I stomped the sand as if doing the River dance. The bugs crowded in my eyes, blinding me.
An engine roared from across the dry creek bed.
Boris straightened up and craned his short neck like a turtle coming out of his shell. ‘Who could that be?’
Bugs, flies, and now ants crowded in my eyes. I rubbed them away and glimpsed bushes swaying on the bank .
The whirring and whining grew louder.
I blinked and shook my head.
Stones clinked. Branches snapped. The engine buzzed.
And then crash! The four-wheel drive police patrol vehicle pushed through the over-growth and some unfortunate cycads as it lumbered over boulders in the creek. The patrol truck came to a stop in the clearing a metre from Boris’ tent. I couldn’t help thinking; this policeman had been everywhere, except bitumen—the patrol car was covered with red dust.
The driver’s door opened, and as the officer stepped out, dust from the roof showered on his bald crown. He flicked the sand from his shiny head, secured a wide-brimmed hat on top of it, then paced towards Boris.
His female fellow officer alighted from the passenger side and then strode up to Boris. She adjusted her wide-brimmed uniform hat on her bob of mousy hair, so shading her pixie features. She looked like a female trying hard to keep up with the men—tough exterior hiding the vulnerable feminine interior. The policewoman accentuated this demeanour, thumbs in her belt and her mouth rotating in a slow grind chewing gum.
I looked at Günter. ‘Do you think they saw us?’
Günter shrugged. Bugs covered him as if he were pasted with honey, yet he didn’t move.
What’s wrong with him? I continued to step, slap and swat.
I waved my arms at the officers. ‘Hey! Over here! We’ve been abducted!’
The police pair ignored us, like we didn’t exist. The man pulled out his notebook. ‘Now, Mr. Roach, just a routine inquiry. We’re wondering if you have seen a carload of tourists, matching this description,’ he flashed a photo from his smart phone, ‘pass this way in the last couple of weeks.’
‘Tourists?’ Boris chuckled. ‘The place is swarming with tourists.’
‘Well, actually, sir—not since the owners of this land prohibited tourists from coming into their land, which includes Palm Valley.’
‘They still come.’ Boris locked eyes with me and sneered. ‘In fact, we had to deal with a couple of stray ones, just today.’
‘Well, you see, this group went missing July fifteenth, about two weeks ago, and we were just wondering if you had any knowledge of their whereabouts,’ the lady officer said. ‘Do you have any information pertaining to this vehicle or its occupants?’
‘Not unless that pair from this morning were some stray ones from that vehicle…’ Boris nodded at us, then turning away, he continued to help the police with their enquiries..
I jumped up and down and hurled my arms around my head like a crazy woman. ‘Over here! Save us!’
Günter blew a few insects from his mouth. ‘They can’t see you.’
‘What? How come?’
‘Boris—he’s controlling our minds—and the police officers. This is all an illusion.’
‘Looks real to me.’
Günter stepped sideways toward the patrol car, and then stopped. Boris shifted his feet. I held my breath. Günter slid one slow step at a time.
Boris kicked the sand while chatting with the police.
Günter reached the patrol car and beckoned to me.
I exhaled. Then walked a few paces. The bugs disintegrated. The stinging dulled. The flies thinned to just the usual amount you’d get in the Central Australian desert—which existed in abundance.
I gasped and bolted to the patrol car.
‘Jump in!’ Günter urged.
Yanking open the door, I prepared to launch inside.
A spider, a huge one, as big as my hand—a spider with a fat juicy body the size of my fist, hung in a web that spanned the doorway. I recoiled.
Günter sighed and then flicked a switch on the control board.
Blue lights flashed. A siren whined. Wee-wah! Wee-wah!
I clapped my hands to my ears. ‘Stop that!’
‘You want the policeman’s attention, don’t you?’ Günter shouted. ‘Now get in!’ He grabbed my arm and pulled me in.
Through the doorway. No web. No spider. ‘Hey where did it go?’
Günter revved the engine.
‘Not until we have the policeman and woman.’ Günter engaged the gears.
The uniformed officers stared at us, eyes wide, frozen, like rabbits caught in the spotlight.
‘You’re not going to run over them, are you?’
‘No, just Boris—I must do fast before his powers over-ride the sirens.’
Günter charged forward, rolling over Boris’ tent, his deck chair, and finally Boris, splat underneath the front right-hand wheel.
[To be continued…]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: Orb Weaver in Web © L.M. Kling 2016
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