Jude McClay, Grade 5, Mullumbimby Public School
Finalist in the 'Write As Rain 2014' competition
Time stumbles when you’re having a bad time, but luckily Harry, the drover, is trotting across rocky ridges and stony plains on an adventure to get home. Following his mind wherever it takes him, through the deserted, dusty desert track. He is feeling cheerful and jolly. He hopes to get married very soon to his beautiful fiancée, Julia. He gives a cry of happiness while his dog (Rover) barks a tune. His stumpy packhorse is determined because good old Harry, the drover, needs to get home before the stars start to twinkle. Harry can hear the “trit trotting” of his powerful stock horse that is sweating up a storm. His big strong boots, dirty face and scruffy beard give him the great personality for the drover he is. The squawking galahs signal rain is on its way.
When he almost reaches the creek the rain begins to pour. Harry can hear the rain thundering on his murky green cowboy hat. His sight is getting foggy and Harry starts to worry that he might not make it home before night. The stench of a two-week-old dead dingo rises from the track as his stockhorse tramples past it. His white, fuzzy tongue can taste the sweat that’s trickling down his creased face. He is feeling determined and brave as he reaches the flooding creek.
The creek gushes with energy and the thunder booms a warning, but Harry, the drover keeps staggering onward. He talks to his animals; “We have wrestled tougher floods than this.” They plunge into the thrashing water and they are washed with brown and yellow mud. The water is as deep as a canyon. Waves crash against the drover’s, now bleeding, head and a spinning whirlpool slurps poor Harry and his stockhorse down. The strong little dog struggles to survive as the waters toss and turn his little body. Determined, he claws at an overhanging branch and scrambles to the safety of the bank. Rover flings himself back into the river where his master sank. Repeatedly he dives under, searching desperately for his beloved master. Thunder continues to boom overhead. A crack of lightening hits a branch sending it crashing to the river and hitting Rover on the head.
The packhorse, sad and lonely, walks up the muddy hill till he reaches the drover’s house. And there someone is waiting, sitting at the stair. But when she sees no drover her heart sinks.
The speedy flood is in the vast ocean. And the stream is glistening in the sun. The lush green floor is stretched across the rolling plain. But Julia’s heart bleeds in sorrow for the drover who sleeps among the stringy reeds.