‘What did that signpost say?’ Doug asked.
“95 kilometres to go.’ Sue told him.
‘How are the kids travelling?”
Sue turned to check the back seat passengers.
Little Robbie was fast asleep in the infant safety capsule.
“I wish that boy would sleep so soundly in his cot. We’ve been a few hours on this rough road and all the bumps and stops and starts haven’t disturbed him at all.”
They had crossed the Queensland – New South Wales border some time ago and Doug dropped his speed to cope with the poor condition of the road and also to give them a chance to take in the new territory.
“Katie is awake though. That booster seat gives her a bit of height so she’s got a good view of the countryside.” Sue reported.
They were driving through a closely settled rural area and the recent signposts had promised a town was coming up.
“I’ll stop for a break at this next town. We can stretch our legs. Find some toilets and a picnic area.”
Doug had taken regular stops on the long trip to their much anticipated holiday at the beach.
“Oh, I know that shed.” Katie said suddenly.
Sue looked back to Katie. She had jolted forward, her passive gaze replaced by an attentive scan of the road side.
“I used to live here.” She said excitedly.
“No baby, we’ve never lived in New South Wales.” Sue corrected her.
“No. Before. With my other family.” Katie told her. “In a white house with lots of stairs. And a cubby next to a really big tree with a swing.”
Sue looked to Doug. He just grinned at her and shrugged.
As the car rounded the bend, there was a high-set white house on their left. Its tall stumps a precaution in case of flooding. In the yard was a large tree supporting a home-made swing. A wooden cubby house was nearby.
“The red car isn’t there. They must be out.” Katie observed, then relaxed back into her car seat and cuddled her teddy bear.
Sue looked to Doug again, her eyes wide with alarm. This time his face was quite pale and rigid.
Neither said a word until they’d reached the small town.
They sipped the coffee they’d bought from the takeaway shop and watched Katie climbing on the playground equipment.
“She’s never been one for creating stories.” Sue said.
“No.” Doug agreed. “Perhaps she had a bit of a dream.”
“Must have been a very vivid dream.”
Sue looked across to the highway intersection where the signposts pointed in all directions including the road they had just travelled.
“Next time we come down this way I think we should take the coast road.”