General Fiction posted May 10, 2016 Chapters:  ...38 39 -40- 

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A surprise for Bill and Frank

A chapter in the book LOST IN MYSTERY BAY

No Longer Lost

by Annette Gulliver

Two airmen who served together in the Royal Air Force during World War II are separated after evading capture by German troops in rural France. Four decades later they meet again in an unexpected reun
From the days of the Holy Crusades in the 11th Century, through the perils of World War II, and across the sea to Australia many centuries later, sickness, death, and insanity seem to stalk those who discover what is hidden inside an old oak chest, one of many treasures plundered during battle.

Bill saw Frank, silhouetted against the glow of the rising sun. His heart ached for him, but he was also worried. His friend was in an unstable frame of mind. He approached him quietly, and put a reassuring arm about his shoulder. "Are you okay, Frank?"

Frank suppressed a sob. "I don't think so, mate. I've got nothing left to live for now. I may just as well join Isabelle and Rosemary."

"That's enough of that kind of talk," said Bill. "Come on back up to the house, and I'll cook us some breakfast. Then we'll talk about what I have planned for the future."
Chapter 40
 January 26, 1988
 Australia's Bi Centennial Day

Doongarra stands high on a hill overlooking the bay.
He watches over the land of his people.
It is the land of the Dreamtime, and he must protect it.
It is a day of celebration for the white man.
A day to commemorate two hundred years since the first white man came to the shores of the great southern land.
But for Doongarra it is a day of sorrow for the Aboriginal people.
For many years their sacred lands and bounty from the sea have been stolen as the white man builds great cities.
It is no longer a place for his people to hunt and fish.

A sleek sailing yacht, its sails full with a strong south easterly wind, sliced gracefully through the waters of Mystery Bay. Frank Miller stood at the helm, a grin spread across his craggy features. He hadn’t felt so happy in years. He licked the salt from his lips, and called out to Bill, who sat on the forward deck. "It’s a great day for a sail, Bill. What a way to celebrate Australia Day!"
Bill glanced back at Frank. It was good to see the man with a smile on his face. "It sure is, Frank. Nothing could be better."
Frank gave the thumbs up. "You're dead right there, mate." He was in his element out on the water, in tune with nature. The fresh sea air never failed to clear his mind of the horrors that haunted him every day.
After agreeing to live out his days with the only friend he had left in the world, Frank was surprised to learn that Bill had discovered the secret room in the cellar. Frank had gone to great lengths to conceal its whereabouts when he built the house, but none of that mattered anymore. As far as the two mates were concerned, they owned equal shares in the contents of the old oak chest. The bounty from the riches that had lain hidden for centuries had enabled them to buy their yacht.
However, there was one thing in the chest that Frank would never part with. The jewel encrusted gold crucifix that had accompanied Isabelle from France to Australia, would always stay with him. Having been released from its prison, it now stood in pride of place on top of the mantelpiece in the lounge room of the house; a shrine to the woman both men had once loved.
The weather forecast had been for fair winds, but as the bay was so unpredictable, the men decided to stay close to shore, and find a sheltered spot in which to fish. As they sailed close by the headland, Frank could see 'La Maison par La Mer' standing proudly overlooking the sea. "Hey, Bill,” he called, "the house looks great from this angle."
Bill nodded in agreement, but he felt uneasy. Dark clouds were beginning to form on the horizon, and the wind was getting stronger. "Frank, it’s getting a bit choppy, and the wind has changed direction. What do you want to do?"
Frank checked the barometer; the pressure had fallen. "Hey Bill. Come and take over the helm while I reef in the sails. It looks like we're in for a storm," he shouted as thunder rumbled in the distance.

Regardless of his bad leg, Bill's sailing skills were improving. He grinned as he cheekily saluted his skipper. "Aye, aye, Sir." A heavy shower of rain pummelled the cockpit as he took over the helm, making it harder to control the vessel. “I think we better head for home,” he shouted to Frank. "I’m going to turn about."
"Okay," replied Frank, as he secured a lifeline. He made his way forward, and his heart pounded when the deck beneath him heaved, flinging him off his feet. The winch handle was almost within his reach when the mast above him was struck by a bolt of lightning, snapping it in two. He attempted to scramble to his feet, but it was too late. The splintered mast and rigging came crashing down on deck, pinning him by the legs.
Bill heard Frank scream, but could see nothing through the driving rain. He secured the helm, and then crawled across the slippery deck through a tangle of rigging and torn sails. He reached the unconscious man, but as he tried to drag him free, the yacht was hit broadside, throwing both men into the sea, before the unmanned vessel careened towards the headland.
Bill surfaced through the mountainous waves, and gasped for breath. As he struggled to stay afloat, he caught a fleeting glimpse of 'La Maison par la Mer' at the top of the headland. It was entirely engulfed in flames, and thick black smoke spiralled into the air, darkening the late afternoon sky.
 Doongarra sees two men thrown into the churning waters of the sea as their boat is smashed to pieces.  
He sees a fork of lightning strike a tall eucalypt tree on top of the headland. The tree explodes into a ball of flame which spreads to the nearby house, setting it alight and filling the sky with a vivid red glow, as the fire hungrily consumes everything in its path.
He hears the lonely spirit of the woman call as she searches in vain for her husband.
As Isabelle calls for Frank she sees two young men approach her. They are both in uniform, and one of them removes his cap, and waves to her. As he comes nearer she recognises him. It is Frank! He has returned to her at last!
The other man has a limp, and carries a cane. He smiles as he comes closer, and she recognises him as her friend Bill.
Doongarra watches as a brilliant white light encircles three lost souls. 
He smiles as they join and leave the earthly plane.
The ruins of Frank Miller’s dream home were still smouldering as Warra, clad only in khaki shorts, and with bare feet, carefully picked his way through the scattered debris. Heavy machinery would soon arrive to clear the rubble away, and he knew that he would have to act swiftly. This was still his people’s sacred land, no matter what the white men from the local Council tried to tell him.

He could feel the presence of evil. He had sensed it ever since the day he watched the white man and his wife arrive to live in the house at the top of the headland. Warra’s senses were keen. He was guided by the voices of his ancestors as he searched for the source of evil. He was drawn toward a pile of bricks and heavy timber beams that had collapsed, untouched by the fury of the flames. He hurriedly flung them away, and when he caught a glint of gold, a shiver went through his body. He had found the white man’s treasure.

Warra was growing old; his hair had turned white, and his beard speckled with grey. His son Doongarra had taken his place as the Tribal Elder, and stood watch on top of the nearby hill. The time for Warra to join his ancestors was near, but first he must purge his peoples’ land of the evil that presided over it. He held the heavy golden object in his arms, trying hard to ignore the sparkling stones that seemed to stare at him like a serpent’s eyes. He hurried to the clifftop, and with all his strength, hurled the cursed object into the churning waters of the bay. 

The golden crucifix lay submerged among the craggy rocks and seaweed, as the incoming tide rushed into the chasm below the headland. The curse put upon it by the Turkish ruler of Antioch, during the First Crusade conquest, no longer a threat to those who gazed upon the symbol of Christianity.
The news of yet another tragedy in Mystery Bay spread like wildfire. The local citizens could not believe that two of their neighbours had perished in such a dreadful way. Oh well, they all agreed, it was not surprising, considering the land at the top of the headland was cursed. Everybody had heard the rumours of an aboriginal curse, except the two silly old fools who lived in that spooky old house.
During the violent storm on that fateful day, a lightning strike had caused a bushfire which spread to the house, burning it to the ground, giving even more credence to the stories of the ghost of the woman who haunted the headland. What more had to happen before people took the stories seriously?
The firm of Solicitors, being the nominated Executors for the joint estate of Frank Miller and William Henderson, informed James Henderson, the only living relative of the deceased, of his inheritance. James had returned briefly to Australia from London, for his father’s funeral, but had wanted nothing to do with the house in Mystery Bay. As a result, the Government purchased the property from him.
The subject of Aboriginal land rights was in the news, and so, in a gesture of goodwill the politicians at the time, thought it the perfect opportunity to repair relations with the indigenous people of the area. After lengthy meetings and discussions between Government Bureaucrats and Representatives of the local Aboriginal people, the land in question was returned to its rightful owners.
Doongarra stands watch over the land of his people.
 It is the land of the Dreamtime and he must protect it.
 There have been many changes since the white man came to his ancient land.
Doongarra watches as his people come to their ancient meeting place to celebrate the return of their sacred land with a great corroboree


--- EPILOGUE ---
January 1, 2000 – The New Millenium
Peter Baxter, his wife Debra, and their two children, ten year old Jimmy, and seven year old Chloe were enjoying their last day at the beach after an exciting New Years Eve party in Mystery Bay. They had spent a week in the newly renovated caravan park, and were going home later that afternoon.

As the family strolled along the sandy shoreline, Jimmy pointed to a group of women and children wading across the rocks exposed by the low tide at the foot of the headland. "Hey, Dad! What are they doing?

Mr Baxter respected the rights of the aboriginal people. "They're probably looking for oysters."

"Can we go over and watch them, Dad?"

"Okay. But don't bother them, and be careful not to fall over on the rocks."

Jimmy and Chloe raced across to the flat rocky outcrop. "This is fun," called Chloe as she splashed in the shallow rock pools.

Jimmy hopped from rock to rock, his imagination filled with adventure. He was an explorer, searching for hidden treasure. He kicked his big toe on something in the bottom of a pool. "Ouch!" he yelled, as he sat on a rock to inspect the damage.

Chloe came up behind him. "What are you doing?"

"There's something buried in the sand," answered her brother, as he used both hands to extract the offending object. "Gee, it's heavy!"

Chloe's eyes were filled with wonder. "What is it?" 

"It must be treasure from a pirate ship! Wait till we show dad!"

Peter Baxter wondered what his son was carrying as he came towards him. "What have you got there, son?"

"I don't know. I found it in the rocks. Can I keep it?"

Peter inspected what appeared to him to be an old crucifix. It was covered in slime, seaweed, and small barnacles. "I wonder where this ugly old thing came from," he remarked to his wife.

"Can I keep it please, Dad?" pleaded Jimmy.

His father laughed. How could he ignore the look on his son's face. "Oh, all right. You can take it home. I'll clean it up and we can hang it over the front door. It can be a souvenir from our holiday."





Character List:
Tancred - a Knight's Aide during the Holy Crusades of the 11th Century
Murrubi - an Aboriginal Tribal Elder in Australia in the 19th Century
Bill Henderson - a British RAF Flight Navigator on bombing missions during World War II
Frank Miller - an Australian, assigned to the RAF as Rear Gunner, fellow crewman to Bill Henderson
Jacques and Elise Campeau - owners of the Chateau Campeau, a vineyard in France
Isabelle Campeau - their daughter, who marries Frank Miller
Kommandant Wessling – German officer in charge of occupying troops at the Chateau
Marlene Brown - a British Nurse who marries Bill Henderson
James and Elizabeth - Bill and Marlene's two children
Rosemary Miller - Frank and Isabelle's daughter
Warra - an Aboriginal Tribal Elder, the son of Murrubi
Jack O'Connell - an Australian, and fellow prisoner of war with Frank Miller, whilst fighting in Korea
Melanie – was born Rosemary (Frank and Isabelle’s daughter). She changed her name to Melanie when she became a dancer in a nightclub
Gavin Mitchell – playboy son in Mitchell and Son, a civil engineering firm
Elizabeth Mitchell – Gavin’s wife (the only daughter of Bill Henderson)
George Mitchell – Father of Gavin, and owner of Mitchell and Son
Doongarra - Aboriginal tribal elder, the son of Warra



This is the conclusion to the book 'Lost in Mystery Bay', and I wish to thank all those who have followed this story from the beginning. The reviews, comments and advice I have received from anyone who has given their time to read it, have been of great assistance and an inspiration to me.
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