T he Los t Swimm er
five, this was my first stint heading the School of Classics and History at Coastal University, whereas Stephen, an economics professor, had led his department twice. I was used to sifting through dirt for fragments of the past, writing about the daily life of lost cultures and supervising my students, but dealing with the problems of colleagues, often urgent, was challenging. We were under pressure from budget cuts and I desperately needed Stephen’s advice on several issues. Suddenly I heard a volley of barks rising to a crescendo of growls. I stilled beneath the water, listening for Big Boy to stop, wondering what had set him off. When he escalated into frantic yelps I leaped from of the shower. The dog’s claws were scratching like razors, raw against the glass. I wrapped my towel tight and peered out. A kangaroo and her tiny joey lingered in the shadows at the edge of our lawn. ‘Shh, it’s okay.’ Relief flooded through me but Big Boy’s yelps grew more hysterical. Slipping my fingers beneath his collar I banished him into the depths of the house, and then I crept back and watched as the mother began nibbling tender shoots and the joey, tentative at first, bit down on the sweet blades. The kangaroos moved slowly through the dewy grass as they grazed. The mother had a fluorescent tag in her ear and a red band around her neck, on which BONNIE was written in large black letters – she was part of the local mob being tracked by a university study. The joey looked up shyly. Bonnie tensed and rose to her full towering height. Strong and proud, she stretched almost two metres from the ground. Our eyes locked and she became instantly still.
The Lost Swimmer PAGES.indd 3
15/04/2015 11:52 am
A haunting literary thriller that explores the consequences of love and trust