The Mighty Quinns:Brody

By: Kate Hoffmann

Prologue


Queensland, Australia—January, 1994

“HOW CAN A ROCK be magic?” Callum asked, standing at the base of the huge boulder. “It’s just a bloody big rock.”

“Look around you, dipstick,” Teague shouted from the top of the rock. “Do you see any other rocks like this around here? Gramps said it’s here because it is magic. You stand on top of this rock and make a wish and it comes true. Aborigines brought it here and they know a lot of magic.”

“I think Gramps had a few kangaroos loose in the paddock.” Callum chuckled. “I wouldn’t believe everything he said.”

Brody stepped up to the rock. “He did not. And I’m telling Dad you said that. It’s not nice to speak ill of the dead.”

“He told us there was treasure buried out here, too,” Callum said. “He even told me he dug for it when he was a boy. Who would bury treasure out here?”

Brody punched Callum in the shoulder. “Give me a leg up,” he said.

“No, we have to get back. Mum will have supper ready.”

“I want to climb it,” Brody insisted. It was hard enough always being last in line, but he hated it when Callum tried to be the boss. At least Teague liked to explore and have adventures. He treated Brody as if they were the very same age, not eighteen months apart. Callum was always the careful one, warning them off when things got too dangerous. Three years older than Brody and he might have well been forty, Brody thought.

“You’ll fall and crack your noggin open,” Callum warned. “And I’ll get the blame, just like I always get the blame for every bad thing you morons do.”

“Cal, help him up,” Teague said. “It’s not that high. And I’ll hang on to him.”

“You don’t have to hang on to me,” Brody said. “I’m not a baby.”

Reluctantly, Callum wove his fingers together and bent down. Brody put his foot into his older brother’s hands and a few moments later, Teague had dragged him to the top of the rock. “Wow,” Brody said. “This is high. I bet I can see all of Queensland from here.”

“You’ve climbed to the top of the windmills. They’re much higher,” Callum said as he scrambled up behind him. “And you can’t see Brisbane from them. And Brisbane is in Queensland.”

“Make a wish,” Teague said. “We’ll see if it works.”

“I have to think,” Brody said. He wanted so many things. A computer, video games, a dirt bike. But there was something he wanted more than anything. He’d never told his brothers because he knew they’d laugh. After all, there wasn’t much chance he’d ever get off the station.

“Come on,” Teague said. “Say it. It won’t come true unless you shout it out loud.”

“I want to be a footballer,” Brody yelled. “I want to go to a real school and play on a real team. I want to be famous and everyone will know my name. And I want to be on the telly.” To Brody’s surprise, his brothers didn’t laugh. In fact, they seemed to think his wish was a good one.

“That’s a big wish,” Callum said soberly.

“My turn,” Teague said. “I know exactly what I want. I want an airplane. Or a helicopter. I want to learn how to fly. Then I can go anywhere I want, just like that. I could even fly over the ocean and see America or Africa or the South Pole.”

“You could take me to my football games,” Brody said.

Teague reached out and ruffled Brody’s hair. “I could. But only if you give me free tickets.” He stared over at Callum. “What about you?”

“I know what I want,” Callum said.

“You have to say it.”

Callum sat down, draping his arms over his knees as he took in the view. “How do you think this rock really got here?”

“I think it’s a meteor,” Brody said, sitting down beside him. “It dropped out of the sky.”

Callum ran his hand over the smooth surface of the rock. “Maybe the Aborigines did move it here. Maybe it was like Stonehenge. You know, that place in England with all the rocks.”

“And I think a giant prehistoric bird took a crap and it fossilized,” Teague teased as he joined them. They all laughed, lying back on the rock and staring up at the cloudless sky.

Brody wrinkled his nose. “How can bird poop be magic, Teague?”

“Maybe it came from a magic bird.” His brother gave him a sideways glance. “All right. It’s a meteor. Or an asteroid. From another universe. Come on, Cal, you have to make your wish now.”

Callum drew a deep breath. “I wish that someday I could have a place like this.”

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