Epilogue

A little girl plays in the back yard of an old house. Her hair is in plaits with coloured ribbons on the ends. She sits in the shade of a lime tree with a cloth dolly and an old saucepan from the kitchen. She makes pretend soup with weeds, seeds and dirt.

-And when you eat all y’supper,’ she tells her dolly. ‘Y’could go and fly in the trees. But you have to eat it all up.

A cloud slips in front the sun and the little girl glances up as the light shifts. She pauses. She tips her head one way and leans to the side. In the shadows behind the croton hedge, she’s sure she can see a man. A dark man with matted hair and a long beard. He stands under the breadfruit tree watching her. The little girl jumps to her feet. She’s sure it’s the hairy-man her aunty warns her about. The hairy man who will take her away. She feels to cry, clutching her dolly tightly against her belly. But the man isn’t doing anything. He just stands there.

The little girl waves at him, and the hairy man bows his head. Then he turns away, and the next moment she can’t see him. The bushes behind the house are as they always are. The little girl thinks that the man was strange, but she doesn’t think that he was as scary as her aunty described him. She wonders if he lives by the river. She sits back down on the dusty ground and decides not to tell her aunty about the man. She knows her Aunty will be upset and make her stay inside. She stirs the ingredients in her pot.

-If you be a good girl, she says. -And eat up all y’supper, we go fly this evening.

She sits the dolly beside her and pretends to feed.



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