By Ray Wilkins ©2009 Of Time and Space Shop
Wootara and Yarrawa were sitting by the slowly dying fire, staring into the still hot coals that winked into the night. The Girl with Nine Toes walked into the circle of amber light and sat on the other side of the fire. She crossed her short skinny legs and rubbed her hands together.
“Karrabanda, my friends, may the sun shine in your heart and the moon fill you with wisdom.” She looked into the eyes of the two young people and continued. “Close up your mouths, and I will tell you the story about Birribirri, the abalone diver who found his life.”
Wootara and Yarrawa threw some more tea tree on to the fire and closed their eyes to listen to that singsong voice coming from the person who they believed knew the history of the world.
”Birribirri lived down in Ulladullah at Lake’s Entrance. He was a hunter of the Ocean Dreaming’ and spent his life diving for abalone. He owned one small boat, diving gear that was slightly rusted and a heart that was turning away from love. He lived together with his wife, Barramundi. They had two children, a boy and a girl called Gurramulu and Babu. He was a good diver and loved working beneath the waves of the Pacific Ocean scraping abalone shells off the reef and selling them to the Man With the White Skin. Every morning at six he would drive down to the small cove where his boat and Jack Malu, a Maori diver, were waiting to sail out onto the reefs. On this day, the one that would change his life, while driving through the dunes his thoughts wandered back to the argument he and his wife had now been having for many, many years.”
“Birri, when in the name of The Lizard Man are you going to open up your heart? You hide behind a stone as cold as ice, you turn your back to my starving soul every night, you ignore your kids, and all you think about are your bloody abalone shells and the weather forecast. Where is the man that I married ten years ago? Did he drown out on the reefs or would you rather marry Jack Malu?’
”Tears touched her eyes and she stared at the man she loved and waited for an answer that she knew would never come.”
“Birribirri looked down at his scarred, sandpaper hands and felt that familiar sensation within his chest, a band of steel wound around the muscles of his heart slowly squeezing out his life.”
Yarrawa opened up her eyes and said, “Why doesn’t he open up his mouth and tell her what he thinks and feels, or has he lost his voice as well?“
”No, Yarrawa, my friend, he has not lost his voice, he has lost his smile. Five years before, his wife gave birth to a boy who died soon after he was born. At the same time his mother, who he loved very much, also died. Birribirri then learned that the best way to fight sadness was to close up, much like his beloved abalone shells do when they are attacked. But let me go back to the story.
”He pulled up into the small car park, went to the back of the truck and lifted out the petrol container to be used in the air compressor. He could already see Jack on the deck of his boat sorting out the baskets. Jack looked up and waved to his partner. Jack could see by the way he was walking across the road that nothing had changed. He felt sad for his friend and at the same time angry that Birri was hurting himself, marked by the scars that he had inflicted on himself over the last five years.
“Morning, mate. It looks like a good day for shells today. The sun’s already up and everything is ready!”
“Hiya, Jack, yeah, it’s looking good. I just hope it stays that way.”
”He climbed on board and they both rolled a cigarette, and sitting on a basket they drank their first cup of steaming hot coffee and smoked their cigarettes in friendly silence – their daily ritual to start the day.”
“’I don’t know, Jack. You’re my best cobber and, you know, I can talk to you about what I’m thinking, but if I go any deeper and start getting down to where those memories are buried it’s like a door suddenly shuts, and then, there are only shadows.’
”You´re right, mate. Barramundi is right too. Every time I touch that door to my feelings I take a step back, and every step back I seem to get even further away from her. I can see that I am hurting her and the kids, but I just don’t seem to have any control over it.”
“Well, mate, I think your problem is that you have too much control. You have to learn to let go of all that pain and stuff that you have inside of you.”
”Birribirri looked over at his friend. Seeing his tattooed face and shining pitch black eyes he felt a small ray of warmth deep within his heart, but he quickly put out the struggling spark
For those who may be new to The Inferno, Ray Wilkins is an accomplished writer, and amazing artist. He has published two books, “The Girl With Nine Toes” and “Emotio”, both available in German, and “The girl with nine toes” is also available in English, from Amazon.com, Barns & Noble.Com, as well as all other online or real world, brick and mortar bookstores.
You can purchase Ray’s Art from his site, Time and Space Shop, or you can buy prints, calendars, tee shirts, and ect. for very reasonable prices at Ray’s Redbuble Shop. Ray participates in The Artist Challenge, and you can view many of his works of art in the galleries there. He is also an active member of our private tavern, Dante’s Pub, where we all gather to tell tall tales and inspire each other with creative influence.
There is only five days left until the deadline for submissions for our next Writers Challenge. The theme is Nightmares Dance, and the deadline for submission is 11:00 Central on October 3rd 2009. The challenge is open to short stories, poetry, novel excerpts, just about anything you can dream up. The submitted writings will be published in succession with a common tag for linking, on October 4th 2009 at 12:01 AM. I will post a welcome article for readers with a link to that tag, so they can view all the submission at the same time. Comments will be open to anyone, and each submission will have it’s own comment section. We already have some wonderful stories that have been sent in to share with everyone. I can’t wait to see what else is being dreamed up by all of you creative writers. If you would like to participate, please click on the Contact Me button in the sidebar or the contact text link in the menu bar at the top of the page. If you would like further information about the Writers Challenge click here, for The Artists Challenge, click here.