Hauling on the brakes, causing the dodgy old ute to lurch sideways in an enormous cloud of dust, everything on the tray sliding then crashing into the rear of the cab, the vehicle finally coming to a halt. With the headlights dimming in response to the lower rev’s of the coughing diesel motor, JJH and NFC sat completely still, jaws dangling somewhere close to knee height.
“Mate, look at the size of that!” NFC, mastering the obvious.
“Christ on a bike, it’s longer than the firebreak, and it’s stuck in the bloody fence. Do you reckon it’s still alive?” Said JJH, his left hand slowly grasping for the shotgun wedged between himself and the gearstick, the right, hunting for cartridges in the glove box.
“Buggered if I know?”
At that, the pair got out of the ute, JJH holding the now loaded shotgun with the barrel pointing toward the ground. There before them, stretched out on the ground, longer than the headlights glare was wide lay a snake. Its tail slowly drawing in on itself toward the ringlock fence; its head a good three feet beyond it. On seeing its initial movement, the two young blokes both made involuntary gulping sounds, one took a step backwards, the other brought the shotgun to his shoulder and deftly drew back both hammers, index and middle finger curled around the pair of triggers.
“That’s not as dark as a carpet snake, what do you reckon it is?”
“Other than a bloody big python thats thicker than my thigh, I’ve got absolutely no idea. But yeah, It isn’t as blackish as the snake in your shearing shed.”
“What do you reckon we ought to do with it?”
“Just leave him to it I reckon. We’ll get a few bottles of beer, dump those maron into the dam the old man never checks, and then come back to see if it’s moved.”
A few beers turned into a carton and a bottle of rum; the maron made it into the wrong dam; it would be the following morning before the pair were sufficiently upright enough to go back to see if the snake was there, and if possible, track it.
To be continued.
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