2 min read

#132: Overboard

#132: Overboard
Odd Spot - The Age - 14/06/2022

They'd been on the ferry for all of fifteen minutes when Peter felt his stomach churn. Kangaroo Island was slowly getting bigger, but he'd had enough. The stinging wind and sea spray and bobbing horizon were getting too much.

He climbed down the steel steps to where he'd parked the car.

Tiggy was ecstatic on his return, although a little sheepish with the smell of urine.

Peter could see she'd pee'd in the most discreet place she could find, and had soaked Matilda's pillow.

He placed the sponge outside and lay down in the back seat.

Tiggy climbed onto his chest and licked the salt from his face. The movement wasn't so obvious as he closed his eyes.

The piercing sounds of an alarm echoed, pulling him from the depths of his sleep and he immediately imagined the ship running aground, with tidal waves of water gushing in from the ripped hull. Thoughts of him drowning in the car filled him with panic. He sat up, gasped for air as he took in the surrounding car park.

There was no movement of people or water.

The engines roared to life just as they do on a plane as it slows itself down after improbably landing.

Peter grabs Tiggy's lead and heads towards the stairs.

An older man, dressed like a truck driver, is peering through the porthole midway up the stairs.

Peter asked him what's going on, and the man responds someone went overboard.

He immediately feels that it was Rory. He'd been wanting to spit overboard, but Peter had held onto him. And now that he'd come down, Grace perhaps wasn't aware of what boys thought of as fun. And now his son was floating midway between the mainland and this cursed island.

On deck, Peter could see the tears in Grace's face. Matilda was hugging her.

Tucked in between them, as if they were the perfect sculpture of grief, was Rory.

Peter was struck by their familial beauty, only to realise they were mourning him.