Wednesday, 14 January 2015

"The Princess" - My latest Tale based on actual events.

The Pilliga Scrub is a massive expanse of thick bush land in the top quarter of New South Wales in Australia and covers an area of about 80 x 120 kilometers. Much has been lost in there, to never be found again, from sheep and cattle, to people and vehicles. Even today, it is dense and forbidding, although what used to be a dirt track that ran through the middle is now a major road called the Newell Highway.

One night in 1993, the Pilliga Princess became ledged when hit and killed by a passing truck. The trucker who hit her said she had been wandering across the road and he had not seen her until it was too late. He told how as the headlights lighted her, she turned to look directly at him and ran toward him, arms outstretched. The last thing he saw of her alive was the white hair flaring out around her wild-eyed face and the expression was one of manic glee as she hit the big rigs massive bull bar. Yet no trace of the body found.

Now at her corporeal side stands a loyal but hulking companion, the Aboriginal people call the creature a Yowie, a supposed mythical beast similar to that of the Bigfoot in the USA.
Stories of the princess and her companion are ledged throughout the Pilliga. No-one sleeps, no one stops, no one survives to tell the tale except one man whose encounter with the beast left him a rambling wreck in the “Shady Creek Mental Asylum”.
This man will find the truth; or lose his sanity forever!
A Yowie is a creature Of Aboriginal folklore and said to be humanoid in appearance, but have a stature between seven and twelve feet tall. It has an upright stance and has large wide feet consisting of only four splayed toes. The creature is hairy and has a nose that is flat but unlike an ape, more human in origin. Their nature is undetermined, some say they are a quiet shy creature, but those who have had the misfortune of meeting the Pilliga Yowie and lived, Tell a much more sinister story tale.


Making sense of what I’ve seen
All the love we’ve had between
You and I, along the track
Looking forward, looking back

There are strange days
Full of change on the way
But we’ll be fine, unlike some
I’ll be leaning forward, to see what’s coming

Slim Dusty - Something In the Pilliga

The early mornings greeted Terrance Longmire with a sharp yet refreshing chill that made him feel alive. The rig was pristine as always and the cabin stocked for his three-day trip to the north of Brisbane. The travel time would be his usual and the destination this time unknown to him as it was the first time he and his Kenworth K200 big cab aerodyne would haul product from Adelaide to Brissy.
The two trailers were crammed with pallets of raw materials for some business in Petrie, and pallets of Laucke flower for a bakery in Chelmsford that knows quality. The B-Double was primed and ready for its first big haul. Terry was used to doing the overnight run to Melbourne of Sydney where he would drive into Bordertown and swap trailers with another driver and after a short break and a snooze drive the same road back to Adelaide yet again.
After six years of this run he decided it was time to move on to bigger and better runs with a more lucrative payoff, even though it meant it would mean more time away from his new bride.
Susan had bugged him for years to tie the knot, and on one day out of the blue Terry got down on one knee and held the modest diamond aloft to his friend, his lover, and soon to be wife hopefully and popped the question.
Married now only six months Terry was looking for more money to accommodate the growing life within his wife and the family needs. He hoped for a place on the coast one day where he could retire, drive some small loads and be there for his family. However, this was going to be a while off yet as he had struggled to gain a name for himself in the harsh, but often adventurous life as a trucker.
Bedded in and heading east towards the morning sun, he sat in the abject silence of the spacious cab thinking about his life ahead of him. Terry thought of his future family, and the sacrifice he would make each week and it was this thought that gnawed at the back of his skull.
 He smiled to himself and added one more flick to the cruise control and it flashed 102 kmph as he drove the roads connecting north and south for a better way of life for those he loved.
One Night In 1993
The rig started to gain momentum now as it left the Fifty Kilometer an hour restrictions of the township of Coonabarabran.
Rich Davis was now five hours behind the wheel of his massive B-Double rig hauling Wine north from the Coonawarra district, best known for some of the best red wine in the world.
The trouble is Rich does not care much for wine, he is a Carlton Draft man, and a cold beer was all he needed once he stepped out the cab after a long haul.
The sun now dipped just below the horizon and he knew it would not be long before the darkness of the Pilliga would surround him and turn his hulking motorized vehicle into a fast moving beacon for the world to see. The headlights pierced the absolute darkness in a way only high wattage halogen can, almost like a beast with six massive eyes peering through the gloom that was now the twilight for only a few moments more.
The eyes of the beasts driver now slowly accommodating the subdue light and creeping darkness growing weary as the weeks of driving the bitumen arteries of outback Australia weighing on his heavy lids.
In this part of the Pilliga, it is very common to come across a kangaroo or an Emu who thinks he can outrun a fast-paced rig.  More often than not, the animal would come off second best as the huge chrome bull bars affixed to the front of the vehicles could turn a kangaroo into steaks in a split second.
It would be a further eighty minutes before Rich would see another town and with it, a solitary deep breathe of relief. The Pilliga is not a place on the map that you decide to stop and have a break and with only another ninety minutes before he had to stop due to his driving restrictions, his mind drifted. Not to what he was going to do when he finally arrived at Narrabri, but to the stories the other drivers had told him about the area and more to a point the inside of the Pilliga national park itself.
The area was quite dense and lined with beautiful Ironbark Gum trees, and Cypress Pines were dotted throughout the forest itself. The story he always referred back to was the one, which still stands out to this day of two men who went into the forest in the September of 1979 and only one came out. Darren and Geoff Daniels were avid birdwatchers and not brothers, but cousins.
They had heard about the dozen or so odd species of birds in the Pilliga area especially the Painted Honeyeaters that were a prized photo amongst the most avid watchers. Both men travelled into the harsh scrubland, but Geoff was the only survivor that made it out, found at the side of the road almost at the halfway mark between Coonabarabran and Narrabri some two weeks later.
He told of a creature that hunted and captured the two men keeping them captive in an underground cave system deep in the Pilliga. In saying this, he never caught a glimpse of his assailant except for a brief eye-to-eye moment just before he was knocked unconscious and taken to a secluded place in the forest.
When asked about his cousin, he broke down and cried like a baby muttering the words, “It ate him” repeatedly.
The man told of unspeakable terror at the hands of a creature that was over seven feet tall and built like a brute. Not Ape like per say, but a hulking brute of the male form just exaggerated but hairy like a beast.
There in the darkness of his confines was what he could only describe as legs, some intact some, half eaten. Not all of the legs were human, some defiantly kangaroo and smaller legs of marsupials that lived in the area.
The Stench had him in an almost permanent state of gagging and vial upchucking, which saw him swim in and out of consciousness.  However, his head injury and rudimentary but effective bindings kept him in one place for days on end.
His mind shattered from sitting in his own urine and feces until the opportunity presented itself, and using the last of his sanity managed to stumble out while the creature was gone and get away.  Weak and weary from injuries and the constant memory of the murder and subsequent cannibalization of his cousin, he wandered until he broke free of the scrub out to the hot bitumen roadway where a passing trucker picked him up.
Rich let the thoughts of the Yowie encounter drift away into his subconscious yet again and onto the beer at the end of his run into Narrabri.
A whirly blew up alongside his cab to the left and he watched the spinning dust devil as it proceeded with quiet fury alongside him for a time and then dart back into the scrub picking up debris along the small destructive pathway. A large one of these miniature tornadoes can throw the truck around at speed and cause a loss of control but the smaller ones are just a nuisance, nothing more.
The light now completely gone had seen the creatures start to come out and enjoy the freedom of the cleared area around the black strip, and eyes started to appear out of the darkness gleaming back at him with the lights reflection. Foxes, Rabbits and all sorts of smaller inconsequential animals that would have no impedance on his vehicles path started to creep into the distance and he could see then walking the road behind as he viewed them in the rear vision mirror.
As he looked back to the road, he spotted a glowing white mass of hair floating above the ground in front of him. Rich a seasoned trucker did not flinch normally and kept going on through whatever was in his way because of the massive tissue destroying bull bars attached to the rigs frame. This mass of chromed metal could take a two hundred kilogram Kangaroo and turn it into road kill with ease, but this vision made his brain tune in and he hit the brakes just as he saw the mouth agape and arms outstretched disappear with a thud under the cab and the massive wheels of his rig.
The roadworthy weapon came to a stop some distance down the lonely road and Rich was sure he hit something and that something he knew in his mind was the old girl that walked the stretch of road between Coona and Narrabri.
He leapt out of the cab and checked the road and under his rig but to no avail, the body if indeed he did run something over was nowhere, he even checked under the axels and between the trays, but nothing. There was a blood smear on the road back at approximately the point of impact but nothing else of consequence.
Rich ran back to his cab, locked the doors and called the local coppers on his radio and as he waited windows up he had a knowing feeling he was being watched from the scrub.
Off behind the vehicle in the darkness a huge figure held the broken and damaged figure of “The Princess” its arms. The creature gently stroked the damaged head and tried to console the dead woman by shaking her back to life. A solitary tear of realization ran down the shadowed face as it looked up towards the sky and bellowed a howl that made the scrub turn to ice. 
Present day
Terry drove on and knew it would be another ninety minutes before he would pass through the Pilliga and away from his own thoughts keeping him diligent at the wheel of his prime mover.
The radio was not keeping him alert enough and he decided to plug his trusty iPhone into the sound system and play the music he knew would keep him alert and happy. Slipknot blurted out of the speakers that surrounded him and he sang along with the thumping percussion of ‘Wait and Bleed” his all time favorite tune.
Having filled up at Coonabarabran, he was confident that the rest of the trip north would be simple and easy with his next rest now around five hours away, which would set him up nicely to be in Brisbane at first light.
The next thirty minutes went by without a hitch, but as he got comfortable, he looked left into the surrounding scrub and noticed the nightlife waking up to greet him and his alert sensors in his brain were now on high alert. The last run saw him chasing a small family of Emu’s along the highway for a while hoping they would turn and head back into the dense foliage and not in front of his man made dinosaur which could at worse impede him by having to fill out a report of damage to the vehicle. They ultimately headed his bellowing array or horns and fled away from the diesel-fuelled monster, which made him extremely happy.
However, this night he was not to be so lucky.
A bright light lingered to his left and looked to be following him as he traversed the straight black tarmac along his way to the next town. Still only half way in this leg of his trip, he knew very well the dangers of ending up stranded in a place where most truckers would not travel until daylight hours, let alone the inconvenience of being late for his locked in delivery slot.
Keeping a close eye on the darting glow behind the trees, his spine chilled and his balls tightened in his Batman briefs. The light then disappeared as fast as it appeared, and he let out a sigh of relief closing his eyes for the smallest of milliseconds.
The apparition appeared in front of his prime mover as a glowing flailing ball of bright light, his instincts were to hit the brakes, but his heart took over as adrenaline pumped at the speed of light around his body. His hands both shook and tightened on the steering wheel as the apparition took shape and he saw what his mind could only describe as a banshee with arms outstretched, mouth agape in a twisted effigy of a silent scream that made his bladder release a small amount of urine into those aforementioned briefs.
With eyes bulging and not comprehending what he was seeing he ploughed on through the ball of flailing limbs and glowing white hair that swirled like snakes around the gaunt and sorrowful face as it screamed a high pitch wail on impact that turned his blood to ice water within his veins.
Not stopping he heard what he thought was metal bounce off the bull bar at the front and the rest of the small drive into Narrabri was spent in abject silence and disbelief of what had happened. Terry never spoke of the incident that day or the next for that matter but he knew within his heart he had finally met the Pilliga Princess.