Justin shares a final batch of photos from his trip to Australia (later joined by Kouhei and Tatsunari). Now that he’s back in Japan, he’s resumed English conversation classes. Thanks to his Australia trip, he thinks his listening comprehension has improved!
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
“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
“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
“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
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
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.