Black And



Life in The Village, through the eyes of a student at the remote school.

This is an original work of pure fiction (just an expression of a fantasy)
by Robert A. Armstrong (a pseudonym)

The resemblance of the characters by action, name, location or description to any real person is purely coincidental.

If it is illegal, or offensive, for you to read stories involving interactions of a sexual nature between adults and youths, then what are you doing here?



From Chapter 44:

We say goodbye to Dad and Helen, both of them give us big hugs, tell us to be careful, and to enjoy ourselves. “If there is any problem, tell the driver, or one of the employees on the train,” Dad says.

Helen adds, “You”ll be fine. I want to hear all about it when you get back next week.”

The driver calls everyone to take their seats, and I let Karl sit next to the window on the condition that I can have that seat on the way back.

We wave. Dad and Helen wave. And we are off. On our own. It feels weird. But exciting. Even Junior is excited!



Chapter 45 � Railway Surprises

“Does this feel strange to you?” Karl asks. “Us doing this on our own, and not knowing where we”re going? Is it a bit scary?”

“Well, it might be scary,” I answer, “if I didn”t have you here with me.”

He looks at me, and replies, “Same!” Then he stuns me with, “I love you, you know, even though you can be a real pain in the arse sometimes.”

“Same!” I tell him, grinning.

He turns and hugs me.

The driver can probably see us as he checks his outside side mirror. He turns his head a bit more and looks at us.

“He”s my brother,” I tell him. “My twin brother! Can”t you tell?”

The driver grins, then returns his full attention to the street, as he negotiates the final corner and heads out along the Mitchell Highway to Charleville.

I add, so that the driver can hear, even though he isn”t looking at me, “And this is our first trip away from home by ourselves.”

Karl says, “We”re going to Brisbane to see our Mum and Ma and Pa, and then visit some friends at the Gold Coast.”

I explain, “When we were little Ma and Pa told us not to call them `grandma” and `grandpa” because it made them feel old.”

The driver continues the conversation while maintaining his focus on the road. “So, you boys from around here? I haven”t seen you in town before.”

Karl replies. “No. It took us two hours to drive to Cunnamulla from where we live.”

I add, “We live in a small village west of here.”

“Must be out along the way to Whispering Gums then,” the driver replies.

I”m stunned. “Do you know Whispering Gums?” I ask.

“Sure do!” he replies. “My father was friends with old Jack O”Sullivan, who once owned the place. I remember going out there with dad once. It”s a bit of a famous place in these parts, with its springs of fresh water.”

Karl says, “Our dad manages Whispering Gums for the owners who have just sold it and there will be a new owner arriving soon. And Dad is friends with Helen O”Sullivan whose family used to own it but moved away when she was eleven. She works for the Council.”

“I know Helen,” the driver tells us. “She”s a terrific person. I”ve had dealings with her at the Council with some property developments. She”s smart too! Please give her my regards. Tell her that Bill O”Rourke, the coach driver, said hello.”

“Coach driver?” I ask. “Isn”t this a bus? I thought only kings and queens ride in coaches.”

“Then you two must be princes,” he replies. “Because you”re riding in my coach. It”s bigger than a bus. It even has a toilet at the back, in case anybody needs to go while we”re driving. It saves having to stop. Not that there are many places to stop, although there are a few towns between Cunnamulla and Charleville.”

I turn to my brother and say, “Pleased to meet you, Prince Karl!” I shake his hand.

He laughs. “Thank you, Prince Kurt. Pleased to meet you too!”

We continue chatting about the O”Sullivans and the O”Rourkes and Whispering Gums for a while. Mr O”Rourke points out things that he thinks might interest us along the way. Karl and I begin counting emus that we see. We give up on also counting kangaroos because there are too many of them.


Two hours pass very quickly, and, after going through a few little towns, we are soon entering Charleville. The coach slows to the town speed limit.

“So, you boys catching the Westlander to Brisbane?” Mr O”Rourke asks.

“Yes,” Karl answers.

“The railway station is also where the coach terminal is situated,” he tells us. “I”ll introduce you to the station master who will look after you.”

“Thank you very much,” I tell him. “I was wondering exactly what to do when we got here.”


Mr O”Rourke takes us to the station office and, grinning, introduces us as `Prince Karl” and `Prince Kurt” then asks the station master to ensure that we find our seats and to explain to us about the train and the complimentary meals that they serve on board. He then shakes our hands, reminds us to say hello to Helen, and wishes us a good time in Brisbane.

“Thank you very much,” I tell him, happy that my concerns about where to go and what to do have all been taken care of.

The station master takes us into his office and shows us a map of the train, pointing out our seats which our tickets have the numbers printed on them. He also shows us where the toilets and showers are and the carriage where we could buy extra food and drinks on board, in addition to the meals that are provided for the 17-hour trip.

Then he takes us to our seats, and shows us how they lean back (`recline” he says), so that we will be able to sleep comfortably. Karl”s seat and mine are side by side with an arm rest between them. One is next to the window, so we agree to either swap places every couple of hours or sit in opposite seats on the way back. The train is air conditioned, but there are some blankets in the luggage racks above the seats, in case we need extra warmth.

We put our backpacks into the racks. The station master advises us not to leave them unattended, `just in case”. “Most people from out this way are extremely honest,” he says, but occasionally we have had something go missing.”

We thank him and he leaves us to assist some other passengers.

Very friendly and helpful!

My seat is very comfortable, and I”m sure that I won”t have any trouble getting to sleep later.

We watch the activity on the station. It”s not as busy as I thought it would be. A number of the people that I see were on the coach with us. Some sit in our carriage. Others go to other carriages.

A lady with two naughty and noisy children appears. I hope that she isn”t getting into our carriage! I”m really thankful when I see her disappear farther along the platform.

“Do you want to read your library book?” Karl asks me.

“Not yet,” I reply. “How about you?”

“Maybe a bit later,” he says. “I”m just watching all of the people, but I thought that you might have wanted yours.”

“No, I”m fine. Thanks,” I tell him.

The seats in our carriage begin to be occupied. Not totally. Maybe they will pick up more people along the way. Maybe some people will get off. Not everyone looks as though they are going on a holiday. Some might just be travelling between towns.

Because there was only about half an hour between the arrival of the coach and the departure of the train, we soon hear a loud voice from out on the platform. “All aboard!”

The train begins so slowly that, at first, it is hard to tell that it is moving. It gradually picks up speed and soon it is whizzing along, just like in the Land Rover. Maybe faster.

Before long a lady and man, both in uniforms and with friendly smiles, come by. One gives us each a plastic tray with a sandwich and the other asks what we would like to drink. Karl and I both take a lemonade. Our sandwiches are different, so we swap halves. One is salad which is really thick. The other is corned beef. Also thick. And there are two sachets. One has tomato sauce and the other has mustard. I”ve tried mustard once and didn”t like it. So, Karl and I share the sauce.

We finish eating and drinking then relax, just watching things zip by. Not that there”s much to see. Red earth and the occasional tree. Not even emus to count! I feel myself getting drowsy and look at Karl. He didn”t get the nickname `Sleeping Beauty” for nothing!

Before I drop off, I decide to find the toilet and leave Karl to guard our things. I remember that it”s at the other end of the carriage. As I walk towards it, I see the faces of the other passengers all facing the direction in which we are travelling. Some people smile and I smile back. Some are asleep and others seem to be mesmerised by the red earth and trees.

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One man is reading a newspaper. He looks up as I pass and says, “Hello,”

I smile, reply, “Hello,” and keep walking.

The toilet is small, but larger than our outside toilet at home. It also contains a small stainless-steel basin for hand washing.

After peeing, I wash my hands and head back towards my seat. From behind them, I can see only the top of most people”s heads because the seats have a high back; good for lying down.

Karl doesn”t appear to have moved.

While I”m up, I retrieve my book from my backpack. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

A lot of it reminds me of Helen”s Goldilocks in Sherwood Forest story. By the time that Karl wakes up, I”m well into Chapter 2.

Karl stretches, sees what I am doing and sits up. “Have you come across Merlin yet?” he asks.

“Just briefly,” I tell him.

I recall our conversation with the librarian in Cunnamulla. She asked us what kinds of things interested us.

Karl and I told her what books we had already read. I said that I liked Robin Hood, Treasure Island and that I enjoyed exciting stories and possibly a bit of magic (thinking about Uncle at Jintabudjaree).

“Maybe you would enjoy reading about King Arthur, the knights of the round table and Merlin the Magician,” she said, and found this book for me.

Karl said that he wouldn”t mind a bit of magic either, but maybe with some young people in the story. She suggested Harry Potter and the Philosopher”s Stone for him, telling him that in America it was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer”s Stone because the publishers didn”t believe that American children would read it if it had `Philosopher” in the title.

“If you need to use the toilet,” I tell him, “it”s down at the other end of the carriage. “I”ve already been.”

“Yeah,” he tells me. “That”s the reason that I woke up, I think.”

I pull my legs back to allow him to move past me more easily.

I continue reading.

When Karl returns and sits down, he has a wet patch in the front of his jeans.

“What happened?” I ask.

“My zipper got stuck halfway for a moment”, he says, “and I was in such a hurry that I had trouble hanging on, until I could get it sliding again.”

“Don”t worry,” I tell him. “It will dry. Do you want your book to read? You can put it on your lap. Nobody will notice anything.”

“Thanks,” he says.

Rather than fishing around in my brother”s backpack, I get it down and hand it to him, then replace it when he gets his book.

“Thanks,” he says again.

We both continue reading until I realise how dark it has become.

Another neatly dressed man, black trousers and white shirt, I guess to be about Mr Grant”s age, and handsome too, comes by and asks us if there is anything that we would like. He tells us that he would be happy to bring us tea, coffee, juice or a soft drink, together with a muffin or donut, some biscuits and another sandwich, whatever we would like one.

Karl and I both ask for a sandwich, coffee and biscuits.

I watch him walk away. Ron would say that he has `nice glutes”. He returns with everything on two trays, one for each of us. Apart from what we asked for, he has included a donut and an apple each. He also shows us the fold-out tray table to rest our trays on.

“Thank you, David,” I tell him, reading his name tag.

“You”re welcome,” he replies, “but you can call me `Dave”. I”ll check in with you from time to time to see if there is anything that I can do for you.”

“I”m Kurt,” I tell him, “and this is my brother Karl. We”re going to Brisbane to see our Mum and our Ma and Pa. We”re on school holidays.”

He looks back and forth from one of us to the other.

Karl, picking up on Dave”s scanning of our faces, smiles, “Yeah, we”re identical twins.”

“Are you totally identical?” Dave asks. “I hear that it”s rare, even for `identical” twins.

“Yes,” I tell him. Then I add, smirking, “All over.”

Dave grins at me. He moves his hand to his crotch and raises an eyebrow. He knows what I meant. I nod. Then he winks.

“I”ll look in on you later,” he tells us, and moves on. Suddenly he returns. “I forgot to show you the reading lights,” he says, and presses the button to turn them on for us. “They”re simple,” he says. “Press on. Press off.”

Karl and I both thank him.

Taking note of the page that I”m reading, I close my book and dig into the food.

“No wet patch,” I tell my brother, pointing at the front of his jeans, as he puts down his book and folds down his tray table.

He grins.

Karl and I both decide to leave our donut and apple for later.

Dave returns to collect our trays. “Would you both like a fruit juice, for later on?”

Again, we thank him.

Dave reaches up into the luggage rack, then hands Karl and me a folded blanket. “You might need this later, even though the aircon is pretty effective,” he says.

Again, we thank him. He smiles, nods and heads down towards the other end of the carriage.

The lights in the carriage become dimmer and, as if we needed an excuse, we close our books and leave them between us, having discovered that the arm rest folds up, so Karl and I are like on a double seat. We recline them both a bit so that they are at the same level.

I unfold one of the blankets and share it with Karl, spreading it across both of us.

It only takes a moment when I feel Karl”s hand on the front of my jeans.

“You”d better be careful!” I whisper to him. “Somebody might see.”

“Nobody will see,” he says. “Besides, the lights are turned right down, almost off.”

I enjoy the feeling of my brother”s hand rubbing Junior and tickling the roundness of my balls. I feel his fingers find my zipper and slide it down. He can”t get more than a finger or two inside.

“Hang on,” I tell him then I reach under the blanket, undo my belt and the top button, then make sure that the blanket is pulled up.

Karl still has trouble accessing `everything”, so I lift my hips and pull my jeans down, so that there is just enough room for his hand. He plays with Junior until it is hard, and then puts his hand inside my undies and pulls Junior out. He continues to play with it.

I am getting really excited and about to do the same to him, when I have an uneasy feeling about something.

I glance over my shoulder and see Dave standing just behind us, but close enough to see what is happening. It”s impossible to disguise where Karl”s arm is reaching to, as well as the movement in my lap under the blanket.

Dave steps forward to stand alongside us. Karl sees him and his hand freezes, then he quickly pulls it back towards him. “Everything OK here, boys?” Dave asks. “Do you guys need a hand with anything?”

“No, thank you. We”re fine,” Karl blurts out nervously.

Dave looks at the lump in the blanket where Karl”s hand was a moment ago. He grins at me. He knows! Junior jumps. Dave winks at me. I”m suddenly aware that the front of his trousers, close to me, is showing a lump that I hadn”t seen before. I look at it, then up at Dave”s face, and wink back at him.

“Have a good night,” he says, and moves on.

“That was close!” Karl whispers to me. “I hope that he didn”t see anything.”

“I don”t think so,” I reply, knowing that it”s not the truth. Dave knew exactly what was happening!

A moment later, Dave returns and hands each of us a small pack of tissues. “I thought that you might like these, just in case you need to blow your noses, during the night,” he says.

The lump on my half of the blanket is still there. So is the one in his trousers. His has grown and I can now see the outline of his cock, even in this dim light.

“Thanks, Dave,” I tell him, grinning.

He winks and responds, “No problem!” Again he heads back down towards the other end of the carriage.

“I think that we”d better not do any more,” Karl tells me.

“I agree,” I tell him. “But I really need to finish off what you started. I”m going to go down to the toilet and do it. I”ll be quick.”

“OK,” Karl says.

I reach under the blanket, do my best to tuck Junior back inside my undies, pull up my jeans and do up the zipper and belt. Then I get up and head towards the toilets.

Just about all of the people that I pass are asleep.

I reach the toilet and meet Dave heading for the same door from the opposite direction.

“Which twin are you?” he asks

“I”m Kurt,” I tell him. “And you scared the `ship” out of me earlier.”

“Sorry about that,” he apologises.

“I”ve come down here to deal with a bit of unfinished business,” I whisper, grinning. He knows what I mean.

He covers the bulge in the front of his trousers with his hand. “Me too,” he says. “Watching you guys got me really excited.”

“How izmit otele gelen escort long were you watching?” I ask him.

“Long enough,” he replies. Then he asks, “Do you need a hand?”

Suddenly, feeling a combination of fear and excitement, I reply, “Umm, I do, if you do.”

Dave looks around and along the length of the carriage, then urges me inside and follows me, and locks the door. The light in here is not as dim; bright enough to see what we are doing.

I drop my jeans and undies and give Junior a few tugs to straighten him out.

“Wait,” Dave whispers. He lowers his trousers and underpants and I see his beautiful cock bounce out. It reminds me of Will”s and Mr Grant”s, and Ron”s. Big.

Junior jumps.

We face each other. Dave takes hold of Junior and plays with him. Junior is leaking and Dave spreads the slipperiness all the way down and starts to jerk it. His hand feels amazing.

“Hold mine,” he tells me.

I reach for it. It jumps, and my hand is instantly wet and slippery. We continue to jerk each other until I feel that I”m getting close.

“I”m gonna spurt soon,” I warn him.

Dave sits on the toilet seat and pulls my hips towards him. Junior is pointing straight at his mouth. Not for long. Dave takes hold of it and opens his mouth. Then he proceeds to suck me. He takes me right in, like Mr Grant can. It only takes a few sucks by his tight lips and I feel it.

“I”m cumming,” I tell him. He reaches around and holds my bare glutes tightly while I spurt into his mouth. OMG. This feels so naughty, but amazing! He sucks the last of the spunk out of Junior and then hands me some toilet paper. I”m glad that it”s the soft kind. I wipe Junior and then pull up my underpants and jeans.

Dave lifts the toilet seat and starts jacking himself furiously.

“Did you say that you needed a hand?” I ask.

He removes his hand, and I take over. He is really hard! In less than a minute, he growls, “Cumming!” and I feel his cock throb and, with massive jerks, it spurts all over the back of the toilet seat. I hold on until it stops jerking and Dave reaches for the toilet paper.

“Thank you, Kurt,” he says. “Why don”t you go back to your seat, and I”ll clean up in here.”

“Thanks,” I tell him, unlock the door and go out. I hear the door lock behind me.

As I walk back up the aisle, I wonder whether I should have done that. I feel really guilty. But happy. Both at the same time.

“What took you so long?” Karl asks as I sit down again.

“Maybe I wasn”t as ready as I thought,” I tell him. “But the end was terrific! What about you?”

“I”ll do it in the shower in the morning,” he says. “And I”ll change into my new clothes after that.”

“Good idea!” I say.

Junior takes a long time to fully relax, as I think about what Dave and I did. I definitely can”t tell anybody about it. Another secret to keep! We drift off to sleep.


Morning. Thursday. I stir as Karl slides past me. He reaches for his backpack and heads for the shower which, at our end of the carriage, is just in front of us.

While he is in there, Dave comes past. “Good morning, Kurt,” he says. “Is everything OK this morning?”

“Yes,” I tell him. “It”s all good!” I make a zipper motion across my mouth.

He grins and puts out his fist for me to bump. “Thanks,” he tells me, and moves along.


Dave brings us breakfast of cereal, milk and juice. I still have my donut and apple from yesterday. Karl and I ask for coffee, and it is delivered with a smile to both of us. And a wink for me. I wink back.

I haven”t read any more of my book because I”ve been watching the scenery. It”s so different to The Village. And Jintabudjaree. And Whispering Gums. It is so green! And there are so many different trees. And hills. And houses.

“We”ll be in Brisbane in thirty minutes,” Dave tells us as he comes past later in the morning. “It was good to meet you guys. I hope that you have a lot of fun while you are in Brisbane. I probably won”t see you on your way home. I was just filling in for one of our staff who was sick. I don”t normally get to do this trip.”

I”m disappointed that we won”t have Dave on our return trip. But, sort of relieved as well, thinking about everything.


“Roma Street Station,” we hear over the loud speakers.

The train slows to a stop. Karl and I retrieve everything from the luggage rack. I look at Karl in his trousers, dress boots, new shirt, with his hat pulled down low on his forehead. He looks terrific, and way older than 13 and a half. I feel comfortable that I do as well. My shirt is a different colour to Karl”s. We are not identical garden gnomes today! Almost.

“Let”s not rush up to Pa when we see him,” I say to my brother. “Let”s walk slowly like grown-ups do.”

Among a small crowd, we step off the train onto the platform. I can see some people at the end of the platform, waiting for their friends Some wave to those that they recognise.

“Let”s walk down the other side of the platform and see if we can surprise him,” Karl says.

“Great idea,” I tell him.

With our backpacks slung over one shoulder, and our hats pulled low on our foreheads, we stroll down the wide platform on the opposite side of to where the train pulled in; the two sides are partially separated by the pillars which support the roof.

As we get closer to the gate, I can see Pa looking over and around people, trying to spot us. The lady with him turns around and looks down that side of the platform too. It”s not Ma.

It”s Mum! I see her head bobbing from side to side. I see her stand on her toes for a better view. I wonder what they are both thinking, because they are unable to see us anywhere!

Karl and I keep walking. Slowly.

Their heads keep bobbing, and I”m close enough now to see the concern on their faces that we were not on the train.

We get level with them and we walk across the platform and stand next to them. They are still scanning along the platform. There are only a few people left. And no young kids!

“Mrs Andersen?” I ask, only just managing to hold back my emotion, and surprised at being able to make my voice sound deeper.

“Yes?” she says, anxiously turning towards us. Maybe she thinks that I have a message about her boys.

Karl and I just stand still, grinning, but say nothing.

“I”m Mrs Andersen,” she says. Then she stares at us. I see tears in her eyes. She takes off my hat, looks at me and then bursts into tears. “Kurt? Karl?” she manages to get out. “Is it you?”

She grabs me in a hug, and then Karl, and then both of us together. She kisses us, hugs us, and steps back to look at us carefully. More hugs. More kisses.

Then she bursts into tears again.

“What”s wrong, Mum?” I ask.

“You grew up!” she sobs. “And I missed it!” More tears.

I can”t hold on any longer, and feel tears running down my face. “We”ve missed you!” I say.

Among the continuing hugs, kisses and tears, it is Pa who manages to add some calm.

“Hello boys,” he says. “Good to see you again,” and he shakes our hands.

“I can”t believe it,” Mum says, mopping her eyes, then mine. Then she says, “Where is your handkerchief? Didn”t I teach you to always have one in case you need it?”

I reach into my back pocket, produce my handkerchief, show her, then wipe my face and dab hers.

We both burst out laughing.

Pa leads us back to his car. Mum walks between Karl and me with an arm around each of us. I feel her continually tighten her grip on my waist.


I can smell lunch as soon as Pa opens the door.

Ma emerges from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron. When she sees us, she throws her hands into the air then claps them onto her thighs. “Who are these two young men, and where are my boys?” she calls out.

I drop my backpack and go to her. “Who is this young lady, and where is my Ma?” I ask.

She looks shocked, then she grabs my cheeks and wobbles them, as she used to do when we were little. “Why, it”s Kurt!” she says. “And still as cheeky as ever!”

“Hello, Ma,” I tell her, and give her a hug and a kiss.

She opens her arms to Karl, who accepts her hug and kiss. “Hello, Ma,” he says.

“Lunch is virtually done,” Ma says. “Why don”t you boys get settled, and then come back as soon as you are ready?

Mum leads us to the rear of the house where the `spare” room as been transformed into a bedroom for Karl and me. I”m surprised. I was expecting two single beds, or maybe bunk beds. Karl and I just look at each other, but say nothing.

“Sorry about the double bed,” Mum says. “It”s the only one that we were able to borrow.”

“No problem,” Karl tells her. “It will make it easier for me to hit him with a pillow if he snores!”

“It”s not me who snores!” I fire back, darıca escort and poking him in the chest.

Mum looks at both of us, then bursts out laughing. “It”s so good to have you back, even if it is only for a short time. I”d almost forgotten how wonderful it was having the two of you together! Do you remember where things are here? Let me remind you of them.”

We walk past the toilet, in a room of its own, then the bathroom, with a bath and a shower.

“Brilliant!” I comment. Mum looks at me, and I say, “You do remember what we have at home, don”t you? This is wonderful!”

Over lunch I can”t help thinking of how much Ma reminds me of Mrs Cameron. Same round shape. Same wonderful smile. Same sense of humour that I remember. Same great cook!

When we finish, I automatically begin scraping and stacking the dishes before washing them.

“And just what do you think you are doing?” Ma asks, standing with one hand on her hip.

“Helping with the dishes,” I reply. “Why?”

“You will do nothing of the sort!” she answers. “Now, out of my kitchen, you lovable rascal! Go and spend some time with your mother.”

Yep. She”s just like Mrs Cameron! The only thing missing is the wooden spoon.

I open my mouth to comment, but my voice doesn”t seem to work for a moment. It feels strange.

“Go on with you!” Ma says, and the wooden spoon comes out of the top drawer.

I point at it and laugh.

Ma starts to chase me, waving it.

I love my Ma!


We change out of our new clothes, back into our jeans and polo shirts, then go for a walk with Mum. There are lots of houses and Mum points out gardens and flowers that she admires. It”s very different to what”s at home. We have gum trees, red dirt and weeds, especially at the school. Whispering Gums has those mulga trees too.

It”s hard to know where to start to tell Mum what has changed since she left. My brother and I have already agreed not to mention Helen, Ms O”Sullivan.

Mum begins with, “You boys have grown so much! I can”t believe it. I didn”t recognise you at the station.”

Karl replies, “Yeah. Dad says he”ll be happy when we stop growing so that he won”t have to keep buying us new clothes.”

“What do you notice most about us, Mum?” I ask. “Apart from our height.”

“Well,” she says, “that”s the biggest thing; how tall you have become. But there”s also something about your faces � more mature, not like boys, more like young men. And you have muscles, and are those Adam”s apples that I see?” she continues. She adds, “And your voice sounded like somebody else. Deeper.”

I think for one moment that she glances at the front of my jeans. I know why! Junior has grown too and is now obvious even when he is not even chunky or hard. However, Mum doesn”t comment. I wouldn”t know how to respond if she did!

“Mum,” I tell her, “there is something that I want to say to you.”

She looks at me, worried.

“Karl and I are really sad that you and Dad have gotten divorced.” I manage to say it without crying. “We were always hoping that one day you would come back and live with us again.”

“It was for the best, my darlings,” Mum says, taking out her handkerchief and wiping her nose. “One day, I hope that you will understand.”

I feel compelled to add, for no apparent reason, “Did you hear that Aunt Lilly and William”s house burned down and that she disappeared? Even the police haven”t been able to find her.”

I know that Dad spending time with Aunt Lilly every Saturday was one of the reasons that Mum left. And, William would still have been known to her as `Little Willie” when she left, so I thought that I”d refer to him by his `new” name.

“That”s dreadful!” she replies. “How is poor … William managing?”

That”s Karl”s cue to take over the conversation, considering that he and William are like boyfriends.

I know that William does things with Mr Grant, but they are brothers. Like Karl and me. Almost. So, I”m happy for Karl to tell Mum everything. I can always fill in any gaps. Later.

Karl launches in, “Well, William was staying with Marty after his house burned down and Aunt Lilly disappeared, but now he is living with Mr Grant, who is our teacher, because they are brothers. Well, almost brothers. It turns out that William”s father was also Mr Grant”s father. And Mr Grant became the owner of the haunted house when it didn”t disappear after Mr Grant”s friend died in a helicopter crash. Not our Mr Grant. The friend of William”s father, who is another Mr Grant. And we all had a ride in the helicopter before it crashed. And the other Mr Grant said that William is going to be a famous painter.”

Mum”s eyes look as though they are about to explode out of her head, from too much information. Kind of like blowing too much air into a balloon.

“Let”s talk about it after dinner,” Mum says. “And maybe you can take it a bit slower!”

“Thank you for the Christmas and birthday cards,” I tell Mum. “And for the money. We used it to buy some clothes in Big Town and a set of dominoes and a few other things.”

“I”m glad that you spent it wisely,” Mum tells us, “as I knew that you would.”

“We”ve missed you,” I tell Mum. “But Dad wouldn”t let us come to see you by ourselves before now because he thought that we were too little. And, he was too busy at work to bring us here himself.”

“That”s OK,” Mum says. “You”re here now. I”ve missed you both so much. My real regret is that I”ve missed seeing you grow from beautiful boys into handsome young men.”

“And Kurt can cook,” Karl says, now that his brain is wound up and his mouth is flapping.

“I”m glad that you are able to do that, after the very little that I managed to teach you,” Mum replies.”

Karl adds, “Yeah, we both have dinner ready for Dad when he gets home from work, but Kurt can also cook lamb”s fry and bacon, apple pies and jam tarts!”

“Where did you learn to do those?” Mum asks me.

Karl is on a roll. “Mrs Cameron taught him,” he says. “She”s Mr Cameron”s wife who is the owner of Whispering Gums and Dad is now the manager. Except, Mr Cameron has sold Whispering Gums, but the new owner wants Dad to stay on and keep managing the place.”

Mum looks at me.

“True!” I tell her. “However, nobody knows who the new owner is yet.”

Karl adds, “And they are going to fix up the pub and build some new houses in the town and make a park for everyone to play in.”

“What?” Mum asks. “Who? Why?”

I say, “I think that we have a lot of talking to do after dinner, and the next few days.”

“That will give my brain time to absorb everything,” Mum says. “Would you boys like an ice cream?”

“We have money,” Karl tells her. “Dad said that we shouldn”t ask you or Ma or Pa to buy anything for us.”

“You didn”t ask me,” Mum replies. “What? Can”t a mother buy her sons an ice cream?”

We walk and talk. There are more hugs and kisses and talk of missing us grow up, and the house, and the dust storm, and school. The other thing that is not mentioned is Dad. Mum doesn”t bring it up and Karl and I are smart enough not to, in case it upsets Mum.


Over dinner Karl and I tell Mum, Ma and Pa all about our newest teacher, Mr Grant, and how everybody likes him. And that Jane is in love with him because he is young and handsome. (Karl giggles, at that thought, the first bit of which may not be totally true. The second bit is definitely true!) And we say that William looks so much like him, because they are brothers, that some days it is hard to tell which one is which. Like us.

After dinner, we play dominoes and Chinese Checkers and drink coffee and chat until late.

It”s Ma who comments, “Well, I”m off to bed to get my beauty sleep.”

I comment, “Well, Ma, you must have had a lot of sleep!”

While she points and me and smiles, Pa looks to Mum and raises and eyebrow, Mum smirks, and Karl pretends to put his finger down his throat.

Mum says, “Yes, I think that we should all turn in. We have a big day tomorrow.” She looks from Karl to me and tells us, “We”re going to take you into the city. It will be nothing like you”ve ever seen before.”


[Author: OK, so there was more to tell than I originally thought! I have to split the chapter again…]

(to be continued) Chapter 46:

�      In the big city

�      Visiting Mr Grant, Tom and Andy on the Gold Coast

�      A surprise from Mr Grant

�       Back to The Village


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