and The Quest to See
Chapter 13 - Apprehension, stress and tears
'Mon, I've been wrong: scared stupid, crazy, really frightened for me
and Henry. Now, finally I know. Monique, it's such a hurtful thing,
terrible, but a relief and an anger that's growing even while I think
about what happened...' Priscilla began to sob uncontrollably, leaning
against her closest friend's shoulder, the warmth and comfort of
Monique's arms cradling her.
'Just cry, just do that girl, let it all out. Tell me about the pain
They were in their dorm room on level three. It was Tuesday evening and
Priscilla had had time to recover from the journey with Marsha and
John-boy to see the Moonflower. Time enough indeed to read the terrible
words of her Mother's diaries.
'Oh Moni, I'm so glad that Harry stopped us from seeing what happened to
our Mum. I couldn't have... I would have gone crazy...'
'Your Mother, she went... she became insane?'
'No! She wasn't crazy and she didn't commit suicide! I'm sure now that
she was murdered! Murdered to stop her from telling what had been done
to her. I read the last pages of the second diary first to understand
what was happening to her mind and then realized that everything was
about her childhood. She began the first diary when she was seven or
eight. Little scribblings that didn't make much sense at first. Stuff
about secrets and not telling anyone, about being touched and...
and...and...well you can read it for yourself!'
'Oh Priscilla, that could have made her suicidal. Whoever it was that
did such a thing...'
'All that about suicide is crap! She didn't commit suicide. My
Grandfather, her own father, killed her!'
'Steady Cilla, don't get yourself worked up. She left a suicide note
remember? Her own handwriting.'
'Yes! Her own handwriting! How come? Because it was written years
before! Loretta wrote it when she finally decided to escape from his...
horrid... disgusting... it was her way to get free: tell him that she
was going to kill herself, put him off long enough to get away.
Her Mother, Henry and my real Grandmother Deidre, was already dead. An
unfortunate accident. Faulty electric iron. Not bloody likely!
Grandpa tampered with it. Before that, Grandma had found out what he was
doing to their daughter, caught him in the act. Mum writes that she was
so ashamed. She thought it was all her fault, that she was to blame, and
that's exactly what that pig, our Grandfather, said to Grandma. "Loretta
is just a little slut!"
Mum overheard that, and couldn't bring herself to say what had really
happened over and over. She just kind-of shrivelled up, but Grandpa knew
he wasn't fooling Grandma. Before she could tell anyone he rigged up her
accident. Mum wrote that she saw him fiddling around with the
As for Mum: fourteen years old by then. She had to get away from him,
out of that little country town. Her suicide note was her path to
'Her diary says... here... she wrote exactly what her note said... "I'm
going to kill myself because of what's happened to me. I can't keep on
this way. I'm sorry sorry, everything is horrible, sorry. I loved you
Mum. Oh Mum. I just can't go on sorry. Loretta."
She made it look like it was her fault, that she couldn't handle the
death of her mother, hoping Grandpa would think that.
Probably the police thought that she was actually saying that she was
going to meet her dead Mother by jumping off the cliffs.
Don't you get it Mon? The note wasn't written the day my Mum died.
That... animal kept it and brought it with him. She didn't date it. It
could have been written any time. Like years before. So easy, so easy
for him to use it then.'
'Do you really believe that Cilla?' Monique's eyes were wide, the whites
'He must have kept it; didn't tell the local police, if he ever actually
reported that she'd run away. Why would he tell them anything even if
they found her body? And maybe he didn't believe that she would do what
she said. She writes that she was always scared that he'd guess that she
hadn't killed herself. That perhaps someone saw her leaving town and
told him. And if that was true, if he suspected that she lived, he'd have to find
her, to silence her. Because he guessed that she knew that he'd killed
her mother, our Grandmother! That bastard! Bastard!'
'Steady Cilla, do not lose it! Go on. Keep telling me what happened.'
'Her diary says she stowed away on freight trains and trucks and ended
up on the streets of Brisbane, surviving by stealing and doing whatever
she could to get by from day to day. She doesn't say if she sold
herself. Oh Monique, that would have been so awful!
It was the Salvation Army that took her in. She was probably only
fifteen by then. They gave her more than shelter, food and clothing.
They gave her hope and a mission in life. When she recovered somewhat
from the shock of her early years, she left the Salvation Army and spent
the next couple of years helping others of her kind along the path to
recovery with various Koori organizations.
Dad visited many Aboriginal centres in Queensland and New South Wales
when he was just starting out as an independent film maker. He was
searching for subjects and stories about the Murri people from
Queensland and the Nagunna...no...Ngunnawal of Canberra and our own
Victorian Koories and happened upon her. She says it all here in her
writing. Dad was only about twenty and she was eighteen. She'd recovered
pretty well by then, but kept her dark secret buried in her
sub-conscious so that she couldn't tell even herself, let alone the man
who was to marry her.
But she says he really fell for her, because of her ability to connect
with the downtrodden and because of her own slightly skittish behaviour
and enticing looks. In the two years of their marriage they had me and
Henry. I guess we know what enticing means. During those two years, as
we already know, she became both our Mother and Dad's assistant in his
pursuit of documentary footage with the aborigines of the far north and
right down the eastern coast to Victoria.
Through all that time Mum lived with her secret, hoping that her Father
believed that she was dead, dreading that he mightn't and somehow trace
her and come after her.
I don't know how he did it. Maybe through the Salvation Army or people
that she helped or knew. Whatever. She always had the terrible feeling
that he might turn up out of nowhere. But as the years went by after her
escape, her fear faded a bit. It was only when she was alone that she
felt really uneasy.
Somehow he must have found out where she was and who she was with.
Oh Monique! He came to that place!
We were there!
It was why the magpies were scared away that day!
She hadn't gone mad!
That was... was him attacking her! Henry and me were there, just little
kids, in the house, while our Mother was being murdered!
That monster took her away with her bike in his ute, up into the
mountains and managed to get her unseen up to the cliffs. I'll bet it
was all planned on a week day when nobody would be around. He threw her
off as if she was rubbish, making sure the note was in her clothing.
Her bike was left where it would be found... I guess the Police and the
Coroner decided that it was suicide. Probably any murder wounds were
hidden by the impact of the fall and of course there was the note.
Seems like they didn't bother to check it against any later samples of
Loretta's hand-writing or ask Dad's opinion. Or if they did, he might
have been too dazed to see any difference. I suppose it all seemed an
open and shut case, that, or just sloppy detective work.'
'What about the time it would have taken her to ride up the mountain
against the time he could have driven there?'
'What would I know? Maybe the police thought she'd ridden off-road and
covered the distance quickly enough before the uphill part. And it was a
few days before she was found, maybe long enough to make it hard to work
out exactly what time she died.'
'Why did nobody see her riding?'
'I don't know Mon. And that actually is a reason why! Nobody did see
her! A pick-up is common, farmers use utility pick-ups all over. No one
would notice one of them. How he carried her up to...
Whatever. Moni, somehow we have to find that bastard and make him
confess to what he's done... or make sure he can't keep on hurting any
Monique's usual big grin vanished as she turned eyes filled with doubt
toward Priscilla. 'You can not be serious, not really serious?
All that happened twelve... thirteen years ago. He could be dead by now
and if he is not, how do you think you could find him? And even if you
did, what would you do? How could you make him confess to the police or
whoever? Or would you deal out some kind of rough, violent justice of
your own doing? Would you feel better for that? Maybe breaking a bottle
over his head or watching him drown after pushing him into a river? You
simply must move on Cilla. Don't you see? You cannot even show the
diaries to any but we BlackEagle Girls. How could you explain having
found them? Oh we went back in time and saw where they were hidden?
I do not think so. And even if that were possible, how would you go
about locating your Grandfather if he yet lives? And then... what would
Priscilla knotted her fingers together and screwed her mouth into a
tight, determined expression, reminding Monique of Henry and his Dad's
'I'll think of some way about the diaries, and you're forgetting that we
have Harry and all his spider-creepy, fishy, feathery, insect, rodent
pals. I'll bet they could find him. What happens after we find him, and
if he's dead already I hope it was slow and painful, will depend...'
'Depend on what?'
'On whether there's a bottle or a river close by.'
Harry turned his head sideways, righted it and turned it the other way.
'Let me get this straight. You want me to find a man who may or may not
still live in Australia, or might just as well be dead either here or
'You make it sound harder than it probably is Harry. Oh Please. Please.
I'll never ask you for another thing if you'll only at least try for
'Us! Sounds more like just you Miss Priscilla. Sounds like vengeance and
retribution and revenge.'
'Perhaps the safety of others and justice might also be considered,
Monsieur Harry.' suggested Monique, smiling down at the black dog
perched on Priscilla's bed.
It was four days later and the girls were home for the weekend at the
Black's house. Monique was sleeping over that night and Priscilla was
going to do the same the next night at Monique's before they both headed
off to school Monday.
'And if my network does find him, what ya gunna do?
'Well, there are two things I want to do.' Priscilla answered, propped
on her elbow with her pillow beneath it. 'First, I want to clear Mum's
name. I want that sooo badly. She was innocent of everything and yet
she's only remembered as a crazy woman who abandoned her children and
jumped off a cliff. And that's not right! These diaries go some way to
showing that. I'll bet that suicide note will show that it was written
when she was younger, that is if the police or whoever have kept it.'
'Alright! That's an O.K. thing to want to do.' Harry's tail wagged
leisurely as Monique ran her fingers up and down his spine. 'Don't know
how you're gunna get the diaries into admissible evidence though.'
'I know, I know, but I'll find a way somehow.'
'That will depend on whether he's still alive. If Grand-Bastard is dead,
at least I'll know. If he's alive then the diaries will be useful
evidence against him in court. Either way, I want to expose him for
being the child molester and murderer that he is... or was.'
'So no taking the law into your own hands, no violence?'
'I'll probably never get the opportunity to answer that question. But I
do want him stopped and to answer for his crimes. I want justice and
people to understand what really did happen to Loretta.'
'You're calm now Miss Priscilla, but are you sure that you can keep your
cool when things get tough?'
Priscilla took a deep breath. 'I'll give it my best shot Harry.'
'If she can hold off going for Roseanne Sole's throat, Monsieur Harry,
Cilla can do it.' Monique said, climbing into her bed and pulling the
sheets and blanket up around her.
Harry, who was by then beginning a circling action in pursuit of his
tail but actually getting ready to settle down at Priscilla's feet,
muttered to himself, 'Yeah, right. Sort of civic duty, exposing a menace
to the community, catching a criminal, BlackEagle Girls should be
involved with stuff like that, even if it is a personal, slash, public
kind of thing...'
'Harry! I wish you'd settle!' Mon and me have to get some sleep. Please
do your best for me. Night.'
'Yeah right, night... You've got pointy toes Priscilla.'
'Go check Monique's.'
'Just don't turn around too much. Sometimes I end up on the floor.'
'Sometimes there's a reason for that.'
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