Love and Magic Part one
Jack found himself looking down into the ocean from a considerable height, with a start he realized he was hanging upside down by his foot, caught in a tree branch. He could hear distant voices on the wind calling to him. He freed his foot and fell plummeting towards the water below.
Jack awoke with a thump as he hit the bedroom floor. He felt exhilarated and sick at the same time.
“Bloody hell what was that about”, he moaned as he picked himself up from the bedroom floor and got back into bed. He lay staring at the ceiling in the semi-darkness before sleep would come to him again.
The wind stirred the very tops of the mangrove trees. A single yellow leaf shifted in the breeze then fell to the water below. A huge crocodile rose to the surface, eyes and nostrils immediately visible, mouth agape.
Beep, beep, beep his mother’s alarm clock abruptly ended Jack’s sleep and the memory of the dream he was having was lost. He repositioned his body in the same way he had been sleeping, shut his eyes and tried to re-enter the dream.
SMACK, he felt his mother’s hand across his head.
“Wake-Up”, she said gruffly.
Jack was at a loss as to why his mother was so nasty of late.
He tried to relate her change in character to something from a fairy tale, perhaps some evil witch putting a spell on her. Then he thought of his Grandmother as the witch ‘Yep’ he decided that about sums it up. Every time his mother went to visit her mum (Grandma) his mother always came back angry, and upset.
His earliest memory of his Grandmother was not a good one. He couldn’t recall his exact age but his mother and himself were at a family party, one of those big gatherings were there were lots of old people smelling of alcohol and cigarette smoke. He had been playing a game with his cousins when he was suddenly dragged away by his mother, her nostrils flaring trying to control her anger. Apparently Grandma had told her that he had called one of his Aunties 'a fat bitch’. At that stage of his life he had not yet heard of the word 'bitch' but mum certainly was upset. He caught sight of his Grandma over his mother’s shoulder and saw her smirk. ‘That’s a fat bitch’, he thought to himself.
After breakfast, he went back to his room and rummaged around for his school uniform. It was the last week of the school year, and he was in the final year of primary school, Grade 7, he and his friends were at the top of the school social ladder and there was an air of excitement for their primary school years ending.
Jack looked hard at his reflection in the mirror. He ran a hand through his thick mop of dark brown hair and looked into his green eyes, his nose was a different shape than his mothers sharp almost triangular nose and he had a thick full set of lips were his mums were thin and seldom wore a smile.
Since he really didn't look like his mum he supposed he looked a lot like his father. Looking at his reflection Jack tried hard to imagine what his father might look like, someone like himself just older. He’d long since given up asking his mother for information about his father as it never achieved anything except for making her shitty for the next couple of days.
Jack slung his school port over his shoulder and headed out the front door. His mum had already gone to work earlier; he’d heard the car backing out of the driveway. No goodbyes were said but at least his lunch was made. He locked the front door and hid the key under the front door mat. Security wasn't a huge concern for the people in the small community as everyone knew everybody and pretty much everyone else’s business too.
Jack headed off for Skye’s house, he knew his best mate Andrew would be there. As Jack approached the house he found Andrew and Skye chatting excitedly. The front steps were wet from an early morning drizzle of rain and Jack almost lost his footing as he bounded up the stairs to greet his friends, who thankfully didn’t seem to notice his clumsiness.
“Mum’s car’s fixed!” Skye announced as Jack sat down beside the pair. “I drove it out of the garage this morning”.
“Jack knows how to drive, don’t you Jack?” Andrew bragged.
“Yeah, a little bit, I used to drive my cousins farm car when we went out to his place before they moved”. Jack said.
“Farm car?” Asked Skye.
“Yeah my Aunty and Uncle bought my cousin Chaz a beat up old Ford for him to drive around the cane paddocks. He showed me how to drive when mum and I used to go out and visit”, Jack replied, scratching his head and looking down.
Eager for a little adventure Skye decided, “Well quick, we’ve got time before the bus gets here, Jack can drive us up to the lookout and back, come on”. She said dragging Andrew and Jack to the Datsun parked in the driveway.
Andrew laughed at his girlfriend's sudden naughty streak.
“God won’t your mum be pissed off Skye?” Jack said feeling somewhat nervous about the situation.
“Nah!” Andrew said reassuringly “Her mum thinks she’s some kind of an earth angel. Skye could trash the house and her mum would think there was some kind of message in it. Hey luvy,” Andrew said giving his girlfriend a playful shove.
“Up your bum chum, I AM good and I love me mum. Besides she doesn't even need to know. She’s gone down the road to visit her boyfriend so COME ON!” Skye exclaimed breathlessly shoving Andrew through the back car door and almost sitting on him.
Jack was left standing at the driver’s side of the car. He took a deep breath and pulled open the handle of the blue Datsun and sat on the driver’s seat.
“You’d better bloody drive properly”, Skye said suddenly feeling a bit nervous about their joy ride. Jack was wondering how he was going to back the car into the driveway when they got back, then decided he’d worry about that on their return.
Jack turned the key in the ignition, grimacing slightly as the engine started. ‘Oh well here goes nothing, just one quick lap and park it back in’, he thought to himself.
The road surface was slippery from the mornings light rain shower, Jack spun the wheels a little as he pulled out of the driveway onto the main road. His passengers thought it was purposeful and gave an encouraging “Yah”. However his nerves were getting the better of him and approaching the first corner on the hill-top he pushed down harder on the accelerator than he meant to, the car mounted the kerb and left the road skidding sideways across a grassy vacant patch of land. Andrew immediately recalled the cliff face that the cars direction was taking them; leaning across Skye he pushed the car door open, forcing himself and Skye out of the moving vehicle and tumbling over the damp grass. All they could do was watch as the car disappeared over the embankment now out of their line of vision, they could still hear the car engine running and then smash, smash, bang as it came to rest. Picking themselves up they raced to the cliff edge but were unable to see were the car had come to rest.
“Shit are you OK”, Andrew finally managed to say to Skye.
“What the hell just happened, mum’s gonna kill me. We have to find Jack”, Skye was trying hard not to yell, so she wouldn’t draw any unnecessary attention, but she seemed to have no control over the level of her voice.
Andrew took hold of Skye’s hand and directed her back to the road.
“Come on girl, let’s get down to the beach and see if we can find him hey”, said Andrew, already breaking into a sprint. Running hand in hand the two of them headed down the road to the beach below. Neither of them wanted to think too much of what they might find for fear of bringing it into existence but they had to know, and face up to it. They finally reached the shore in what seemed like an eternity. There was already a small crowd of people (mostly morning walkers) milling about, drawn to the area by the sound of the car smashing down the hill.
It was high tide and Skye stared in disbelief at the remains of her mothers’ car smashed up on the rocks.
“Did you see what happened?”
Skye looked up startled out of her daze and recognised the man asking the question as part of the local SES group.
“We were in that. That’s mum’s car. Jack was driving it and it slid out straight over the edge. He should be in that.” Skye blurted out in a flood of emotion, pointing and sobbing hysterically.
“How many of you were in the car?” the man questioned again.
Andrew had now put himself between Skye and the man.
“Three including me,” Andrew stated matter of factly.
Andrew’s collective manner hid his emotional state as his eyes searched the wreck for signs of his mate.
All at once everyone became aware of a figure emerging from the water. Andrew and Skye stared in utter disbelief, mouths agape.
“You bloody idiot,” Skye screamed at Jack, tears streaming down her face.
Andrew ran towards Jack not knowing whether to punch or hug him.
“What the stuff,” was all Andrew could manage to say before his friend fell to his knees in front of him and promptly threw up.
Jack was shuddering uncontrollably, he felt cold, not just from the water but something more. It all seemed so surreal, one moment he was in the car hurtling through scrub down the cliff face the next moment he was thrown clear from the car into the ocean below, narrowly missing rocks, he couldn’t even recall unfastening his seat belt.
“The police are on their way”, he heard someone say from a distance.