“Marshall, there’s been an accident,”
Penny’s voice waded through the quietness. My eyebrows sagged from the weight of a frown and panic seeped up into my belly. It continued to rise and it settled somewhere in my chest. I pushed myself to the edge of my seat.
“Is my mum OK?”
I could feel my heart pounding through fear.
Penny said nothing for a moment, then placed a hand on my shoulder. The smell of fresh lemons drifted past me.
“ The police found some of your mother’s belongings...at the ferry terminal…”
I wanted to speak but my throat felt like it had twisted shut.
“What things…’ I finally croaked. The room seemed suddenly darker even though the curtains were open.
“Her handbag, actually. It seems she was about to get on the ferry. She was holding something that… exploded. Marshall, we think your mum fell into the water - from the force of the blast. We haven’t been able to find her. We believe that the force of the blast…it…it was an enormous explosion, Marshall. It seems highly unlikely anyone could survive being that close…”
Her voice was barely audible by the end of the sentence. Despite the details, I couldn’t make out what she was saying.
“I don’t understand…” I said to her.
“We think your mother might have been killed in the blast,”
I felt hot and sick and needed air. I pushed myself from the couch and staggered. Penny grabbed me and sat me down again.
“You’re joking, right?” I asked, half laughing, half crying, searching her face for the punch-line.
Her expression didn't change.