Second Chances

Tamsin has been bounced from foster home to foster home. Now she’s living on the remote coast of Tasmania, wondering if she’s ever going to fit in anywhere.

Then she finds a fur seal on the beach, its body tangled in fishing line.

Can Tamsin help the seal? And can the seal help Tamsin break free of the past?

Formats: ebook $0.99

Genre/s: contemporary, disability

Series: The Kids of Welles Bend

Audience: middle grade

Length: short story

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Excerpt:

Tamsin sat cross-legged on the veranda of the old beach house that her latest foster family lived in and looked out over the dark heave of the sea. Farther out it was black, the horizon invisible between the water and the star-filled bowl of the sky above. But here the white strip of the beach was only thirty metres away, and the waves twisted over themselves with a moonlight-whitened flick of foam. The wind blew in across them, cold and biting, bringing the sound of the waves to her. Soft, rhythmic. Always the same.

Not like Tamsin’s life, bounced from one foster family to another as each set of parents found out about her… obsession.

But this time maybe someone in the system had actually read her file. Mr and Mrs Graham lived on a remote stretch of Tasmanian coastline, half an hour from the nearest town of Welles Bend. Their twins had finished school last year and were now studying at the Institute for Marine and Arctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, and their last foster kid had left to attend TAFE in Hobart. The Grahams’ house was filled with shells and bits of flotsam the family had rescued from the sea, including what looked to Tamsin like a narwhal horn.

Tamsin had been speechless with awe the first time she’d set foot in their house.

She still was.

She wished she could ask Mr and Mrs Graham – ‘Call us Rob and Sammi,’ they’d said, but she couldn’t, not yet – if it really was a narwhal horn.

But she was still too shy to let down her guard yet.

Even with all the evidence around her that they too loved the sea.

Somewhere out there, where the sea met the sky, was a rocky island where the Australian fur seals lived during breeding season during the months leading up to Christmas. Now it was July, and the wind howled freezing from the Arctic and froze exposed skin into a red, chapped mess. No pups would be there now. Last year’s were on their own, and this year’s weren’t yet born.

Tamsin wished she could see the little baby fur seals, but they very rarely came close to the Tasmanian mainland. They stayed out on their rocky islands where it was safe, or out in the sea.

She pushed the longing feeling away. She probably wouldn’t be here in six months’ time. She’d never spent six months in one foster home before.