Back at the University of Tasmania for the final unit of the year. This time around I am doing a unit on Writing Family History. I am really looking forward to this unit.
One of the first activities that we have been requested to do is to write about one of our ancestors and one of their experiences in a piece of ‘Flash Fiction’ of no more than 250 words. So this is my piece of ‘Flash Fiction’ about the arrival of the Carters in Australia, as they are the family I am currently doing some work on.
Welcome, welcome to the country that has taken almost everything even before we arrived.
Wrenched from our crowded hammocks by the screams and the noise. The screech of wood and metal on rocks, the crash of waves, pitching and tossing us like leaves in a storm.
Everywhere the smell of fear intermingled with that of salt. A waking nightmare in the dark. Dragged onto boats in only what we wore to sleep in. Grabbing for each other, grasping for the children, terrified that at some point someone would let go and be lost.
Finally, we are here, but where is here? Nothing remains of the ship, the small airless boat that has carried us halfway across the earth, through blistering heat, bone chilling cold and days where the ship felt overpowered by the elements. In its final hours, within sight of our destination, the ship foundered in the depths of the night.
Nothing now remains, just some splinters of wood and a memory of jaw clenching terror. Here we stand in our night shirts, one pair of boots between two boys and the will to keep on going. All five of us made it. That is the best that we have.