Kaleidoscope – Hettie Ashwin

4800 words General Fiction

Coming to terms with the death for a child can be bewildering. When Emily’s grandfather dies she hears the adults talking and brings her own logic to their grief and her belief in the afterlife. Set in Australia, Kaleidoscope reveals how Emily rationalises her grandfather’s passing, as only a child can.

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The box had four gold handles and the wood smelt new. It was polished and gave a lacquered black mirrored view of the front parlour. Emily watched as her relatives went up and looked inside. She saw Aunt Maud’s black dress in the wood and its changing shape reminded her of the hall of mirrors she had visited at the Royal Agricultural Show in the school holidays. She knew what was in the box. When it was her turn, she let go her mother’s hand and walked purposefully up to the box and stood on tip toes, but all she could see was white material. Her father offered his shoe and she stood on his foot as he raised his leg slowly bringing her face up to the rim.

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War at Salt Bush Flats – Hettie Ashwin

1850 words General Fiction

Dogs are part of farming life, but when one dog’s sexual exploits take on legendary proportions the farmer has to take drastic action. Who wins in the end is anyone’s guess, but Moss the dog and Bill the farmer find a compromise to the war.

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It was war. Bill hunted around the dust bowl that was his front yard with his old gun slung low on his hip, squinting in the noonday sun. “I’ll get ya, you bastard,” he shouted into the wind. He narrowed his eyes and looked into the distance at the salt bush scrub trying to second guess where his quarry would be. “Don’t think I’m givin’ up,” he yelled and stomped back to the veranda, a trail of dry dust following him up to the steps. The screen door slammed shut as Bill thumped into the weatherboard house and headed for the kitchen.

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