I didn’t want to sit in the front seat of our car – that’s where Mum always sat – but Dad was begging.Hmm. Interesting.
‘Please, Sasha,’ he said. His voice caught and he cleared his throat. ‘We promised. A new start.’
His face was so creased with sadness that I couldn’t say no. I forced my foot and then my leg into the car, and slid onto the dusty blue seat, yanking at the seatbelt. My hatred for Mum burned through me all over again.
‘Bye, house,’ Nicky said, waving out the back window at the familiar cream weatherboard we’d lived in all our lives. I refused to look back.(Sorry to interrupt, but: mum? manna bend? is this Australia?)
All the way to Manna Bend,
I hunched down in the seat and listened to my iPod. Nicky sat in the back seat, clutching his box of magic tricks, staring out the window. Every now and then he’d go, ‘Wow’ and point, but it was only something dumb like a cow or a sheep. I hated how enthusiastic he was, and knew it was mean, but meanness seemed to have replaced blood in my veins.I'm... cautiously hopeful.
The removal van followed us like a lame dog that was scared it’d get lost before we made it to our new house. New old house. I’d already seen a photo of it, and it was beyond renovation. It needed demolition.No immediate issues, and I'm interested to read more. (Goodness, have I had too much wine? I would want to have a look at the manuscript at the office next morning, in the clearer light of my hangover.)
'Manna Bend hasn’t had a policeman for six months,’ Dad had told us. ‘This is a golden opportunity to put the dirty, nasty city behind us and make a new life.’ I’d blocked him out – I didn’t want to leave the city. But I’d lost my vote when I’d got into trouble and ended up in the Children’s Court. If moving to the back of nowhere and becoming a country cop would make Dad happy again, I’d have to give it a try. I owed him that.
‘Here we are,’ Dad announced, trying to sound cheerful. ‘Looking good, kids.’ A big sign flashed past that said 'Manna Bend.'
‘Watch out!’ I screeched, my feet digging into the floor.
(Yes, Australian, hence the Mum and the cop, rather than Mom and sheriff.)Aha! I was right!