I scream. . .no sound comes out. . . I back into the nearest tree. . .I want to call out. No. Stay still. Must be still. Breathing too fast. . .loud. . .must slow breathing. Count. Can’t slow breathing. Count! No sound now. There was no sound. I slowly slant my eyes as far as I can peering into the fading light. It was over there. Hell, between me. . . and the car. Been followed. No. Would have seen another car.
Did I really see anything? Imagination? Maybe just tall grasses swaying. Gentle breeze. Light fading. No, definitely a shape. Animal? Nothing there now. Opportunist? I shivered pressing my fingers further into the bark. Madness to take this shortcut. What was I thinking? Only a few knew. Facebook. Hell, did I post on Facebook? Can’t remember. Wouldn’t have. . .would I? Have to make a run for it. Path muddy along the ridge. Slip. Might slip. . .go OVER! Can’t take risk. Pushed? Could be PUSHED! What if someone is here. . . waiting? Waiting for what? Surely would have made a move. . .wouldn’t they? Can’t stay still much longer. Legs. Got to move my legs. Had to be an animal.
The first ring broke all silence. . .nearly jumped out from the tree. Another. . .and another. Hell, phone. . . my phone. Where is it? Think. . . right pocket? Can’t find switch. . . Oh, thank God. Slow breathing. Stay still. Probably John? Can’t check. He’ll be worried. How long have I been here? Better get going then. Stay close to trees. Watch steps. . .slippery. Thank goodness for the boots. Wasn’t going to wear the boots yet. Too dark. Torch. Other pocket. Please God let no one follow me. . .
A weak light soon appeared. The building still a hazy silhouette. Now on familiar open space, I broke into a run. The shadowy figure loomed in front of me.
‘Is that you, John?’
His reassuring voice echoed back. ‘Yes, tried ringing you. Where have you been?’
‘Sorry. Couldn’t take your call at the time.’
‘Why? What happened?’
‘I was. . .sort of way laid.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Would you believe me if I said I came across The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek?’
‘No. . .still around these parts?’
Laughing we walked into the Bush Walker’s hut.