Dear Inner Circle,

When I was a social worker in South Australia, many of the people I worked with lived on isolated fruit blocks or dry farms. One night at about 9pm I drove to a property that was miles away from main roads or street lights. A local school teacher was concerned for a 8-year-old boy whose art work had recurring and disturbing themes. I had made contact with the parents and established that althoug
h they loved their boy, they were both alcoholics and not always attentive to the little boy’s needs. I decided to call late at night partly to see what conditions were like at that time and partly because in those days that it was uncommon to be working at that hour. As I wound my way up a long dirt driveway, I passed the main house of the property owner and kept driving to the “pickers’ quarters” (a small hut where fruit pickers would live sometimes for a season).

My headlights flashed past a sight that I knew to be unusual but I couldn’t compute the image at all. I drove on about 50 meters but had to stop in the total darkness. Something felt wrong. I reversed slowly back to the spot. I turned the car slightly and my lights on high beam revealed a little boy tied to a stake. He had a number of toys spread in a semi circle around him but he was bound hand and foot.

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