Click on the arrow above to listen (In emails: click on the title above)
“Hi, my name is Tamara Pratt and I’m reading from a manuscript that I’ve been working on while staying at Varuna with Marele Day for Crime Week.
Abigail swung her cherry-red Panamera into the driveway and caught sight of Manny’s handiwork. The veranda rails were freshly finished. The man’s woodturning skills were masterful. Engraved in the horizontal ruts were individual leaves, shaped like the ones you’d find dangling from the branch of a dry eucalypt gum – brittle and scorched from the summer heat. Each hand-carved leaf twisted to a narrow point, the contour resembling a scorpion’s tail: poised, ready for a threat, ready to sting.
Something extra in her Highgate Hill house to make her feel at ease.
There was only one drawback to city living: small parcels of land, little room to move. There were no four-car garages or gated mansions set on hundreds of acres. Here, the houses closed in on hers like night on day, but that’s how she wanted it. She traded the space for the security of knowing there were nosy neighbours, and most lived up to their reputation.
The memories of the fire at Burbank still lingered. Richard had organised the rebuild of their house, but Abigail hadn’t returned. It wasn’t home anymore, not when she’d lost so much. Even her marriage couldn’t rise out of those ashes. The paradox was they had survived; and yet, they hadn’t.
She could hear the scratch and whine of her dogs at the backdoor. Dropping her car keys in the hallway bowl, she meandered through the house, zigzagging around the sofa, the coffee table, past a cabinet. In this house, she took particular care to position her furniture in a non-linear fashion. Harder for an intruder to move around; easier to escape if you owned the home and knew where you had staged an item. A lesson learnt too late in her Burbank property.
She pushed aside the French doors that extended beyond the open plan living room and let in chaos. The dogs leapt at her side, their gangly legs slipping and sliding on the glossy timber floorboards.
“Who’s missed me?” she said, scratching their backs and ruffling their ears. “You want your biscuits?”
ABOUT TAMARA PRATT:
I am an author of short stories, and have a number of credits to my name. I currently have two novels in draft. My genres are predominantly thriller, crime and suspense, and I particularly like to create story settings in Brisbane and throughout Australia. I reside in Brisbane with my husband and three children.
“From October 17 – 23 in 2011, I spent a Professional Development in Residency week at Varuna with Marele Day for Crime Week.” Tamara Pratt
Various short stories published in USA anthologies.
0423 282 620
Varuna has been funded by the Australia Council to produce a Varuna Writer-a-Day “app”. When we have recorded 365 writers the app will be made available via the iTunes store. In the meantime, if you subscribe to this free blog, you can receive a daily reading delivered to your email inbox which can also be directed to your mobile phone. To find out more about Varuna’s programs, residencies, events and support services for writers click here.
If you would like to be part of Writer-a-Day submit your application via our online form