Entry 7 – Tuesday, April 20th 1982
Entry 7 – Tuesday, April 20th, 1982
I woke up the next morning to a streak of sunlight burning my eyes as the bedroom door opened. Pa’s face poked out from behind it.
“I’m going into the hardware store in town Darwin – do you want anything?” he half-whispered as I rubbed the hardened sleep away from the corner of my eyes.
I stretched, before shaking my head groggily, “No thanks Pa.” I yawned.
With a chuckle, he backed out of my room and quietly closed the door. I could hear his footsteps becoming fainter, the jingle of the keys and the closing of the door. The faint rumble of the car’s engine starting…
Screeee! The tyres sliding roughly on the hot bitumen. The sound of twisting metal…
I shook my head and sat bolt upright in bed. The painful memory faded and I felt my shoulders relax. I anxiously run my hands through my hair, before sighing deeply. It was hard to get rid of those sounds from my memory. It was as if they were etched into my brain. As Pa had said… it will take time.
I sidled out of bed and glanced at the clock on the wall… Pa would be gone at least three hours. His place in the bush was fantastic, but a long way from anything really. The major town was at least an hour’s drive away. There was the general store about fifteen minutes from here, but they didn’t have much besides the basics, so I had time to explore…
I grabbed some toast, my backpack and sketchbook and leapt out the backdoor. My heart was high in my chest and the fresh dew sparkled on the ground. I was going back to Pa’s creek. He had told me the quickest way to get there over our game of cards the night before. He said that if I was going to explore, I might as well know some landmarks.
Pa had mentioned quite a few, but it was the creek that I wanted to get back to. It didn’t take me anywhere near as long this time. The sweet ring of the Bell Birds echoed through the gums, complementing the soft bubbling of the creek. There was less water today than yesterday, but the fern branches dangling into the water didn’t mind a bit.
I found a nice mossy rock a little way from the edge of the creek and sat down with my sketch book. It was peaceful and relaxing.
I had been sitting there, sketching the creek for a good half an hour when I was startled by a heavy rustle in the branches behind me. I swing around in fright and slip on the moss, falling backwards into the branches. I see the cause of the rustle, a small Wallaby, bound away in the bush. As I go to get up, a glitter of red light catches my eye in amongst the leaf litter.
Kneeling down, I carefully brush away the debris… but I do not believe what I see. A small flat rock, about the size of my hand, ordinary in every way, except for the large, smooth edged hole in the middle… it was just like the one in the branch the other day.
I peer into the hole – it is like looking down from the sky. I pick it up in amazement. Everything through the hole is smaller, out of proportion with everything else around it. I pass my hand under the rock, but cannot see it through the hole. The hole is like a window to somewhere else. I peer through it with wonder. The red glint is a small, red, crystal like object embedded in the window’s ground.
I stand up and the landscape through the window becomes smaller, like mum’s old camera when you zoomed right out. I can see at the edge of the window a small creature running through what looks to be undergrowth… its another Occulite! But this one looks a bit different again. My mouth is wide, my eyes like saucers. This is utterly mind blowing!
I quickly experiment with the rock, holding it lower to the ground – the landscape inside the window becomes larger. It seems the closer to the ground I hold it, the more it zooms in, the further away I hold it, the further it zooms out.
I move the stone closer to the ground and move it to the side until I can see the creature. It is just like the first one I saw, but this one has petals around the base of his snail like eyestalk. Just like a Frilled Lizard! I follow the creature as it dashes through the undergrowth, making a bee-line for the crystal. After a few moments it reaches it and pries it from the ground, tucks it under its arm and dashes off back the way it came.
Am I really seeing this?! Or am I dreaming? Still in bed, dozing soundly.
I watch as the creature disappears into a small cave opening and is gone. I can see a soft red glow emitted from the cave entrance – a similar colour to the crystal… that’s odd.
I decide to explore, moving through Pa’s bush, while looking down on another land as it rushes by. Forests, wetlands, waterways, mountains, even lava flats come into view as I make my way back to the house. A whole other world encased in a simple stone… I decide I must be dreaming and sit on the veranda, looking down on what appears to be an Occulite similar to the first one I saw, running across a vast wetland through the stone.
Behind it I can see another creature, one like I have never seen before, chasing it down. The Occulite’s eye is wide with terror. It is scared… I am scared, it is horrifying to watch, but I can’t look away. The creature is going to catch the Occulite, it just can’t move fast enough. I don’t want it to be captured, so I quickly go to put my finger in the stone hole to try and help, but – BANG!
There is a sound like thunder and a spark springs from the stone’s hole. A searing pain rips through my finger. I scream out loud, wrenching it from the stone. I hold it up to my face and see the top of my index finger has been badly burnt. I drop the stone and rush inside to run it under cold water, not seeing a group of four Occulites leaping from the wetlands to ambush the predator and save their friend.
I thought I was dreaming… I was wrong.
To be continued…