Montrose Bay High School student GRACE ADAMS introduces newcomer Harry to the rest of the characters in Part 20 of the never-ending story.
AFTER a long night of restlessness and flashbacks Andre gave his muscles a long-awaited stretch and discovered the pain in his joints wasn’t completely healed, but greatly improved from the adrenaline-rushed day before.
He smelt the dampness in the air that would soon dry up due to the relentless scorching sun. But his attention was soon focussed on the uninvited muddy figure asleep on the ground, contentedly snoring.
Andre squinted, trying to decipher who he was. It sure wasn’t Johnny, who appeared from a pathway in the bushes nursing the first aid kit, some chocolate bars and other supplies in his arms.
“Snickers bar?” he chirped. Andre nodded and caught the bar that Johnny tossed to him. Andre then pointed to Harry who was covered in the warmth of Eliza’s jacket, draped over him.
Johnny’s cheeky smile transformed into a bitter frown. He darted over to the boy and carelessly kicked him in the shin. Harry shot awake, groaning and clutching his leg.
“Who are you?!” Johnny yelled, waking Rourke, Alice and Eliza. Harry was gazing at Johnny with a face lost of all expression.
He blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “Well good morning to you too.” Johnny was going to put his alpha male role into full-drive by punching him, but Eliza prevented this by explaining his presence. “Johnny, this is.” Her mind trailed back to last night to try to recover some memory.
“It’s Harry,” he answered, stroking his leg failing to heal the impact. Eliza continued, “He had a bad fall last night while you were asleep. So he just made himself at home.” “Yeah, the plane I was on crashed as well. I was the only survivor and I’ve been trying to look for some signs of civilisation for days,” Harry explained.
Eliza looked at him with a somewhat sympathetic smile. Nevertheless, Johnny didn’t take his eyes off Harry, not even to blink. Rourke’s husky lilt penetrated the silence. “So, we got another one huh? Too bad I’ve only got limited supplies.”
Alice then sprung to life, eagerly making her way towards Rourke. “How come you were yelling my name in your sleep?” Rourke looked at her with fl ickering eyes that were trying to fight off tears.
“I’ll probably never get to see my daughter again,” he answered. “The isolation and survival against the crows has changed me. I don’t think she’ll accept me for what I’ve become.”
“But you … Alice …. you’re the second chance I need.” His words trailed off in the gentle morning breeze as Alice wrapped her juvenile arms around his cold ageing body.
“Well, how come nobody’s come and tried to rescue us?” Andre helplessly asked, not really desiring an answer. “That’s the million dollar question, boy,” Rourke replied.
No one observed Harry edging away and slipping into the bushes. He quickly trekked around the back of the hill where two mangy crows stood waiting for him.
“Were they gullible enough to believe you?” one croaked, picking at the ground with its deadly talons. “Aw yeah, they bought it straight away …. the wool’s pulled way over their eyes.” Harry shook with diminished confidence.
“You don’t sound so sure boy. Remember you’re one of our elites. Just lead them down to Grimly Point like you always do. Wait until the night sky bares not even a speck of light and hand them over to us to take care of. Remember if you betray us we will take your life away just as quickly as you gave it to us.”
But Harry’s attention was fi xed on something else. In his mind he could see Eliza, her fl owing chestnut hair about her shoulders and her sweet intelligent smile.
But his daydream was cut short by the crows’ gravelly voices. “Do you understand Harry?” “Huh? Oh yeah, I’ll …. I’ll lead them there,” he said with dread and apprehension.
To be continued
First published in the Mercury newspaper, Tasmania, on July 17, 2012
STUDENTS at Montrose Bay High School took a co-operative approach to writing Part 20 of the never-ending story. While most participating schools have dedicated one solid week to the project, Grade 8 students under English teacher Anne Wilson spent two months on a thorough investigation.
They met twice weekly to deconstruct the published chapters, making notes on plot, theme, character, setting and style. Ms Wilson was impressed with the level of critical inquiry taking place during these sessions.
“There were intense discussions and the students constantly revisited earlier chapters to ensure their chapter would be consistent with earlier events,” Ms Wilson said. “The group set and kept to a tight schedule, including putting in some hours after school,” she said.
A vote was taken to select a shortlist and this was followed by a final editing session with everyone contributing suggestions. The version selected by the Mercury was written by Grace Adams, who acknowledges that her writing very much reflects the whole group’s efforts. The students are interested in continuing to meet to discuss ensuing chapters.