SpineOut : October - November2016
DarwinDevastation Short Stories It was the early morning of Thursday 19 February, 1942, Darwin, Australia. Hughes Avenue was quiet, as it had been for the past two years. It was wartime: everyone would rather stay home. ‘Rosalie? It’s time to wake up for school.’ Evelyn Moore gently shook her daughter Rosalie Anne awake. ‘Good morning.’ Rosalie stretched. ‘Get ready, please!’ she smiled, walking into Arthur’s room. Arthur John Moore was Rosalie’s little brother. He was four years old. She was nine. Rosalie jumped out of bed and changed into her olive school frock with a large white collar. She attended Hughes Ave Primary, which was just down the road. Arthur didn’t go to school yet. ~~~ Rosalie took her satchel and waved to her mother as she left. When she arrived at school, the kids were playing in the yard. Just as she found her friends, the school bell rang. All the children ran off to their classrooms, and waited for the teacher. ‘Good morning!’ Mrs Hall greeted cheerfully as she walked in. ‘Good morning, Mrs Hall,’ they groaned. ‘It’s alright, it’s Thursday. Only two more days,’ she laughed, beginning to write simple arithmetic on the blackboard. The children readied their chalk above their slates and copied the teacher’s writing. ~~~ It was 10 o’clock. They were halfway through a spelling test, when in the distance, there was a loud noise. Mrs Hall looked up towards the noise and frowned. She stopped talking, and walked over to the window. The room was silent. They could almost hear a pin drop, except for Mrs Hall’s footsteps on the wooden floorboards reverberating around the room like it was a hollow cave. Rosa turned to the window. In the distance, she could see a plane flying towards Darwin Harbour. Mrs Hall stepped backwards, looking like she was about to run. Caitlin, Year 8 Mount St Benedict College Pennant Hills NSW ‘Hide under the tables!’ she yelled. All the children slid off their chairs, crouching under the tables in their classroom. Rosalie was scared, she didn’t know what was going on. The noises became louder and louder and even more frequent. Rosalie curled into a ball and covered her ears. She closed her eyes, and tried to block out the piercing screams of the other children and the deafening sounds from outside. She told herself over and over that she would be okay. But all she could do was just wait for the peaceful silence that she had before. ‘You’ll be alright, Rosalie. You’ll be alright.’ she whispered to herself. ~~~ Forty minutes passed, and finally there was silence. Rosalie opened her eyes. Her ears were ringing. ‘You can come out, children.’ Mrs Hall told them all calmly. Rosa crawled out from under the table. ‘What was that? What happened?’ the children trembled. Mrs Hall shook her head. ‘Go and find your families.’ she told them, looking pale. The children ran home. When Rosalie reached her front door, she knocked loudly. ‘Mother?” Rosalie called. Evelyn opened the door. She pulled Rosalie in and hugged her tight.’ “Are you hurt?” she worried.
August - September 2016
February - March 2017