I grab an old bucket from the stack on Nigel’s back verandah and head over to the grain hopper near the chook yard, place it underneath, turn the tap and a stream of grain pours out, smelling like breakfast. Into the yard where half a dozen brown chooks are at me as soon as I step in, pecking at my bare legs like there’s sweet corn growing on them. Maybe they’re pecking away tiny little bugs or microbes I can’t even see, like those birds that perch on the back of rhinos and elephants and eat the fleas off them…

Image (c) Robin Green 2016

You wake up with terror surging through your veins and you don’t know why. There was a dream: something to do with high school friends and how you lost them, one by one. You’ve erased most of it from your mind. You had to cut yourself off — you hated who you were and you knew they’d never let you be anyone else. You’d always be their fool. They needed you for that. At least, that’s how it seemed at the time.

The train crosses the river. You keep an eye on the water. The boats and their reflections, the…

My kitchen: where the words flow

At eight I was a boisterous, clever kid, in love with books, moon landings, and wrestling matches. Everything was exhilarating. Then, one afternoon in Grade 3, stranded and alone at the front of the class, my vocal chords seized when I was asked to read. I couldn’t do what everyone else took for granted — I stuttered. It hit me like a train. When I got home I cried for hours.

Over the next decade I died just about every time I opened my mouth. I felt monstrous, grotesque, always on the verge of humiliation. Stuttering was the ugliest form…

A coming-of-age story about a boy with a rifle

It was the summer of getting excluded from school, of seeing a shrink, of guns and ammo. We thought the badness would come striding toward us from the green-tinged darkness of The Pines. We never thought it would come from where it did. But from the time I saw Pete with Shannon, in the backyard, I knew there was only one way to stop him.

Originally published at Cameron Raynes.

Cameron Raynes

Novelist, historian, filmmaker, stutterer, writer.

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