In the early hours of this morning, I was tossing and turning, unable to sleep, the thought of the tiger filling my mind. It seemed like a perfect plan. The undercover police would lure the poachers to the sanctuary because there’s a tiger there, and the police would be all camped out at the sanctuary, waiting. Then they’ll be arrested, and they can be questioned about Kakek’s death. I happened to be rostered off today, but I wondered if going to work would have been better. Regardless of the situation, my bike remained at work, so I was kind of stuck at home. I made myself a cup of tea, then was just about to start drinking it when I heard my phone beep.
I’m out the front; read the message from Patrick.
My heart thumping, I raced out the front. Patrick was just off the road, straddling my bike.
“I thought that I’d bring this home for you.”
Patrick got off the bike, removing my helmet.
“Thank you, this is very kind of you.”
I scurried down from the front door to meet him.
“Sloane said that you left work in a hurry, that you freaked out.”
I hesitated on just how much to tell him.
“A car backfired in the carpark,” I recalled. “Sloane was right, it did freak me out.”
“Whereabouts do you keep your bike?”
“Just down the side. Thanks.”
I took the bike from Patrick and wheeled it into place, before walking back towards the house. The helmet teetered, hanging from the handlebar.
“Oh, you never told me about this weekend.”
“I’ll be there,” I promised with a grin, without thinking about it.
“Fantastic,” Patrick replied. “I’ll add you to the chat. We’re heading off tomorrow, if that works with you.”
With my bike back, I was able to ride to the wildlife carer session. When I arrived at the correct address, there was a pademelon in the front yard. As I approached the front door, I could see through into the back yard, where there were more pademelons, kangaroos and wallabies, which must have been being hand-reared. I knocked on the frame of the screen door.
“Come in, love,” Carol urged, letting me in to sit in her loungeroom and learn all about caring for wildlife.
She gave me forms to fill out. I handed them back with enthusiasm. The next step would be to inspect our house. I didn’t tell her about our plans to care for animals on our property one day, because this is thankless work in and of itself. We made a day for Carol to come over, and after a few hours, I weaved my way back through the pademelons to get on my bike and ride home. Tallulah came over for dinner, upon Mum’s invitation. She’d organised it while I was out. Mum prepared her delicious Bolognese.
“Oh my stars, Aunty Cath,” my cousin, Luke, gushed as he let himself in the front door.
He strode into the kitchen and kissed Mum on the cheek. We sat down and ate.
“Oh, Patrick asked if I would go to Launceston with his band over the weekend,” I mentioned. “I said yes when he brought my bike back, I hope you don’t mind.”
Dad nodded his head, then went to get more wine.
“You’re rezoning the land, I heard,” Luke spoke up.
“Yeah, we have put in the forms to rezone the land, so now it’s just up to the council to consider the application and determine what happens next,” Mum explained. “It’s a waiting game.”
“Have they given you any sort of timeframe on how long they think that it will take?” Luke wanted to know.
“No, unfortunately,” Mum responded, “but hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.”
She and Dad cleared the plates away once we’d finished eating, then went to bed.
“When I went to the primate meeting on Monday, they were talking about uterine adenomyosis in orang-utans.”
“I’m going to pretend to know what that means,” Luke remarked.
“It’s where a benign mass forms through the thickening of the uterine tissues, I think,” Tallulah mentioned, “but I gather I’ll learn more at uni.”
“You’re doing vet, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. Orientation starts next week.”
“I hope that you enjoy it.”
Jumilah Fioray is a recent high school graduate from lutruwita, Tasmania. Her parents, Catherine and Adriano Fioray, met at the University of Melbourne in the 1990s and returned to Hobart after finishing their degrees, where they raised their daughter and worked in agriculture. Jumilah's passion for conservation reflects her grandparents' work running a sanctuary in Sumatra.
Abbey Sim is the founder of Huldah Media. She is a creative writing, law and theology student who lives on the lands of the Dharug people in Sydney, Australia. Abbey has long had a passion for the weird and the wonderful of stories, sport and zoo animals. 'From the Wild' is her first anthology.