Contest #143 shortlist ⭐️

46 comments

Fiction

We’ll be in the car for a good while, love, so say now if you need the dunny.


It’s a lovely spot, Warning Point. Pretty views out over the ocean, but quite a drive along the coast road to get there. If we’re lucky we’ll see the whales migrating past, just like your travel book says. I reckon what they charged you for that book is daylight robbery, but people do like their little souvenirs. You won’t see the whales up close like in those pictures though. Those have been taken from a boat, but they don’t tell you that, do they? I guess tourists are gullible the world over.


I usually avoid anywhere the tourists go because they’re a bloody nuisance with their great big backpacks and all their posing for photos. And to see how they go soft in the head for a cuddly toy koala- they have no idea how vicious the little buggers really are.


It was nice of you to look us up, love. I suppose as your dad and I are only second cousins it’s not like we’re particularly close relatives, but the thought behind it was well meant.


I see you’ve inherited the famous family nose. I bet they called you Beaky at school, did they? Oh, I can see by your expression they did too. I knew it! Children can be so cruel. That nose skipped me by, thank goodness.


Don’t mind me though. You should know that I’m the kind of person who says what they think. What you see is what you get. No frills. I hope you’re not the easily offended type, are you?


Never mind. Look over there at that wattle growing up on the ridge. If you see anything bright yellow at this time of year that’s what it’ll be. About as bright as that top your wearing- you certainly won’t get missed on a dull day, will you? I suppose you young folk like to stand out a bit. But it’s a nice enough top if you like that kind of thing.


The whales move up north around the time the wattle’s out, so you rocked up on our doorstep at just the right time of year. Although honestly, didn’t you fancy a proper organised tour? I really have no idea why you’d want to be reliant on an old girl like me to show you around.


There’s a bush walk tour from town you could try. Always best to go into the bush in a group and walk at the back, that way you avoid being the one to stumble over the brown snakes. They do love to sunbathe on the path. I’ve even had them come into the backyard before. Deadly bite- you’d probably not make it to hospital even if you were lucky enough for the air ambulance to reach you in time.


That reminds me, I should probably have mentioned to you this morning not to wander about barefoot outside. If it’s not the snakes the spiders will give you a nasty bite. You wouldn’t be the first or last visitor to these parts to go home with an amputation after a bit of blood poisoning. But I suppose no one would be talking about your nose then, would they love?


See that building on the hill? That was a restaurant owned by a French family, but it’s empty now. When the French started all that nuclear testing out at sea folks around here weren’t best pleased, I can tell you. People all over were boycotting cheese and all sorts, and some of the local hippies took a disliking to the restaurant. So the owners kept finding broken windows and punctures in their tyres, and they just moved on in the end.


Of course I don’t mind anyone making an honest living, and I don’t give two hoots where you come from, but French food is very fancy, isn’t it? All those herbs. I tried French food once, years back it was, and it kept repeating on me terribly.


I’d say you like your food though, love, am I right? You’re a bit too old for it to be puppy fat. Big boned, maybe.


That’s very kind of you, love, but we like plain food. We just eat normal tucker. If you really insist, you could shout us a meal at Chuck’s Diner. They do a smashing steak and chips on Thursdays. The food there is just beautiful.


I’ve lived here all my life, love. When I was a girl we used to go mushroom picking over there. You had to be careful though- I knew a boy who accidentally poisoned his whole family by picking the wrong ones. A terrible tragedy. All over the papers. He wasn’t the sharpest tackle in the box and I do recall him standing in cowpats to warm his feet up. But he came from a poor family and didn’t always have shoes, so can you really blame him? He never deserved to die in agony like he did. The father though, he was into the grog and a nasty piece of work he was too- very heavy handed with the wife, you know? He got his comeuppance alright.


Back then this route was nothing more than a dirt track. It’s a shame they had to put all those houses in over there. A few years back the bush fires swept right through, and it was all so sudden. The authorities never even advised anyone to evacuate, and if you ask me someone should have gone to prison for that. A woman and her daughters tried to save themselves by jumping in their pool, but she died from the smoke. The daughters survived but their lives were ruined really.


Some owners moved back with the money from the insurance, so all of these houses are new builds, although if it was me I don’t think I could- I’d always be a bit worried. But then, folk are pretty tough out here. Not like your kind of people, you know, from the city. I daresay you’re a bit soft from creature comforts, are you?


Anyway. In the floods the river rises right up to those boulders over there. It doesn’t look like much now, does it? But it can change in a moment. A few years ago a foreign family came canoeing down this river, and they all drowned when the water rose. They couldn’t swim, of course. Not one of them!


I don’t suppose you’re a strong swimmer are you, growing up where you did? It’s not your fault really, probably a Pommie thing. I guess you don’t know any better when you’ve been raised a certain way.


Are those fellas down there fishing? So many people have drowned doing that. You stand there on the rocks and it just takes one freak wave and your gone. Although we do have a spare rod, love. So if you fancy your luck you’re welcome to take it out for the day, you know, to do your own thing for a bit.


Take a look up there, will you- it looks like there’s been a rockfall. There are often landslides falling onto this road. The whole hillside is slipping into the sea, you see. A motorist was killed here once after heavy rains.


Speaking of which, it looks like the clouds are rolling in now. They did mention we’d get the arse-end of the hurricane from the Solomon Islands, but I was thinking it would blow in tomorrow. Don’t you worry, I’ve driven in conditions you wouldn’t believe. Been driving since I was 12, and I know these roads like the back of my hand.


So here we are, Warning Point. I see the parking lot is completely chocka, so I’ll pull up back here. They’ll all be here to see the whales, but you’ll be lucky to see a thing with this rain starting.


Honestly, I’ve never seen so many folks up here. It never used to be like this. Look at that, a whole coach load of them over there!


What people don’t realise is that this whole section of coast is completely unstable. The authorities should really cordon off the edge as that crowd is actually standing on an overhang. All it takes is a bit of erosion and down it will go. We’ve had some terrible storms this year and who knows what damage has been done underneath. But it’s definitely the best place to see the whales from, so you’ll want to get over there right away if you’re up for seeing them. Especially after we’ve driven all this way.


No love, I’m going to wait here in the dry and catch a little shut eye. You take all the time you need, and don’t rush back.

April 23, 2022 20:14

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46 comments

03:29 May 04, 2022

I can picture this person in my head! Sounds like visiting my family in the US south. Do you want me to have a good time or...? Very enjoyable read!

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L. Maddison
10:40 May 07, 2022

Many thanks Tianna!

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Sue Hunter
19:44 May 03, 2022

This was so well written! How you wrote this story was interesting, just giving the dialogue of one character. I really did feel like the aunt (grandmother? mean old lady?) was talking to me, and the more she talked about how 'this place wasn't for city folk', the more it started to annoy me. But in a good way! Your character and dialogue felt very real.

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L. Maddison
21:14 May 04, 2022

Thank you Sue, I’d love to have heard what you might have said back to her 😂

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Suma Jayachandar
12:32 May 01, 2022

OMG, What a poison ivy of an aunt! And what a superbly written story! Thanks for sharing.

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L. Maddison
14:42 May 01, 2022

Hi Suma, glad you enjoyed it! Thank you.

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Suma Jayachandar
15:12 May 06, 2022

Congratulations on shortlist!

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Niveditha S
07:26 May 01, 2022

I have no words to express my emotions for this story...Its too good...Even though I'm a writer I can't find the right words...

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L. Maddison
14:43 May 01, 2022

Hi Niveditha, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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Kendall Defoe
22:52 Apr 30, 2022

Well, you got me with this one. Such a menacing undertone here. Excellent!

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L. Maddison
14:43 May 01, 2022

Hello Kendall, many thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it!

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Michał Przywara
20:35 Apr 28, 2022

Heh, this narrator is fantastic! It's kind of all a competition, isn't it? This is her home, this is where she has always lived, and just look at how dangerous it is! Far too dangerous for soft city folk. Of course, she's not entirely wrong either. Lots of those hazards are real, and when a stupid tourist gets themselves killed, well, isn't that just the perfect argument in favour of common country sense over big city education? At least, that's the impression I get, particularly coupled with the shots at her guest. On the other hand, it...

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L. Maddison
17:22 Apr 30, 2022

Hi Michal, thanks so much, I’m glad you can see the different levels you could interpret this on. Thanks for reading!

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Michał Przywara
20:46 May 06, 2022

Congratulations on the shortlist!

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Riel Rosehill
21:39 Apr 24, 2022

Oh WOW. First, love the format. And that the place is called the warning point, and how she is so mean, and how she warns her about how leathal things are and then tells her to do them,... like with the fishing and the whale watch, pretty much telling her "you go die over there, I'll wait here". This is a narrator with some personality, and I think this was genius. She was also mean in a way only aunties can be, commenting on her appearance etc. Such a great read, thanks for sharing! I especially loved how you ended it, coming back to full c...

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L. Maddison
12:50 Apr 26, 2022

Thanks Riel for your encouraging feedback, really appreciated.

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Zack Powell
19:19 Apr 24, 2022

I love seeing monologue stories on here. They're very underrated, and so much fun to write and read, and the voice in this one is fantastic. Even without the contextual hints in the story to clue us in to the setting, the diction is so strong that it's very clear where we are geographically. The story's a lot of fun, with the narrator getting a few digs in at the setting and the community and their poor hostage of a family member. I like how almost everything came with a caveat to it: You could go on a bush walk tour, but there are deadly a...

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L. Maddison
12:56 Apr 26, 2022

Thank you Zack. The springboard for this was a journey taken many moons ago. My kind hearted companion was actually sweet and very welcoming, but she did provide a litany of local disasters, which tickled me.

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Zelda C. Thorne
15:40 Jun 04, 2022

Loved the voice of this old woman! Found it hilarious that everything seems so dangerous, and after all that, I would go nowhere near Warning Point LOL

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Rebekah B
01:45 Jun 04, 2022

The use of the collaquialisms is superb and not over used or exaggerated. I loved how you concreated the dialogue on one character here. I felt I was in the car with her and hearing her talk without a breath as she spoke quickly in her Australian accent. I loved how "no place for you city folk" was weaved into the storyline, it is annoying for any city dweller to hear. Its always implied that city dwellers arent as practical as their country cousins. I love how she states places of interest then follows up with a negative overtone, anecdote...

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M J Scribble
01:22 May 21, 2022

Fast paced just like Aunty's dialogue, with a little humour thrown in, Great story

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L. Maddison
08:18 May 21, 2022

Thank you, I’m glad you were entertained!

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Debra Clewer
05:21 May 08, 2022

Great little story. Of course, I knew from the first line with the use of the word "dunny", that you are a fellow Aussie author. Your characterisation of the narrator is spot-on, and I love all the doom and gloom bits! Reminds me of some people I know.

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L. Maddison
20:51 May 09, 2022

Hi Debra Thanks so much for the seal of authenticity. Secret…I’m from the northern hemisphere but know Australia and New Zealand pretty well 😉

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Andrea Doig
10:35 May 07, 2022

Nice! Well done on the shortlist - well-deserved. So ... I am wondering if she is just a cantankerous old lady - being her usual sour and negative self, or is trying to put the relative off staying and sightseeing further, OR is she actually trying to get the relative killed off in some way! haha! Either way - thank you for sharing! Love your writing style as I have said before - a nice flow and great descriptions.

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L. Maddison
13:25 May 07, 2022

Thanks very much for your feedback Andrea, and for taking time to ponder.

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Kelsey H
05:57 May 07, 2022

I just loved this from the moment she said 'dunny' haha! I could literally hear her every as if she was speaking out loud, her voice was just so strong and fantastic in its humour and dire warnings and passive aggressive remarks. Honestly feel like I could read a monologue on anything from her and it would be entertaining. I really adore the image it creates of this young traveller sitting in the car with being bombarded with talk by their overbearing and well meaning distant relative. I feel like this is just so relatable. Congrats on getti...

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L. Maddison
09:35 May 07, 2022

Hi Kelsey, Many thanks!

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Kevin Broccoli
16:13 May 06, 2022

This is such a great piece. I could hear the voice so clearly. Congratulations on the shortlist and well done.

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L. Maddison
09:33 May 07, 2022

Many thanks Kevin, much appreciated.

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L.M. Lydon
00:39 May 04, 2022

My goodness, I'm not sure whether I'd rather hide in the car despite the malicious aunt or flee outside and face the millions of terrifying perils she enumerates! Well-written!

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L. Maddison
21:17 May 04, 2022

Thank you so much 😊

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Mary Duke
01:15 May 03, 2022

This was certainly the highlight of my day! Well written, funny and a perfect narrator. Well done!

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L. Maddison
17:28 May 03, 2022

Thank you Mary!

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Felice Noelle
00:28 May 03, 2022

What a ride! Such an otherworldly, almost insane ride with a more than a little quirky relative. This was a well-paced, fascinating character study with an interesting POV and amazing character. I almost missed reading it because the title didn't catch my eye. Glad I decided to start reading and then couldn't stop. Thanks for a great story. Maureen

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L. Maddison
12:23 May 03, 2022

Thanks Maureen. I really, really struggle with titles. You seem to have a real knack for them though, they hook me every time.

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Faith Ogedegbe
19:08 May 02, 2022

This is a nice story. You did a great job.

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L. Maddison
21:07 May 02, 2022

Thanks so much Faith.

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R. Sadeh
14:25 May 02, 2022

Loved it! We all have a relative that kinda sounds like that lol Great job with the word choice here, you're a natural talent!

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L. Maddison
10:41 May 07, 2022

Thank you 😊

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