The Moon rises over a silent ocean
It had been long day’s drive but Colin and Angela didn’t mind. Colin enjoyed driving and they had another nine days to wander around Cape York Peninsula. Their last stop for the day had been a little general store/petrol station at Captain Billy’s Landing. They’d filled up with petrol, bought some fruit, a packet of sausages, half a kilo of bacon and a couple of onions. A few cans of beer, a bottle of wine for Angie and they would dine like kings.
They asked the guy at the store where to find a good place for the night. He said there were plenty of little tracks leading down to the ocean - just keep an eye out for them on the right. They thanked him, loaded their gear into the back of the ATV they’d hired for this trip, and headed off again. It was late afternoon and they needed to find a nice, quiet spot to set up before it got completely dark.
True to the store manager’s word, there were a number of little tracks leading off the main road through the mangroves. Probably made by fishermen thought Colin. Perhaps he’d do a bit of fishing in the morning. A bit of fresh barra for breakfast would go down really well, he thought with a smile.
‘Let’s take the next one,’ Angela said. ‘We need to set up camp while we still have some daylight.’
Colin slowed down, and they turned into a little track that took them through mangrove trees to the shoreline. They stepped out of the vehicle into crisp, white sand that stretched for miles in either direction. They stood in silence for a moment, looking.
‘This is just amazing,’ murmured Angela. ‘Absolutely no sign of another human being. It’s almost primeval.’
They unloaded the deck chairs, small table and barbeque gear. Colin fired up the barbie while Angela chopped the onions and buttered the bread. Soon the sausages and rashers of bacon were sizzling away. ‘You can’t beat the smell of bacon on the barbie,’ Colin said.
After their meal, they laid back and relaxed in their deck chairs. The sun was settling down behind the hills at their back; the moon was rising provocatively from the ocean; a magic moment. They reached across and held each other’s hands, listening to the soft murmur of waves caressing the sand.
Colin sipped his beer contentedly, resting the can on his belly while watching the moon. A large rock was awash with waves at the water’s edge. The next time he looked, the ‘rock’ was moving towards them. In a split second he realised what it was.
‘Angie!’ he screamed as he jumped up. ‘Get in the car. Get in the car. It’s a crocodile!’ The black shape started running towards them as they scrambled across the sand towards the vehicle. ‘Get in the back,’ he screamed, as there was no time to unlock and open the cabin doors. He vaulted over the side panel and into the tray, turning to hoist the screaming Angela over the side to safety.
‘It’s alright Angie,’ he told her, ‘We’re safe now.’ But were they?
The snout of the prehistorical predator poked up and over the side bar. It was trying to clamber up the side of the vehicle, its razor sharp claws gouging into the metal with terrifying screeches. Angie was screaming hysterically. The sheer weight of the crocodile was rocking the vehicle violently, and Colin knew if they rolled over, they would be dead in seconds. Thank God he’d put a bag of tools in the back in case of a flat tyre, and he frantically ripped it open.
He grabbed the jemmy bar with both hands, swinging it wildly at the animal’s snout. Its malevolent eyes glittered in the moonlight. Colin bashed at those eyes as hard and fast as he could, while desperately trying to keep from being snagged by those incredible snapping jaws. The grunting animal dropped back to the sand. It paused for a few moments, then started its slow, swaying crawl back to the ocean, deciding this meal was too hard to get. Colin watched until he was sure it wasn’t coming back.
He dropped the bar and collapsed to the floor alongside Angela. She had stopped screaming, but was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. He was shaking too, but wrapped his arms around her, trying to soothe her. ‘It’s gone Angie, it’s gone,’ he said several times before she seemed to understand. They clung to each other. They were too scared to climb out of the back of the vehicle as it was now pitch dark and who knew what was creeping through the long grass and mangroves. Angie eventually fell asleep from sheer emotional exhaustion but he couldn’t keep his eyes shut for more than a few seconds. The slightest sound sent his senses into overdrive.
When the sun was rising, Colin gently woke Angela and they peered cautiously over the sides of the tray. She was a mess, still teary, and he helped her down from the tray. She clung to his neck like a leech and wouldn’t put her feet to the sand, so he lifted her into the cab and closed the door firmly.
He quickly grabbed their gear and tossed it into the back, one eye watching the ocean. When he got into the cab, closed and locked his door, he fell back into his seat, breathing heavily.
Angie said, ‘Your arms Colin. Your arms are bleeding.’
He looked at them and said with surprise, ‘So they are. But not badly, just scratches.’ He said they’d have to find a hospital or doctor’s surgery to get them cleaned up and she nodded. Her pretty little face was blotchy, her eyes red and with mascara smudged across her cheeks. His heart filled with compassion and love, and he leaned over and kissed her gently.
She said tearfully, ‘Can we please just go Colin?’
They found a small town with a doctor’s surgery where Colin’s arms were treated. He had a tetanus shot, and Angela was given some tablets to help calm her down.
When they left the surgery, people were gathered around the ATV, looking at the damage. ‘What happened to you mate?’ one of the men asked.
‘Croc attack,’ Colin said as the guy looked at his bandaged arms.
‘Bloody lucky to be standing here talking about it,’ the guy said.
‘Yeah, well. You should see the other guy,’ Colin responded with a grin.
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Great! You write exceptionally well!
Ooh I like this! I definitely wasn’t expecting the crocodile. Your description is beautiful and your word choice is so vivid! Great story :)