Stellas Plight Chapter Three

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Chapter Three

It didnt take long for the coroners report to come through. Ryan died from a burst aneurysm in the brain. His funeral was held a week later and he was buried beside his Uncle Rick. The uncle who left him the property. Stella added for Teresas benefit. The next day I was called to our solicitors office for the reading of Ryans latest Will. It was straightforward enough. The property and house were to be left to me. Everything except for the few head of cattle he had been breeding. Apparently, they were on loan from Uncle David so Ryan could breed and start his own herd. Unfortunately, there had been only four calves born at the time of his death. Once they were old enough to be separated from their mothers the loaned cattle had to be returned.

Why wouldnt this uncle David leave them a little longer so you could have an income?

Stella was about to answer when she noticed a man through the window of the doors leading to the next carriage. He was leaning slightly forward speaking to one passenger after another.

I think Sarah needs her nappy changed. Stella stood to retrieve the bag she had put in the overhead storage earlier.

At the same moment the guard came through the rear door. Theres a small table in the guardroom if you would like to use it and a microwave. I wont be using the cabin for a while.

Thank you, she smiled and let him pass before reaching for the baby.

She had only just closed the door of the guard cabin when the man entered her carriage from the other end. She stepped aside and peered through the stripped security screen that allowed the guard to see out but no one could see much if they looked in. Muffled voices kept her alert. Sarah stirred. Stella rocked her gently. Ssshhh奸ittle one.

Stella risked a glanced through the window. She drew in a sharp breath. David?

Finally, David moved out of the carriage and Stella could see him move from the next carriage through the door at the other end.

Lets get you cleaned up, Stella cooed at Sarah her big blue eyes gazing back.

Minutes later she returned to her seat. I should have bought a baby carrier before I left Sydney.

Theresa stretched out her arms. That would only make things more difficult for you.

Once settled back into her seat, Stella looked up to see Teresa looking straight at her.

What was that about? Teresa asked directly.

What was what about? Stella replied before looking away. Sorry. That man was Ryans Uncle David. She turned in her seat slightly to face Teresa. I was about to tell you what happened after David came for the cows.

Stella kept her voice low even though there were only two other passengers at the front of the carriage since the train stopped to embark and disembark passengers at Katoomba. The bull Ryan bought was lame after stepping into a hole in his enclosure. I had only been filling the food and water troughs through the fence since Ryan died. I was no way going to go in there, pregnant or not. I was about seven months along by then and Ryans only income was from the land he leased out to another property owner. David said he would pay to have the bull treated by a vet and then buy it from me at a fair price that included the vet fees. That was fine until the bull up and died. David demand his money back after I had already spent it on feed for the calves.

That doesnt seem fair, Teresa interrupted.

Well, I dont know much about whats fair but Kath, Davids wife, was upset over his treatment of me. She had come to stay with me after Ryans death until after the funeral. Shes a real sweetie. Anyway, from what I heard over the radio gossip line and in town that David beat her and she up and left him. I didnt see her again until I came to Sydney a month ago. I was having problems with fluid around my ankles and Doc Stone insisted I go to Sydney until after the birth. Friends from another property offered to look after the place until I returned.

Stella was tired. She hadnt slept properly since Sarah was born and the gently movement of the train made her sleepy. She almost dozed off when Teresa spoke.

How did you find Kath, or did she find you?

Stella squeezed her eyes closed before blinking repeatedly. Kath found me. Her voice cracked. Doc Stone told her where I was. She asked him not to tell anyone else, not even David, because she thought I was in danger. I guess he believed her because of what happened to her. She turned to Teresa; tears streaming down her cheeks. He broke her arm and her nose for standing up to him – for me.

Teresa sat quietly and looked out the window for a few minutes. Her heart broke for Stel and her baby. She lifted Sarah and kissed her forehead then turned to Stella. That man just now, your Ryans uncle, he asked if I had seen a woman with a baby. Im sorry色 Her voice drifted off.

Stella sat up straight and looked down the carriage through the door. What did you say? I dont understand. Why didnt he stay or go into the guards cabin?

Teresa turned back to Stella and gazed into her eyes. I knew something wasnt right. I answered him in German, my second language. I knew it would come in handy one day. She winked. I didnt lie. I couldnt lie. I wont, but he had no idea what I said and he just left.

Stella stared at this beautiful woman that had befriended her. She didnt know whether she should laugh or cry. After a few moments, she smiled. Thank you.

So, tell me what happened in Sydney.

After a long sigh Stella continued.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Stellas Plight Chapter Two

Read Chapter One HERE

Chapter Two.

Stella began her story from the day her life changed forever. She had awoken early New Years Day with a dry mouth and covered in sweat. Nothing unusual for this part of the world but what was different was that Ryan wasnt in bed and there was no evidence that he had. A wonderful husband of three years and a baby on the way, Stellas only longing was for a relief from the heatwave and yet another drought.

Peeling back the damp top sheet Stella sat up on the side of the bed; her head groggy from a restless night.

Making her way down stairs she headed to the refrigerator for the jug of water she had place there the evening before. She peered out the kitchen window and noticed the door of the tractor shed was open. Thats strange. It wasnt open before I went to bed. Maybe Ryans tinkering with the engine, she spoke into the empty room.

Stella looked around the kitchen for a sign that Ryan had eaten breakfast early. Nothing. Heading to the back door she pushed opened the fly screen door. Ryan often left the back door open to allow any breeze that might stir in the sweltering night air.

It wasnt until she reached the tractor shed that she realised how quiet it was. Ryan, where are you?

Flo, Ryans Blue Cattle Dog began to bark. Stella turned to see that Flo was still in her fenced off area near the house. Since a recent pack of wild dogs had been seen roaming the surrounding properties at night, Ryan had made sure Flo didnt wander and so the dogs couldnt ambush her. No way would he leave Flo in there if he were here.

A sudden chill rushed through her. She stood in the wide doorway. Ryan! There was no reply except for Flos constant bark. She approached the tractor and looked around. Where are you? It was then she noticed a dull glow of light coming from the small doorless room at the rear of the shed where Ryan used as an office of sorts and to clean small tractor parts.

Stella felt like she was walking in a dream only for the constant barking from Flo. There sitting on a stool slumped over a newspaper that lay open on the wooden bench was Ryan. A moment of relief that Ryan must have dozed off while working past through her. The lantern was struggling to keep alight. With no power to the shed, Ryan had kept an old kerosene lamp ready in case of an emergency.

Placing her hand gently on his shoulder she jerked it back. It was cold, an impossibility in this heat. She moved to where she could see one side of his face. His left eye looked back at her. Ryan! She gently shook his shoulder but he remained silent and cold.

Stella heart pounded as she ran back to the house. Letting the screen door slam behind her she rushed straight to the radio in the front room. She forced herself to concentrate on the user instructions. Even though Stella used the radio on occasions, it was Ryan who usually operated it.

Almost immediately the operator came over the line. Youre on air early, Ryan. How can I assist you? Over.

Maggie its Stella, she sobbed in relief. Over, she finally remembered and released the button.

What is it, Stel? You sound panicked. Over.

Its Ryan. I think hes dead, she blurted out and released the button without the over.

Calm down, Stel. Doc Stone is over at Davids place visiting Ryans grandmother. Ill contact him there. Stay calm. Over.

Stella gulped down air. Ill try. Tell him to hurry, please. She sat staring at the radio and took long deep breaths until she heard Maggies voice again.

Stel, Dr Stone will be there in about twenty minutes. David is driving him over in his off-road utility. Over.

Thanks Maggie. Over.

Ill call you later, Maggie signed off.

Flos yapping was beginning to annoy her so she went back out to the shed and closed the door but not before looking in the direction of back room where she could barely see Ryan through her tears. Then she let Flo loose, giving her a long hard hug.

Oh Flo安hat will we do without him?

It took less than twenty minutes for Doc Stone to arrive but to Stella if felt like hours. She had managed to change into a cotton house dress that had seen better days but she didnt seem to notice.

David, who was also Ryans Uncle, raced ahead of the doctor. Where is he? What happened?

He was full of questions but Stella could only point. She was shaking and her eyes hurt from rubbing away the constant tears.

Hes in the tractor shed, she finally blurted.

David put his arm around her shoulder and tried to soothe her. Im sure hes fine. Lets go with Doc and see what he says.

By the time David and Stella had reach the shed, Doc Stone had already squeezed through the door so Flo wouldnt follow.

David, I cant go back in there.

OK, stay here and hold Flo. Ill see what Doc has to say.

Moments later David and the doctor returned to where Stella waited. They both looked sad and pale.

I think hes been here since possibly late last night. What time did you find him, Stel? The doctor asked gently.

It was just after five this morning. I woke on Ryans alarm and headed to the kitchen for a drink. I guess it was only five minutes later when I noticed the shed door was open. She finished in a sob. What happened to him, Doc? she pleaded.

The doctor gently turned Stella back toward the kitchen. Youre in shock.

Shes shivering, David added running ahead to open the door before heading into the front room for a throw rug.

After the doctor gave Stella a mild sedative, he sat beside her at the kitchen table while David brought glasses of cold water.

Stel, Doc began quietly. ‘From what I can ascertain without an autopsy,’ he coughed apologetically. It appears to be a natural death.

But hes only thirty-four, Stella gasped.

We have to wait on the coroners report. He sipped from the glass that David had placed in front of him. I need to use your radio.

David pointed to the front room and the two watched the doctor leave the kitchen. Stel, Ill get Kath to come over. She can stay as long as you need.

Oh David, she has too much to do to bother with me.

You forget I make enough money to pay for a housekeeper to help my wife. He sighed heavily. Look, I know I havent been close to Ryan since. since my brother left the property to him instead of leaving it in my fathers family. To me匈m mean, Im sorry.

Stella looked up as if she didnt hear him correctly.

Only hearing bits of what Doctor Stone was saying in the other room, she waited. Her shaking had eased but she couldnt stop the tears.

Another few minutes passed before Doc came back into the kitchen. The authorities will be here as soon as they can. Theyll question you. Its routine but Ill stay until they take Ryan away.

David rose from his chair and gulped down the rest of his water. Ill head back and send Kath over in the Jeep. You can use the Jeep Doc until I can get to town to collect it. I need to get those antibiotics you prescribed for mother anyway.

The doctor nodded and sipped at his water.

The train lurched as it rounded a curve in the rails. Stella sighed. I can remember that morning like it was yesterday, she said looking over at her baby asleep in the arms of Teresa. Teresa had become a comforting traveling companion. You know, I didnt even ask how Davids mother was. She died a few months later from complications after a long illness色 Her voice trailed off.

Im so sorry to hear that you went through that. So, the little one is fatherless?

Stella nodded sadly. Thats only half of it, she whispered before continuing her story.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Stella’s Plight Chapter One

Chapter One

Stellas thick black hair momentarily obscured the unpaved footpath. Another April gusty breeze sent the fringe in the other direction but not in time to avoid the muddy puddle. Conscious now of a stain that would ruin her best pantsuit she avoided looking down. She wouldnt have been able to see much past the bundle in one arm and the heavy khaki carry bag over the other anyway. Can my day get any worse? she mumbled.

Oblivious of the people bustling around her, Stella again focused on one thing宇o get onto thattrain; her only escape.

Entering a short, almost empty tunnel the clicking of her heels on the concrete floor motivated her to walk faster. She dared a quick glance over her shoulder. Feeling only slightly easier, she turned a sharp right onto a crowded platform. Side stepping suitcases and groups of passengers that chatted and laughed, she kept going until she found an empty bench seat at the far end of the platform where she would be able to embark closest to the guards carriage.

The bundle stirred as Stella sat and eased the heavy bag from her sore shoulder. Not long now, little one. She reached into the bag for a pacifier. Sucking was instant. Stellas attention returned to her surroundings.

In a few short minutes, everyone had hushed and turned to face the approaching train. Returning the bag to her shoulder she stood carefully so not to lose grip of her precious bundle. Once the train had stopped completely, she stepped forward to board the carriage. Someone touched her elbow. Panic filled her until she realised that it was a short, pump woman dressed in very plain old fashion clothing. Around her neck hung a chunky cross on a simple chain.

Let me help with that. The woman took the bag without waiting for an answer.

Thank you, Stella answered as calmly as she could before she stepped across the gap and followed the woman to a seat at the rear of the carriage. Thank you, she said again before sitting beside her.

Stella moved the baby to the other arm to relieve the ache that had reached the point of stiffness and also to let the kind woman see her baby. Thank you, she said, knowing she had repeated herself again.

The warm smile made Stella feel more relaxed than she had been since the day before but still kept alert of what was happening around them.

Im Sister Anna Teresa, but you can call me Teresa. Its actually what my father called me.

Its good to meet you Teresa. Im Stella or Stel for short, she added with a smile.

Such a sweet baby. The words were tender.

Would you like to hold her, Stella asked.

Oh, could I? Teresa handed Stella the bag and reached over to accept the baby. Shes so tiny. Must be a newborn.

Stella searched the bag for the items she needed to prepare a bottle. Yes吁arah is a week-old today.

A whistle blew and the train began to move.

Teresa watched as Stella mixed the powder. Such a shame色 she said. I mean色

Thats all right. Im fine about not being able to feed her myself, was Stellas simple reply. Would you like to give her the bottle?

Teresas huge grin was all Stella needed to hand over the little bottle and remove the pacifier. She watched as Sarah sucked furiously bringing laughs from both women.

Looking up, Stella saw the guard making his way through the carriage. She closed her eyes and sighed heavily.

Do you have to travel far? Teresa asked carefully.

As far as the train goes, Stella answered without thinking. I mean匈m heading back to Bourke.

Such a long trip on your own with one so little. Her eyes now fixed on Stellas.

In that awkward moment she leaned forward and looked down at the blotchy brown marks at the hem of her slacks. She cringed slightly and studied the other passengers in their carriage. Some were involved in conversations, reading or preparing for a snooze. Stella took a deep breath and released it slowly before making an effort to respond. I am alone, she whispered. Its a long story.

We have plenty of time and Im a good listener夷f you want to share.

With a sense of relief, Stella slowly began her story.

To be continued.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.