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BlackEagle Girls
and The Quest to See

Chapter 13 - Apprehension, stress and tears

'Mon, I've been wrong: scared stupid, crazy, really frightened for me and Henry. Now, finally I know. Monique, it's such a hurtful thing, terrible, but a relief and an anger that's growing even while I think about what happened...' Priscilla began to sob uncontrollably, leaning against her closest friend's shoulder, the warmth and comfort of Monique's arms cradling her.

'Just cry, just do that girl, let it all out. Tell me about the pain later...'

They were in their dorm room on level three. It was Tuesday evening and Priscilla had had time to recover from the journey with Marsha and John-boy to see the Moonflower. Time enough indeed to read the terrible words of her Mother's diaries.

'Oh Moni, I'm so glad that Harry stopped us from seeing what happened to our Mum. I couldn't have... I would have gone crazy...'

'Your Mother, she went... she became insane?'

'No! She wasn't crazy and she didn't commit suicide! I'm sure now that she was murdered! Murdered to stop her from telling what had been done to her. I read the last pages of the second diary first to understand what was happening to her mind and then realized that everything was about her childhood. She began the first diary when she was seven or eight. Little scribblings that didn't make much sense at first. Stuff about secrets and not telling anyone, about being touched and... and...and...well you can read it for yourself!'

'Oh Priscilla, that could have made her suicidal. Whoever it was that did such a thing...'

'All that about suicide is crap! She didn't commit suicide. My Grandfather, her own father, killed her!'

'Steady Cilla, don't get yourself worked up. She left a suicide note remember? Her own handwriting.'

'Yes! Her own handwriting! How come? Because it was written years before! Loretta wrote it when she finally decided to escape from his... horrid... disgusting... it was her way to get free: tell him that she was going to kill herself, put him off long enough to get away. Her Mother, Henry and my real Grandmother Deidre, was already dead. An unfortunate accident. Faulty electric iron. Not bloody likely! Grandpa tampered with it. Before that, Grandma had found out what he was doing to their daughter, caught him in the act. Mum writes that she was so ashamed. She thought it was all her fault, that she was to blame, and that's exactly what that pig, our Grandfather, said to Grandma. "Loretta is just a little slut!"

Mum overheard that, and couldn't bring herself to say what had really happened over and over. She just kind-of shrivelled up, but Grandpa knew he wasn't fooling Grandma. Before she could tell anyone he rigged up her accident. Mum wrote that she saw him fiddling around with the iron cord.

As for Mum: fourteen years old by then. She had to get away from him, out of that little country town. Her suicide note was her path to escape!

'Her diary says... here... she wrote exactly what her note said... "I'm going to kill myself because of what's happened to me. I can't keep on this way. I'm sorry sorry, everything is horrible, sorry. I loved you Mum. Oh Mum. I just can't go on sorry. Loretta."

She made it look like it was her fault, that she couldn't handle the death of her mother, hoping Grandpa would think that. Probably the police thought that she was actually saying that she was going to meet her dead Mother by jumping off the cliffs. Don't you get it Mon? The note wasn't written the day my Mum died. That... animal kept it and brought it with him. She didn't date it. It could have been written any time. Like years before. So easy, so easy for him to use it then.'

'Do you really believe that Cilla?' Monique's eyes were wide, the whites showing.

'He must have kept it; didn't tell the local police, if he ever actually reported that she'd run away. Why would he tell them anything even if they found her body? And maybe he didn't believe that she would do what she said. She writes that she was always scared that he'd guess that she hadn't killed herself. That perhaps someone saw her leaving town and told him. And if that was true, if he suspected that she lived, he'd have to find her, to silence her. Because he guessed that she knew that he'd killed her mother, our Grandmother! That bastard! Bastard!'

'Steady Cilla, do not lose it! Go on. Keep telling me what happened.'

'Her diary says she stowed away on freight trains and trucks and ended up on the streets of Brisbane, surviving by stealing and doing whatever she could to get by from day to day. She doesn't say if she sold herself. Oh Monique, that would have been so awful! It was the Salvation Army that took her in. She was probably only fifteen by then. They gave her more than shelter, food and clothing. They gave her hope and a mission in life. When she recovered somewhat from the shock of her early years, she left the Salvation Army and spent the next couple of years helping others of her kind along the path to recovery with various Koori organizations. Dad visited many Aboriginal centres in Queensland and New South Wales when he was just starting out as an independent film maker. He was searching for subjects and stories about the Murri people from Queensland and the Nagunna...no...Ngunnawal of Canberra and our own Victorian Koories and happened upon her. She says it all here in her writing. Dad was only about twenty and she was eighteen. She'd recovered pretty well by then, but kept her dark secret buried in her sub-conscious so that she couldn't tell even herself, let alone the man who was to marry her.

But she says he really fell for her, because of her ability to connect with the downtrodden and because of her own slightly skittish behaviour and enticing looks. In the two years of their marriage they had me and Henry. I guess we know what enticing means. During those two years, as we already know, she became both our Mother and Dad's assistant in his pursuit of documentary footage with the aborigines of the far north and right down the eastern coast to Victoria.

Through all that time Mum lived with her secret, hoping that her Father believed that she was dead, dreading that he mightn't and somehow trace her and come after her. I don't know how he did it. Maybe through the Salvation Army or people that she helped or knew. Whatever. She always had the terrible feeling that he might turn up out of nowhere. But as the years went by after her escape, her fear faded a bit. It was only when she was alone that she felt really uneasy. Somehow he must have found out where she was and who she was with.

Oh Monique! He came to that place!
We were there!
It was why the magpies were scared away that day!
Mum's scream!
She hadn't gone mad!

That was... was him attacking her! Henry and me were there, just little kids, in the house, while our Mother was being murdered! That monster took her away with her bike in his ute, up into the mountains and managed to get her unseen up to the cliffs. I'll bet it was all planned on a week day when nobody would be around. He threw her off as if she was rubbish, making sure the note was in her clothing. Her bike was left where it would be found... I guess the Police and the Coroner decided that it was suicide. Probably any murder wounds were hidden by the impact of the fall and of course there was the note. Seems like they didn't bother to check it against any later samples of Loretta's hand-writing or ask Dad's opinion. Or if they did, he might have been too dazed to see any difference. I suppose it all seemed an open and shut case, that, or just sloppy detective work.'

'What about the time it would have taken her to ride up the mountain against the time he could have driven there?'

'What would I know? Maybe the police thought she'd ridden off-road and covered the distance quickly enough before the uphill part. And it was a few days before she was found, maybe long enough to make it hard to work out exactly what time she died.'

'Why did nobody see her riding?'

'I don't know Mon. And that actually is a reason why! Nobody did see her! A pick-up is common, farmers use utility pick-ups all over. No one would notice one of them. How he carried her up to... Whatever. Moni, somehow we have to find that bastard and make him confess to what he's done... or make sure he can't keep on hurting any more people!'

Monique's usual big grin vanished as she turned eyes filled with doubt toward Priscilla. 'You can not be serious, not really serious? All that happened twelve... thirteen years ago. He could be dead by now and if he is not, how do you think you could find him? And even if you did, what would you do? How could you make him confess to the police or whoever? Or would you deal out some kind of rough, violent justice of your own doing? Would you feel better for that? Maybe breaking a bottle over his head or watching him drown after pushing him into a river? You simply must move on Cilla. Don't you see? You cannot even show the diaries to any but we BlackEagle Girls. How could you explain having found them? Oh we went back in time and saw where they were hidden? I do not think so. And even if that were possible, how would you go about locating your Grandfather if he yet lives? And then... what would follow?'

Priscilla knotted her fingers together and screwed her mouth into a tight, determined expression, reminding Monique of Henry and his Dad's habit.

'I'll think of some way about the diaries, and you're forgetting that we have Harry and all his spider-creepy, fishy, feathery, insect, rodent pals. I'll bet they could find him. What happens after we find him, and if he's dead already I hope it was slow and painful, will depend...'

'Depend on what?'

'On whether there's a bottle or a river close by.'


Harry turned his head sideways, righted it and turned it the other way. 'Let me get this straight. You want me to find a man who may or may not still live in Australia, or might just as well be dead either here or overseas?'

'You make it sound harder than it probably is Harry. Oh Please. Please. I'll never ask you for another thing if you'll only at least try for us.'

'Us! Sounds more like just you Miss Priscilla. Sounds like vengeance and retribution and revenge.'

'Perhaps the safety of others and justice might also be considered, Monsieur Harry.' suggested Monique, smiling down at the black dog perched on Priscilla's bed.

It was four days later and the girls were home for the weekend at the Black's house. Monique was sleeping over that night and Priscilla was going to do the same the next night at Monique's before they both headed off to school Monday.

'And if my network does find him, what ya gunna do?

'Well, there are two things I want to do.' Priscilla answered, propped on her elbow with her pillow beneath it. 'First, I want to clear Mum's name. I want that sooo badly. She was innocent of everything and yet she's only remembered as a crazy woman who abandoned her children and jumped off a cliff. And that's not right! These diaries go some way to showing that. I'll bet that suicide note will show that it was written when she was younger, that is if the police or whoever have kept it.'

'Alright! That's an O.K. thing to want to do.' Harry's tail wagged leisurely as Monique ran her fingers up and down his spine. 'Don't know how you're gunna get the diaries into admissible evidence though.'

'I know, I know, but I'll find a way somehow.'

'Second thing?'

'That will depend on whether he's still alive. If Grand-Bastard is dead, at least I'll know. If he's alive then the diaries will be useful evidence against him in court. Either way, I want to expose him for being the child molester and murderer that he is... or was.'

'So no taking the law into your own hands, no violence?'

'I'll probably never get the opportunity to answer that question. But I do want him stopped and to answer for his crimes. I want justice and people to understand what really did happen to Loretta.'

'You're calm now Miss Priscilla, but are you sure that you can keep your cool when things get tough?'

Priscilla took a deep breath. 'I'll give it my best shot Harry.'

'If she can hold off going for Roseanne Sole's throat, Monsieur Harry, Cilla can do it.' Monique said, climbing into her bed and pulling the sheets and blanket up around her.

Harry, who was by then beginning a circling action in pursuit of his tail but actually getting ready to settle down at Priscilla's feet, muttered to himself, 'Yeah, right. Sort of civic duty, exposing a menace to the community, catching a criminal, BlackEagle Girls should be involved with stuff like that, even if it is a personal, slash, public kind of thing...'

'Harry! I wish you'd settle!' Mon and me have to get some sleep. Please do your best for me. Night.'

'Yeah right, night... You've got pointy toes Priscilla.'

'Go check Monique's.'

'Just don't turn around too much. Sometimes I end up on the floor.'

'Sometimes there's a reason for that.'

'Thought so.'


Chapter 14 next

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