Red (The White Review) March 2016
"It was the first week of 1976 and she had just turned 17. The day school let out her parents packed the car with suitcases, a plastic tree, a big box of tinsel and a smaller box of gifts, and they drove the family north. It was too hot in the new house in Strathfield, they said. Better to have Christmas by the beach. Which was her mother’s way of insinuating that Christmas lunch that year would not be roast pork and gravy but a supermarket ham and potato salad crunchy with sand."
"He set the camera up by the wall in the space he used as his studio. It was one of the many rooms in the too-big house he didn’t need. It was mostly empty – the wallpaper left to peel away from the walls, the plaster to crack and the dust left undusted. In the light that came in elongated grids through the barred windows I watched him move around the room beneath me, holding up the light meter to gauge the exposures."
"My mother had a house in the Blue Mountains, has a house up there still. I went up to there after I did the Bad Thing to myself. I knew the house would be empty that week, and I knew under which pot plant the spare key was hidden. I was meant to be in classes, so I emailed my professors with unclear stories. A sick grandmother, I told one. Appendicitis, I told another. I borrowed my housemate’s car and drove out along the highway the two hours from the city, the radio on, yellow lights slipping by. Far beyond the road flames vaulted up into the night from the chemical plant at Silverwater where the poison turns fresh air to fire. It was almost beautiful. In the dark."