The Last Ravine (Part 1: What leads to being brave.)

a river basinOn the topic brave again, a little while ago, about three months I think. I wrote a short story titled “The Last Ravine” which is part of the “Forrester’s water project”, which I even had professionally proofread by Trish at Spell-Bound. Though I may of changed a few items since then. So if there are any holes or mistakes, they are probably mine.

Going back to brave again, I was reading a post by Alarna Rose Gray, “Adults are Supposed to be Brave“, then thoughts on all the different kinds of brave started going through my head. When yesterday came around, I started having song lyrics going through my brain before heading to work, they went a little like this; Sometimes we gotta be brave my friend, sometimes we got to be brave. There’s going to be moments in our lifetime, sometimes where we have to be brave.

I am yet to follow up and find the rest of the words for the lyrics, as work interrupted. This morning it was a poem, “Who to whom be brave” that found a space to run just 15 minutes before work. Though by this afternoon “The last Ravine” came to mind, as dealing with aspects of brave and some of the other flavours it possess.

A while ago I posted just a snippet of “The last Ravine” (part of the Forrester’s water project), now here is the whole first part, with the second installment to follow on Friday, or maybe next week.

I have to go now, so happy reading and let me know what you think of part one, if you have some time and I have not sent you to sleep. But before you go, Alarna Rose Gray , has three (out of a future 7) rhyming verse books for all ages about Pepi over on Amazon go check them out and show some love. Thank you!

The Last Ravine (Part 1: What leads to being brave.)

The flashes of headlights, as a series of air-horns blasts break the silence of the still night air.

“Ash! Wake up!” yells Annette to her husband of fourteen years. As Ash shakes his head, they narrowly miss a head-on collision, swerving to the side of the road into some loose gravel as they come to a stop. The smell of rubber sent molten by the long-haul road train that locked up its brakes fills the air, Ash and Annette’s four-wheel at rest in a cloud of dust and black smoke.

“I think we should stop for a break. We’re on holidays – can we get there in one piece?” voices Annette in a broken voice. “At least a few hours rest,” as she turns to check on their three kids in the back seat. “You’re in luck, they’re all still asleep. We have plenty of time, Ash; we can make the campsite in the morning.”

While sitting there almost arguing what to do, trying not to wake their kids, a knock on the driver’s side window startles them both. A tall skinny man, a bit of a scruff in jeans and blue singlet, calls through the window, “Are you people alright?”

Ash winds his window down, pondering that the man must be the truck driver, noticing the road train’s tail lights a couple of hundred metres down the road as he responds, “Yes thanks, we’re all good.”

“Your load up top seems to have busted your rack,” says the tall man as he leans down to introduce himself.

“Hi, my name is Steve. You’ve probably worked out that’s my rig down the road you only just missed.”

“Hello, Steve, I’m Ash, my wife, Annette, and our three sleeping monsters in the back are Suzy, Thomas, and Renee.”

“Happy to meet you all. Now let’s see what we can do for your roof rack.”

A slim figure appears out of the darkness.

“Dad, are they alright? Can we go now?” rattles of a girl of about sixteen.

“Hey, I thought I told you to stay in the truck?” Steve says in a firm voice to his daughter.

“Since you’re here now, Bianca, can you duck back up to the box on the second trailer and grab me a couple of the short ropes, please?”

Bianca darts off back up to the truck. Annette opens a book up and starts to read by the interior light.

“So, where are you folk headed?” asks Steve.

“We’re on our way to the new camp site up on Parrot’s Pavilion.”

“The home of Forrester’s Ghost then.”

“What, a ghost?” interjects a startled voice from fourteen-year-old Suzy through a now down back window. “Dad, you never said there were ghosts where we’re going.”

“It’s just an old wives’ tale to keep non locals away from the place, young lady. You and your family will be fine,” says Steve.

Soon Bianca returns with a couple of ropes. Steve and Ash get to work securing the broken roof rack, while Suzy starts asking questions about ghosts.

“What do you know about the ghost where we’re going?” asks Suzy.

“Where are you headed?” Bianca asks back.

“Dad said we’re going to some pavilion place. I said, a show? He said no, camping in a national park. So we’ve come all this way from New Zealand, just to go camping. Dad said it would be good for us. Is that your dad?”

“Yes, that’s my dad, always willing to give someone a helping hand. You’re headed for Parrot’s Pavilion, you best watch out for Forrester’s Ghost for sure. That’s his place up there, and he doesn’t take kindly to uninvited strangers. Stay away from The Bend and you’ll be fine. That’s where he lives.”

Soon Ash and Steve have the load and rack secure on the roof.

“All done then, Ash, good to have met you and your family,” says Steve as he shakes Ash’s hand. “Just try not to drive tired in future. Don’t want to see any harm come to your family. C’mon, let’s go, Bianca, we still have a couple of hundred K before we’re home.”

Annette, just realising the repairs were all done, calls out, “Thanks Steve, Bianca.”

“All good, catch you later,” replies Steve.

Bianca says her good-byes to Suzy as she and her dad head back up into the darkness towards the road train. Ash, Annette, and Suzy watch until they can no longer see the tail lights receding into the night.

“Time for a bit of a sleep till morning,” says Annette as she passes the blankets around. Steve moves the four-wheel drive further off the road, turns the lights out so everyone can drift off to sleep.

Too soon the birds begin to wake, and with them Thomas and Renee.

“Mum, Dad, are we there yet?”

Annette wakes, but before she can respond, Suzy pipes up.

“Of course not. Does it look like we’re there, sitting here on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?”

“Shush, quiet, dad’s trying to get some sleep,” says Ash as he takes his blanket off and climbs out of the RV for a stretch.

After a short while, everyone’s had a stretch and after quick cooked breakfast of eggs and baked beans on toast, the family are on the road again. Singing, “I spy”, and laughing help the next couple of hours to pass till finally they’ve made it on to the access track to Parrot’s Pavilion. For the next twelve kilometres, as the vehicle climbs, the vegetation changes from dry eucalypt and wattle forests to lush sub-tropical rain forest. Renee is the first to spot the spectacular view down San Script Gorge’s drop from the downstream end of Parrot’s Pavilion.

“Wow! Look, Thomas,” gasps Renee.

“I can’t see. Suzy’s in the way”

“No I’m not,” barks Suzy.

“Hey, hey, settle down you lot. We’ll be at the campsite soon,” responds Ash.

Before long the family have arrived at the campsite, partially unpacked and for the most part have set up.

“Dad, can I go exploring?” asks Suzy.

“Can we go too!?” shout Renee and Thomas.

“Yes, but stay in the camping area, don’t go wandering off into the bush.”.

“Do I have to take them with me?” complains Suzy.

“Yes you do. Your Mum and I still have some things to unpack; after that we’ll all have a proper look around, okay. Watch out for snakes, too.”

The three kids walk off to explore the campsite while Ash and Annette continue to unpack. After a short time, a park ranger’s vehicle enters the site and pulls up next to their camp. Climbing out of the Land Cruiser is a fit young redhead with a beard.

“Hello, I’m Cameron,” he says as he introduces himself to the couple. “The office told me some folk would be up here today, five of you. So thought I’d drop by and see if you are all okay. You’ll be the only people up here this week.”

“We’re finding everything okay. Those are our children just down there. We figured they couldn’t get into too much trouble just around the camp area,” answers Annette.

“That’s okay, but just be aware of the wildlife around, snakes in particular.”

“We have thanks, Cameron,” responds Ash. “How long has this part of the park been open to the public? We only came across it a couple of years ago on the Web.”

“This part of the park has only been open about three years now. It wasn’t until an old livestock lease ran out that it was able to be incorporated back into Sans Script Gorge.”

“That’s an unusual name, I have heard of Sanskrit, but not Sans Script. Where did it come from?” asks Annette.

“The story goes that around a hundred and thirty years ago, a young man named Forrester took up a hundred-year lease over the four kilometres or so of the plateau billabong now known as Parrot’s Pavilion, for obvious reasons. There are about eight species of parrots and numerous other bird species. The lease also took in around 190,000 acres. Forrester was a breeder of stock horses, and a writer of books. I mean novels. They were mostly adventure stories, about what he’d done and seen in the three times he had been around the world before settling here.”

In the meantime, Suzy, Thomas, and Renee move to the far end of the camp, closest to Parrot’s Pavilion.

“Look, a big lizard,” says Thomas. As he moves towards the lizard, (in reality a goanna) it takes off into the bush, Thomas close behind…


5 responses to “The Last Ravine (Part 1: What leads to being brave.)

  1. Hey there Sean, I could really picture this. Something very Australian about those kinds of road trips, and falling asleep at the wheel! Been in more than one of those instances myself – my brother nearly drove us over the edge, once 🙂

    Thanks so much for the generous plug of my blog and the books! Such a pleasant surprise. I’m also interested in the way the topic of brave has resonated with you. I love when songs and quotes like that come to mind from seemingly out of nowhere. And then the hunt to find out what it is. Usually, there’s something meaningful to be found in those gifts from the unconscious.

    Have a great day and enjoy writing the next instalments 🙂

    • It’s traveling the long distances to get places, with just the bush/countryside to colour the glass. I have never been present in a case of driver fatigue, But once with a mate, Berkley, whom was over here from the US on holidays, we watched as the driver of the car in front of us (we were traveling with them), went looking for a map on the back seat. The car traveled several different directions and attitudes, before finishing on its side (everyone was okay).

      Just starting to realise, there’s plenty out there in the blogosphere to plug, it may become addictive as I get deeper into many of the blogs out there growing. 🙂

      Brave is one of those words which can form some interesting contexts. As I write poems from time to time, the lyrics are out of my own head, but there may be a deep influence from another song maybe. Sometime I will just rattle off a random verse and string it together on the fly, but rarely will I find the time to write it down like the one in the post. It’s just something I do to pass the time. 🙂

      But now you have me song hunting to see if it did come from somewhere else.

      Have a good weekend, and all the best with the books 🙂

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