Jane

19th-century 'girl' takes her-brothers-place on a sailing-ship bound-for Australia. He would remain in-Porterville & support their widowed-mother.

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1. Buried-At-Sea

On a Summer-morning Ashley was-standing on-the-porch of-her fabulous-home looking into-the-distance. Her magnificent-stallion, Dee, was-recovering from an-accident where he pushed-his-way past a gate-post & cut-himself, was nodding to-a-stranger.

Stepping-off the-porch & walking through the paddock-gate Ashley walked to Dee & the mysterious-stranger.  The shabbily-dressed stranger introduced-herself as Jane, a 20-something farmer born in the Cumbrian-town of Porterville. Jane explained she took-the-place of-her older-brother, Andrew, as-a ships-hand in-order he would support their-mom working-as a general-labourer. The journey was scary & the seas were-rough; many of-the-crew fell-ill, some-died of-injury, some of-fever.

Moored off-the-coast I remember cleaning-the-deck & collapsing in hot sunshine; my ship-mates were too-scared to-approach. 

Standing next-to my near-lifeless body & above the terrified ships-doctor [who had discovered my-secret] I watched as he placed a mirror over-my slightly-open mouth & moved his hand above my wide-open eyes; no-blinking, no-breath-marks I was declared dead & quickly-given Christian burial-at-sea.

As my body slipped below-the-waves I began to choke trying-to-breath; I remember waking-up on-the-beach, the-ship had sailed-away. I farmed this-land cultivating local-fruits, waking-up this-morning when your-horse nuzzled-me. 

Kind Ashley offered Jane a shower, breakfast & change-of-clothes; the-offer accepted. Walking-into Ashley’s-home Jane began-to-shake. The black-mirror showing moving-images with-sound was-magical; perhaps Ashley was-a-witch.

Looking-over Jane, Ashley thought they-were about-the-same-size; demonstrating the-shower Ashley closed-the-door & identified a-change-of-clothes she had-intended to-donate to-a charity-shop. 

Knocking-on the shower-room door Ashley announced a change-of-clothes were on-the-floor. Jane nervously opened-the-door, quickly picking-up-the-clothes, closing-the-door & dressing in jeans-&-shirt.

Sitting-down to-breakfast Jane-&-Ashley discovered the ranch was built on the former-farm. 

Walking-to the fence-post where they-had first-met Jane began-to-tremble; looking-over the fence-wire Ashley was looking-at a skeleton-hand.

Jane knew she had-died & wanted-to repay Ashley’s kindness; ‘When-alive I prospected for-gold at nearby Rocky Creek & slept-upon my-legacy, please-accept with-my gratitude’.

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