'River' was republished in the 2015 Award Winning Australian Writing anthology.
You can read the full piece here.
They say blood is thicker than water.
Maybe so, but does it matter as much?
We drove home along the forest road, the trees like exposed bones in the headlights. I stared out into the bush while behind us the darkness closed like a jaw. Uncle Cricket’s roll-your-own dangled from his lip, the ember tip brightening when he breathed. It happened quicker than I could blink; the kangaroo flung itself out of the night and, vibrating from the impact, the truck slewed across the track. My knuckles turned sky-white where I gripped the dash, my heart rattling in my chest. Cricket was already out of the cab. I heard him cussing in the dark. I clambered down and walked around to where the headlights were pooling on the road. The roo’s body was heaving with every shuddering breath. There was a dark stain spreading across the dust, and I knew that it was dying. Cricket walked round to the ute’s tray, and I heard him clanking through his toolbox, while I watched the roo’s snout where the blood was bubbling into a pink foam. Cricket came out of the dark with metal in his hands and I made a small sound of in the back of my throat. He cut his eyes toward me.
“It’s the kinder way, kid.”
I watched while he hit it with the tyre lever. The blood left a spatter across his jeans. The roo’s eye came out like a shiny marble. I understood then how badly things could go if you made the wrong choice at the wrong moment.