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The fireworks burst into the black sky, above the city buildings. My hand slipped onto my lower abdomen, in safety due to the darkness of the office. It was only then that my thoughts moved on to Mitchell, as this was the second new year we were beginning without him. Geoff’s arm crept around me, pulling me into a lovely embrace. The bangs of the fireworks were soft, but I was nonetheless grateful that we could hear them at all. My goodness, the sky was magical, no matter what, but even more so with the fireworks. Mitchell had always tried to convince me of this, but I had never fully believed him until he had gone missing, and he was no longer there to convince me. Soon enough, the fireworks ceased and only smoke remained. Uncle Sandy sauntered back across the office to flick back on the lights. At this point in the gathering, it was time to back up the remaining snacks and head home. We’d entered the new year in style, so then it would be time to collapse into bed and fall asleep. I awoke on the morning of New Year’s Day, already feeling queasy. Rolling over, I clutched my abdomen tightly and chose to stay in bed for just a little longer, at least. I took a deep breath, then heard footsteps down the hallway. Slowly, I rolled back over onto my bed. Dad stepped into view in the doorway of my bedroom, then rested against the door frame, folding his arms in front of his chest.

“Oh, you’re awake, Nina,” he observed.

That was correct, although barely.

“Yeah,” I agreed, running a hand over my face. “Happy new year.”

Geoff leaned forward and kissed my belly.


The younger sister of missing Sydney man Mitchell del Reyan, Nina del Reyan lives on Dharug land in western Sydney. She has recently commenced a teaching degree at Macquarie University. Nina loves her family and friends and is deeply committed to finding answers and justice for the families of missing people.

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 desires to explore themes of hope, love and longing through her storytelling. She is the author of 'Shadow' and 'From the Wild'.

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