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Hurtling to Oblivion is a work of fiction. As such, it's intended to entertain, hopefully engross, the reader. Many of the places described in this story exist. Some don't. None of the people mentioned in this story exist--perhaps some should.
There are no characters depicted intended to resemble any person who lives or has lived. The positions of people in public life--for example, political appointments--have been used; however, the personal qualities of the characters in the story are not intended to represent those of real-world politicians holding similar positions.
Similarly, government departments and industries mentioned do not exist, though there are obviously parallels to be drawn with the real world.
The events described in the story didn't happen, though in some cases, fairly similar events did--or could--take place.
The story is set in the Northern Territory of Australia. There are three reasons for this: It's where I live. It's where I learned a lot of the things about which I write. And it's a place with a largely pristine environment, which should be protected. Yes, there's an underlying message in the story. It is, if we don't stop destroying our world, we'll end up destroying ourselves.
The scenarios for Hurtling to Oblivion could be transplanted to almost any coastal venue in Australia, or in many places in the world for that matter.
The followers of Wicca appear in the story. If I was going to have a 'religion', Wicca would be my first choice. Actually, Wicca seems more a way of life than a religion. The paranormal attributes suggested in the story are my fancies, not drawn from any investigations ofWicca.
There's a bitter truth to the tale. It's a fact that, despite an infinity of advice and warnings from people who are paid to give us heed when we are doing something wrong, we, in our typically arrogant and indifferent human manner, are fouling and killing the only place where we know for a fact that we and all other earth life-forms can exist.
Hurtling to Oblivion is dedicated to the thousands of scientists and technicians who work assiduously to provide good information intended to allow proper environmental management practice.
It's also dedicated to Margi, my partner. Finally, Hurtling to Oblivion is dedicated to, and was written in a vainglorious attempt to help our planet.
DFF, Darwin, NT
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
"I'd seen him around before. He asked me out, and he was beautiful, like a film star. The eyes and everything."
The girl shuddered at the memory, sinking back against the starched white hospital pillow. Her face was pinched, faded, and she seemed far older than the seventeen years indicated on the clipboard at the base of her bed. She lay still for a moment, then took a deep breath and spoke again. The words came out slowly, forced. She didn't want to think about it, yet couldn't stop.
"It was about an hour after sunset when he came around to pick me up. His car was a bit ragged round the edges--you know--paint flaking and noisy. Smell of mould inside. We were supposed to be going to Jessie's for the disco, but he dithered off into Malak. He smoked the wheels as he swerved around the corner from Matthews Crescent and nearly lost it. He was sort of laid back into his seat, grinning like an idiot, with his foot planted.
"We flew up by the bus stop, and just as we passed Adrian Street, he slipped his hand up my skirt, all the way between my legs. Then he turned his head and leered at me. He looked ... sort of ... animal ... evil. And he was squeezing, digging with his fingers. I was terrified."
The girl reached for a cigarette, hand shaking, then drew it back when she remembered where she was, that she couldn't smoke in the hospital.
"There was a hot, alive feel in his hand, almost as if he wasn't controlling it at all. It could have been a different, separate creature altogether. After a minute, I couldn't help it, I just spread my thighs apart for him, pushed my feet up against the dash and closed my eyes. He made me feel like a slave, but I didn't want him to stop. He kept watching me, worming his fingers into me--and then he looked ahead and saw the old truck parked up ahead, loaded with scaffolding. He slammed the brakes on, but even though we'd nearly stopped before we hit the truck, a pipe ran through the windscreen and pierced all the way through his head. He was just hanging there, like a piece of meat. Still grinning."
Tears streamed down the girl's face. She turned her head away and started to pick at the faded green hospital coverlet. Her fingernails were bitten to the quick.
No one had any idea she'd overdose with the tranquilizers she'd been given less than a month later. When her body was found, curled up like a baby in her father's garden shed, it didn't even make the headlines, because by then there was too much other bad stuff happening.