Walk Twenty, Run Twenty
"Rick's cousins were two specks floating on the horizon, leaving him far behind on the treacherous bush track. he looked at his punctured tyres in dismay. Ten kilometres. If he walked, he'd be too late to save them. If he ran, he'd expire in the heat.
"Somewhere across the flats, in between the red-dirt back roads, there was real trouble happening. Rick had never felt so alone; the land around him felt as alien as the moon - nothing like the city.
"But now was no time to hesitate ... Ian and Nita were depending on him.
"Then the voice of his dead father came back to him: 'Don't use up all your energy at once. Walk twenty, run twenty.'"
They have put my mother and father to rest in the hard, hard groud and brought me here, to a strange place, to live among strangers.
Anyhow, that's how I see it.
The unvarying country slips by my window: saltbush plains, mallee scrub, tired fencelines, sheep the colour of the dust, and, in the distance, drought-pink ranges. The car rumbles on, the tarry highway soft beneath us in the heat of the day.
We have been on the road for three hours now and the stangeness is getting stranger. I don't speak. I have not spoken since the service at the graveside.
From the Angus & Robinson paperback edition, 1996.
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Last modified: November 12, 2001.