This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
tor flies, every
where. flew down
your throat your
clustered in swarms noisome about eyes, they drown your ed themselves by dozens in your your' tea, and food was made repug nant by their crawling mouth, they
relief, could 'cheese
served for that mosquito nets, the heat stifling. AU was around ?was the dry, white plain save where the tongue the of timber, wherein
men ran And from out out into it. were camped, At of that timber rose mound of granite. a bare or the were three foot of the two rock mound a half full of holes, one pretty fair-sized one, round base of the mound the was a water, and better then The else. spring of grass anywhere two there but to do men had nothing wait,' and under a such circumstances was waiting -weary business. some new out They were looking, over in the Central man Australia, and in country one man with charge of the party had gone, ahead a and blackboy, leaving them there to await his mind the horses. return, and spare the Day after day they looked anxiously acrossthe to see plain hoping returning figures, and
It. was appointed. long past the time when they should were and the in an men have returned, to do. irritating state of uncertainty as to what To follow the tracks might lead to trouble, as the absent back men another come on course might and find them To continue there stopping gone. was well Martin doing nothing nigh impossible. stood and the plain about two looked out across sundown. He hours before stood looking so long and intently that Rawson, his mate, asked him if he saw anything. there. about 'Tes, there's something bobbing It looks like an emu in to water.' Raw coming son, men both the joined him, and regarded ap time. proaching object in silence for some
back crawling a along the tracks.' Picking couple of bri up went to where the horses were dles, Martin feed of and ing around two the granite mound caught
blackfellow,' and by Jingo
National Library of Australia
ing around the granite Saddling them
cut away, to beat
mound of and two caught hastily he started, leading across the dark figure coming a miserable His sight to see.
side, which bough.
and hastily dismounted, put the water his parched lips. his voice Dandy found long drink, and, turning on Martin, eyes
fellow gone.' 'Gone;- gone bung?' inquired Martin, using the common bush phrase for death. 'Baal, gone away, away alonga debbil, debbil.'
to camp, your
lie down Martin slow had
kindly. to mount, managed
to camp. for
'Don't said his to
feed, and Dandy
to Mm spell, he Rawson.
It like had the
examined and than
caused the white Both used
ordinary weapon. of walking had
inflamed to it and
had become so, though Somewhat
practical. relieved and told Dandy recovered, a them singular story, which, after allowing for the embroidery of a blaekfellow's fancy, the men could scarcely believe. According to Dandy, they had found fairly well watered and about were country, turning back, whet they of a low caught black sight range to go ahead, and Murray, the leader, determined that far in order from the summit to view the land ahead. The range proved very scrubby and bar ren and what puzzled Dandy was that there were it, and, large pads or tracks al leading through these tracks though and were dusty seemingly animal used- by whatever made them, he could see no foot on tracks them. reached the They it saw a level expanse top, and from of country^ partly scrubby, and partly open, with a -small lake It was about two miles away. getting towards and to this lake, which sundown, they went provsalt. ed fair grass was There about, however, and water with they had so them, ex Murray of turning tie horses pressed his intention out for a few hours' feed, and turning back by moonlight. a It was brilliant moonlight night, only two nights off full moon, and the party were smoking after their meal, when startled by an they were from of the horses. agonised one is cry There no more sound startling and painful to hear than the semi-human cry of a. horse in mortal pain and terror, and the men, starting to their feet, picked their firearms, and up in the direction hastened of the sound, their natural thought being that the blacks were spearing the horses. One was horse, a grey, plunging frantically in its hobbles, rearing and uttering the terrified of pain that scream had startled them. As they
As them. they to the horse's throat, with-claws in the shoulders, and its jaws having a firm grip on the poor creature's to be a monstrous throat, what appeared lizard. The horse, as they approached, stood still, trembl ing all over, but the horrible thing fastened on it never moved. his carbine Putting close to its
would not hurt the horse, of the thing relaxed, claws the but and opened, the jaws never frightened horse began turning round and round with the dead creature Then hanging on to its throat. it fell, and, staggered, -with a shuddering gasp,
of lizard, with
tionate head. The iron teeth, still retained their horse's which throat; from the blood was now While in looking at it pouring. engaged Dandy was in the seized side another of by the horrible creatures. the Rafter, it, killed man. otherbut not before it inflicted a terrible -wound.. Murray 'called to them
to catch the horses and soon as as get away they could, for others of the brutes were coming along the tracks they had noticed. could Dandy not see footprints because the lizard's short, stumpy any tail obliterated the tracks as it was dragged over them. could but do nothing to Dandy stagger and -while Murray ran Rafter camp; after the horses to drive them Dandy, heard up. shouting and shots, but the others did not come back. He of the creatures heard another crawling towards blind terror, he fled. with him, and, overcome How long he was not re getting back he could member.
huge dispropor jaws, armed with cruel'5 death grip on the dead
This was the tale they got from him. 'What can these1 creatures be?' asked^Raw
of things Mke that in some parts of Central bat never America, in Australia.' I think of it,' said Rawson, 'Now 'the blacks do say there are that large lizards about— make out to long pads in and their camping let's see places. some name They call them— like 'Gonderup.' corrected Martin. 'Gonderanup,' 'Tea, I've heard, them knew speak of them, but. never what they were.' men The then had a serious discussion as to the best thing to do. To wait until Dandy was well was to back them with not enough to be go must They start that night. thought of. By close questioning they thought they could get from a. fairly approximate him idea of the place. Any and the salt lake were, good land how, the range As at the marks. for Dandy, he could spell no* signs until they came There were back. camp no smoke had. beefi visible -while of blacks about—
The place seemed shunned they had been tiiere. would be safe enough. by the natives, and Dandy Not that he particularly enjoyed the idea any more back titan he did fhe notion of going to the land was no of the lizards, but there help for it. .Each started, having got a leading .a horse, the two men where from Dandy fair idea they -would .find rode -on and
silently steadily and They rode -on water. throughput the night,. and in the morning, by a singular piece of good fortune, found themselves trail of Murray his com and still on the outward
.panions. Tnls s!nipTined~mattefs-Very inuch, and they nad nopes of sighting the range before sun down. They reached a rock hole about 10 o'clock, and- turned the horses out for a good long spell during the heat of the day. It was sundown when some they caught sight of the range, evidently distance off, and as there was a bit of good feed, and they had been pushing the horses pretty hard, to camp ?they determined until a couple of hours before daylight. no They could formulate plan until they had seen these creatures and got the lay of the country; but they had little hope of rescuing their two companions did alive. They not sleep much, for they did not know but what Gonderanups might attack them* although they had not yet come across of the trails spoken any of by Dandy. Still they did far how not know these creatures took it in their heads to ramble. It was breaking day when they came to the edge of the scrub that clothed the range, and here they saw the first of the long converging trails, or pads, described More by Dandy than that, they saw one of the Gonderanups back creeping along the trail, as though it had been out foraging during the night. The of the horses' feet made sound it stop and turn its head. 'Tou're the best shot, Martin,' whispered Raw
defiantly still, and opened its huge mouft if in as threat. Martin fired, and the thing turned over, stretched out its short, stumpy legs, furnished with great claws, and expired. 'The two men rode to it, and, after up looking carefully around to see that no were others near, they dismounted to examine It was a the brute. stumpy-tailed lizard, about 6ft or 7ft long. Its legs were the short, and were clawB enormous. all, its head Above to be nearly one-third seemed of its whole length, and the jaws and teeth were terrifying, even in death. 'I am afraid we shall find them never alive,' said 'If these things only come Martin. at out night, they should have been able to get away in the daytime.' first 'Perhaps the Gonderanups got them the night, when Dandy bolted.' 'Wbrhaps so; I'm afraid they did,' said Martin. 'What horrible creatures! If one got 'hold of a he would man let go until he was never dead.' 'Let's follow the trail along; perhaps this fel low was late, and by now.' they are all camped Martin agreed, and they rode along the trail for a two miles, when fair-sized they reached hole in the ground, and from all sides tracks such as they were this opening. following converged towards 'This is their lair, or lair, at any one rate,' said Martin. 'I remember the- blacks said now these things camped at night, underground all day; and hunted of though this country cannot support, many at the barren them,' and Rawson glanced around waste x of scrub. 'Will you chance it?' said Martin suddenly.
here. of dry about wood will a build such that fire -*ver this hole if they are not ecorch the life out of them sala manders.'
'I'm 'We rush
be canny. would we
If- 'they came a with out dis men two be?'' The or mounted, and, as a precaution, first put two three the logs crosswise above heavy dead open Then with ing. light they filled in underneath: dead set wood, leaves, and dry lumber,, and any fire to it. The burnt dry scrub-wood like tinder, thie men, and working like stokere, kept piling wood until there more was on a roaring fire that Once amid not they could approach. they saw the reek and glare a hideous head, with eyes burnt out of their sockets, appear for a moment, and fall back again. This was the only attempt at escape ?they witnessed, for two though hours, until they were fairly exhausted, they kept feeding the fire. of egress,' 'Not. likely they have any other mode remarked Martin. 'No. the All to out at the trails seem die
The lay but
at the top of the low and soon range, the salt lake, -which they soon reached. torees skeletons, literally skeletons, of thr*e the bon--e; around, the flesh clean picked from a sigh of relief when they they both drew re seeing the sign of man's round without
at first look
though it had been disturbed, until further of on searching they discovered 'that most miss the rations and some cooking utensils were
shouted 'the Martin; gonderanups back to killed them. 'They must have come the camp be camped to get these things, and must about here.' this?' said Rawson, picking up' a piece 'What's of paper that had been tucked under the hook of read of the pack-saddles. and one They opened the crumpled scrap: I or the rock on am 'Martin, camped Rawson, miles from N.E. two I write here, due mound, this in case is follow our tracks. Rafter you I cannot God's delirious, and leave him. For or don't the scrub sake at the near lake; camp there are devils about.' Neither spoke after reading this message. Both
mounted and north-east.
their led horses little time they shouted and
due the their
and granite mound, to announce revolvers
at the consequently was when they cantered up.
their approach. base waiting
for them '1
said. he have Heaven come!' you been all this time nursing poor Rafter; I. and Did could not leave him. mad, you anything of those horrible creatures?'
that night I can't tell; but I managed Rafc to save tsr and is terribly three of the honses; Rafter He bitten; three of them fastened hold of him. is round here cork some under trees; at night 1 him There to the top of the rock. is water carry
There is water top of the rock. out that these things did not I went in the daylight, so to our out come camp rations.' and got eome While the hill to see the sick they walked round told Murray of their trip out Raf Martin man, bad ter was was indeed; his agony fearful, and at he buried sundown at the foot died. They him a 'fitting headstone of the for a lonely mound carry him to the
ithey' started had
of tbe liz as af none the rock, and they saw de to hope that terwards they had they began of them. ,..As^tihey approached the stroyed most made the fire over the lair tihey had place where intolerable stench— of the brutes, they emelt-an to thicken a the air around stench that seemed and they felt it impossible to approach the th#m have that they must them This assured spot. and .the after settlement of the killed a good many, lot had to prove that the whole country seemed of the larger variety have been destroyed, as none seen been species is since, although the smaller still to be found. silent. all was When they approached the camp shouted Martin for Dandy, but got ho answer. was The bite of the Poor dead. gonde Dandy fatal. never to be would seemed Murray ranup tell the whole details of his fight with the lizards he of bank man the salt lake, when the on The subject aged to bring off his companion. tihat you seemed repulsive to him, and Tie swore could hack the bodies off the creaftures, and their not fixed. were They would. stall remain jawa of- that natural, he said, and old blackfellows part who them say eo too. remember
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.