In the backseat, Tilly was sandwiched between Billy and Milly. Billy was pressed against the door, looking out the window as his finger explored his nose. Tilly hoped there weren’t any more discoveries. She’d squealed when he’d waggled a sticky finger at her, and Milly had pushed her, telling her to shut up. Tilly had looked to her parents, expecting comfort from one of them, but they didn’t say a word. They hadn’t spoken since they’d all piled into the car after visiting Nan and Pop.

She nudged Milly with her elbow.


‘Are Mum and Dad fighting?’

Milly gave her another sharp shove. Tilly bumped into Billy who then smacked his head on the window. He growled and pushed Tilly back towards Milly. Then he farted. Tilly would have laughed then, even though Billy’s farts were always stinky, but Dad cleared his throat. It was a warning of sorts and they stilled, automatically shifting apart.

The silence dragged on, punctuated by the soft music seeping out of the car radio. Milly thought of the trip over to the farm. The music had been loud and they’d been singing along to the radio, or making up new lyrics to get a laugh. Dad loved doing that and on a good day Mum would surprise them by coming up with really funny lines. Milly loved moments like that, when they were all together and full of silliness.

When they arrived at the farm, they’d tumbled out of the car, racing with each other to find Nan and tell her the funniest lines. Nan always laughed, even if she didn’t know the tune or the proper words. Uncle Mick had arrived with their cousins, and soon it was time for Sunday lunch.

The kids had played cricket afterwards, the two sets of siblings facing off as they continued with their endless version of The Ashes. It had complicated rules that only Billy seemed to know. If it was wet or too cold, they’d play board games inside. The teams were always the same. Some primal loyalty held the three of them together even if there were times when temporary alliances were made with one cousin or other.

It was just a normal Sunday. Until suddenly, it wasn’t.

Inspired by Discover Prompts – April writing prompts

[Photo: board games and treats at the old Paragon Cafe, Katoomba]