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Shorts, published by John Wiley (Jacaranda) in 1999, is a collection of short stories with activities and springboards for student writing. SK contributed three of its sixteen stories. Excerpts from two of the stories appear below.

A Slow Drive Going Somewhere

Early one Monday morning at 8.21. Scott and I had been there a while and Michael had dropped in from somewhere else and Nathan was, as usual, interfacing with a computer. It was a school day so I can be fairly certain about these things. It was April. What else? I think it was cold. So much for the weather report.

As I said, Nathan was in fooling around on one of Mr. Leggatt's computers. Nat is a geek. Scott, who gets in even worse trouble than me because he can't resist getting in the last word, calls him M.S. - short for M.S. Dos. To give him credit, Nat doesn't let it bother him; the payouts, I mean. But he's a bit sad. He's so heavily into computers it's depressing. He's short, stocky and has dark hair cut by someone still living in the fifties, most probably his father, who's into saving money. Nat’s one of those people who'll get a bloody nose from a fight he was just walking past. Michael, since we're doing the characters here, is the odd one out. He doesn't say as much as Scott or me but then he probably doesn't get a chance. Actually, everyone wonders why Michael hangs around with a mob of losers like us. He's a top sportsman, a prize-winning mathematician, and understands science – or at least he pretends he does. He’s in the debating team, plays about twenty-seven instruments and probably can fly, unaided that is. He's polite, good looking and efficient - loved by teachers and by at least two of the most desirable babes in school. That kind of talent attracts jealousy. There are guys who’ll say – behind his back – that he’s a legend: in his own jockstrap!...'

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Angelic

Bullfrog and Rain saw their father coming out of the trees carrying something over his shoulder. They weren’t surprised. Their father had carried out a dead roo once before and they’d eaten the unspoiled meat in a stew. The night before, a hammering storm had come and that would have caused some carnage. Even far off, though, they knew that something was different. It looked dead but it wasn’t anything they recognized… Closer up it looked human! They could see a pair of legs that their father’s upswinging strides flopped about. But gee, there was surely something weird about it.

  ‘It’s got wings,’ Rain said.

    Bullfrog had gathered himself up with excitement because he’d seen his sister was right. He was about to burst out with some sort of noise when he remembered he was too old to act the way he wanted to right now. It wouldn’t be cool. He was twelve, after all.

    ‘It’s not an eagle.’ He was satisfied with that. They’d seen wedgetails’ monumental wingspans overhead but these wings were wrong. Wrong size, wrong colour.

   Then he thought he knew what it was but he didn’t want to say it. It’d sound lunatic.

    Rain was looking at him big-eyed. ‘Gee,’ she whispered. ‘I’m not gonna say what I think it is...

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