Discussing topical issues for women in cross-cultural and inter-continental relationships

NYC Midnight Madness Flash Fiction Challenge

So I am participating in the Flash Fiction challenge this year. I was given the genre of Horror. Not my first choice. It had to be set on a barge – I researched this and decided a house boat. It also had to include an ice pack.

My synopsis is:

What’s happened to Delna?

Here is my story:

Delna’s Below Deck


If you’re looking for Delna you’ll find ‘er down the corridor, propped against the door of the engine room. That Saltie’s still up on deck. Delna and that Saltie have a history. If you look carefully you’ll see it’s missing a toe, few scales on its back an’ several teeth. One of which is hangin’ roun’ Delna’s neck. She couldn’t give a stuff about that crocodile now. Too busy starin’ at that backpack filled with cramp-ons and ice picks, wonderin’ how the hell it got on ‘er house boat on the Mary River. This is the Outback; the only ice we see here is the ice that cools our beer! We still ‘ave to drive a half hour to get it too.

D’ya know Delna?

‘Er life began in a strange way. ‘Er mother was a 60’s pin-up for suburban Sydney housewives craving a more hippie lifestyle. In labour she breathed ‘er newfound Lamaze technique precisely seven times before Delna slipped into the hands of her foreign obstetrician. They was all shocked when ‘er mother’s carked it soon after. No cause of death was ever verified, except her death certificate read ‘died in childbirth’. But Delna always knew that was wrong because her strongest childhood memory is the taste of her mother’s breastmilk.

Did you seen her? Still against the door of the engine room. There’s that faint tapping from the other side. She ignoring it, eh? You can hear it? She must be meditating. Nah, her forehead’s too knotted for meditation. She’s contemplating.

What was that thud? The Saltie? Are you sure? He must be above the hatch door.

Delna was raised by her father. He rebelled and embraced the hippie lifestyle fully after his wife’s death. He fled with Delna to the mountains o’ Queensland. Grew marijuana plants amongst the nasturtiums. Delna’s teenage years are dotted with memory lapses. She says it must be from the intense periods she spent inhaling secondary smoke during her father’s ‘community sit-ins’. She remembers a teepee and a large-breasted woman named Moonshadow.

Delna! When the hell is that croc gonna get off the boat? Delna?

She’s gone? Do you know where she went? Should we check the hatch door? Closed? I can’t hear the tapping from the engine room anymore, can you? Let’s go back to the room. S’safer.

I met Delna when she was in her early twenties. A bar in Darwin. She said she’d been travelling across the country with some old dude named Walt. She’d met him in Cairns a few weeks before. She decided after rootin’ him she’d follow him ‘cross the country, mainly cause the voices stopped when he was around, she said. She figured it must’ve meant something. When we rooted she cried and said my sperm tasted like breastmilk. I thought that must’ve been better so I invited her to spread her swag at my place. She’s been there ever since. Until she bought this house boat. She said the river was calling her. Calling her to her people. No-one lives around here for at least 50 k’s so, if I’m honest, I don’t know what she’s on about. She met the croc the first week she was ‘ere. Saw it as a test of her commitment. Took him head on. Mental, eh! She survived but she’s not been the same since. Mentally. Obviously not physically because of her limp, the gash along her left thigh.

Shit, Delna! Why you always ‘ave to sneak up on people? No I am not telling them ALL about you. Just enough to understand why we are stuck on this boat with you down here and a massive croc up there. What? No, I don’t know how to mountain climb. Never even seen snow.

Are you plannin’ on climbing Ubirr? You know there’s a trail that leads you straight to the top. You can’t climb sacred sites, mate.

Delna, put the ice pick away Delna. It’s me. Remember? Nah, I told you, they’re here with me. I asked ‘em onboard. I thought maybe they could ‘elp. With the engine … or the croc… or … No, I said… it’s okay, Del, baby ya got nothin’ to worry about. Calm down. Yeah, I know you hate it when I patronise you but I think this situation calls for a little intervention don’t you? Delna? Delna!


Hey. Thanks for that. You saved my life. She had it comin’. She was a mad bugger, eh. Look, I know it’s not easy the first time but, it gets easier. Truth. You ‘urt? Shit, that’s a good sized gash. I’ll go down to the kitchen and get an ice pack, eh. Don’t move. Remember: There’s that croc upstairs.



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