A gang of noisy miners squawk incessantly as she rests on the collapsing veranda.“What do you think I am, a snake?” she asks the birds.
She stands and walks into the desiccated garden, birds swoop clacking their bony beaks.
“Go and find a cuckoo,” she yells.
She stoops to pick up the iron mattock, the most valuable thing she still owns. A withered beetroot is dying in the cracked earth. The squawking grows. She swings the tool wildly. Humanness and iron scare away the avian flock. She drops to the ground regretful of her actions – already missing the company.
Everything is going away, except for the sea that is. The children were the first to go, how quickly they expired under the brand new purple sky. Men retrieved hidden guns and marched away, taking those who believed an enemy must exist out there somewhere. Now the plants are leaving, back into the ground, once the best, volcanic.
She has felt it before, but today it grabs her whole. The urge to go under, below, deep down into coolness, away from sky, towards the core. The metallic, magnetic core.
At the edge of the house she digs with purpose.
“Look I’m a wombat,” she cries to the empty sky. “Come back and sing to me, sing me goodbye.”
This story was first published in the APRIL 2015: IRON edition of Flash Frontier. FIND IT HERE