Gemma loved animals. That`s why it was no surprise when she went to Uni to study zoology followed by a job at one of the country's top zoos, their ethos being the study and preservation of threatened species.
It was not long after she joined that she was given the chance to go to Australia to study one of their marsupials on the danger list. I still have a photo she took of the animal in question, one of only a handful of the poor creatures left in that vast country.
It was whilst we were in the outback that she disappeared. I`d left her overnight in the large truck to take pictures of the shy, nocturnal animal. On my return in the morning, the truck was empty and of Gemma, there was no sign.
Her disappearance was given full radio and TV coverage, but as time went by with no sightings, the public interest gradually waned.
It is now almost ten years to the day since Gemma vanished from the world. The press publish a picture of her on the anniversary, but there is little or no response. I take out the photo occasionally. It is rather dog-eared now, but I can still see Gemma in my mind`s-eye, gleefully pointing her camera as she takes the picture. As I stare at it, I often wonder what could have been for a talented young girl if fate hadn`t taken a hand on that sultry night so very long ago.