Monday, September 28, 2015

Walkabout: Part 2

Part 1. (For those of you who haven't read it yet.)


Half an hour, they trudged through the trees before the trail finally wound back around to a hill overlooking the river again. The two men had continued discussing the merits of random tourists seeking out deadly animals while Carol dragged her feet behind them, trying to think of ways he was going to pay her back for dragging her all the way out here and wasting a full day of their vacation.

"Huh, well, that's odd." James had his hands on his hips as he turned first one way, then the other, scanning the river as far as he could see in both directions.

"What's odd?"

James didn't answer right away. He continued scanning the river, then turned and looked off further down the trail. The trees thinned quickly at this point, opening into a grassland with scattered trees and red stone hills and outcrops.

"Still don't see any crocs in the river. Don't see any roos or anything out in the grass either. It's weird. We should be able to find something."

The three of them scanned the area. The riverbank still had tracks and drag marks in it. There were signs of life, just nothing moving.

James held up his hand.

"Listen. You can't hear anything. It's like everything's cleared off."

"So all the animals are gone?"

"Well, I dunno that all of them are gone. But you can't even hear any birds."

Daryl didn't know what to say to that. Carol only knew it meant they had trudged all the way out into the bush and wasted a day of their trip for nothing.

"Daryl. You owe me a night at the bar when we get back if you dragged me all the way out here for nothing but the heat."

"James? What does this all mean?" Daryl did his best to ignore Carol's aggravated tongue, though he knew he would pay for it more later.

"Well, could be just about anything. Could be a bad storm moving in tonight. I'd 've heard about it though so I don't think that's it. Could be a particularly nasty saltie has chased everything away." He smirked and glanced over at Carol. "Or, could be someone was noisy and sent everything scurrying."

Carol crossed her arms over her chest, and huffed. She could hardly argue that though, as much as she avoided brushing any of the plants, she hadn't exactly tried to keep her voice down.

"Yeah, that's it, blame me because you can't find your stupid crocs."

"Look, we'll head a bit further down the trail, keep our voices low, and maybe something might come out, okay? Easy peasy."

Carol huffed again, and Daryl's shoulders slumped. He was disappointed and would be ready to head back if something didn't show itself soon. Then it would be down to the bar for likely the rest of the night.

Carol wasn't really a drinker, or a dancer. She liked to swirl a drink around with a straw and take her time with it. The punishment was that Daryl had to stay with her the whole night while they watched the younger crowd get blitzed and dance until the bar closed. On nights where he 'owed' her a night at the bar, she made sure they were the last to leave, with only the employees getting home after they did. Then she would wake him up bright and early. She really was a stickler about her time being wasted.

Which was exactly how this whole trip was turning out.

"There! Look down there!" James pointed excitedly down at the river as he started to run down the trail. There was something there, mostly hidden under the brackish water. The undulating 'S' shape was indicative of a large reptile swimming across to their side. As they ran to catch up with James, it disappeared into the undergrowth along the side of the river.

"Alright, alright, keep your distance now. It must just be like I told you, just a big saltie scaring everything else away. Keep your eyes open now, the trail comes around a little bend and he should be just up on the bank under the bushes where we should be able to get a good look at him."

Daryl's enthusiasm quickly returned as he raced to catch up with James. Carol hurried along at her own pace, falling behind the two men by several steps. Not that they got too much further before stopping at the bend the guide had mentioned.

"Well, shit. Where did he scurry off to?" James stamped his foot.


Walkabout: Part 3

No comments:

Post a Comment