Under the Milky Way
Eyl 14, 2023 // By:analsex // No Comment
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Author’s note: I began writing this story for the Literotica ‘In a Sunburned Country’ Australian-themed Story Event in 2018. Consequently, I deliberately included a number of Australian cultural references and issues. However, for a whole bunch of reasons I felt I couldn’t give the tale the justice I felt it deserved and so I put it aside to write other things.
Yet, the two lovers from the story remained in my mind, smouldering there, wanting to spark into life, and so recently I returned my attention to them and their story. After a great deal of re-writing I feel I’ve achieved some of my original goals. But all other issues aside, the most important aspect of the story is two young people on the verge of adulthood who really do need to have a heart-to-heart and share their feelings with each other before moving into the next stage of their lives.
I’ve given particular attention to the self-editing process, but I do apologise for any mistakes I may have missed. And at the time of publishing we face uncertain times because of the pandemic, so I hope as I release these young people into the wilds of Literotica, their story will allow you to escape for a while. Stay safe and please enjoy!
© 2020 Thefireflies, exclusively for Literotica
Saturday 7th of June, 1986
First thing in the morning Darryl Ross tossed the plastic bag on the kitchen bench, then went for a surf. Around breakfast time Ted and Frank discovered the bag and began chattering with excitement, as the two brothers tended to do. The two youngest children, three year-olds Duncan and Sophie, were fascinated by the colourful cylinders and cones inside the bag Ted now held, never having seen such wondrous things before, thinking they were toys.
“Don’t touch,” Terry Flanagan told all the kids in a faux gruff voice as he entered the kitchen with wide eyes, then a big grin. Theatrically he clutched the bag from Ted, his eldest son, and said, “Mine!” which made Ted reel back from his father in smirking mock-contrition, while the other children giggled.
“What are they, Daddy?” Sophie, asked as Terry placed the bag out of reach on the high-shelf over the bench.
“Firecrackers!” her father said with a smile. Spreading hands wide and fluttering his fingers like he might during a rendition of Twinkle Little Star, he told her, “These are like special paint brushes which me and Uncle Dazza will use to paint pretty colours across the sky tonight.”
“Noooo,” young Sophie said with a grin and giggle. “Those aren’t paint brushes, Daddy. How can you even paint the sky?”
“Yeah they are,” said Sophie’s mother, Daniella, entering the room with a big smile of her own. “Those colourful things are magic paintbrushes.”
Following close behind her was Beth, who whispered to her friend, “She’s a smart one, Dani.”
“Too smart for her own good at times, I reckon.”
Young Duncan looked up at Beth. “Mummy, why are Uncle Terry and Daddy painting the sky tonight?”
“It’s the Queen’s birthday weekend, sweetheart,” Beth replied, ruffling his fair hair with her fingers. “So we let off fireworks in celebration.”
“Another celebration for our oppressors.” Terry spoke with a laugh, because to him life should be lived humorously. Even when he was deadly serious.
“Terrance Flanagan,” Daniella hissed, briefly scowling at her husband. “Tonight’s about fun for the children, not politics, remember.”
“She’s no Queen of mine,” Terry whispered to his wife, his mix of Indigenous Australian and Irish blood stirring his sentiment. He smiled at her as he walked past, stopping in the kitchen doorway. “Or yours, my beautiful Queen.”
“No, she’s definitely not.” Daniella’s scowl softened, yet she still felt her husband needed a warning. “But keep a lid on it, especially when we’re down at the beach tonight, eh? Dunno who’ll be there and what they think. We don’t want arguments with randoms this year.”
Terry’s smiled lingered and he winked at his wife before leaving the room.
It wasn’t the Queen’s actual birthday and the kids didn’t understand anyhow. If you’d asked Duncan and Sophie who the Queen was, they’d probably have giggled or laughed, or perhaps they’d look away shyly. But it was a long-weekend and all Aussies love a public holiday regardless of the reasons celebrated or commemorated.
In the evening the small crowd of locals and holiday makers stood back near the beach dune, chatting and laughing, while many children chased one another about the sand, all waiting for the colourful explosions to light up the sky.
Behind them on an ancient blanket sat Beth’s new single-speaker radio/cassette player pumping Icehouse’s Great Southern Land into the cool night air, some singing along, “Standing at the limit of an endless ocean, stranded like a runaway, lost at sea…” The music and singing competed with cheerful discussions and children’s playful squeals, always accompanied by the regular thumping rumble and Bostancı Escort hiss of breaking waves.
Further down on the beach, halfway to the endless ocean, Darryl and Terry, plus a number of other men, planted the colourful firework tubes and cones in the sand. Several fuses sparked, and with a great deal of jovial shouts and laughter the small group of men moved quickly away from the racing flames. Balls of green, red, gold and silver light shot up from the sand into the air with a scream and everyone looked skyward in awe as the balls erupted in huge cascades of colour, followed by loud explosions.
“Ohhhh, so pretty!” someone said.
Young Duncan and Sophie squealed and jumped, fearful from the loud noises, which caused their young ears to ring. Again they looked to their mothers, who smiled adoringly at them and spoke with excitement at the beautiful colours in the sky.
The two kids smiled back, feeling all was safe with the world, because their mummies smiled, and their initial fear turned to excitement and wonder. More fireworks leapt into the sky, some screaming, others casting loud booms.
Best friends since they themselves were children, the two mothers sensed a new excitement and joy in their youngest children, who were now squealing and cooing with glee. Very few things could have wiped the happy smiles off Beth and Daniella’s faces as they watched their children enjoying the noisy sky-painting, and overcome with great joy and love, they hugged.
A particularly large explosion of colour lit up the sky, blowing shards of red light outwards like the rays of a star, sparkling in the night’s sky, and the thumping detonation boom rolled across them, followed by rapid crackles, causing young Duncan and Sophie to squeal.
Again they looked to their respective mother’s for reassurance, and seeing two familiar smiling faces filled with great love, they turned to one another, giggling, both waving their arms and jumping up and down in pure delight.
Beth patted her pregnant belly. “I wonder what this little one thinks of the commotion?”
Daniella smiled at her friend. “Your little one in there will be loving it, I’m sure.”
Later the two mothers gave their children lit sparklers, and the older kids wrote their names and drew pictures in the dark air, the colourful sparking tips leaving a wondrous trail of light. Duncan and Sophie simply waved theirs about, giggling the entire time and enjoying life in such a way as only children can.
Under the Milky Way
Friday 8th of June, 2001
Even though Duncan was familiar with this northern stretch of the Pacific Highway, he was a touch nervous. This was his first time behind the wheel on this section of road, driving the car, and having only held his licence for a year, he lacked experience with fast highway driving. Indeed, it was his first time driving further than the Gold Coast where his father now lived since his parent’s separation. On this particular occasion his mother offered him the opportunity to drive her white Hyundai Excel to gain highway driving skills.
Trying to act cool, Duncan thought he hid his nerves well, but Beth sensed her son’s tense demeanour and spoke encouragement from the passenger seat. “You’re doing great, sweetheart.”
“Our car’s driven this road so many times it’ll drive for you!” Duncan’s sister, Kate, piped up from the back seat.
“Yeah, I should be able to do this blindfolded,” Duncan joked with a nervous laugh.
“Well, the car does know the way,” Beth chuckled. “Just relax. But do keep your eyes on the road.”
“And your hands upon the wheel,” Kate added with a musical lilt and chuckle of her own.
They were south of the Queensland/New South Wales state border now, across the Tweed River, after which the highway winds through country of green hills and valleys. Great fields of sugarcane grow beside the road here, along with paddocks of grazing cattle and the occasional macadamia nut or avocado orchard. And everywhere remnant patches of forest dot the land, noticed for a brief moment as the car sped by.
To the west is a rim of rugged ridges and mountain peaks, glimpsed occasionally through the trees and hills, surrounding an ancient volcanic plug of basalt rising over one-thousand metres from the coastal plain. In 1770 British naval Lieutenant James Cook recorded the great mountain as Mount Warning on his charts, to alert mariners of the dangerous reefs off-shore.
Duncan preferred the mountain’s name in the local Bundjalung language: Wollumbin. The mountain was known to some as ‘Cloud Catcher’ or ‘Weather Maker’, because its prominently sharp peak attracts cloud and lighting storms. One story says the mountain was a brush turkey who stopped to rest, where it was wounded by a hunter’s spear and couldn’t fly away.
But Duncan’s favourite legend told of Wollumbin as a warrior. It was not difficult to see the outline of the warrior’s face, as if resting the back of his Anadolu Yakası Escort head in the green valley, eyes pointed skyward with the sharp peak as his nose and the high cliffs to the north forming the warrior’s strong chin.
Now the low sun cast its last rays of light in a golden glow over the warrior-mountain, across the fields of almost ready to harvest sugar, and the grazing cattle. Duncan pulled the sun-visor down, swivelling it across the top of his driver’s side window to block the glare as the light flickered through the roadside trees. The sun quickly disappeared and the moderately heavy long-weekend holiday traffic formed a mesmerising line of red tail-lights, as far as the eye could see.
He recognised the highway exit to Nan and Pop’s farm, nestled in a steep valley among the forested hills, many kilometres to the west. The farm was his mother’s childhood home before she left at age eighteen in 1973, right before the influx of hippies to the region for the Nimbin Aquarius Festival. Duncan knew his Nan and Pop’s not-so-flattering thoughts on the hippies, who’d never left, but his mother joked she’d have fit right in with them if she’d stayed. He suspected she was right.
They’d visit Nan and Pop for a few hours on Monday before driving back home to Brisbane, but for now they continued south, to Evans Head, further down the coast. While Duncan drove, Beth changed the radio channel and found a local station playing The Church’s Under the Milky Way. Beth sang along, softly. “Wish I knew what you were looking for, might have known what you would find…”
The song was one of the many from the soundtrack to Duncan’s youth, and combined with the familiar country-side rushing by, he felt pangs of nostalgia. Despite growing up in Brisbane, over one-hundred kilometres to the north, Duncan visited the northern NSW region almost every second weekend and every single School holiday of his entire life. All his best memories were made in this part of the world and he’d come to develop a strong sensation of coming home when down this way.
He often recalled how his Pop once told him how his great-great-great-great Grandfather arrived in the region during the 1850s to search for ‘red gold’, the giant red cedar trees of eastern Australia. The trees were called red gold because of their beautiful rich-red timber and the not-so-small fortune to be earnt by tough axemen willing to take on life in the dark primeval forests. They settled and cleared more forest, making pastures for grazing dairy and beef cattle.
He knew his mother was the first family member in generations to leave the region, but she returned often, and Duncan and Kate were the seventh generation of the family to know the lush, green mountains and valleys, and long white beaches along the coast. The knowledge his ancestors lived in this area for over one-hundred-and-fifty years gave Duncan the feeling he belonged to the place and in some ways he felt it was his ancestral land.
Of course Sophie would strongly disagree with Duncan. This was not his ancestral land, but there was no doubting it was hers. She’d tell him her ancestors had lived in these forested hills and valleys, and walked these beaches for perhaps 40,000 years, and his ancestors stole it from her people not so long ago in the scheme of things.
Indeed, he knew it to be completely true and there was no argument from him it was Sophie’s country. She loved the land and the people, who were her people, above all other things, with the greatest passion.
And this was one of the many reasons why Duncan loved Sophie above all other things, with a passion greater than he could understand. In the waiting time between every holiday and long-weekend, he endured a longing feeling deep within his heart to see Sophie again. His feelings for Sophie were more powerful than anything he’d experienced in his eighteen years, where he craved the true and utter pleasure he derived from Sophie’s company more than he could ever put into words.
And now, as twilight turned to darkness, he concentrated on the tail-lights of the car in front, but thought of Sophie again, which he often did, more than looking forward to seeing her and hoping she’d already be waiting at his Pop’s old holiday house.
Saturday 9th of June, 2001
“Surf’s gonna be unreal today I reckon!” Sophie said, grinning at Duncan. “I can feel it in me waters.”
Duncan put down his vegemite toast and grinned back, playfully kicking Sophie under the table. “Your waters better give us a fucken good swell, eh, Soph, because the weather’s looking pretty ordinary out there.”
With mock indignation and a straight face, Sophie put on her best interpretation of a stern mother. “Duncan Ross, I should wash your filthy potty mouth out with soap!”
Duncan smirked and Sophie couldn’t stop her face breaking into a broad grin, which was her default setting. Sophie Flanagan always appeared to be smiling, no matter what.
Across the ancient Ataşehir Escort rich-red cedar table Kate looked up from her book and Weet-Bix breakfast cereal, rolling her eyes at them. Duncan and Sophie chuckled, grinning at each other, while Frank stood at the kitchen sink, appearing to ignore the shenanigans behind him. He was staring out the window at the dark clouds blanketing the sky, and drumming on the edge of the counter-top in time with the hip-hop sounding from the single speaker of the old grey radio/cassette player on the windowsill.
“Looks like it’s gonna rain to me, Sis,” Frank said, surprising everyone else because they’d not even thought he was paying attention. He turned and grinned at Sophie. “At least that’s what my waters are tellin’ me.”
Sophie’s stared at her brother. “Frank, since when have your waters ever been right about anything, eh? And anyhow, if it rains, so what? We go for a surf and get wet, so what’s the biggie?”
“Reckon me waters are more reliable than yours, Sis. Looks like it’s gonna storm too and the surf’s gonna be real messy this mornin’.”
Soon it did rain and a storm rumbled about the sky. The rain fell steadily all morning, not bucketing down like a summer’s deluge, but constantly drizzling and making everyone feel cold and damp, accompanied by an occasional lightning flash and rumbles of thunder. And at one point it rained much harder and there were tiny hailstones too.
Kate placed a draw-four wild card onto the discard pile and called, “Uno, and I’m changing the colour to yellow.”
“Shit,” Duncan said, picking up four cards from the deck, adding them to the two cards remaining in his hand.
Sophie flashed Duncan a look. “Shoulda called her on her draw four.”
“You know Kato never cheats, unlike you.”
“Pfft, I never cheat, Duncan Ross. I’m just better at the game than you. And anyway, Kato’s innocence is a cover for her devious mind!”
Kate poked her tongue out, pointing out the house rules. “Can’t win on a draw-four anyway so I had no choice but to play it.”
Sophie grinned back in typical fashion. “I know, but I want to see Dunc fight to win for once.”
The three of them played Uno, sitting on old faded green plastic chairs around the ancient rusty wrought-iron lace-work table with its white paint mostly peeled off long ago from its many years on the weather-beaten veranda. The ocean continuously reminded the young surfers of its presence, with salty air pervasive and the raging rumble of the dumping surf thumping not too far away, across the street, yet hidden from view by the vegetation on top of the dune.
Frank sat on the old cane lounge with his bare feet up on the veranda railing, strumming chords on his guitar and humming a tune. Daniella and Beth joined their children mid-morning; Daniella sitting next to her son with a guitar of her own and joining his strumming, while Beth stood at the end of the veranda, pointing her hand-held Sony camcorder at the scene in front of her.
Putting on her best David Attenborough impersonation, Beth said, “Here we have found several grommets sheltering from the rain and playing Uno. First appearances are deceiving, because it appears they are hiding from the rain, yet the look of disappointment on their faces and their forlorn gaze towards the sea indicates their true desires, which is the thrill of catching a fully sick wave for a few seconds before getting dumped near the shore, then paddling out to do it all again.”
Duncan and Sophie laughed at Beth’s attempt at humour, and Frank cracked a smile as he and his mother strummed the chords to Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning. Rolling her eyes at her mother, Kate mumbled something about how she was so embarrassing, and to keep the camera out of her face, causing Daniella to laugh at her friend’s daughter’s reaction.
That’s how they spent the morning while the clouds and showers hung about, causing the ancient guttering and bull-nose iron roof to leak through the many rust holes onto the veranda. Duncan’s grandfather, his Pop, built the beachside house on the edge of the tiny fishing village during the 1950s as a base for his frequent fishing trips. He built it as a tiny fisherman’s cottage, but when his family grew to three children, including Beth, he’d gradually extended the cottage into a reasonably spacious house for the purpose of regular family holidays. Unfortunately as age began to take its toll on both him and his salt-sprayed holiday house, he’d begun to neglect certain maintenance jobs. Beth was the only family member to use the house now, so her father wouldn’t sell the place; not in a million years.
By early-afternoon the storms moved up the coast, and later the southerly wind shifted, tending off-shore and calming the rough, choppy Pacific to produce sets of gorgeous one-and-a-half to two metre waves with hollow tubes.
Daniella and Beth sat on a beach towel with a grey blanket draped around them, watching their children walk confidently with surfboards under arms towards the ocean, their lean bodies decked out in wetsuits protecting them against the winter cold. This was a ritual the two women had partaken time and time again on almost every trip to the holiday house since the day their children were first introduced to the ocean.
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