Moderator Control Panel ]

White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Stories from our readers.

Moderator: wa5

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:25 am

A huge slab sided Navy boat sat, motionless in pretty much the same position as the Drake had been a week before.

Anchored a few miles from the coast, with the sun shining in my eyes, I couldn't get a lot of details. Hand shading my eyes, concentrating on the boat, an aircraft carrier I think, I moved toward the water, my attention fixed on the ship.

The freight train hit me like a .... well, freight train from behind. Face in the sand and not yet realising what was going on, until the teeth found the top of my shoulder, that sure got my attention and I knew exactly what had hit me.

A huge hit of adrenaline course through my veins and some undoubtedly spilled through the hole in my shoulder, but not enough to stop me from bucking and rolling away from the snapping monster that was biting and scratching at my back and arms.

Half up, falling forward as I bolted panicked and mostly blind, no idea which way I was going, no plan apart from getting as far away from those teeth and nails as I possibly could. I managed to stay upright and got a few metres on the snapping scratching monster as its howls sounded to be receding behind me a little. I kept running, hoping that I was heading for the safety of my van, my fortress. the place where I could lock the door before calmly picking up one of several guns and dispatch this biting bastard to the next world.

I'd been facing the ocean. I shaded my eyes and managed to get a look at my location just as my feet hit the water. I was running away from my safe haven and had a monster on my tail if the pounding sound behind me was anything to go by.

Straight into the gentle surf, it must have been close to low tide, but I'd missed the weather report on the local TV station the evening before, as the local TV station and all but one of its audience.... were dead.

Out into the water, the cool waves taking the burn away from my fair skin, it was an illusion, if it didn't get to some shade soon, I would be red raw. Why oh why hadn't I put some clothes on and picked up a gun before leaving the van. why couldn't I have simply pee'd inside like a civilised human being.... alas too late now.

I risked a glance as I moved into deeper water. The monster had stopped dead. He was a big man, naked. He was looking straight at me, focussed on his prey. But he would come no further, was he afraid of the water? He began to scream and roar and I noticed others coming over the sand toward him. Only about five of them all big Men. There was no way I would get past them to the van or any of my vehicles, This was not good.

I couldn't simply wait them out, the sun was beating down. I was burning already even if I was outside for only another half an hour, I was in for some serious sun burn, being stark naked, some of that was going to be rather awkward.

Standing in cool water up to my neck, my shoulder stinging from the cruel salt water. I stood till for a few moments gathering my whits, knowing that the salt water was the best first aid that I could hope for at this time. Its antiseptic qualities hopefully working wonders on the bite on m shoulder. I gingerly ran my left hand over the area, I could feel it, feel the teeth marks where they had pierced my skin and the flesh beneath. there were holes but no big bits missing. I was still bleeding and could do noting about that. Don't even think about great white sharks.

My only hope lay on the ship that was slowly dying beside me. I'd looked her over more than once and had even entertained the idea of taking my inflatable boat out tot he stairs conveniently laying down her port side and going aboard for a bit of a look. I'd soon dismissed the idea as a fools errand, lots of danger for little reward. Now I had no choice.

The ships bow was driven up onto the beach, the rest trailed almost directly out to sea. the starboard side of the ship was snug up against the rusted wreck of the Sygna, another bulk carrier that had washed up in 1974. The Sygna ended up stern first a few yards from the beach, the starn of the ship stuck fast in the sand, a clever and resourceful Japanese salvage expert had refloated the bow of that ship just after it had beached and taken it away to be scrapped, try as he might, he couldn't get the stern and it had become a local landmark over the past 38 years

The movement from the newer ship, the Principosa Jolanda, had destroyed a good amount of the older ship as it ground against it over the last few weeks. Unfortunately I was on the starboard side, the stairs, the only way aboard the ship were on the port side. The easiest way would be back onto the beach, around the bow of the ship back into the water and along the hull to the stairs. I doubted my friends on the beach would be receptive to that idea.

Sun burning, shoulder aching and worse still leaking blood into shark habitat, I had to move.

Never a strong swimmer I figured staying up against the hull of the Jolanda would be the safest course, I might be able to cling to the side of the ship in a fashion and it was one less direction for a shark to come from. Just as I was about to start my journey, I spied a two litre Coca Cola bottle merrily bobbing up and down in the gentle surf. The litter bug that had discarded the bottle after consuming its sugary contents had thoughtfully refitted the red plastic screw top. I hate litterers, today I thanked every deity I could think of for my grubby friend. The poor mans lifevest made the job of swimming better than a quarter of a mile, a much safer proposition.

I set out towards the back of the ship. tasting and smelling a diesel oily scent on the water. obviously the Jolanda was beginning to give up her fuel or perhaps her lubricants, either way, an environmental disaster was just round the corner and no one was going to clean it up.

I grunted and puffed, dog paddling my way to the point where the newer and older shipwrecks were closest together. Up close, it was easy to see how much damage each ship had done to the other, the Jolanda had a split up her side, the front half of the ship was in the process of parting company from the rear. The stern of the ship,whilst sitting low in the water still had some buoyancy, it was gently moving up and down, working at breaking away from the beached bow. A rainbow could be seen issuing from the broken part of the hull.

The Sygna had faired worse. Its Hull, already a decade old when it wrecked, and with almost 40 years of surf, salt water and rough weather working against it. the ship, that still looked quite solid only a month before, had collapsed like a house of cards where the newer, bigger ship had been wearing at it.

Gingerly I paddled through the oily muck and into the blessed shade of the remains of the Sygna, the sun blocked behind its rusting bulk. Whilst I was grateful for the respite from the torturous sun, I was scared witless of being so close to the 50 year old rusted hulk as it towered over me. Every squeak and groan I heard was a ton of rusted steel plate, finally giving in to gravity and pinning me under the water. Thankfully the Swedish wreck was made of sterner stuff. I swam out of her shadow, into the hateful sun. Even as it burned, I was grateful to be out from under the older boat.

With the aid of my bottle of air, I made it around the stern, into the blessed shade on the south western side of the ship. With the gentle waves behind me, and the cool shade of the towering hull above me, the trip to the stairs might have been pleasant, under other circumstances.

I gratefully rested on the floating platform, glad to be out of the water but still in the shade.

I don't think the monsters had followed me to the other side of the ship, at least I could not see them on the beach, As it was over two hundred metres from my current position and I had no kind of scope, I couldn't be sure, I simply couldn't see that far.

The floating platform and stairs were some way from the hull of the ship, the hulls list was obvious from this position. They moved around quite a bit as I climbed them.

The lean was also obvious when I reached the deck. I boarded the ship just ahead of the superstructure. I had some trouble keeping my footing as the deck moved up and down but also leaned at an angle of about ten degrees, both to Port and down at the Stern. I wondered if she would eventually tip.

I listened intently as I made my way to the crew area. Apart from her dying groans, all appeared quite. The only weapon I found as I walked, was a large fire extinguisher, It would make a handy club and its jet of foam might just give me an advantage if something were still on board.

My target, as you have probably guessed, was the orange life boat, that hung over the rear of the dying ship (yes, I was already aware that it was still there, as I had seen the friendly orange craft when I had surveyed the ship from the beach). I really wanted some clothes before I left the ship.

The only way into the superstructure was at the deck level, I had seen some ships with exposed stairs and decks up the side of the crew quarters, the sides of this one were clean.

Slowly, quietly with much trepidation, I opened the door onto a corridor that was pitch black. Not wishing to risk meating a monster in the dark confines of the crew quarters, I abandoned the idea and headed for the life raft.

I have no idea what happened to the crew, had they simply died of the K inside the ship, had they starved and suffered from dehydration after turning to monsters, had they left the ship?, perhaps the gangway I had used to gain entry to the ship gave a clue, perhaps not.

The little orange lifeboat was like an oven, still I closed and dogged the hatch behind me. Hot and uncomfortable, my shoulder still throbbing. at least I was out of the sun. Like the last lifeboat, this one sat at a severe angle to aid the launch, comfort was not a consideration.

I really wanted to attend to my still weeping shoulder, but moving around and working in the boat was difficult at the crazy angle.

I took the time to re read the launching instructions, even though the boat appeared to be the exactly the same as "my" lifeboat. Thankfully the directions were in large print as my scope was still inside the van, along with everything else I had foolishly disregarded a few hours ago as I left the van like a big headed fool.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:47 am

The procedure was exactly the same, turn a wheel and pump a small hydraulic pump, not forgetting to fasten ones safety belt first. A short express elevator ride to hell, followed by a hell of a splash.

A loud clunk as the heavy duty battery isolator switch gets turned to the On position. The little diesel hiding under the floor grumbled to life and settled down to its friendly clattery idle.

I motored round past the Sygna, getting as close to the shore as I dared, the tide was coming in, and the waves made getting too close to shore treacherous. I saw them running from the shaded awning at the front of the van towards the beach, Damn.

As I chugged back out to sea, I thought on my choices, There were many vehicles further up the beach, I could run the little boat aground at the next low tide, try a car until I found one that ran, or simply walk to my supply base and take one of the 4wds I had there. The major issues was the time I would have to be on the beach without an escape route and without a decent weapon, I could also return to Stockton, back to my ferry wharf, where the other lifeboat was tied up, find a car and get back home, picking up a gun from one of the road blocks on the way. same drawbacks, I would be rather exposed until I found a running car.

What of the ship, the nave boat sitting anchored two or three miles out. surely that was worth a look?

After a nice long drink from the emergency supplies, I opened the first aid kit, it was fairly basic. But I managed to disinfect and dress my wound, I was even able to find some aspirin in the kit, and I could read the lable due to the small magnifying glass, also in the kit.

I'd been in the water for around an hour, I guess, my face was burning, as were my arms and back, also the backs of my legs. The kit gave up some soothing ointment, it seemed to cool and numb the areas to which it was applied. In about three days, I would start peeling, this was the worst sunburn I had suffered for years.

Before heading out to inspect the carrier, I thought some clothing might be a good idea. There were hard grey scratchy blankets on board, I cut one down to a poncho. I would feel like Clint Eastwood when I wore it. after making sure it would fit, I took it off, it was painful as the scratchy blanket rubbed against my burned skin. I'd only put it on if the ship were occupied, it simply hurt too much.

As I chugged toward the big carrier, I took the time to familiarise myself with the rest of the sips controls, again, they appeared exactly the same as "my" boat. Master switch, starter, navigation lights, fuel gauge, idiot lights for oil, overheat and bilge, I supposed the last one was to alert to flooding. finally a gearbox lever (forward, neutral and revers) and a throttle. I thought that was it, but upon further inspection, I found two more switches, one for a bilge pump, and a small button that set off a surprisingly loud horn. Those last two were a little out of the way, blocked by the marine radio, that's why I had missed them on the other boat, I felt sure they would be there when I looked.

Probably still two hundred metres from the huge aircraft carrier, I heard a hooter go off on the big boat. So I tooted my own horn and flashed my navigation lights in answer.

The radio, it had already been a long day and it wasn't yet eleven o clock. Oh well, better late than never, Why didn't I think of it sooner. No sooner had I turned it on when I heard a message. My elation soon turned to horror, I was about to be shot.

"This is Captain Thomas Burke advising the boat approaching to cease doing so immediately or you will be fired upon" I swung the wheel as I made a grab for the microphone and knocked it off its hook, it clattered to the floor. Desperately I bent down from my seat, to reach for it and tell them not to fire. that saved my life. "Thock thock thock" the bullets tore through the fibreglass cabin, several continued through the opposite wall, one tore through the seat I was in seconds before, the other impacted the radio.

The little boat was halfway through its turn, I reached up and pushed the throttle to its stops, the poor little engine strained as the boat surged forward. "Splash thock, splash thock" more rounds impacted the little boat.

the boat had completed its frantic 180 degree turn, I left the throttle floored. The acrid smoke rising from the radio meant it would never work again. Ten seconds, twenty, no more bullets, they had stopped, it seems, when I had turned away. right neighbourly of them.

I let loose on the fog horn, giving it a long blast to show my understandable displeasure. The carrier aped me, giving a blast of their much louder fog horn.

It seemed we had a communications breakdown, there was nothing to be done about it until I had a working radio and a few miles between us. Perhaps the crew had the K, no, the Captain sounded sane enough. Maybe they felt I was planning to board? who knows.

I made for my ferry wharf, planning to use the other boats radio to find out why they had been less than friendly.

Still quite a way from the harbour entrance, concentration on navigating the little boat towards the breakwater, I was shocked when a buzzer began braying. I checked the dash, the Bilge light was shining an angry red.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:10 am

When I lifted the hatch, the water was already halfway up the side of the diesel engine. One or more of the Navy's bullets had obviously pierced the hull of my tiny boat, and she was taking water..... fast.

I was still closer to the giant carrier than I was to shore, but I doubted they would be of any help, except perhaps to put a bullet in me before I could drown. I had to make it to land.

Flicking on the bilge pump as I decided whether to head for Newcastle harbour or try and beach the little orange craft on the shoreline. I was close to noon and the tide had been coming in for a few hours, the waves breaking on the beach would be treacherous. I might be able to safely navigate them in an inflatable rubber boat, like the lifesavers used, but a ponderous liferaft that was weighed down with half a belly of sea water and had limited exit points may just be suicidal. I chose the harbour. I was in line with the southern breakwall, time to both was the same.

I nailed the throttle and returned to check just how effective the bilge pump was. Not very or possibly not at all. The water seemed to be the same height or a little higher than last time I checked. I wonder just how many bullets had pierced the hull? It was a little hard to read the level accurately, as the rocking motion of the little boat made precise measurement difficult. still it looked to be slowly rising. The water also appeared oily, the lifeboat appeared almost new, if not, it was very well maintained, I didn't think there would be so much oil leaking from a new motor.

It didn't take long to find the leak, one of the bullets had impacted the engine block, oil was seeping out at a decent rate, not as quickly as water was seeping into the boat though.

The area under the false floor was too cramped for me to enter, if the engine were not running and cold, I might possibly be able to squeeze in there, but it would be hard, and not something I fancied trying with fan belts spinning inches from my head and hot exhaust glowing close to my limbs, I wouldn't be trying to block the holes, I just had to pray the boat stayed til I hit lands.

As the boat took on more water and sank lower, it slowed, as the tiny engine struggle to cope with more weight and drag than it was designed for. as I entered the harbour mouth, still a quarter of a mile from the shoreline, the water began rising through the hatch and into the cabin of the boat. I had minutes only.

The breakwaters protecting Newcastle harbour project out about 400 metres into the ocean from the shoreline. they are constructed from huge rocks and concrete blocks. the rocks extend inland along the banks of the Hunter river for quite a way.

The first place where one might land a boat safely is a small riverside beach, a sandy shore known as Horseshoe beach, its an off leash area for dogs to swim and run. That was my destination, as I felt the boat, its diesel engine now completely under water would struggle to make it any further.

It was a lousy location to land, as it was on the well populated Newcastle side of the river, however, it was about five minutes faster than trying to make the wharf where my other intact life boat was tied up. I didn't have those five minutes. The boat strained to maintain forward motion, its belly pregnant with seawater, as I neared the beach.

It must have been high tide, as even so low in the water, the bow of the boat managed to kiss the dry sand before juddering to a halt. I pulled the little motor back to an idle and went to survey the situation in the hull. The water was still above the false floor, checking outside the rear door. I wondered if the bilge pump was making any difference now that I was aground.

The engine was still rattling away, its sound muffled by the water that surrounded and covered it. Diesels, old style diesels, are great like that, just so long at they have fuel and their air intake is not blocked, they will run. obviously the intake for this motor was higher in the boat. They wont however, run without oil. and the little engine had just exhausted its supply. Another buzzer joined the still ringing bilge alarm as the engine oil pressure light glowed an angry red.

Pulling the lever that cut fuel to the motor, it clattered to a stop. The alarms and dash warning lights faded as well. Strange, they shouldn't do that, they should continue running on the battery. I tried one of the boats interior lights, it showed a barely perceptible glow. The battery was kaput.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:14 am

I had been planning to pump out the water as the tide fell, attempt to patch the holes and motor across the harbour to my wharf, where my other lifeboat sat. I gambled, that even with little or no oil remaining, the motor would last long enough to get me there. Alas, it was not to be, The Jolandas' lifeboat had made her last run.

Marooned on the wrong side of the harbour, no weapons, no real clothes and thousands of monsters within a couple of hundred metres, not good, not good at all.

So far, no monsters had come to visit, my little boat must not have been loud enough for them to notice. maybe they had found some nice cool shade and couldn't be bothered to stir.

The mercury must have been on the wrong side of 40c the interior of the tiny craft was furnacelike. I risked opening the rear hatch, it was over water and not visible from the bank. Careful to stay out of the direct sunlight, lest I burn even more, I set about searching the craft for anything that might be useful.

The water was slowly receding, the tide must have turned. by late afternoon the level was once again under the false floor.

My ship wreck site was about two hundred metres North East from the remains of Josie's apartment building. I knew that area had been crawling with the monsters, yet none had wandered over to the boat. To be fair, there were buildings shielding me from their view, and the beach was a bit lower than the surrounding parkland, but I would have thought a bright orange floating Jaffa coming into the port would have caused a bit of interest.

By the time the water had disappeared under the floor,I had searched the boat, pretty slim pickings. some food and water rations, the first aid kit and the makings of a weapon... maybe. A flare pistol with six cartridges. I guess it would stop most things from attacking, but the attention it would bring might make it unusable. Perhaps it could be used as a diversion? The plan that was beginning to form in the back of my head called for stealth, not heroics.

I dozed through the rest of the day, suffering again in the heat, as I again dogged the hatch, I didn't want another one to sneak up on me.

When I was a young boy
I wanted to sail around the world
That's the life for me, living on the sea
Spirit of a sailor, circumnavigates the globe
The lust of a pioneer, will acknowledge no frontier
I remember you by, thunderclap in the sky
Lightning flash, tempers flare,
'round the horn if you dare
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Lucky just to keep afloat

Six Months in a leaky boat, Split Enz.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:57 am

I awoke to darkness, thankfully it was also a little cooler. My plan was to steal through the night find a vehicle and get out of Newcastle before I dozed off, I had taken some time to prepare. The first aid kit, water and food was bundled into another itchy blanket and tied into a pack, I took one of the seat belts and made a should strap that attached to both ends of the pack, using another to make a belt to secure the blanket poncho around my waste. No, I didn't have a knife, just the small scissors in the first aid kit, they were tiny and would not work as a weapon. Before I dressed, I slipped on a life jacket for several reasons, first, if I had to go into the water, it would give me buoyancy second, it was a bit kinder to my tortured red skin and finally it protected my torso to some degree.

I undogged the hatch and bid farewell to the boat, even though it had failed me, it had held on long enough to save me, with an affectionate pat on its rump I padded off into the night. Three steps on the dry sandy beach, the dog beach, I bet you can't guess what I stepped in, or, maybe you can. Back to the waters edge cursing the lazy dog owner who couldn't pick up after his or her dog. What I wouldn't give for a pair of shoes.

I only had a half moon to try and navigate by, not bright by any means, but as I got used to it, I could see ok.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:17 am

Horseshow beach lay at the North eastern end of a large foreshore park, The nearest homes were over one hundred metres away. I intended on remaining close to the shoreline and moving up the river. The shoreline ran beside and about 50 metres from the rail ine I had used to get to Josies place weeks before. I wondered if I would catch a limpse of her burnt apartment block as I slipped past.

The park area consisted of two areas, a beach area, not as formerly laid out, it had a large carpark leading to the beach and the breakwater, salt bush and sand. And a river area, with lawns and paths, gardens and nice lighting.

With no structures for shelter and no fresh water, The beach area of the park didn't appear to be popular with the monsters. I carefully and quietly crept east.

Between the beach and foreshore parks on the river bank was only one building, the port authority used the area for their harbour pilots, I think, it was very secure and I didn't think I could access it from land or water. The problem was, I had to get past it, the water side was inconvenient, as it would mean going for a swim, the land side, behind the building on "Wharf road" was uncomfortably close to the freshwater pond where I believe the group of monsters near Josies apartment were getting their water.

Discretion being the better part of valour, I shoes the swim. Climbing down the large randomly stacked rocks that held the banks together was awkward, not something I could do quickly without slipping and probably breaking a leg, something to remember if I had to retreat to the water in a hurry, I couldn't simply run andjump, I would dash myself against the rocks, of course the monsters would too, but they may not car in the heat of the chase, I did care.

The water was cool, cold actually and felt nice on my burning skin, within five minutes, I was past the building and could climb back onto the rocks, Being so close to the monsters only water supply, I stayed in the water and pulled myself along the rocks. Bobbing along with only my head and shoulders out of the water, the butt of the flare pistol held in my mouth, so the flare would not get wet, I silently slipped through the dark water. The other five flares were vacuum sealed in plastic, they would be fin in my blanket backpack, but the one in the pistol had been unwrapped, it appeared that it was partly made of cardboard, I couldn't take the chance and bit down on the guns plastic handle even harder.

What would have been a brisk five minute walk along the shared bike path, from the port authority to the Queens Wharf Brewery took around an hour. I was debating where to swim round the wharf of the entertainment area or climb up the rocks, when something fairly solid nudged past me. Fish, dolphin, shark. I didn't wait to find out. and found myself wondering how I had got from the water to halfway up the rock wall so damned quickly.

Between the wall that I was now crouching on, and the footpath, were long rectangular blocks about 70cm tall and the same thickness, they were a safety barrier to keep people from falling to the jagged rocks, they also made a handy hide for me.

After I had stopped dripping, I peeked over the barrier, I sat there for a long time, straining my eyes into the darkness, straining my ears as well, I could hear them growling and grunting, but they didn't seem that close, still too close, but not "that" close, I'd have to risk it. The Queens wharf complex blocked me from being seen from the foreshore park for the most part. It was either do this or risk whatever had rubbed up against me.

Sidling up against the building I crept forward. as silently as I could, my nerves a jangling mess, every sound a reason to panic, but I kept control and I kept moving.

Past the Wharf, which was also the southern ferry terminal the park ended, there was still a walking and bike track that folled the foreshore for the most part for another couple of miles. There was a gap, with no building for a couple of hundred metres then a café out over the water, than another similar gap, then the high rise units and motels started. I was thinking on the upcoming obstacles when my right foot encountered a piece of broken glass, not huge, part of a beer glass I would guess, it was only a small cut really, but it hurt like the devil.

I needed to take care of that cut, to get it cleaned and apply some antiseptic then bandage it. The pubs and restaurants that made up the complex all appeared to be locked up tight, my only choice was the ferry terminal, nothing more than a glassed in waiting area. the windows misted from graffiti attacks and salt mist. I limped in, thankfully it was empty. I got to work on the cut, soon it sported a nice clean bandage, held there with plenty of tape.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:11 am

It must have been after midnight, I needed to get further out of town before sun up, whilst keeping an eye out for a safe shelter for the coming day.

Leaving the Ferry terminal at the outer end of the wharf, I limped back to the building then turned West. At the end of the building, I again stopped, peeking round the corner like a timid mouse, after a few minutes of not seeing anything in the semi darkness and not hearing anything, well, nothing too close anyway, I proceeded. Beside the building, between the footpath and Wharf Road, was a small car park. I used the cars parked there as shelter, bending low and hobbling by them. As I passed an old Holden Ute (Americans should think Elcamino), the moons pale light reflected off two shining hoops, a push bike.

Feeling the tyres, I was happy to find they were still inflated. Perhaps this virtually silent machine could be my way out of town. I tried to lift the bike from the tray of the old car, no, make that classic car, it was a late 60s Holden, and even after being abandoned for a month, that ute shined. The bike was much heaver than I thought it would be, My shoulder throbbed with the effort, why so heavy?

The bike thudded to the ground a little harder than I would have liked, but it was just so heavy? Looking it over I saw a black plastic lump mounted to the tube of the mountain bike, behind the front wheel, It was a battery, I had chanced on an electric bike. My luck might be changing, if the battery still had any kick in it. The bike might take a little figuring out, so I headed back to the shelter of the ferry terminal , before I went, I had one last look in the tray of the old Holden, I almost wept when I found the thongs, quite possibly a few tears leaked out when they fitted perfectly, I wasn't looking forward to using those spikey pedals barefoot.

Once sheltered I got to inspecting my new ride. A throttle, like a motorcycle, a power button near it and four very bright green LEDs out of a possible five. Taping over the lights with supplies from my first aid kit should have taken seconds, by the time I unpacked my pack, did the job and repacked quietly, over quarter of an hour had passed.

The bike also had separate battery powered head and tail lamps, they would be staying well and truly unused. I tried it on for size and found that it was close enough, glad that I would not have to pedal it unaided, I set off, West along the bike path.

The white medical tape wasn't totally effective at blocking the fuel gauge, I could still make out each individual light, but they weren't bright enough to attract attention and they didn't affect my night vision. I pushed down on the sharp pedal, feeling the saw tooth device as it tried to cut through my flimsy footwear. I was about to apply some throttle to help me along, before I did so, the bike sprang forward on its own., shocked, I ceased pedalling, and the bike slowed. confused, did that really happen, again I pumped the pedals, again the bike shot forward at a greater than expected rate. Ohhhh, its automatic. I tried the throttle, as I twisted it, the bike shot forward, this thing had more power than I expected.

Slowing to a saner pace, I pedalled along the path, passing the big units and motels on my left. From the gap between one of the blocks, I heard rapid footsteps pounding behind me. Twisting the throttle full on, the bike shot reacted like a scared cat, before long I was past the buildings, again on open bike path, I heard an exasperated roar from quite a long way behind. Damn, that would stir the rest up. I couldn't safely keep up the speed that I was currently travelling at, but I needed to get away from the angry crowd that would be heading this way to find out what the fuss was about.

From my current location, the bike track traced the road west, where the road and bike track met Hannel Street, they both shifted to a more Northerly direction. Not knowing the time, I toyed with the idea of going two blocks further west to my work, I was almost decided on the route when I remembered that my key ring was still in the caravan, and I had locked the buildings during my last visit.

I decided to leave the bike track at this point and take the road, the same one I had cleared on my way to Josies. I pedalled the bike along at about thirty kph, the bike had more speed, but I wasn't sure on the batteries range. I was toying with stopping and trying some of the abandoned cars, weighing up the risks, Having my left arm grabbed by something from the dark convinced me that was not a great plan. Thankfully I came away with nothing but scratches. Another scrape to be attended to when I got the chance.

Hannel Street became the Industrial Highway as it snaked West, North West out of town. The bike had only two lights remaining after I had covered a further five kilometres. A little concerned at the diminishing range, I again thought about an alternative vehicle and somewhere to lay low.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:10 am

I coasted to a halt directly in front of Wests Mayfield, the club and the Motel where Jenna may still be locked in room 607. I looked up at the window of the room we had shared, Unless she or anybody else was hanging out of that window waving at me, I couldn't see them from this distance. what I would have given for my scope and some light at this point. for one mad moment I considered entering the Motel, reasoning that it would provide safe harbour for the coming day, glancing over my shoulder, I thought I could see the hint of some light coming from the east. If I had entered that place, would I have checked her room? probably, definitely, I pedalled on, that building held nothing but heartache.

More running feet from my right, nothing there but metal working industries, a roar, two, a dozen, a hundred., answering calls from ahead and behind. Time to find that sanctuary and shake the monsters from my trail.

"Concrete Frog", funny the things you think about when a murderous mob of crazed bloodthirsty zombie monsters are chasing you down. Michael had told me where the key to his shed was hidden, he lived three blocks from here. The bike flew forward, I turned left, into Mayfield, three blocks on left again. another left and pulled up outside Michael and Marcys place. There was a trick to opening the gate in the high fence, it took a minute, thankfully I fluked it on the second try. Wheel the bike in and close the gate behind me.

Past the house towards the shed that stood apart in the back yard. I yelped a little when it launched at me.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:26 pm

It came out of the shadow cast from the house, into the weak moonlight, launching at me. It must have been locked in the yard since the beginning. It collapsed as it hit my leg, I feel sure that it was trying to bite me, but it was probably starving and very dehydrated.

I located the concrete frog, retrieved the key and entered the shed. I edged around to the drivers door of the Interceptor, Michaels recreation of Mad Max' ride. Opening the door activated the interior light. The interior of the shed was bathed in a weak glow from the interior of the car. Whilst I didn't think anything outside the yard could see over the high fence that surrounded the property, I didn't wish to risk it.

Before closing myself into the shed, I had to take car of the hairy critter laying dehydrated and panting in the yard.

As I approached, it raised its head, bared its teeth and growled at me.

"Easy Dog" I said, it quieted, I hadn't exactly been a regular visitor to Michaels place, but I'd been there enough that his dog might remember me.

Dog remained quiet as I picked him up, carrying him into the shed , closing and locking the door behind me.

I hoped I could do better with Dog, than I had with Josie. I gently laid Dog on one of the ratty old lounge chairs where Michael and I had share good beer and better conversations over the years. I'd lost him and could do nothing about that, but I would do my level best to save his dog.

Michaels beer fridge was always well stocked, before I satisfied my own thirst, I carefully drip fed a bottle of water to Dog.

"Dog" was a Blue Heeler, Had to be, that's the breed of dog that Max had in the second instalment of the series. He had to be named "Dog" for the same reason. I'd never been a fan of Blue Heelers, they seemed a bit to eager to bight people for my liking, but Dog had never looked like biting during my past visits and had only attempted to do so tonight before I had spoken, the animal had instantly quieted when he had recognised me. I stroked him as I dripped water, he lapped it up. Most went on the cushion, but he managed to get some of it.

With the bottle empty, I left the dog to rest, his tail wagged when I told him to "stay there" and that he was a "Good dog". Using the light from the Falcon, I had a quick look around the shed. but really couldn't see much. I didn't want to waste the battery on the Falcon, it would not do to get this far and then ruin my chances by running it flat. I would risk a few minutes of running the headlamps, reaching into the cockpit I flicked the rocker switch at the right tip of the dashboard and the shed lit up. reaching down to the blinker switch, I pulled it back for low beam. One of those times when playing with old cars my whole life payed off, no groping or guessing, I knew every control on that car.

I found the rechargeable work lamp in less than a minute, the ultra bright LEDs putting out plenty of light. Shutting down the big Fords headlamps and interior lights. Time to take a look around Mikes shed. Large enough for four cars, it currently held his Black Coupe... and whatever was hiding under the car covers. Seemed Michael had been keeping a few secrets, when I removed the dust cover, a bright yellow, red and blue MFP car greeted me, Another Falcon another XB, same model as the interceptor, but a four door sedan, a replica of the car Officer Rockatansky drove in the early parts of the original movie. Mike was a fan of anything to do with Mad Max, it was only a matter of time til he acquired one of these. Under the next sheet, was a Holden, funny since Mike was a Ford Man through and through, but this wasn't just any Holden, it was a HQ Monaro, black, but unlike the immaculate shining interceptor, this poor thing was beat to hell. The poor old Monaro showed numerous scrapes and dents, and looked like an escapee from the scrap yard. Only if you were a fan of the movie, would you know that this was exactly how the "Pursuit Special" appeared in the opening scenes of Mad Max. The final sheet revealed a bike, a big road bike, a Kawasaki. I'm not really "into" roadbikes, and it took me a little while to pick it as Jim Gooses bike from the movie. Michael had obviously been spending some cubic dollars to upgrade his collection, I would have loved to hear the story of how he laid his hands on these beauties. It took a moment for me to realise... that I never would. Solemnly I replaced the dust covers.

Apart from the Falcon, I found the next most important thing in the shed, the dog food. emptying the dry biscuits into a bowl, I added some water to soften them before feeding one to Dog. Gave him a bit more water and took some myself. Sitting there patting Dog, I dozed off.

Waking when Dog jumped up on my lap before walking over and pawing the door. Light streamed into the shed through the opaque panels in the roof. Morning had arrived. The shed had no windows and was already rather warm.

I slowly opened the door checking for intruders in the yard, Dog forced past me and through the door. happily lifting his leg on one of the trees in the back yard and returning.

Hungry, a little thirsty and feeling somewhat under dressed, I took another drink from the fridge. refilled dogs water bowl and placed more biscuits into the now empty bowl I had filled the previous night. I had planned to soften them again by soaking them in water, Dog had other ideas. The biscuits soon disappeared.

While Dog noisily lapped up more water, his recovery was amazing, I re entered the yard. taking a look at the rear door of Mike and Marcy's home. Like most homes in the area, the house was probably about 100 years old and of timber construction. The back door didn't seem that substantial, as I searched the shed for a pry bar, I felt truly bad for planning to burglarise the home of a friend, A friend who was already pulling me out of the fire from beyond the grave. I found a suitable tool and was about to do a little amateur B&E, when I spied Mikes gun safe. I was sure the house and yard were safe, but I had also been sure that just stepping out of my caravan home was safe the day before, and look where that got me.
Punching in the code he had shared with me, star 351 (the size in cubic inches of the engine in the black interceptor) Hash. A small "click", turn the locking lever and the safe swung open. Inside I found a 5 shot pump action shotgun, a rifle, looked like a .22, and a space where Mikes service pistol, his Glock would be stored while he was off duty, a cheap plastic key rack was glued to the inner side of the safe, with keys for the vehicles and an extra set that looked like house keys, well, that's convenient. There was plenty of ammunition for all three guns, I loaded the Shotgun from a box of cartridges.

The second key on the ring fitted the back door. The dog didn't try to enter the house, I presumed that Marcia forbade Dog from coming inside. As I stepped inside, I heard the same insistent beeping that my own home alarm gave when I returned at the end of the day.

How had the battery lasted so long, perhaps topped up by solar panels? it wasn't the time to ponder such things. I had about thirty seconds to quiet two or more high pitched sirens that would be doing their level best to invite every monster in the area. If my one guess of the code was wrong, I'd secure me and Dog in the shed and wait for the excitement to subside.

I tried my luck, 623629 Home. Two little "beeps" as the alarm disarmed. Thanks Mad Max.

Save for a faint odour from spoiled food, the house might have been empty for just one night. First on the list, gents clothing. I found the master bedroom, It, along with the rest of the house was very girly, if the shed was "His", the home was "Hers". The house may have been old on the outside (though neat as a pin), it had been thoroughly modernised on the inside. I'd already passed through the very nice kitchen, past the newly renovated bathroom and other living areas before arriving in the bedroom. I moved into the walk in wardrobe searching for something better than my prickly blanket. The very large closet was filled with ladies fashion and shoes, lots and lots of shoes.

I tried the second bedroom, more ladies clothes and many, many handbags, the far end of the large built in wardrobe even had a small section of ahem "risqué nightwear", None of my business, time to try the final bedroom / office.

Half the smaller wardrobe in the office was also filled with Marcy's clothes, in the other half, I finally found Michaels gear. I can only guess that he didn't rock the boat over Marcy's excessive amount of clothes, given the toys he had in the shed, it might have appeared just the tiniest bit petty. Mike was a bit trimmer than me, I hoped that I could find something that would fit me.

It seemed that I had lost a little weight over the last few weeks. The faded blue jeans, Police T shirt and flannelette over shirt fitted like a glove. Two sets of socks helped Mikes sturdy hiking boots fit snuggly. I even found a baseball cap and pair of good sunglasses on top of his undergarments drawers. and yes, I was wearing second hand underwear before you ask.

Stripping off my shirt, and shoes, I tried the bathroom, just as I expected, A nice big well equipped first aid kit in the bathroom cabinet. I took the time to clean and dress my various wounds, None of them gave any cause for concern, all except the scratches on my arms had soaked in salt water for quite some time, it had done its job well. no sign of infection.

Re dressed and into the kitchen, searching the walk in pantry, very nicely clad in Tasmanian Oak, I found an unopened box of corn flakes and a container of long life milk. Breakfast sorted, top it off with a brick of orange juice and I was now medicated, dressed and fed, and feeling a lot better than I had since sighting that ship yesterday morning.
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am

Re: White Night (or where do I get my 30 + from now?)

Postby wa5 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:58 am

I had a few things left to do before I left. I had to check the "other " gun safe, poke a screwdriver into the empty slot, a small click and the whole wall mounted toolbox swung away from the wall.

The sawn off pistol grip double barrel was no surprise, its what Max carried. The other gun was a surprise. I was a big enough fan of the movie to know that Lord Humungous had a gun exactly like this, down to the lovely wooden box with red velvet lining, even down to a picture of a soldier and his wife and some kind of medal, I felt sure that if I checked the movie, those little extras would be there, even though I had not noticed them. Michael even had a single page print out on each gun. The sown off was a VG Bentley, the pistol was a Smith and Wesson Model 29, a .44 calibre gun, I'd seen Dirty Harry, such big guns were almost cannons. Michael would have lost his job and his liberty for quite a few years if he had ever been caught with these weapons, it didn't matter that he was just a collector and the most honest bloke I knew, if it got out, he'd go to prison.

Mike had made me aware of these illegal guns, so I guessed they worked, but still I put them back into their hidey hole. The five shot pump and the .22 rifle would serve me well enough. I went back to his legit gun safe and was about to load the .22 when Dog came in and whimpered, nosing his bowl. Poor fella was still hungry. I found a tin of dog food near the gun safe, but put it back, it was "Dinky Di" brand, if it was genuine, it was probably 35 years old, Max had shared some with hiss dog in the second movie, It looked like he was eating the finest cuisine, not dog food. Who knows, it may have been ok, but I didn't have a can opener. I went back into the house, checked the pantry and found a couple of tins neatly stacked. Dog demolished the contents in no time flat. I found a bag and packed the rest. Dog would need something to eat if he were coming with me.

Time to see if the Interceptor was going to wake up. I loaded the .22 rifle and kept both at hand. I opened the hood of the Black Falcon, checking the oil and water of its 351 V8. I knew Michael was a perfectionist, both levels were spot on.

The car had a big Supercharger sticking out of the bonnet, it looked mean, but was a total fake, again, just like the one in the movie. The engine might have looked like it was king of the drag strip, but in truth it was a dead stock 1973 Ford V8, A current Camry would probably beat it in every way that mattered, except looking cool. I gave the old girl a couple of pumps and turned the key.

The battery had plenty of life, the engine turned over quickly and fired after about ten seconds. and promptly stalled. Repeat, stalled again. one more pump, wind it over and start tapping the throttle as it fires, it staggers, pops, farts. looks like its going to stop, but doesn't. slowly it builds speed and I can stop pumping and just hold it at a constant speed. After about two minutes, I could barely breathe with all the fumes inside the shed, I had only opened the personal door, leaving the roller doors closed, just in case I had nosey neighbours and had to lock up quickly.

I shut her down, the car was loud enough out side, in the confines of the shed it was very loud, I could have out louded a decent rock band. As my hearing returned, I could hear the neighbours weren't happy, lets hope they weren't close enough to figure out where the noise came from. I had been planning to wait an hour or so in the shed, the fumes made me go back into the house, I didn't want the dog running around in the yard, possibly barking at any visitors. I called Dog into the house with me, He hesitated, I could only guess he had been scolded for past transgressions. Eventually ha padded inside, I closed the door and motioned for him to perch up on the floral lounge in the back room.

Half an hour passed before the howls and roars quieted somewhat. time to get the car out. I wasn't planning to start it again until I was ready to leave. Thankfully Mikes yard was flat. I opened the shed and pushed the car out backwards into the morning sun, turning it on the concrete slab put there for just that purpose. after a rest, I pushed it up the driveway rolling to a stop just before the front gate.

I thought the gate might be an issue, it was an electric gate that slid sideways. It took a bit of figuring, there was a small panel, accessed by a key lock, once open, it was a simple matter of flicking a lever, to disengage the electric motor. The get moved free. I left it closed, as I had a little loading to do.

The tins and the dry dog food went into the boot, along with my blanket pack. a few bottles of water went into the cabin, it was a hot day. The rifle went into the passenger side of the car, the shotgun stayed with me. I closed the house and the shed, replacing the key under the concrete frog. I was ready.

I really wanted to keep this place as a safe house if I could. I'd have to push the car out, and slide the gate closed with the car sitting outside.
I opened the house gate a few inches and looked as far as I could up and down the street. it seemed quiet.

Running to the driveway gate, quickly sliding it open and pushing the car through, I was about to slam it shut when I realised that Dog was not near me. damn. run back into the yard, close the gate and flick the lever to lock it shut. Michael would have had kittens if he knew I left his car, unlocked with the keys hanging in the ignition on a public street.

Somehow I had locked Dog in the shed, I heard him whining as I got near. He bounced at happy to see me. after securing the door, he followed me to the front of the yard. His hackles went up as we approached the gate and he uttered a barely audible growl.

Grabbing a seat from the front veranda, I climbed up behind the fence and peeked over, just one sniffing around the car, his back to me, I looked up and down the street but couldn't spot any others. If the rifle weren't in the front of the car, I could have easily used it to dispatch the monster fairly quietly, The shot gun would have killed it, no doubt, however, it would have damaged the car as well, probably shattering the windows on the passengers side and maybe even destroying a tyre or two.

Scooping a small rock from the decorative garden I threw it as far as I could down the street, ducking as the monster first looked around then started to move down the street towards the new sound. He was about ten paces from me when I put a shot into his upper back and head, he dropped, knowing that more would be coming, I dropped from the chair, called Dog and exited the gate, pulling it closed behind us.

Dog showed no hesitation when he bounded into the car, perching on the passengers seat like he was meant to be there, which, of course, he was. My hearing returning again from the shot gun blast, I rushed to the drivers door, got in, and pushed down on both chrome knobs, locking both doors. Turn the key and the big Henry burst into life. Idling a little roughly still, she hadn't really got a proper chance to warm to the job ahead, but she didn't stall, and that was the main thing. I selected first gear. Any observer would have thought I was a learner driver, as I fed in too much throttle and slipped the clutch like a beginner, I really didn't want to stall. I caught sight of a pair of monsters coming from my right, that was not a problem, I was planning to turn left.

The night before, I had been standing in front of Wests, in front of Jenna, when I decided on Michaels place, I had basically went in a loop, past the club then beside it and finally behind it. At the end of Mikes street, I could have entered the eastern entrance to Wests, I chose to go a little further on and again turn left, back onto the industrial highway and again straight past the club and motel and on to the intersection that led to Kooragang Island about one kilometre further on.

I glanced at the gauges just before I made the turn, All were in the green, According to the fuel gauge, the tank was full, and if you couldn't trust a 45 year old Falcons Fuel Gauge, who could you trust?

Knowing that there would be a fair sized group on the other side of the bridge, I cruised across as quietly as I could. Sure enough, they were there to greet me. My life was more important than the car, but I couldn't bring myself to mistreat it just the same. I slowed and crunched the top loader transmission back into first gear. Properly warmed now, the old Falcon was fairly quick and responsive. I managed to swerve through and around the crowd, some glanced off the side of the car, I grimaced each time I heard the bump, it couldn't be helped, but I was starting to love this big brash machine, even though I knew a land cruiser with a bull bar and four wheel drive was a far saner choice. If Max had half a brain, that's what he'd be driving.

Checking my mirrors I saw them begin to follow along behind me, well I kind of saw them, this thing had woeful rear vision. I looked over at Dog, he was sitting up having the time of his life, in less than a minute, the whole atmosphere in the car would change.....
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:53 am


Return to Fan Fiction

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests