A Kinship of Cats – Dorothy Williams
3000 words General Fiction / Animal Story
A Kinship with Cats lightens the difficult lives of two old war veterans as they strive to maintain their independence together as fire, flood and disability diminish their ability to live off their land. They pity a mysterious giant feral cat starved of prey by the fires, that steals from their barbecue, until a reporter reveals its identity.
Only the passing of the marmalade tabby draws his attention. He sits alone and silent all day on the veranda of the Alamein Home. But then, old George never did talk much . . . He sat on the steps with Vern, gazing across the firebreak. They sniffed the wind and the faint drift of smoke from the ranges, sensing the weather — a wind change, maybe rain on the way. Only once had fire come towards them from the mountains to the east. The rain came just in time that year. Every summer still, just in case, they ploughed a firebreak through the regenerating bush that reached across the narrow flat towards the little shack.
A Very Heavy Tray – Dorothy Williams
1770 words General / Women’s Fiction
A Very Heavy Tray helps to bring a grandmother into a new relationship with a good friend. His unaccountable arrival to find her house in embarrassing disarray has them both puzzled, yet they draw closer as he helps her clean, until the arrival home of her youngest son solves their mutual puzzlement and puts forward a new future.
He could not have arrived at a worse time. The painters had just departed, leaving behind them the strong smell of Bone Ivory, the furniture shoved into awkward places, and a clutter of unwashed coffee mugs. All day the phone had been ringing from behind the wall units; unwelcome salesmen bad been turned away from the far end of a hallway booby trapped with stools and coffee tables; and grandchildren had rushed in with cries of glee to be swept out with wails of disappointment.
Attention Deficit – Dorothy B. Williams
2900 words General Fiction
A grandmother-with-custody sets out to treat her lively youngster to a seaside holiday and family get-together, but things do not always go as planned.
The journey continues with stops along the way to stuff mysterious Christmas presents from cousins into a bulging bag. He is seven, and only slightly overactive, as hyperactivity goes. He bounces as we purr along the Esplanade, past the trawler gliding in from the Entrance, the fishing fleet nudging the jetties, gaudy paddle boats rippling the lake, cormorants hanging their wings to dry in the lowering sun. He bangs open Great-grandma’s back door with a shout: “Here we are, Grandy!” The television blares in the lounge room as she comes out wide-eyed and open-mouthed. “What a lovely surprise!” she muffles into my cheek. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”
Flight of the Sea Eagle – Dorothy Williams
3200 words General Fantasy
Does the Flight of the Sea Eagle bring a blessing or a curse to a prehistoric couple fatally banished by their isolated tribe after failing to prove themselves strong at initiation? Steadily starving, locked between sea and the mountain Barrier, Moonambel leaves to end it. Sonniel, left alone, sees something fall from the Barrier, before he is led to discover what lies beyond.
It was early dawn when they set out. Frost crackled under the shoes the cobbler had stitched for them in the clear light of their mother – the Moon – full and pregnant, burnished by star shine on the night of the equinox. The eastern sky glowed faintly salmon, the day promising to be bright and fair. As they strode along the cliff top way the first rays of the sun reached out to them across the water, blessing them with a golden promise. They turned to it, hands raised in gratitude, and watched the glittering pathway widen towards them. ‘Our Father blesses us,’ whispered Moonambel, awestruck.
In the Mangroves – Dorothy B. Williams
2500 words Teen / Crime
Two teenagers off to a seaside weekender, alarmed by noises in the night, unwittingly deepen the consequences of a crime.
Thanks to a flat tyre it was late at night when we got to our fishing shack by the bay. Moonlight made a path across the still water, and silvered the leaves of the mangroves. It gleamed on our tin roof, but below the trees round our house, the shadows were completely black. The only sound was the distant spooky hoot of a Powerful Owl. Even the frogs were silent. We stood for a while, watching the clouds glide slowly over the face of the moon. Then, as we took our bikes round the back to the shed, the silence was broken by the sound of a shot. We both jumped, then Colin shrugged.
Plum Tree – Dorothy Williams
3000 words General Fiction
The Plum Tree watches over a family as three babies are born, and grow into teenagers. Jane’s children are her life, the fruit of her existence. Yet all the family are individuals seeking to shape their own lives. Crops are produced at a cost and the fruit does not always fall close to the tree.
Through the rain gusting onto the glass she stared at the last leaves dropping soggily from the plum tree. Just harmless drops of water, but with a wind from the south pole driving them, each tiny raindrop amputated yet another leaf. Wayne had planted the tree the day Timothy was born. His mother thought it too impersonal a gift, but Jane had loved it, and laughed with the proud new grandma over a nappy bucket with lid that was his response to her reproaches. Men really had no idea, but he was so sweet!
The Pelican on the Couch – Dorothy B. Williams
2000 words Literary Fiction
A nature photographer encounters a penniless woman who entertains the pelicans as she struggles to maintain herself in a shack on the river, until floods change their future.
I’d been up river by daybreak, and was drifting back on the outgoing tide with a couple of rolls of exposed film in the camera bag when I saw her having breakfast, out among the oyster leases. “Bloody idiot!” she bellowed. Rising with difficulty from the padded velvet lounge on the decking, she shook her fist at a launch that puttered at rather more than regulation speed past her doddery shack, rocking it slightly on its piles. A swarm of seagulls rose screaming. A dozen ungainly pelicans flopped into the water, performed a stately circle, and flapped back to waddle round her feet.