Your mum’s been through a lot. She had it tough growing up. That’s what love is about. You don’t throw it away, just because it’s not perfect all the time. I mean, none of us are perfect.’

‘But Mum?’

‘You’ll see,’ Dad says and then he taps my back. ‘Come on, it’s our family day. Better get on. I reckon Mum’s danced her way to the thirteenth already.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2022

Photo: Poatina Golf Course, Tasmania © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2010


In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

The Survivor (3)

[An extract from another of my little projects in the War Against Boris the Bytrode Series…]

Escape From the Ice-Cave

She rubbed the frosty walls, her hot hands fused to the ice. Prising her palms free, she blew her stinging hands and then flapped her arms to keep warm. Drops of water trickled around her pooling on the cave floor. She marvelled how the enclosure had expanded to the extent that she could stretch out her arms, the tips of her fingers touching the opposing sides.

‘If only I could fly out of the cave,’ she said.

A groan, then a sigh.

She stood still, arms by her side. She gazed up.

The roof trembled. There was rumbling above her head. The rumbling turned to a roar.

Maybe there’s a search party, she thought. She held that thought and sought some spare piece of clothing to toss through the small gap above. She picked up a soggy scrap of material and prepared to throw. An avalanche of snow swamped her. She tumbled, rolled and suffocated under wave upon wave of frothing ice and snow. Her hand gripped the rag.

With a thud, she hit an icy wall. She gasped; air knocked out of her lungs. A glaring sun and pure white snow assaulted her vision, dazzling her. She blinked; the glare rendered her sightless.

Letitia twisted in the waist-deep snow packed as hard as ice. Her eyes hurt. She squinted and held up her hand. She could just make out a washed-out hand against a backdrop of white. She spun around, slowly, her arms gliding around her on the packed ice as if she were a human drill. Thirsty, she scratched up a ball into her palms. The snow melted under her fingers. She put some crystals to her mouth, the fresh icy water trickled down her throat.

‘Lord,’ she rasped, ‘I’ve been patient enough. I need food and water to survive.’

‘Okay, okay,’ the small voice replied, ‘I’m working on it.’

Once again, an incredible heat overwhelmed Letitia. Her eyes adjusted to the light. Each side, the snow and ice gave way as if it were water, the heat generating from her body causing her frozen captor to melt and form puddles at her feet. She cut through the bank of snow and tottered to freedom. Before her a vista of blue-green sea dotted with icebergs, and a muddy plain with green boxes scattered on it.

Letitia strode down the slope. The hard patches of snow and ice squeaked beneath her numb feet. Had to take care not to slip and slide on this virtual black ice. She headed to what appeared to be faded green shipping containers. The containers seemed to be strewn over a carpet of mission-brown rock as though they were forgotten toy blocks.

Further down the hill, a large shed emerged from the shadows and then a bright red tractor loomed up in the foreground. An old-style ship lurked off to the side, its red hull reflected in the water so still, it appeared as a mirror image.

The air was biting and still, as if holding its breath. Letitia remembered reading that Antarctica was the windiest place on earth, but there was no evidence of that fact this day. Granite-like boulders poked through the mountain blanketed with snow. The heat radiating from within her did nothing for the excruciating pain when she stubbed her foot against a rock.

As she drew closer to the shipping containers, she detected bright orange and red parka padded forms lumbering over the brown ground. Red trucks ferried their human drivers from one Leggo block to another. The closer she came to the settlement, the more impressed she was with the hive of activity.

‘I hope they accept me,’ she murmured and began to feel apprehensive at the thought of imposing herself, her situation, upon this peaceful, industrious community. ‘What if this is another world Boris has sent me to? What if he’s sent me to the Ice Planet? What if the inhabitants are hostile to my kind—human? Or if they’re human, what if they’re prejudiced against people of my colour? I’m not white. Not anymore.’

Letitia remembered the last world, the one Boris said she’d escaped. Black was beautiful. Dark-skinned people were dominant. She’d been so badly burnt, and her DNA so damaged, that the doctors on that world had grafted her skin and reconstructed her DNA sequence to conform to the dominant race. White people had been oppressed on Mirror World; more in the Eastern States, than in Mirror’s Baudin State, the equivalent of South Australia… But on Earth, particularly Australia in the 1960’s, people of colour were marginalised. Letitia shuddered. The indigenous people of the land were considered fauna and denied the right to vote. And when she stepped out with Nathan, the general public of Sydney at that time, shunned her. If this was Earth, then, how would she be treated?

Calendar 1967

A siren brought Letitia back to the present, this world of winter. She took stock of her predicament—not good; not good at all. Destructive vials of chemicals, catastrophic explosions and a plane blown apart, flashed through her mind. Boris’ threat of the southern polar cap melting, and the world forced into further global warming stabbed her with fear and dread. ‘Will I be blamed? I’m coming out of nowhere. Do I have to alert this unwitting scientific community to this planet’s fate? What if they don’t believe me?’

She glanced down at her tattered rags for clothes. ‘How can I tell these scientists anything? Even if I am on the same world, the scientists still believe mankind have ventured no further than a short trip around Mars with a robot probe. Boris men and their mutant armies are beyond their sceptical comprehension. To these men as much of the world, the recent Fusion bombs were merely the work of terrorists intent on religious and racial wars.’

Letitia sighed and hobbled down a slippery scree slope. She darted past the bright yellow tractor, and lumber-jacket clad fellows dragging a lump of metal over to the khaki green shed. She searched for a door.

The buildings and equipment she passed appeared weathered, and antiquated. She kept thinking that the station would appear different; more updated, more slick, more “science-fictiony”, more modern. She was sure that the brochure about Antarctica which she had gleaned in the airbus, had the buildings more rounded in a saucer shape and standing on stilts. She was positive that the buildings had been portrayed in such a way that they reminded her of the Martians and their craft in War of the Worlds. She had not expected out-dated shipping crates with the constitution of Lego bricks. Still, perhaps that was Mirror World, and so, confirmation that this is Earth.

After detecting a likely door, she stood before it, puzzling how to open it. She tugged hard and down on a metal handle. The door swung open with a jerk and she entered a holding cell. She shoved open another, lighter door. A common room cluttered with walls of pin-up notices, photographs and an obligatory dart board greeted her. A wave of heat washed over her. There were no windows. A green strip of felt for carpet bowls stretched over the floor. Battered coffee tables and chairs that had seen better seasons, hugged the edge of the room making way for the bowls tournament. If the place had been graced with a few dark green slightly deflated cushions, she could have imagined that she was back in the 1960’s at a young peoples’ coffee shop.

The group of seemingly young adults were mainly bearded and unkempt, except for the odd female who was merely unkempt. None of the crowd of strangers were affected by fashion or keeping up appearances. They were focussed on the carpet bowl competition. They ignored her as if she were invisible.

The initial heat receded. Letitia shook, her body jerking, her teeth chattering, as if possessed by demons of the cold. Her bones ached with the chill. Her strength left her, and her legs turned to jelly threatening collapse. She hunted for a stray jacket or knitted rug to throw over herself. She staggered back to the entrance hall and grabbed a fur-lined checked lumber jacket. Aware that she was suffering the effects of hypothermia, she reasoned she had no time to be fashion-conscious. She had heard from fellow compatriots of the IGSF that such a species of fashion existed way back last century, but she, herself, had by-passed the joys of such clothing. During that span of time, the previous encounter with Boris’ attacks had catapulted her into another world where those particular fashions never existed. Just the fancy French ones on Mirror World.

Still weak, she shuffled back into the communal hall and watched the scruffy-looking people with pity. ‘At least they are human,’ she muttered. She mused that they must have been so isolated, so far south, that they had to resort to reject attire from fifty years ago. A calendar with a typical Uluru photo hung askew on the wall. ‘My goodness, even the calendar’s out of date!’ She chuckled half-amused that they would have a 1967 calendar still hanging dolefully on their common room wall.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Uluru at sunset © S.O. Gross circa 1950


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends


Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Choice Bites–The Survivor (2)

The Survivor Part 2

[An extract from another of my little projects in the War Against Boris the Bytrode Series…]

Tragic News

Late afternoon, the setting sun’s dying rays filtered golden through the curtains. The reflected dust motes danced and twirled, more awake than Phillipe who dozed amongst the sheets and crumpled doona on his bed.

His Dad had broken the news to Max the night before. Strange how Dad made the whole disaster appear as though it was Mum’s fault. Liam could never understand that. Dad was always blaming mum. It was as if, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how much of a pure victim, Mum was, somehow Dad construed the whole situation to be Mum’s fault; as if Mum was willing it to happen. So, as far as Dad was concerned, the tragic disappearance of the plane over Antarctica, was solely Mum’s fault. After all, hadn’t she insisted on assisting Boris in his endeavours?

Dad was furious that Mum would desert this life and leave him with two teenage sons—Max (fifteen) and Liam (thirteen). How dare she! And what was worse, Mum was not around to shout at and take the punishment of the pain that she was now putting Dad through.

‘Get yourself outa bed, you lazy princess!’ Dad roared and then hammered on the door.

Max yawned and stretched. ‘In a minute.’ Then he turned over. He wasn’t ready to rise from his slumber. I mean, the sun hasn’t even set. How dare Dad disturb his twelve hours in Neverland?

The door crashed against his mountain of soft-drink bottles, a shrine to the hours of playing Craft of Warts. Boots stomped on the chip packets. A hand clasped his hair and dragged him to the floor. Max landed with a thud and crunch on last night’s pie crust and left-over sauce.

‘I said, “Get up Princess!”’ Dad yelled.

Max sat up and wiped the sticky sauce off his ear, and attempted to ease himself back into bed.

‘Oh, no you don’t,’ Dad said. He grabbed the lad by the elbow, dragged him into the family room and then dumped him sprawling on the carpet. ‘Oh, and clean up your room, it’s a pig sty.’

Max pulled himself up off the carpet and hobbled out of the room. The family room had already taken on the atmosphere of a morgue where his brother Liam sat at the pine modular table. His younger brother struggled to grind semi-dry Weetbix in his mouth. Since Mum’s assumed chilly demise, Dad had put the boys on milk rations. Actually, everything had been rationed in the last week, not that Max was particularly hungry.

Dad was psychotic. He hurled stuff out of cupboards. ‘Where did she hide the keys?’ He rambled as a mantra as he emptied one cupboard after another in his fervent search. ‘I swear she’s put them in a parallel universe.’

Max picked up his mobile phone from the middle of the dining room table and began to tip-toe from the room. Dad was too mental to notice him leave, he hoped. He spied the keys in the centre of the table and realized that the phone had hidden the keys beneath it. He stopped. He sighed and muttered, ‘Do I? Or don’t I?’

Max snatched up the keys and held them up and cried, ‘Here they are!’

Liam kept his head bent, eyes focussed on the dry flakes, and continued munching.

Max’s calls for attention fell on deaf ears. Dad had gone past all realms of reason. Still Max persisted in following after his blind, deaf and psychotic father. He dangled the wanted keys between his fingers. ‘Here they are! Here they are!’ He called as he trailed his Dad from kitchen to the lounge room.

‘Stop harassing me! Go clean your room Princess!’ Dad yelled. He pushed Max towards his room and totally ignored the keys in his son’s hand.

‘Fine then,’ Max mumbled.

He slipped into his room, secreted the keys into his school bag and crawled back into bed. And continued his dream of a faraway land where the sky was mauve and where his name wasn’t Max, but Phillipe, and Liam wasn’t Liam, but Karl.

Out of the Ice-Cave

In a haze of bewilderment, Letitia blinked. Fractured rays of sunlight winked at her through shards of ice. About two metres above her a pale turquoise tinted sky strained through the ice, smooth and clear like glass. Little suns bounced off the icy barnacles and pillows of snow above her.

All was too calm, too silent in her frozen grave. The absolute silence troubled Letitia more than the concept of being buried metres in what appeared to be a snow cave. In this eerie world devoid of noise, she heard her rapid breathing.

‘I can breathe,’ she mumbled, her lips stung, the cold dry skin splitting into cracks. The sharp air cut her lungs. But her exterior didn’t register the cold. Should she be worried? She checked her fingers in the dim light. Were they blue? How long had she been lying there? Did she have frostbite? Would she get it? Or would the nano-bots ensure some protection?

Her body, stripped of clothing, was numb. Her designer Mirror (French, of course) slacks burnt and shredded. What remained of her silk shirt hung limply over her breasts. Her ankle high leather boots dangled at the end of her feet, the rubber soles having melted into distorted blobs. There was a sticky mess woven into her socks; her socks that held her frozen feet. Her feet were clumps of cold meat that seemed not even to belong to her. The ice scrunched and crunched beneath her as she shifted position.

‘How did I get here?’ Letitia asked. ‘Oh, that’s right—Boris. How dare that creep spoil my life again!’

She rubbed her hands together. ‘Right, well, not this time. You’re not going to do it to me again, evil one. God is on my side. He’s saved me again. I’m alive, aren’t I?’

Letitia looked up. ‘Jemima? What happened to you? God, help me get out of here. Help me find Jemima. Help me do what I can to destroy Boris.’

She wriggled her glowing white fingers. A surge of warmth ran through the veins in her arms to the tips of her fingers. The warmth, it seemed supernatural. She rubbed her shredded boots together and wiggled her toes. Blood rushed to her feet. Agonising pins and needles ensued for several minutes.

Heat, as if from an unseen being, poured over her head and cascaded down her body. She remembered the sensation. She’d experienced it before when she’d attended a healing service and the people had prayed for her.

‘The heat of the Spirit,’ they said. A good thing.

The ice beneath her melted. The snow caved-in around her and Letitia sank. She spread out her arms and stilled her limbs. ‘God,’ she cried, ‘what are you doing? Save me.’

A small voice inside her head spoke, ‘Patience. I have it under control.’

The floor under her feet became firm. She turned and examined the surface below. Her feet scuffed at deep brown gravel-like ground through the glassy plate of ice. She was on land.

She scraped the snow and ice above her in the snow tomb. The whole situation had an unreal edge to it. She swayed and slumped against the side of the cave. Bits of snow and icicles gave way as the heat of her body radiated and melted the frozen parts. The sun and its dozens of reflections shone through an ever-widening hole. The opening, just out of reach. Letitia clawed at the frosty sides and marvelled at the snowballs accumulating in her fist. She dumped the unwanted snow at her feet and stood gazing at the gap.

‘How am I ever going to get out?’ she groaned.

She continued to scrape at the frigid walls of the cave, each time hurling the unwanted snow at the floor. A hollow where she had dug began to expand and the soft fluffy snow began to give way to smooth walls as hard as glass. She stepped on the frosty mound beside her feet to reach fresh wads of snow, only to find her feet vanishing into the mush. She continued to shovel, dig, climb, and sink.

‘I’m not getting anywhere,’ she sighed. ‘I’m just making a wider ice-cave; that’s all.’

Letitia smoothed the frozen walls with her warm bare hands. The activity, she assumed, was keeping her blood circulating preventing her from the inevitable death by deep freeze.

She stopped again and wrung her aching hands. ‘Useless! Absolutely useless. I’m not getting anywhere.’ She chastised herself for getting into this slushy mess in the first place. How did she cause this to happen? It began with a party. A date. Nathan. Tall, dark, handsome. Funny. Nathan. How could she resist? Nathan. He had invited her to the twenty-first birthday party of one of his IGSF colleagues. Frieda. In space. La Grange point.

Then. Boris. And years of “Purgatory” living with on that world. Mirror World. What had she done this time? How did Boris know she had wanted out, and that this was her out? How did he know what her daughter, Jemima was planning?

She recalled the on-line survey. Confidential. They promised. Gathering data. That’s what they said. Data, nothing else. So, she’d filled in the survey. After all, they promised a prize. A new washing machine. Never came. Perhaps her answers weren’t so anonymous. Maybe Boris had access to the information provided…Had she inadvertently allowed spies into her world?

‘I won’t let that cockroach win,’ she said.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Inside the Fee Glacier, Swiss Alps © L.M. Kling 2014


Want more?

More than before?

Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends


Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Choice Bites–The Survivor (1)

[An extract from another of my emerging projects in the War Against Boris the Bytrode Series…]


Letitia breathed in the rich aroma red wine. She weened her absorption off and out of the Dickens’ tale and adjusted to her reality. Letitia was on a scenic flight from Auckland heading south, her Mirror Adelaide home and IGSF mission on hold.

Her daughter Jemima thrust a full glass of red under her nose. ‘Try this, Mother! 1984 Grange from the Barossa Valley.’

‘Mmm.’ Letitia leaned back. Jemima, twenty-six, daughter from a long-ago relationship—Nathan. Complicated, war-torn…another universe, actually. And now this present world, this Mirror World was making her vanish…Literally.

Letitia sighed and thought, I wish I could get away for good. To another time another place—Home to Earth before it’s too late. She hung on in Mirror World, though, to thwart the attempts of Boris from enslaving, by stealth, this beautiful world and its population. But for how long? Twenty-six Mirror years had taken its toll. The IGSF (Intergalactic Space Force) medical technology of regular infusions of nano-bots had kept her alive, but now, were failing. Dr. Mario had shaken his dark Latin head after the last infusion and said the words she had dreaded to hear, “There’s nothing more we can do.”

‘To Antarctica we go!’ Jemima charged her glass and took a slurp. ‘Mmm! Excellent stuff! You should try some! Celebrate, this trip is your way out. You know what I mean.’

Her daughter examined her glass of red as though she were a connoisseur.

‘I still can’t believe we are here,’ Letitia said. ‘And drinking such old wine! Must be at least thirty years old.’

Jemima nudged her. ‘You won the prize, Mum! And you invited me to go with you—you knew how much I wanted to complete my quest to visit every continent on Earth. I concede, Mirror, in this case. But, still, a continent. It’s a win-win, ‘cos I’m here to help you. You’ll see.’

‘Of course.’

‘Why else would I take all that trouble to return from our universe?’

Letitia gazed around the passenger cabin. ‘Although, I have one complaint. I thought we’d be put in first-class. I won the prize, what happened to the open lounge plan with plenty of walking space and seats that reclined all the way? It’s nothing like the brochure.’

But here they were, sitting in seats that were blue instead of cream, (as portrayed in the brochure) and the passengers appeared to be more crammed in and arranged in neat narrow (than in that brochure).

‘We won the wine,’ Jemima said as she poured herself another glass.

‘Oh, yes!’ Letitia nodded. ‘Great!’

‘Fancy that, it’s survived all those years…Drink, it’s part of the plan.’

Letitia recollected the on-line competition and how Jemima urged her to explain in twenty-five words or less why she would want to go to Antarctica. She remembered Jemima rubbing her hands together and murmuring that she had a cunning plan.

It was after Jemima’s friend Holly and the rest of the IGSF team escaped through the red spot in Jupiter back to Earth. But before the bad news from Dr. Mario. Bad timing. Now that red spot had sailed and it would be another two years…If only the Doctor had told her earlier, she would’ve gone too.

‘1984! Must have been a good year.’ Jemima remarked as she finished her glass. The screen at the front of the section, played a loop of scenes from the icy continent. Icebergs, penguins, and rough seas battering the orange icebreaker. Letitia couldn’t get the earphones working, so it remained a silent show.

‘Well matured, I guess.’

‘It’s our escape;’ Jemima began, ‘I’ve been checking Earth’s history and in 2014…’

The movie froze.

A piercing scream.

A large man lurched from his seat.

Murmurs rippled through the rows.

Jemima and Letitia craned their necks to catch the action.

Letitia stepped into the aisle to witness a scuffle involving a female air-attendant and a burly passenger. They wrestled a small man.

‘What’s going on?’ Jemima asked.

‘It’s a man,’ Letitia said.

‘Is it—?’

‘He’s ugly—not human—he’s wearing a brown jumper.’

A hairy ball torpedoed down the aisle, bounced on the toilet wall and rolled to a stop. At the other end, a body lay jerking.

Jemima stood and peered at the flailing form. ‘Where’s the head?’

Letitia pointed behind her. ‘There.’

‘I think I’m going to be sick,’ Jemima rasped. She reached for the complimentary paper bag. ‘Where’s the bag? The bag?’

A lady with shimmering auburn hair, thrust a paper bag at Jemima. ‘Here, use mine.’

‘Thank you,’ Jemima breathed before burying her face in its opening.

‘Don’t worry. It’s not real. It has to be a dream,’ Letitia said. The whole episode—the plane, the trip to Antarctica, the action down the front—seemed surreal.

‘This is real Mum. We’ve been hijacked by terrorists.’

‘Shut up! Shut up, you up there!’ a man’s shrill voice could be heard at the front of the cabin.

‘No,’ Jemima gasped, ‘Worse than that, it’s…’

A chill coursed through Letitia’s spine as she spied this man in the tawny jumper lording over his victim’s body. The burly man’s body. The strong man so weak, twitching lifelessly in blood. Blood pooling on the blue aisle carpet.

Feeling queasy Letitia’s legs wobbled as she stood in the aisle.

Jemima retched and trembled in terror.

The man marched up the aisle to Letitia.

He waved a vial of clear liquid between his spindly fingers. He seemed to be moving in slow motion, closer and closer. His black beads of eyes glinted reflecting the fluoro lights. He wasn’t that tall. He didn’t look that strong.

‘I thought, you said he was destroyed near Jupiter, Jemima.’

‘Apparently not.’

Letitia remained standing. She remembered the story of the devil at the end of Martin Luther’s bed. Like Luther, she had God on her side. No way was she going to allow this little man terrorizing the crew and passengers spoil her adventure. Was that a claw on his hand? No, people don’t have claws. Boris does, though. How did he do that to the big strong man? What happened to the security measures back at the airport? Didn’t they check him for weapons?

‘I will not be afraid,’ Letitia said and locked eyes with this man. ‘God is with me. I will survive.’ Convinced—she’d survived the last disaster—many years ago—an alien attack on her ship, cruising around Earth, in space. That was a Boris attack. Boris—she had heard of that enemy of man, engaged in the war against him, but never had she met the cockroach. They said it was a miracle she survived. Burns to sixty percent of her body. Skin grafts saved her. Presently, in this life, on Mirror World, when she wasn’t fading, she looked like everyone else.

‘What’ch’ya looking at?’ He scowled, baring his small, pointy teeth. ‘Have I got a little—no—big, nasty surprise for you!’

He shook the vial. The liquid fizzed.

Letitia gasped.

‘Oh, sh-t!’ Jemima whispered.

A little girl nearby whimpered. ‘Mummy. I don’t want to die, Mummy.’

The man thumped a headrest. ‘Shut up!’

Two air-attendants hung back, glancing left and right. They hunted for solutions. But the threat of violent chemical reactions in the vial, and the potential loss of another head, prevented them from launching an attack on the man.

This man drew close to Letitia. He blew his foul breath into her face and shook the liquid tube.

‘Say goodbye to Antarctica, Grandma! The seas will rise, the coastlines will be flooded, the planet will suddenly heat up, and a few other nasty things…’ He laughed manically. ‘And this planet will be ours!’

‘I’m afraid you are too late—global warming has already done—’ Jemima piped up.

‘Shut up! Girl!’ the man snapped. Then he climbed in the seat next to Jemima and shaved his claw under Jemima’s chin. ‘Do you taste like your mother? Or father?’

‘What d-d-do you hope to achieve with that puny little bottle?’ Jemima stuttered unfazed by this man in the brown jumper who had a claw jutting out from his finger.

He brushed the bottle across Jemima’s cheek. ‘I won’t bore your puny mind with the scientific details…but,’ he gazed at the glass tube with devilish fascination, ‘But—when this liquid chemical compound escapes and mixes with the heat and airline fuel, there will be a big bang and a most delicious chain-reaction. Think of it as a kind of revenge on what you humans did to my kind, once, many, many years ago.’

‘Who are you?’ Letitia asked, although she had a pretty good idea who this particular monster was.

He rose and leaned against Letitia, his pug nose and flaring nostrils within inches from her face. Letitia averted her face from his onion and garlic breath tainted with cockroach stench.

He spoke slowly, and with menace. ‘I think you know who I am, my dear.’

‘I don’t, really, I don’t.’

‘Really? I don’t have time for this,’ the man said. He thumped the vial on the arm of the chair.

Letitia heard a crack, and a sizzle. The cabin filled with smoke. Then a flash of light and a rumble of thunder. Letitia grew light-headed. In the background as if in the distance she heard Jemima say, ‘It’s Boris, Mum…the Bytrode, you know, the giant alien cockroach…so glad we had the wine…’

Then sinking…plummeting towards the Earth. The screams of panicked passengers and the howl of the wind as it rushed through the fast-descending airbus, blended into agonising seconds of horror.

The force thrust Letitia forward. The aircraft pitched and spun. The ceiling caved and banged against her head as the craft disintegrated. The shattered fuselage nose-dived. Through cracks in the hull, clouds skidded past. The icy wasteland rushed into view.

Boris defied the laws of physics, hovering above his prey. His wings whirred creating a gravitational force-field holding Letitia. He bared his jagged teeth in a sickly smile.

‘So, my dear, Letitia, you are getting what you want most,’ Boris said.

Letitia gasped. How can he talk when she can barely breathe? The cold air rushing the plane to its demise, snatched her words before they became thoughts. Surely, she didn’t ask for this. Never even contemplated it. Why would she want to die crashing to Earth?

Bodies jettisoned around the remains of the cabin. Some bounced off Boris’ shell. He was fully cockroach now.

‘Can’t you see?’ Boris said. ‘Earth.’

Great! Letitia thought and then curled up and waited for the impact.

She imagined that her entire life would flash before her eyes. It didn’t.

She glanced up.

The seats arranged in a semi-circle were white. They rotated as if in some crazy show ride. Jemima was gone. Sucked out, and hurtling towards the icy plains of Antarctica, Letitia assumed.

As if detached from her body, she watched Boris vanish. Then she waited for the final thud…

The thud came. Metal crunched and ground around her. An explosion burst jolting her back to the here, now and her body sliding through slush. Ice caved-in on top of her, blocking light out and trapping her in darkness.

[To be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Sellicks Beach © L.M. Kling circa 1985


Want more?

More than before?

Read the ongoing battle between good and evil…

Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling