and The Quest To See
Chapter 1 - Confession
Vent your spleen!
... so that's about it Diary. It's really taken me months to bring you
up to date, almost to the end of the footy and soon it's the finals.
I don't know much about football, like it's just a game to me, although
I bet Harry barracks for "The Bull-dogs", (that's a joke) and I know
Louis supports Melbourne, (The Demons,) and I think Henry goes for The
Bombers, but to me it's all just a lot of guys running and kicking and
catching and stuff, although they do wear pretty keen short-shorts.
Anyway, that brings me to something I left off with you and have been
It's about me and how I feel about about Moni.
It was complicated and all mixed up in my mind and I couldn't tell
anyone, not even you Diary, I mean I just got washed over with so many
thoughts and feelings and I felt bad and sad and kind of depressed
really down sometimes especially at night. I'd wake up and lie there
hoping that the morning wouldn't happen wishing for the night to go on
and on wishing I could go back to sleep and not wake up I mean for a
long time not forever or maybe forever I didn't know. Things.
Stuff just gets on top and breaks you down and makes you feel
like why go on? I cried a lot not when any one could see me not even
Moni I mean like would I want her to know what's been happening inside
No I cried on my own when no one else was around except Harry here at
home He didn't mind if I cried just was there for me.
He's such a a very good boy. It's almost like he understands, Diary,
but of course he's only an animal, a very faithful dog and we all love
him even when he's naughty.
So anyway, I finally made myself talk to Moni about her and me, about
you know, us and girl stuff together, and we talked and talked and you
know what? We just hugged!
She told me that she just likes guys and girls and isn't really sure
about all that just yet. Like it's hard to work stuff like that out. To
tell the truth Diary I'm sorta confused what with all the pressure of
school and growing up, and all the things happening in the world, the
sad, terrible things like poverty and disease and war and terrorism.
Even here in Australia there's some of those things, along with drought
and falling water reserves and uh I'm gabbing too much and it's going
nowhere. Whatever happens, whatever I think which direction I take
Diary, you'll be the first to know gotta go now my good pal. Crissy
coming in a couple a months.
Diary Just never give up on me ok
and Henry, if you even look at any of this you know what you'll get!!!
The football season ended and The Horse Race That Stops A Nation, The
Melbourne Cup, was run and won.
Three weeks later the three Black teens all passed their exams: Louis,
Priscilla's older brother, easily moved up to year ten, Priscilla
herself managed to attain year nine, struggling through Maths and
Science but doing well enough in other subjects and Henry: runt of the
litter, qualified lunatic, prankster, general rat-bag and leader of the
rabble-rousing pack bolted into year eight along with all his cronies
and usual suspects.
Monique Bateleur, (Priscilla's dearest friend), Narenda Upaday and
Belinda Moss all moved up and stayed together in their class formats.
Even Roseanne Sole, concentrating on studies after her disgrace on the
awards night, got a pass that elevated her to the next level.
The day after end of school, Henry got a broken arm and a ruptured
Priscilla witnessed it happen.
She was in her room upstairs, deeply immersed in Twilight, frantically
reading about Edward and Bella and their love for each other and
wondering if a vampire's pricking bite might not be so bad if the
vampire was Edward, when Henry hailed her.
'Hey Cilla! How am I doing? See me? No dumbo! Out here! Take a look out
Priscilla, caught unawares and so into the vampire saga, was simply
staring at the empty bedroom doorway until prompted by her brother. She
turned to look out the window where the great tree dwarfed the house and
where Henry, grinning like a pirate flag's skull, was hauling himself
aloft as if climbing into the shrouds of some long-ago buccaneer ship.
'You stupid bugger! What are you doing? Stop it! Get down from there!
You'll fall and break your silly neck!'
'No I won't Sis. Just decided that it was time to do this. That old tree
house up there... see it through the leaves? Sometimes I didn't think it
really existed, bit hard to make out, it's so high, but today I can get
up there, just want to take a look, must have been some hide-out for
guys a long time ago, maybe even spotters for aircraft in the second
Priscilla's hands were clutching the window sill. 'Don't go up any
higher Henry, it's an old tree and the branches might break.'
'Crap! I'm O.K. Cilla, just want to see this old tree-house, always
have, since we first came here...' His hands grasped a branch that
sheared away and suddenly Henry was looking at a fall through foliage to
the distant ground below.
'No!' Priscilla shouted.
'Woowh!' Henry shouted back as he tried to recover, lost balance and
plummeted down, smashing through branches that snapped like fire
crackers, receiving cuts and abrasions on the descent and finally
landing with a bone-jarring thump, lodged against the trunk and a
thicker branch, though having lost consciousness he could not know that
he had been saved from even greater damage.
'I don't usually do this,' Harry said, as he levitated Henry from his
tree crutch, floating him gently back to earth. 'You guys are supposed
to get yourselves out of situations.'
'Stop rabbiting on and just bring him down Harry! He looks really hurt,'
Priscilla managed, frantically hitting buttons on her mobile phone,
getting it wrong and starting again.
'Stuff it!' she exclaimed in exasperation. 'Oh sorry not you Ambo
peop... bloody hell! It's a robot on the other end! Yeah yeah! Priscilla
Black. 210A Silverglade Road. Camberwell... In Victoria... Australia!
Yes! Of course it's an emergency you idiot robot! I want to talk to a
real person not answer your stupid ques... Oh thank goodness! Yes, yes,
dumb brother, fallen out of a big tree, unconscious and bleeding... No,
I'm the only one at home except for Harry... our dog... yes, I'll ring
my parents and Gran straight after... no I wont move him... keep his
airway clear... I'm checking that right now... he's breathing hard and
fast, still out of it... Phone number? Check! How long do y...'
The wail of a siren closing swiftly through the streets alerted
Priscilla. 'That quick? Oh, you had a unit nearby? Great! Thank-you.
Thanks so much. Gotta go and get them in to him...'
Leaving Harry to watch over Henry, Priscilla raced through the house and
hailed the ambulance crew as they pulled into the driveway.
'In here! He's knocked out, bleeding but breathing!'
'We've stabilized your brother and need to get him to hospital pronto!'
said the female driver. 'Brett's going to ride in the back with Henry
all the way. Will you be alright here on your own?'
'I'm not on my own, I've got Harry our dog.'
'Yes, very faithful, right there by your brother, and gentle, didn't go
whacko like some dogs do when their master's are hurt.'
'Harry's a S.N.A.D.'
'Sorry Priscilla, what's that mean?'
New Age Dog, Megan, and thanks again for coming so soon. Take
good care of Henry, got to ring Gran, then start calling my parents...'
Henry ended up in hospital undergoing treatment and in plaster for four
weeks altogether, which wiped out a large chunk of the school holidays.
Christmas came, the Black family gathered, finally, for three weeks
Mathew flew in from Western Australia where he was busy working on a new
documentary about early exploration impacts on the Indigenous
populations of the times.
Rachael Black (Stage name Rachael Davies.) buzzed in from New Zealand
where her play, 'The Ant's Pants,' (On Christmas Recess.) was still
pulling audiences after two months.
Henry, as always, made the best of a bad, or indeed any situation; even
thoroughly-autographed-plaster and a damaged spleen.
His eventual recovery was celebrated by Granny Black, Molly their Irish
cleaner, Rachael, Mathew and Henry's siblings. (Oh and Harry, who
scruffled and wrestled the discarded plaster arm-caste with lots of
growling and shaking. So much so that all those gathered broke into
spontaneous laughter at his antics.)
'Harry's such a ditzy dog,' said Henry. 'He should have been a Dumb
'What? Like an afghan d'you mean?' asked Louis, engaging in a tug-of-war
with the little black dog.
'He'd need a sex change as well as colour to be a Dumb-Blonde afghan,'
'I'm just amazed that you didn't kill yourself if you were up as high as
Priscilla said,' Mathew remarked, changing the subject.
'Gee, look who's talking Dad.' Henry answered defensively. 'You ended up
on a ledge in Tazzie with a broken leg.'
'Umm,' Mathew twisted his mouth in the same characteristic way as his
son. 'All the same, maybe I should get that tree cut down. It's too
'No!' Priscilla and Henry shouted simultaneously. Harry released his
grip momentarily and yodelled before biting down again hard on the
'Like it's not the tree's fault that I fell out of it.' said Henry.
'That's right and it's such a beautiful tree and it gives us shade and
it's really no problem and oh please don't cut it down Dad,' Priscilla
pleaded. 'Henry promises not to do that ever again don't you Henry?'
'O.K. You can when you're a hundred,' offered Louis, still wrestling
with Harry, whose eyes were staring hard into Priscilla's even as he
growled and tugged with all his might against Louis.
'Alright, alright.' said Mathew. 'I know it's a noble tree and kind of
sets the house off. Tallest tree in the whole street, but if it drops
too many leaves into the pool...'
'What pool?' Three voices shouted at once.
'Oh, didn't your Father mention that?' Rachael said, handing glasses of
bubbly to Molly and Amelia. 'We are finally to have a swimming pool on
22B. Not quite the old-time tennis-court-set and all that,
but probably more suitable for my little flock and their friends.'
'Wow! Serious?' said Henry, waggling his repaired arm.
'Break a leg, and break an arm on it!' Rachael proclaimed, passing a
glass to Mathew and lifting her own.
Victorious, Harry belted off toward the hallway dragging the broken,
scribbled-over caste along with him and was seriously pursued by Henry.
'That one! He's a roight divil puppy,' said Molly, downing the last of
the fizzy wine in two gulps. 'But oi've got to get on now. Mussus
Mayberry over in Prahran wants her carpets shampooed and after a tot o'
Steam I'm primed ta get on ta ut!'
'I'll see you out,' said Granny Black, bustling down the hall behind the
house-cleaner's ample bulk.
'Ah Molly. She's such a dependable soul, pity she doesn't do Zen
massage.' said Rachael, topping up her glass. 'Oh well, dearest Matty, I
must fly, literally, tomorrow. I will miss you all of course but such is
'Of the beast?' suggested Louis, idly thumbing through a theatre
programme brought over from New Zealand.
'My darling boy! How very perceptive of you. I'll call as usual when I
arrive in the land of the kiwi bird.'
'Ring me in W.A. day after tomorrow,' said Mathew. I'm flying back with
Jean-Michael on the night-owl.'
'Oh my poor, dear man, we'll be an ocean away from each other again,'
said Rachael. 'How hard is that on both of us? I shall dream on my
pillow, in some rough hotel, of you and the children.'
Priscilla felt like putting two fingers down her throat but managed to
'True my pet... nature... beast... pillows.' offered Mathew, rolling his
eyes whilst gently stroking his wife's hand and wondering exactly what
Zen massage was.
Chapter 2 next