Nellie took the cup he offered her and wrapped both her hands around it. She wasn’t sure of the answer to give him. Didn’t actually know the answer. Magura would send news soon enough. She took a moment, watching the kookaburra on the front fence post.

Its been there all week” said the young Docotor. “  Coming and going. Closer than they usually come to the house and sometimes simply staring at me”.

Nellie kept her eyes on the bird and on the ocean below. “Who are you ? “ she asked.

The young man smiled a little. His hair was thick and black and his eyes, thought Nell, had seen as much as hers had.

I am one of the lost ones, “ he said.

She laughed, sitting there beside him. “  That makes two of us”.

And whose blood is it ? “ he repeated.

The Elderwoman told him as much as she could recall of the sounds and sights of the night before. Then she spoke to him of Magura and the camp at the end of the swamps and lagoon up behind the third headland.

“I don’t know who it was that passed my cottage”  Nell said, “ and I’ve not the least intention of telling anyone  other than you about them. We wait now for a message to come. Then I surely might need your help.”

The Kookaburra lowered her head and took a  cross eyed look at the two of them. She shook her feathers, stooped and flew in a dive towards them before arcing into a Southern glide and vanishing into the trees alongside the lagoon.

So, when did you get lost … and where … and how ? “

Nellie watched him closely as she asked the questions she knew might not have been asked before.

I was lost from here”, he said. “  Lost from the lagoon and rivers. Lost from the pelicans and the flathead fish and the camps in the Bush. My mother took me to the City when I was small. Small and  ‘passable’.  We left my sister here.”  He stood up and moved to the door.”I had a different name, back then, when I was small.“

Nellie watched him walk down the steps and out into his yard with its herbs and shells and cane fishing rods. She hitched her thick black skirts and hoisted herself up. Leaning on the table, she called through the open window.

They know you, don’t they? They know who you are. “

The laughter began to roll in, echoed from the Southern Camp a good mile or two away – as the Burra flies-  chuckled up in Nell’s throat and shook the black shining hair on the young doctor’s head.

Yes indeed. They know who I am. They knew me straight away.”

That makes two of us” said Nell, her salt tangled  white hair wave rippling with giggling. “ Tell me then, what was it that they didn’t know ?”


About nellibell49


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