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The Sea Dragon

This short story is featured in Margaret River Press’ annual print anthology after being shortlisted for the 2018 Margaret River Short Story Prize. The following is an excerpt. You can buy the anthology here.

Mum made Dad a sea dragon sculpture. She said it’s a present even though it’s closer to my birthday than Dad’s.  

The sea dragon is as big as him. Dad had to get our neighbour to help him drag it to the top of the garden all the way from Mum’s studio, which is actually the shed.

Mum told them to be careful because the copper fins are fragile and could get bent. I guessed this because they look like the green and brown leaves on the grass in autumn and you can crunch those in your hand. When they moved the sea dragon, the base left drag marks in the grass like roads for rabbits and I thought Dad would be mad about that but he wasn’t.

The sea dragon sculpture took five weeks for Mum to make. She said it wouldn’t have taken so long if she didn’t need to keep taking breaks to rest. Dad said she shouldn’t stress herself out and that it didn’t have to be perfect but Mum said it did.

I’m not allowed in the studio when Mum’s working but I can watch through the window. Sometimes, if it’s open a crack and I put my nose right to it, there’s this sweet smell like chewing gum that Mum says is the flux going on to the copper when she brazes it. My favourite thing is watching the metal melt. The flame turns bits of spoon and coat hanger and wrench into liquid. Dad thinks melted metal looks like the sea when it’s still and the sky is cloudy: silver and shiny......

This is a short excerpt from a story soon to be published by Margaret River Press