Down-under

GROWING UP AUSTRALIAN

-you were partially raised on Vegemite

-it was perfectly normal for kindy kids to sing “OPEN WIDE, COME INSIDE, ITS PLAYSCHOOL”

-giant bananas chasing bears was normal television

-meeting the wiggles was your literal dream

-there was always more Milo in yer drink than milk

-the most stressful thing in your life in kindy was what window it was gonna be….. DIAMOND, SQUARE, ARCHED OR ROUND??

-NOT, HAPPY, JAN!!!!!!!!

- YOU SO HOT TODAY, RONDA! LIKE SUNRISE!

-AUTHORISEDBYTHEAUSTRALIANGOVERNMENTCANBERRA

- the beep test was literal hell

- NAPLAN was a horrible, useless waste of time

-sprinkles on buttered bread is a national delicacy

-after a Saturday of sport, a Bunnings sausage sizzle was the way to go

- FRUIT SALAD!! YUMMY YUMMY!!

-HAVE YOU EVER, EVER FELT LIKE THIS….
9

Justin, Kouhei, and Tatsunari went to the zoo with Justin’s aunt, Lucy!  In the evening they ate at the Burger Bar and then went to go chill out at the beach at night.  

Justin vaguely remembers coming to this zoo when he was five.  He remembers crying because all of his feed was eaten by kangaroos.  

Under a wide sky

This is the first chapter of an AU set in 1950s Australia. It’s an idea that’s been brewing in my mind for a while and @leiascully‘s XFWriting Challenge prompt International has forced my hand. 


Chapter One

The night sky was a wonder. There were so many stars in patterns he didn’t recognise. If he blinked more and more appeared until all he saw were black spots in the silver sky instead of the other way round. Australia was a wide open dream, a new future perhaps. Everything seemed to be in front of him. Everything was big. Everything was new and untested. Fox Mulder felt right at home.

           He lay back on the stubby grass, sparse and sharp under his singlet. The ground was beyond hard. He’d been at the sheep station for only a couple of days, yet to meet the owner, but he’d surveyed some of the land in his short time and seen the deep fissures that spread across the paddocks, red earth cleaved apart by a brutal sun. In the night time, the moister air closed some of the cracks and the air filled with the smell of warm earth. He knew he should be careful of snakes at this time of night, but the cabin he bunked in was oppressive both in its heat and its company that he often wandered along the creek bank (dried out for the summer) looking for a moment to clear his head and breathe before turning in for the night. Snakes be damned, he thought as he wriggled his back, relieving a sweat-induced itch.

He pressed his eyes shut for a moment, thought of his sister, Samantha. How she would have loved this place. Its beauty and its danger. He smiled at the thought of her face. “If you’re going to die from snakebite in Australia it might as well be while you’re admiring the most beautiful sight in the world.”
           “Hello?”

Mulder shot up, aware of the scrape and rustle of his body against the dry land.

“Who’s there?” It was a woman’s voice, breathy and a little afraid, perhaps.

He peered into the blackness, still unable to anchor his gaze on anything other than the imprint of the night sky behind his eyes. He blinked and heard it. The unmistakeable sound of a shotgun being loaded and engaged.

“I’m armed.”

“If I raise my arms, how will you know?” He tried for humour, his default setting, but he knew it was lame as soon as the words left his mouth.

“I’ll smell you,” came the quick response. Perhaps she wasn’t afraid anymore. A gun would do that.

“I’ve got both hands above my head. No gun. I’m not doing anything. I just came for a walk by the creek, to admire the stars. If you step closer you’ll see I’m telling the truth.”

“You talk too much, Mr Bushranger.”

“I’m just talking so you can hear where I am. And I am not a bushranger. I’m a worker on the station.”

There was a moment of silence, just long enough for Mulder to lower his arm and retrieve his torch from the back pocket of his shorts.

“What are you doing?” the voice demanded. “You said you didn’t have a gun.” Her voice was a notch higher than before.

Mulder fought back the urge to chuckle. “I’m not going to shoot you with a Coleman torch. I promise.” He flicked it on, moved a step closer and there she was, all five-foot-two of her, red hair falling around her face, brows low in concentration and a double-barrel shotgun held steadfast in her arms. If he hadn’t been a trained observer he would have missed the slight tremble of her fingers against the trigger.

“Who are you, Mr Bushranger? What are you doing out here in the middle of night? Where’s your truck?” She shoved the gun closer to him, so that it was almost touching his chest. He kept the beam of light from his torch steady on her face, and he could see the freckles on her skin and the beauty mark above her lip.

“Who are you, Miss Shotgun? What are you doing out here in the middle of the night? Where’s your truck?”

She held his gaze, her cool blue eyes fixing him so that he felt more pinned by them than the gun. This woman was a firecracker. And he suddenly felt even more at home in this strange wide land.

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