It used to be our favourite lookout. Our hangover lookout, Sallie called it.
We always got trashed the night we arrived and, the next day, would roll out of the cabin before dawn, woken by kookaburras and the first crystal shards of hangover. We’d slog our way through the rainforest, sweating poison, Sallie forever in the lead, boasting how she’d walked this track since she was a toddler and couldn’t I keep up. At the top, we’d stretch out on the coarse rock and share the same, unchanging picnic: crackers, cheese and cucumber sliced with a knock-off Swiss Army penknife, all rinsed back with the warm dregs of last night’s bottle of white. And there we would lose ourselves, gazing out across the canopy and the hazy blue exhalations that rose above it, into the deeper blue of the sky.
It could never be the same without her; I knew that. But something had drawn me back here, to spread out that same simple lunch and stare blankly at those same treetops…
Read more in the AHWA anthology, In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep.
Or listen to the full story on the Tales To Terrify podcast, read by Dan Rabarts: