by Kaye Dobbie
A passion for photography draws two stories together across time to Mackenzie Crossing.
Neville ‘Pom’ Darling, is on the hunt for the perfect photograph.
Skye Stewart, is searching for her long lost grandfather.
It’s 1939, and Neville, escaping an unhappy marriage and his memories of the Great War, finds himself in Mackenzie Crossing on the day of the terrible Black Friday bushfires. He meets the beautiful Georgie Mackenzie and in an instant knows that she is the subject he has been looking for. As the heat intensifies, Georgie and Pom begin to wonder if they have a future together; but first, they must survive the blaze.
Almost sixty years later, Sky Stewart returns to the area in search of her grandfather. Did he survive the Black Friday bushfires? Who is the exotic woman in the photograph she found? But when she arrives in Elysian, the closest town to where Mackenzie Crossing used to be, she finds more of her hidden past than she bargained for. A more recent past which she would prefer stayed forgotten…
Excerpt from Mackenzie Crossing by Kaye Dobbie
She’d finally reached her destination, and all of a sudden Skye wasn’t at all sure she wanted to get out into the unknown. Out of her comfort zone. As Fraser had said, she was a woman who liked neatness and order, and she had a strange feeling that what she was about to find in Elysian was going to test her.
‘Ready?’ Mark looked at her uncertainly. Perhaps it happened all the time, people coming up here and then chickening out and running off back to the city. Where it was safe.
Well, Skye told herself, she wasn’t going to be one of them. ‘Yes, I’m ready,’ she said in her best confident-sounding voice.
Mark opened his door.
The air was cold and Skye could smell the astringent scent of eucalyptus, mixed with some recent rain. It was so lonely, and so eerie. She climbed out, and immediately shivered and folded her arms. Right now the hum of engines filled the silence, but when they were gone, Skye thought this place would be so quiet she could probably hear her heart beating and the blood rushing through her arteries and veins. She could probably hear her own mortality.
Mark had brought her bag from the back of the four-wheel drive and now he carried it past her, towards the other vehicle. Skye fell into step behind him. Sergeant Galloway still hadn’t exited, although as they drew closer she could see his dark shape behind the windscreen.
‘Sergeant Galloway?’ Mark called out.
The door opened and light illuminated the cabin. Now Skye could see that Galloway was talking on the handset of his radio.
‘I’ll get back to you on it,’ she thought she heard him say, and then he terminated the call. As he climbed out and walked towards them she noticed that unlike Mark Chang he wore a police uniform. Dark-blue trousers and a zip-up jacket with the Victoria Police insignia. He was also tall. Her overriding impression, before he stepped in front of the headlights and became a silhouette, was of dark hair and a frown.
And yet there was something else …
Something that made her feel disorientated.
‘Here she is,’ Mark had a cheery note in his voice. Skye supposed he was happy to offload her so that he could get back to his proper job. She wanted to turn and make a joke of it, except that something was holding her to the spot.
She couldn’t seem to move.
The man in front of her hadn’t moved either.
‘Skye Stewart.’ Remembering her manners even if he had none, she made an effort and took a step forward and held out her hand to him. ‘Thank you for meeting me, Sergeant Galloway.’
His hand closed over hers in a hard, strong grip.
‘Hello, Skye, it’s been a long time,’ said Finn Faraday, the boy she’d loved when she was fifteen years old.