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and closing her fingers around it.  You take this.  If he tries 
to hit you just run out of the house and call me.”
Mary squeezed the money tightly in her palm.  “I'll call.”
We were sitting around the dinner table when the call came.  
Janice and I both stood quickly.  Apart from Mary, Janice 
was the only other person I really talked to; the phone rang 
three times and then stopped.
I remember my father looking up and smiling at the flushed 
looks on our faces.  “It's probably just the Phone Company 
playing games again.”
Janice shook her head.  Nodding towards me.  “We have to 
go out for a bit father.”
My father raised his eyebrow bemused.  “My children 
turning into secret agents are they?”
Janice shook her head.  “We'll be back soon.”
I said nothing.  I couldn't have spoken if I tried.  For some 
time we walked along the river in silence.  It was twilight; 
the sunsets’ pretty oranges and pinks were just fading from 
the sky.  The yellows and reds of the path looked murky and 
dark beneath our feet.
 On our side of the bridge I stopped, and asked quietly.  
“What if she isn’t waiting for me there?”
 Janice turned a defiant face on me.  “Then we phoned 
father and get him over to pound on Mr. Luise's door.  We 
can't have this going on any longer.  Before I thought it 
would get better, but it's just getting worse!”
Janice marched more than walked over the bridge.  I 
scrambled to keep up with her.  Now I'm glad I wasn't so 
fast.  It was almost true dark when we reached the other 
side.  Janice was well ahead of me.  Holding her arm out to 
catch the post and swing herself in the other direction.  I 
watched with a certain sense of awe as I saw the sister 
who'd seemed so much older then me scramble down the 
She lost a little control on the dewy slope and found herself 
half-sliding, still it wasn't a hurtful journey and I was 
surprised to hear her call out as if in pain when she reached 
the bottom.

Copyright Jackie Bulner 1999    

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A Vision of Mary

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Jackie Bulner
Melbourne, Victoria

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