BLOOD BROTHERS

 

That night, moving awkwardly around the house on his crutches, he approached the phone a few times but couldn't make himself call Jack. He decided it'd be better to ask him face to face what had brought on the attack...'

Bart Fletcher and Jack Chandra have always been best mates, surfing buddies, inseparable. So what's gone wrong? Why has Jack turned against Bart. attacked him and put the skids under his own life?

Fifteen-year-old Bart has a lot on his plate - a blooming relationship with Kylie and an awareness that the mother who raised him single-handedly is falling in love. But despite his own problems, he's unwilling to let his best mate go...

Extract from Blood Brothers

Bart was the result of what Emma called he mad period. She'd met Aaron Bartholomew when she was one year off finishing her teacher training at the Northern Region College of Advanced Education. Aaron was tall and athletically built, the handsome product of an Austalian father and an Italian mother. At the time Emma met him he was living in his elaborately modified campervan, apparently earning a living as a skilled handyman, having dropped out of an architecture degree at the University of Melbourne. In fact he travelled from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads tending and harvesting a string of carefully hidden marijuana plantations. He serviced a large clientele over this territory and could have become rich except for his addiction to gambling, which siphoned off the money as quickly as he earned it.

Emma, starved for affection, found him romantic, fell in love with him, got pregnant and was in court when he was sentenced to five year's gaol for drug trafficking, having been caught in a police trap that, for once, worked as planned. She visited him several times and showed him the baby but he wasn't interested. ...

She was always short of money and rarely made long-distance calls like the one she made to the Corrective Services Department when she was informed of Aaron's release.

'So you know where he is,' she said to the bored-sounding official. 'He has to report in to someone, right?'

'In theory, yes. In fact, Mr Bartholemew violated his parole. His whereabouts are unknown.'

Twelve years had gone by since that phone call. Emma had established herself in a permanent teaching position, put a deposit on a small house before prices in the town skyrocketed, and had brought up Bart on her own, apart from help from her friends. Her own mother had died young and her father had married again, moved south, and was preoccupied with his second family. 'It's you and me, kid,' Emma had often said to the sleeping boy. When he was a few years into primary school Bart had asked about his father and Emma had simply said he'd left.

'Why?' the boy asked.

'He was a wanderer. Couldn't stay in once place.'

'One day I'll find him.'

'That's a good idea. One day.’