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Authors: Peter McNamara

Forever shores

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Wakefield Press

Forever Shores

In 1990, with his wife, Mariann, Peter McNamara steered his genre magazineAphelion Publications(1985–1987) towards book publishing. As a specialty genre publisher, Aphelion went on to produce fourteen trade paperbacks, including the highly successful anthologyAlien Shores. Through his steerage as the Convenor of the Aurealis Awards, Peter has brought Australian authors in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres to national as well as international acclaim. The Mac Award honours his outstanding contributions to the genre in Australia. He lives, with Mariann, on the edge of Adelaide's CBD.

Margaret Winch lives in the Adelaide Hills. She earned her literary stripes lecturing and tutoring engineering and technology students in Literature and Society at South Australia's Institute of Technology, after completing a History honours thesis in the same field. Margaret writes and reads extensively across mainstream and many more isolated genres, and Peter looks to her for advice and direction. Their friendship goes back more than 30 years, during which time they have exchanged (not always agreeably) a great variety of literary advice and opinion.

Wakefield Press in association with Aphelion Publications

1 The Parade West

Kent Town

South Australia 5067

www.wakefieldpress.com.au

First published 2003

This edition published 2012

Copyright in this collection © Peter McNamara and Margaret Winch, 2003

Copyright in the stories remains with their authors

All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publisher.

Edited by Gina Inverarity

Cover painting by Conny Valentine

Cover designed by Liz Nicholson, design BITE

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-publication entry

Forever shores [electronic resource]: fiction of the fantastic.

ISBN 978 1 74305 183 2 (ebook: epub).

1. Science fiction, Australian.

2. Fantasy fiction, Australian.

I. McNamara, Peter, 1947–    .

II. Winch, Margaret, 1945–    .

A823.087608

for Jack

who carried a brightly burning torchto the New Land

and in memory of George

whose unstinting professionalismand great generosityprepared the way.

My special thanks go to my wife, Mariann, and son, Patrick,my extraordinary family, whose vitality and resolve got me through the difficulties of assembling this anthology

… and to my co-editor, Margaret, whose clear and precise assessments covered for my own tardiness and inadequacy.Peter McNamara

Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction by Margaret Winch

Introduction by Peter McNamara

The Phoenix    Isobelle Carmody

Players in the Game of Worlds    Damien Broderick

Rain Season    Leanne Frahm

Glimmer-by-Dark    Marianne de Pierres

The Sword of God    Russell Blackford

The Gate of Heaven    Rosaleen Love

The Boy Who Didn't Yearn    Margo Lanagan

A Spell at the End of the World    Alexander James

The Isolation of the Deciding Factor    Carmel Bird

Queue Jumping    Tim Richards

Dr Who? (orThe Day I Learnt to Love Tom Baker)    Ben Peek

Frozen Charlottes    Lucy Sussex

A Gorilla Becomes a Jeep    Edward Burger

Rynemonn    Terry Dowling

Stone Gift    Robert N. Stephenson

A Room for Improvement    Trudi Canavan

Waste    Michael Pryor

Afterword byJohn Foyster

Contributors

Acknowledgements

‘Rain Season' by Leanne Frahm was first published inEidolon #27(Eidolon Publications 1998); ‘The Boy Who Didn't Yearn' by Margo Lanagan was first published inWhite Time(Allen & Unwin 2000); ‘The Sword of God' by Russell Blackford was first published inDreamweavers(Penguin 1996); ‘Stone Gift' by Robert N. Stephenson was first published inTessellations(eds Kain Masson and Jason Blechley 2000); ‘The Phoenix' by Isobelle Carmody was first published inGreen Monkey Dreams(Penguin/Viking 1996).

Thanks go to Russell Blackford, Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, editors ofStrange Constellations(Greenwood Press 1999); Paul Collins, Steven Paulsen and Sean McMullen, editors of theMUP Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy(Melbourne University Press 1998); and Dirk Strasser, Stephen Higgins and Keith Stevenson, editors ofAurealis, for the use of biographical and archival detail.

Introductionby Margaret Winch

Fantasy1. imagination unrestrained by reality. 2. Psychol. a sequence of more or less pleasant mental images, usually fulfilling a need not gratified in the real world.

Reality is what we humans as social animals have agreed (through conditioning, osmosis and social control) to call reality; it is the world-taken-for-granted (Berger 1969). Different societies/cultures adopt a consensual stance on different realities and therefore display different fantasies. Fantasy has always been with us, its nature remains the same, but its specific examples change over time and place, as the definition of reality changes. To identify the themes of popular fantasy is to reveal the underbelly of a social culture, its deepest hopes and darkest fears.

Western reality, since the Age of the Enlightenment, has relied on rationalism and scientific ‘fact'. Reality in this definition is what is able to be tested by methods appropriate to the dominant scientific paradigm—observable, replicable and therefore susceptible to consensus. What is not available to such testing is fantasy (other than real). Fantasy is the body of beliefs, ideas, experiences, images that cannot be explained or accounted for by science or logic. It is not ‘evidence based' in the sense that science requires. It posits a different world entirely.

The twentieth century mined deep veins of fantasy that revealed the extent of disillusionment with the dominant reality—here we can acknowledge the great dystopian fantasies, among themBrave New WorldandAnimal Farm. But the Age of Aquarius saw a different response, an escape from the horrors and complexities of the twentieth century and a return to simpler heroic values and magic. The release ofThe Lord of the Ringsin the 1960s coincided with the flowering of the hippie movement, flower power, and ‘drop out, turn on, tune in!' This was a sea change in popular fantasy and brought about a host of imitations during the last three decades of the century. For those of us old enough to remember, the question ‘Where were you when you first readThe Lord of the Rings?' has almost the same capacity to call up the sense of a life-changing event, a fulcrum, as the question ‘Where were you when you heard JFK had been assassinated?' (Or, for those who are younger, we could perhaps say it was like ‘Where were you when you heard about September 11?')

In the present collection, Alexander James in his storyA Spell at the end of the Worldcleverly picks up on this, when he conceives of a popular work of heroic fantasy (surelyThe Lord of the Rings) as having been engineered by the London Supernatural Council (a kind of Guild of Sorcerers) with the express purpose of providing cover for the work of sorcerers in the age to come. How? ‘It will cement the sorcerer's art as fantasy, enter culture and divert ordinary people from our reality.' In James's hands, what is presented as fantasy is the real reality.

So, could it be that the worlds created by some of the fantasy writers of the past thirty years are somehow more real than the grubby and increasingly frightening everyday life we share? Fantasy is criticised by some as escapist drivel, pulp fiction, unworthy of serious interest. Much of fantasy has escapist appeal, indeed, but it is not coincidence that many of its themes are linked to and tap into the pressing social concerns of our time—the environmental movement, for instance, the increasing popular obsession with natural healing and alternative medicine, the interest in witchcraft and other esoteric religions. Could it be that, while reflecting the sense of alienation that many of us feel with our world, fantasy also—in expressing our deep yearning for reconnection with the natural world, with spirituality, with what we would like our selves to be—provides us with a basis on which to build a better reality?

Then, of course, there are the popular fantasies described as ‘paranoid' by those who cling to the ‘realities' of scientific, economic, social and political progress. There are many horrific fictional examples of ‘science gone wrong' but, interestingly, two of the most prevalent recent fantasy themes have been those of alien abduction and government conspiracy, expressions of a dark and fearful questioning of the ‘accepted' reality. Here, we have only to look at the extraordinary success ofThe X Files, the statistics on those (particularly in the United States) who believe that they have seen UFOs or been abducted by aliens and subjected to bizarre scientific/medical experiments, the continuing interest in the Rothwell Incident, the Bermuda Triangle. Recent terrorist activity in the real, everyday world may prove to have diverted attention from alien enemies, but it's a reasonably sure bet that political conspiracy will fuel fantasies for some time to come. And the fact that our previously unquestioned realities have been shown to be vulnerable will doubtless provide new, richer material for fantasy writers.

For those of us who first fell to fantasy in a serious way on the publication ofThe Lord of the Rings, and those who have been acquainted with it through the recent successful films adapted and directed by Peter Jackson, the main attraction is likely to have been the wizardry involved in constructing an entire world, different from our own but connected to us too by means of values to which we can aspire. This is something appropriately worked through in vast volumes—trilogies or longer—the most common form of fantasy during the last thirty years. Think of David Eddings, David Gemmell, Stephen Donaldson, Terry Goodkind. But also more recently, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin Hobb, Juliet Marillier, Holly Lisle, Sara Douglass and Fiona McIntosh.

Much more long fantasy is being published by women than ever before. Might this be because the New Age fantasy values conform more readily to what have traditionally been seen as ‘women's values'? So while David Gemmell, for example, has had success with his popularChronicles of the Jerusalem Man, a combination of swords and sorcery and Western shoot 'em up adventure, we are increasingly seeing fictions that concern themselves with spirituality, healing, nurturing, interaction with the natural world, and a desire to preserve rather than master.

What of short fantasy? It seems that in recent times this has so far been much less frequently published. Among other restrictions, the short form obviously lends itself far less to the creation of comprehensive worlds and the exploration of large themes and narratives. So in putting this anthology together, there have been some surprises. Foremost was the huge variety of stories submitted. This posed a dilemma: how were we to define ‘fantasy' in a short story form? At first, one of us got hung up on the selection criteria while the other growled, ‘Fantasy is whatever I say it is!' In the final selection, fantasy has been whatever we agreed it was. Out of the range of submissions, we agreed on those of excellence thatcouldbe designated fantasy. We rejected those that, though excellent, we agreed were mainstream or science fiction. While not every reader will agree with us, we are confident that the result is a collection that ranges from conventional to modern, and expands the definition of the genre.

For many readers, fantasy has always had to do with the magical, the different from the here-and-now everyday pedestrian world—an escape to a better world, perhaps. But these stories push the envelope in all directions—some horrific, some humorous, some ironic, some New Age, some just weird—in a variety of different styles and contexts. We hope there will be something for everyone who reads fantasy here, and also for those readers who haven't tried it before.

Introductionby Peter McNamara

I've only a couple of personal notes to add.

Both notes concern my belief that genre writing and publishing in this country doesn't work hard enough at building or reinforcing its own mythology.

Something for me to notepositivelywas the pleasure I received when I found that the assembly of this anthology was coincident with Terry Dowling's return to theRynosseroscycle. An even greater pleasure was to recently receive from Terry a package of these stories to read: the three short pieces, ‘Coyote Struck By Lightning', ‘Coming Down' and ‘Sewing Whole Cloth', that assemble to form ‘Rynemonn'. Tom Tyson is the nearest we have to an icon of Oz genre writing (whatever became of Chandler's Grimes?)—we all want to see him complete his personal journey, but none of us want to lose him. Like the red desert he inhabits, he's part of us.

But as one icon shifts ground, a replacement emerges—so that another coincident pleasure was the arrival—only in short story form at this stage—of Alexander James's urban sorcerer, Barker Moon (though I believe ‘A Spell at the End of the World' features one of Barker's ancestors).

At once, I was both struck by lightning and under a spell. Why not, I asked myself, centre the anthology around this rare crossover of characters and worlds? Why not take the opportunity to offer this resonant Tom story to all those who have waited so long for it (sorry, Terry, but you've hardly been rushing it), and push young Alexander (another unhurried writer) along by thrusting his alter ego out into the public glare?

I feel as if I'm right in the middle of one of those very rare moments in genre history. There's electricity involved. I want to hold the moment, but, of course, everything is transitory, and I know I can't.

But other anthologists can come back to it. Though the Blue Captain's destiny now presents itself, Tom has far from run his course (this moment will need to be revisited)—while Barker is just striding onto the stage. We haven't got a feel for him yet.

To personal note number two, an accounting for my tastes.

The line between science fiction and fantasy is often blurred beyond distinction. Stories readily slide across the boundary, and are defined only by the reader's personal tastes and intuition, and perhaps, if one can pick it, the author's intent.

The Aurealis Awards, which splits into divisions of science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult and children's genre literature, regularly points up this difficulty in categorisation. Recently, Terry Dowling's ‘The Lagan Fishers', Jack Dann's ‘The Diamond Pit' and Lucy Sussex's ‘Merlusine' turned up in short-lists on both sides of the fantasy/science fiction dividing line. My instincts and reading of intent told me they wereallfantasy stories, but in a couple of cases, even the authors disagreed with me. It seems they had intended quite the opposite.

One author pressed on me the fact that their tale was set some considerable period into the future, and that automatically made it science fiction. I disagreed. Setting, for me, has little or nothing to do with it. Tone and architecture are the defining characteristics.

Which brings me to something a bit more detailed about my view of why we chose these stories. Storyline is probably the first thingItry to pick up on—and that doesn't necessarily mean a steady progression from beginning to middle to end (not that there's anything wrong with that!) but some ‘journey' has to be involved. And the storyline has to rise out of the plot. That's fundamental.

There's not much room in a short story to develop character, but I still like to get afeelfor the characters—more than height and hair or eye colour. Style, tone and voice are all aspects that lift a story (and are vital in sketching the characters), but what I look for most eagerly is good architecture—at its most basic, the way form complements content. As I see it, the storyline is the ‘telling' of the tale, but the architecture is its true ‘expression'.

Short stories are a contained force, and many writers find them more difficult to execute than the less urgent, often-rambling novel form, but, when well constructed, they take on an elegance to which novels simply can't aspire. We should all be reading more anthologies.

While I'm confident that everything in this anthology is classifiable as fantasy, some stories would look equally at home in other categories. ‘Rynemonn', ‘Players', ‘Glimmer', ‘Heaven', ‘Waste' and ‘A Room for …' would not be out of place in a science fiction collection, while ‘Spell' and the gruesome ‘Charlottes' could find a home in anything with the word ‘dark' addressing it. The leanings of the others split between pure fantasy and mainstream.

Though everything is really mainstream, isn't it? We just like to think we're different.

The PhoenixIsobelle Carmody

‘Princess Ragnar?'

Ragnar turned to William and tried to smile, but her hatred was so great that it would allow no other emotion. She did not feel it as heat but as a bitter burning cold flowing through her, freezing her to ice, to stone. Driven by such a rage, a princess might unleash her armies and destroy an entire city to the last person. She might command the end of a world.

‘Princess? Are you cold?'

She barely heard William's words, but when she shook her head, before he turned away to keep watch for Torvald, she saw in his pale-green eyes the same blaze of devotion that had flared three summers past when he had pledged himself to her.

Her mind threw up an image of him making that pledge, the words as formal as the words from an old Bible.

‘Princess, I, William, am sent by the Gods to serve and guard you in this strange shadowland, until we are shown the way home by such signs and portents as I am trained to recognise. I pledge my life to you.'

Twelve years old, with one slightly turned eye, a broken front tooth, ripped shorts and a too large cast-off T-shirt advising the world to ‘Be happy', and here he was pledging his life to her.

He had a collection of T-shirts abandoned by the drug addicts and drunks who came to stay at Goodhaven to dry out. The weird thing was that those T-shirts always seemed to have something pertinent to say about what was happening when he wore them, and in the end, she came to see them as signs, just as William saw as signs a certain bird flying overhead, or a particular rock resting against another.

Hearing his absurd pledge, she had experienced a fleeting instinct to laugh out of nervousness or incredulity. That would have changed everything. Life could be like that sometimes—hinging on one tiny little thing or other. But she hadn't laughed because underneath the urchin dirt and crazy talk, she had seen a reflection of her own aching loneliness.

‘Are you sure you have the right person?' she had said, instead of, ‘Are you crazy?' But it was close. They even started with the same words.

‘You are Princess Ragnar,' he had said.

Those words sent a shiver up her spine, even after so much time. Because she had never seen him before. Then there was how he said her name—as if he was handling something infinitely precious. No one had said it like that before in her whole life except maybe her mother, though perhaps that was just a memory born of wishful thinking.

‘How do you know my name?' she had demanded.

He had grinned, flashing the chipped tooth that she later learned had been broken when he'd happened on a drying-out drunk who had managed to drink a whole cupboard-full of cough medicine. The Goodhaven people stocked up on everything because they thought the world was going to end any day now and they wanted to be prepared. Though how a hundred tins of baked beans and a cupboard-full of cough medicine was supposed to help you survive the end of the world was beyond Ragnar. The drunk's back-handed slap had left William with the chip in his tooth that his aunt called God's will. In fact, that was what William had told her when she'd asked what had happened to his front tooth.

‘It was God's will.' As if God had slapped him one.

The chip was wide enough to make him talk with a lisp, but since he could still use his teeth, fixing it would have been cosmetic and his aunt and uncle eschewed worldly vanity, believing it to be one of the things that brought most of the human debris they called Poor Lost Souls to Goodhaven in the first place.

Besides that, William was simple and it would hardly matter to the poor addled child that he had a chipped tooth when his brain was all but cracked clear through.

Those words came to her in William's mimicked version of his aunt's high-pitched folksy voice. That was how she explained him away to occasional government visitors and fund-raising groups concerned about a child being exposed to the sort of people who came to Goodhaven.

‘Oh, he has seen much worse than anything he could ever see here,' William had mimicked his aunt. ‘Why, his brain cracked under the pressure of seeing his mother and father murdered before his very eyes. He was there all alone a good two years before someone found him wandering around mad as a hatter.'

William had been looked after by the same people who had murdered his parents, though no one could figure out why they would bother. Maybe it was because he was so young. He was four when his relatives had agreed to take him on.

He was no simpleton. Ragnar had seen that right off, but he was sure as heck one strange piece of toast, and no wonder. Seeing your parents murdered would be enough to make anyone a little crazy.

Of course, she had known nothing at all about that the first time they'd met.

She had been swimming and had come out of the water wearing nothing but her long red hair. There was never anyone around during the week and she had been pretending to be the mermaid; trying to make up her mind whether the love of a prince would be worth the loss of her voice and the feeling that she was standing on knives every time she took a step. Especially when her father said love did not last, or else why had her mother run off and left them?

She was trying to figure out where she had left her clothes when William walked out carrying them. He had his eyes on her face and he did not once let them drop. He just held out her clothes and she snatched them up and pulled on jeans and a sloppy paint-stained windcheater, her face flaming.

Then he had suddenly fallen to his knees.

Her embarrassment evaporated since she was clothed now and anyway the boy clearly had no prurient interest in her nakedness.

She put her hands on her hips. ‘Who the heck are you?'

‘The gods have seen that you are lonely, Ragnar, and so I was sent to be your companion.'

Anything she would have said was obliterated by astonishment. For she was lonely beyond imagining. Her father had forbidden her to let anyone at her school know they were living illegally in the boathouse, which made it easier to have no friends than to make up believable lies. They had been squatting since the owner had moved to America, having told her father he could use the boathouse for his dinghy if he kept an eye on it. Her father took the dinghy out maybe three times a year and she was always convinced he would drown because he never took any of the things you were supposed to take like flares or lifejackets. He didn't have to fish since his Sickness Benefit paid for food and cask wine. He worried her sick when he went out, and she could never understand why he did it. It wasn't even as if he ever caught anything big enough to be legal or good eating.

Once, while they were keeping vigil for his return, William told Ragnar matter-of-factly that her father fished because he remembered when he had been a real fisherman.

‘He was never a real fisherman,' Ragnar snorted. ‘He was some sort of mechanic.'

‘In his past life he was a fisherman and he slept with one of the goddesses. She took you away with her, but because you were part human, the gods made her send you here. As a punishment to her because she broke the rules.'

‘Seems to me the gods and goddesses do nothing but break rules. Look at Prometheus and Pandora.'

‘They are lesser gods,' William had said with a lofty kind of pride. ‘My princess comes from an older and greater race of gods. And if he was not a fisherman once, then why does your father fish?'

As usual his habit of suddenly circling and darting back on an argument left her gasping like a fish out of water. The thing was she did not know why her father had brought them here to this spit of flat sand between an industrial wasteland and a whole lot of salt pans and wetlands. Nor why he fished.

Ragnar had known no other life. Not really. She sometimes remembered a mother who did not seem to have much to do with the mother her father muttered and cursed about. William had an answer for that as well. He thought that she was remembering not her mother in this life, but the goddess mother of her other life.

‘Then how come my father remembers me being born?'

‘The gods can make anyone remember or forget. They made your father remember his wife having a child—and maybe she did have a baby.' His eyes flashed as he warmed to this theme. ‘Maybe she took their real child with her and the gods just stepped in and put you here, so he would think she left his baby. So he would take care of you and keep you out of the eye of the world.'

William was as worried about the eye of the world as her father. William, because of his uncle and aunt's fear of negative publicity that might affect Goodhaven's funding sources, and her father because he did not want to be thrown out of the boathouse, or have Social Security people poking around. Sending her to school worried him because if he didn't They would be after him—They being the Government—but if he did, people would find out where they were living. He had solved the problem by sending her to school, but telling her that if anyone figured out where she lived, she would be taken away to an orphanage and locked up. That had frightened her so much she said so little at school that people thought there was something wrong with her. Fortunately integration policies, and her own consistently normal marks, kept them from trying to send Ragnar to a special school of the sort William told such horror stories about. His relatives had tried a whole lot of schools before he had managed to convince them he was too far gone for school.

‘I like people thinking I'm crazy. It's easier and I know what I am inside so what they think doesn't matter.'

Of course as she grew older, Ragnar's fear of the authorities was diluted to wary caution, but her father sealed her silence. He said they would never allow her to take Greedy away with them.

Greedy was a crippled seagull William had rescued and given to her as a gift, saying that in the realm of the gods, the seagull was her personal hawk. It was so devoted, William told her solemnly, that it had followed her to this world, but in order to come to her the gods offered the proud hawk only the form of a lowly scavenger. He told her the hawk's real name was Thorn, but secretly she nicknamed it Greedy, because it was.

‘Thorn is hungry because in his previous life he was starved by the gods to try to make him forswear his allegiance to you,' William had told her reproachfully the one time he heard her calling the bird Greedy.

William had an answer for everything. Truth was, he was a lot smarter than most of the kids and the teachers at school, at least in ways that mattered. He did not read, but he could tell stories better than any book, and he had built around the two of them a fantasy that was far more wonderful than life could ever offer. In the years since they had first met, he had been her companion and everything else she had wanted—slave, brother, confidant, friend. He had shed blood to seal his pledge though she had not wanted or asked for it, and he had promised to serve and obey, honour and protect her—with his own life if necessary.

He had watched her for a long time to make sure she was truly the one, he told her earnestly one time as they were baking mussels in a battered tin pot of salty water on a small fire. The water had to be salty or the crustaceans tasted vile.

‘But how did you know in the end?'

He shrugged. ‘I found a sign and I knew—a ring of dead jellyfish on the beach in the shape of a crown.'

It was easier to obey William's odd instructions than to try to understand why he thought a toilet brush in seaweed was a warning that you were being discussed, or how walking a certain way round an overturned shell could avert an accident. It was very rare that he wanted her to do anything troublesome, though once when he said they must walk along the railway lines for so many paces, she worried a lot because, if they were caught, they would end up in the children's court. But they had done it and William claimed that was what had stopped a council van coming down to Cheetham Point to check out rumours of people living there.

Did he manipulate events as he claimed? Mostly, Ragnar figured not, but it never hurt to take out insurance. Because there were many times when William knew things he could not know. Sometimes she would be going to catch the train and he would tell her that she would miss it, so he would wait for her in their secret place. And the train mysteriously would not come. Other times he would tell her it was going to rain when she was dressed lightly and, sure enough, by the end of the day, it would be pelting down.

Coincidence? Maybe. Ragnar did not believe she was a princess in exile. Not really. Though she did feel as if she had been born for more than this bit of barren land. One part of her looked at her father when he was drunk with his mouth open, a thin ribbon of drool falling from his lips, and knew she had been born of nobler blood. Sometimes when she was sitting in class, knowing the answers, but never speaking out because being too smart could bring you into the Public Eye even more than being too dumb, a little voice would whisper to her that she was special and destined for greatness, just as William said.

Sometimes when she and William sat at the very end of the land watching the sun fall in a haze of gold into the ocean, he would ask her if she felt the magic, and she would nod, lifting her chin and holding back her shoulders as regally as a princess, proud even in exile. Greedy would shiver on her lap, as if for a moment remembering his life as a mighty hawk hunter, bane of mice and small birds and even of cats.

It had been through such a sunset of molten gold that Torvald came to them. The day was uncommonly still and a sea-mist was shot with bloody gold and red lights as the sun fell. Ragnar saw something shimmer and all at once could see a young man with golden hair flying in the wind, and a proud handsome face, coming on his boat out of the mist, and her lips had parted in breathless wonder. Then she heard the whining stutter of the speedboat engine and realised he was coming across the water to Cheetham Point from the Ridhurst Grammar School jetty.

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