It would be a lie to say the
object streaked across the sky, in fact it travelled quite
slowly. It lingered long enough as it passed overhead to bring
people out of their houses to stare gape-eyed up at the fiery
orange ball of light which lit up the sky almost as bright as day
as it flew over Harpertown -- in the south-eastern Victorian
"Did you see that?" asked
Melinda Stebbins. She leant across the small hedge separating
their properties, to call out to where their neighbours, the
Carrolls, stood on their own front lawn, gazing up at the orangey
"They could hardly miss it, now
could they?" pointed out her husband Merv, failing to get a
reaction from his wife, who had long ago learnt to live with, if
not appreciate her husband's bursts of sarcasm.
"But what was it?" demanded
Cherylyn Carroll. She and her two teenagers, Jayne and Stevie,
started out toward the footpath.
"It's only a comet," insisted
her husband, Pete. Instinctively he followed suite as the
others stepped out into the street and slowly started down
Rushcutters' Road, seemingly unaware they had even started after
the fiery object.
"Seems pretty low down for a
comet," said Merv. He received a sharp glance from Pete, who as
the local school teacher was used to having his word accepted
"Well let's find out," said
So they set off down the street
until reaching Hautman's Paddock, a large open field at the end
of town, which led directly into the neighbouring forest. After
a moment's hesitation at the back of the paddock, they stepped
out into the thickly wooded forest of wattles, pines, and
grotesquely shaped ghost gums.
They had only followed the
object for a few minutes before it became obvious that Merv was
right. It was no comet:
"It's going to crash!" said
young Jayne excitedly. She pointed overhead to where the shiny
orange light had undoubtedly started to come down.
"It's just like in The War
of the Worlds!" said Stevie Carroll. He grinned with
delight as his mother shuddered at the suggestion of alien
"Don't be stupid!" chided
Cherylyn. Although her wide-eyed look showed that she half
A couple of minutes later there
was a laud explosion not far in the distance and they realised
the object had landed nearby.
"Sounds as though it came down
near LakeCooper," suggested Pete. This time he was right,
except the "comet" had come down in the inland lake, not merely
When they arrived at the lake,
there was already a small group of onlookers, including Jim Kane,
Sergeant of Harpertown's two-man police force. But they were
all too intent on the object in the lake to even notice the
arrival of the newcomers.
"Oh my God! My God, it's a
diamond! A gigantic diamond!" shrieked Cherylyn as they saw
what held the others so transfixed.
"It must be at least a million
carets!" cried her husband Pete.
"A billion carets more like
it!" corrected Jim Kane, noticing them at last.
And that was exactly what it
looked like: a gigantic, multifaceted diamond, the size of a Mini
Minor standing on end.
"My God! My God, we're all
rich!" shrieked Cherylyn. She rushed out into the shallow water
to throw her arms around the "diamond" to hug it from
Beaming like idiots Jayne and
Stevie started to wade out after her, then stopped in mid step as
she suddenly jumped away from the "diamond" as though stung.
"Oh my God! My God!" shrieked Cherylyn. "It's
"Oh sure mum!" said Stevie.
He thought at first she was trying to pay him back for scaring
her earlier, until seeing the look of abject terror on her
As Cherylyn raced past them,
back toward the bank, Jayne and Stevie turned tail and sped after
For a few minutes they stood
round on the grassy bank, trying to find out from Cherylyn what
had happened. Finally, unable to make any sense of her
babbling, Jim Kane and Merv Stebbins rolled up their trouser
legs, took off their shoes and socks, then waded out to where the
"diamond" sat, twenty metres or so from the shore.
After a moment's hesitation
both men reached out and placed one hand on a flat edge of the
object. At first they felt nothing unusual, but after a few
seconds the shiny, diamond-like stone began to pulse softly, but
distinctly, with a regular thrumpth, thrumpth,
With each pulse it seemed to
radiate out small bursts of yellow light, although they hadn't
noticed that from the shore when Cherylyn had hugged the
The two men pulled their hands
away from the stone and looked up at each other, obviously both
waiting for the other to speak first. Finally it was Jim Kane
who took the initiative:
"There's no doubt about it," he
said, "it certainly feels like a heartbeat!"
Although he had spoken softly,
in the still night his words easily carried to shore and were
overheard by everyone. "See! See!" shrieked Cherylyn. "You
all thought I was crazy! But I'm right!"
Jim and Merv hurriedly returned
to shore to discuss what to do next. But after Jim and
Cherylyn's revelation, most of the onlookers only wanted to turn
tail and scurry back to the imagined safety of town.
* * *
Early the next morning Jim Kane
set out for nearby Glen Hartwell, to collect the nearest thing
the area had to a research chemist: local coroner, Jerry
He also collected his Glen
Hartwell counterpart, Sergeant Danny Ross. Nicknamed "Bear" by
his friends and colleagues, due to his tremendous height and
barrel-like chest, though only a sergeant, like Jim, Ross was
Jim's immediate superior. (In the Victorian Police Force, when
a number of country towns are policed by officers of the same
rank, the officer in the largest town has authority over the
others. So, since Glen Hartwell dwarfed Harpertown, Bear had
authority over Jim.)
When they arrived at
LakeCooper, shortly after 10:00 a.m., Jim was in for a shock. The "comet" was
only half the size it had been the night before.
"My God!" he said, staring out
through the windscreen of the Land Rover as they drove up to the
lake. "It's shrunk!"
After wading out to examine the
object for a moment, Jerry Green corrected him, "Not shrunk,
dissolved. I'm afraid it's only some kind of soluble crystal
"There go my hopes of becoming
a multi-zillionaire," joked Jim, although he had guessed the
night before it was no diamond. But as Jerry continued to
examine the crystal, Jim thought, "But what kind of crystal salt
has a heartbeat?"
Speaking for the first time
since their arrival at the lakeside, Bear Ross called out to
Jerry, "Is it likely to do any harm to the lake?"
Jerry shrugged and said,
"Without the proper equipment to run tests, it's hard to say.
But if it was really as big last night as Jim says, then so much
has already dissolved into the water, that any possible damage
has already been done."
* * *
Jim Kane next heard
of LakeCooper a week later. He was in
Montgomery's General Store in Goodwin Drive, when in rushed Stevie Carroll. Seeing the
policeman, young Stevie breathlessly blurted out, "Something's
killed all the fish in LakeCooper!"
* * *
When he arrived at the lakeside
fifteen minutes later, Jim found his constable, Paul Bell, and
Pete Carroll kneeling on the bank, examining a pile of what from
a distance looked like white shale. However, as he drew nearer
Jim saw it was a metre-wide strip of bones. The chewed and
mangled skeletons of seemingly millions of small fish --
extending for a few hundred metres in each direction.
"Stevie and I came down early
to do some fishing," explained Pete, seeing Jim approach.
"After an hour without a single bite, we set off to find a better
"It was on our third attempt
that we found them," added Stevie.
LakeCooper was an inland lake, it was stocked with fish
when it periodically overflowed every few winters and joined up
with the nearby YannanRiver, which in turn flowed into the
"So what do you think?" asked
Jim shrugged and said, "Your
guess is as good as mine." Taking up a handful be was surprised
by the chalky brittleness of the bones, which crushed to powder
beneath his grip. As though whatever had devoured the flesh had
also sucked away all trace of fluid from the bones, leaving them
as fragile as sun-dried pine needles.
"Looks like another job for
Jerry Green," suggested Paul Bell.
* * *
Over the next few days Jerry
Green and Jim Kane investigated the cause of the killings,
without reaching any conclusion. Except that, "Whatever did it
certainly seems to have devoured every single fish in the lake,"
as Jerry pointed out.
"But what could have done it?"
"Some kind of dingo pack,
perhaps," suggested Jerry without any enthusiasm.
"Some kind is right," said Jim
cuttingly. "This lake bobs and weaves around for two kilometres
or more. And parts of it are many metres deep. No dingo pack
could completely clear that out."
"Then what's your guess?"
retaliated Jerry, forcing the policeman to concede that he didn't
After finally conceding there
was nothing more to be gathered from them, Jim arranged to have
the small mountain of rotting fish bones carted away and
* * *
By the first week in summer it
was already obvious it was going to be a scorching
"Bloody greenhouse effect!"
grumbled Merv Stebbins, blaming it for the record
summers Victoria had been having in recent years. He helped
Melinda pack the last of their lunch into the hamper, ready for
their picnic with the Carrolls.
After they finished packing, he
picked up a blue can of insect repellent and started spraying his
arms, to the amusement of his daughter, Louise.
"What the Hell are you laughing
at?" he demanded.
"Dad! You're the one causing
the greenhouse effect, with that spray," she teased
"One can won't make any
difference!" he insisted. He pretended not to notice the wry
smiles Melinda and Louise exchanged at his expense.
Ten minutes later, waiting
outside for the Carrolls, Merv eyed the growing line of traffic
down Rushcutters' Road and said, "Stupid bastards! Why drive
all the way to Glen Hartwell, when there's a perfectly good lake
virtually on their doorsteps?"
"The Glen is only fifteen Kays
away," pointed out Melinda, "not half a million," drawing giggles
from Louise and her brother Shane, and a sharp glance from
"That's not the point,"
persisted Merv. "Why waste time driving all that way to
the YannanRiver, when you can walk a few hundred metres
"Yes dear," said Melinda. She
rolled her eyes heavenward, drawing more snickers from her two
teenagers. She was tempted to point out that a shallow
tributary of the YannanRiver ran less than a kilometre from Harpertown,
then thought better of it.
When they finally reached the
lakeside, however, their first paddle was a great disappointment.
Although clear as glass, the water felt strangely thick and
"Oh my God, it's so clammy!"
complained Cherylyn. She quickly headed back to
"What do you mean clammy? How
can such clear, clean water be clammy?" demanded Merv, wading out
a few metres. But he soon found an excuse to return to
Yet the slick feel of the water
didn't seem to bother the five teenagers who were with the two
"How can you bear to be in that
filthy muck?" demanded Cherylyn. She watched as Jayne, Stevie,
and their cousin Dianne Matthews (who was staying with them over
the Christmas break) continued to swim about in the
"It's not so bad once you get
used to it!" called back Jayne, leading the others out into
"Don't go out too far!" Merv
called out to his own two teenagers.
"No dad!" called back Louise.
She sighed in exasperation, as if to say "Fathers!", drawing
snickers from the other teenagers.
Despite their assurances,
however, the five teenagers were soon paddling toward one of the
many bends in the twisting, serpentine river.
"Are you guys sure you want to
swim in this gunk?" asked Dianne Matthews. She grimaced in
disgust at the slimy water which felt like half melted petroleum
"No," replied Louise, as they
rounded the bend, "but let's keep going till we're well out of
sight of the old folks. Then we can swim to shore and sunbathe
"Smart thinking, Lou," said
Shane, chuckling at his sister's deviousness.
They swam on a few hundred
metres more then started toward the bank.
Feeling something nip her left
foot, Louise looked down in terror, remembering the scene from
the classic horror film, The Creature from the Black
Lagoon, where the creature brushed the heroine's foot as it
swam underneath her.
"Something bit my foot!" she
called to the others, who were all way ahead of her.
"Jaws lives!" teased Shane.
Unlike his sister, he preferred modern horror films to the early
"Very funny!" retorted Lou,
still peering down at her foot through the clear water. Finally
convinced there was nothing else in the water with them, she
looked up and started to swim after the others.
Feeling a sharp stab of pain in
her left foot, she looked down again, just as her foot vanished
and hot blood began to pump into the water from the stump of her
"Shane! Shane, help!" she
called as she felt a stabbing pain in her right side and her leg
vanished to the thigh on that side. "Help me! For God's sake
Only metres from the bank Shane
looked back and shouted, "Lou's in trouble!" The four teenagers
swam back to help her.
"Give me your hand, Sis," Shane
yelled as they reached Louise.
She started to raise it toward
him, when with another spasm of pain her entire arm vanished,
allowing blood to stream out from her shoulder blade.
"Oh my God, what's happening?"
shrieked Dianne. Before their eyes Louise vanished bit by bit,
until nothing remained of her but a film of blood in the water.
But even as they watched the film thinned out leaving the water
clear as pristine glass.
* * *
While Cherylyn and Melinda laid
out the picnic lunch, Merv and Pete erected a large beach
umbrella a few metres away, then fell asleep under it, leaving
the two women to swelter under the summer sun.
"Isn't that just like men!"
complained Cherylyn. "They get a day out relaxing in the shade
and we're left to swelter and do all the work."
By a quarter to noon the lunch was set out, so the two women went
to the water's edge to call to the five teenagers.
"They've been gone a long
time," ventured Melinda.
"Yes," agreed Cherylyn. She
shivered at the memory of her own paddle in the oily water. "I
don't know how they can stand to be in that dreadful muck at
"Shane! Louise! Dianne!
Time for lunch!" called Melinda.
"Jayne! Stevie!" called
Five minutes later their calls
had failed to produce the teenagers, but had woken the two
"What's all the shouting
about?" demanded Merv, annoyed at having his nap so rudely
"For God's sake the kids are
missing!" snapped Melinda. Merv was startled, not used to her
answering him back.
"They can't have just
disappeared!" stated Pete. The two men went across to join
their wives by the water's edge.
"Maybe they swam out of hearing
range, then came to shore," suggested Merv.
For nearly ten minutes they
continued to call to the teenagers and argue about their best
course of action. Finally they decided Melinda and Merv would
set out along one side of the lake; Pete and Cherylyn the other,
and head toward Perry township.
* * *
The two couples met up again
exhausted, at the other end of the lake, just outside the town
of Perry, before it occurred to them that one of them
should have returned to Harpertown to notify Jim Kane.
"Oh my God! My God, we're not
going to find them!" shrieked Cherylyn. She received a
contemptuous look from her husband, although Pete was every bit
as upset as she was by the disappearance of the
"Stay calm honey, we'll find
them," asserted Melinda. She only wished she could believe it
Unfortunately Perry is too
small to have its own police officer. However, the Stebbinses
had relatives in the town, who readily agreed to drive the two
couples back to Harpertown to alert Jim Kane.
Nonetheless it was already
growing dark before Jim had organised a proper search party to
scour the surrounding forestlands for the missing
Although armed with powerful
search lights, they couldn't help feeling a touch of unease as
they traipsed through the eerie night forest. It was only a
handful of years since Glen Hartwell and Harpertown had been
savaged by a pack of wild dingoes. Though the yellow, native
dogs are mainly found in the northern reaches of
Australia, around Queensland and the Northern Territory, packs have been known to stray down south.
And more than one dingo has been lit up in the headlights of
speeding cars, while crossing Highway one, within kilometres
of Melbourne itself.
They searched through the night
and past dawn without finding any trace of the teenagers. Until
shortly after 8:00
a.m. Jim Kane heard
a cry of, "Over here!"
By the time he had manoeuvred
his way through the thickly wooded forest to reach the point the
called had originated from, Jim found a small crowd ahead of
"What is it?" he asked the
nearest man. He got no response from the old man whose face was
as white as a sheet and who looked as though he was about to pass
Seeing Paul Bell kneeling by
the water's edge, Jim went across to his constable and asked,
"What is going...?" He stopped in mid sentence as he saw the
mounds of chalky white bones, laying broken and chewed on the
bank of the lake. "You've found them," he said
"Three of them, by the looks of
it," corrected Paul.
"It...it can't be them...!"
insisted Merv Stebbins, refusing to believe the worst. "They
only disappeared a few hours ago...They can't have been reduced
to skeletons already...."
"Something has picked their
bones clean," said Paul unthinkingly. He received a sharp
glance from Jim which silenced him.
"It...can't be them!" insisted
Merv, on the brink of a nervous breakdown.
"No, no, perhaps you're right,"
agreed Jim. He led him away from the gruesome find.
After taking Merv away from the
scene and ensuring that Melinda and Cherylyn were kept well away,
they set to arguing about what had killed the
"Crocs! It has to be crocs!"
insisted Sam Hart from Merridale. "I've seen crocodiles strip a
large carcase as clean as these in an hour or less."
Looking at the collection of
bones Jim was doubtful. They gleamed in the early morning
sunlight as though they had been polished to a high lustre.
"How could crocs get into an inland lake?" he
"Same way the fish do,"
insisted Hart. "Across from the YannanRiver. You'd be amazed how far those bastards can
travel across dry land. A couple of Kays would be nothing to
The argument might have raged
for hours, except that a quarter of an hour later the skeletons
of the two remaining teenagers were located along the bank, a few
hundred metres away. That seemed to convince even Jim that Hart
So Jim agreed to organise a
crocodile hunt. Rather than go off half cocked, he arranged for
all the local constabulary to be involved: Bear Ross and
Constable Terry Blewitt from Glen Hartwell; Sergeant Mel Forbes
and his constable, Andrew Braidwood, from Merridale; Sgt. Murray
Senkans and Const. Leslie Harrison from BeauLarkin, and, most
importantly (since he had served five years with the Northern
Territory Police and had experience croc hunting) Sgt. Con
Rodriguez from LePage.
* * *
It was three days after the
death of the five teenagers that the crocodile hunt finally got
under way. Nearly two dozen heavily-armed men were split into
three teams. Two to patrol along both banks of the lake; the
third to set out in a four-man runabout owned by Perry resident
Dave Kelly, to search upon the lake itself.
Before the boat could set, out
though, there was debate over who should be aboard. Dave Kelly
had to go to steer the boat; Con Rodriguez was the only one with
any croc-hunting experience, and the killings had occurred in Jim
Kane's region, so they all had places. But argument raged over
who should be the fourth man. As Jim's superior Bear Ross had
expected to go also, but Murray Senkans had other ideas:
"Back off Bear!" demanded
Senkans, grabbing him by one arm as Bear started to step aboard
the runabout. "I have authority here." (On the other side of
Harpertown to the Glen, BeauLarkin is as large as Glen Hartwell
and roughly the same distance away. Usually Senkans was content
to let Bear Ross take care of the small town's extra policing
needs, but on this occasion he decided to argue the
"That's right," agreed Leslie
Harrison. He was keen to stay in the good books of his
sergeant, who was famous locally for carrying grudges
indefinitely against anyone who ever dared cross him.
"No way!" protested Terry
Blewitt, coming to Bear's aid. "The Glen has authority over
"Bullshit!" shouted Senkans.
He was prepared to argue the point till he got his way no matter
how much time was wasted.
So, rather than have the hunt
delayed needlessly over a triviality, Bear Ross stood aside and
said, "Be my guest, Murray."
Smirking like an idiot at his
imagined victory, Murray Senkans climbed aboard the runabout, then was
almost thrown into the water as the boat took off
"You shouldn't have let that
dickhead get away with that," Terry Blewitt said to Bear. He
was certain to speak loud enough for Leslie Harrison to
"It's not important," insisted
Bear. "The important thing is to make the lake safe for other
kids to swim in."
* * *
The small runabout patrolled
back and forth along LakeCooper all day without locating a single crocodile,
or anything else that could have done the killings. Until
shortly after 4:00
p.m., when Jim Kane
called to Dave Kelly to shut off the engine.
"What's up?" asked Con
"I thought I saw something in
the water," explained Jim. He moved across to the front of the
boat. Standing on the triangular bow, he held onto the small
guard-rail with one hand and peered down into the clear
He was soon joined by Con and
Dave, however, Murray Senkans stayed near the back of the small
boat. Partly from fear it might capsize if they all went
forward, partly because he thought he had seen something in the
water near the rear of the boat.
Senkans stood gazing over the
back of the runabout into the almost glass clear water.
Although it was unlikely anything was hiding in such pristine
water, he couldn't get over the feeling that something was down
there watching him.
"I can't see anything," said
Con, at the front of the boat.
Hearing the voice behind
him, Murray started to turn and slipped, almost falling
into the lake. His right hand actually did go under water, and
in an instant the hand was nipped off at the wrist. Blood began
to pour from the stump, into the water.
For a moment
Senkans held his right arm up
before his face, his lips pursed in a question mark, staring
gape-eyed in shock and amazement as blood continued to fountain
from the stump of his arm. Finally he found his voice and
started screaming, more from shock than pain.
"What the Hell!" said Con,
turning quickly. Then, seeing the stream of blood pouring
from Murray's arm, "Holy shit!"
The three policeman started
toward the injured man, when there was a thunderous crash on the
bottom of the boat.
Crying out in alarm, Jim Kane
flew head-over-heels backward into the lake.
"The croc's under the boat!"
shouted Con. The crashing came a second time.
Then, as Jim started to thrash
about, screaming hysterically, Dave Kelly said, "My God, Jim's in
the water!" He ran forward to help his friend.
Seeing Jim bobbing about less
than a metre from the boat, Dave leant over the guard-rail and
grabbed him by one hand. Pulling with all his might, he fell
backward into the boat, bringing with him one arm, the shoulders,
neck, and head of Jim Kane, whose torso had been bitten right
through by their still unseen attacker.
"Oh my God, he's dead! Jim's
dead!" shrieked Dave. He backed away in horror, yet unable to
take his eyes off the lifeless third of a man he had pulled into
As another thunderous crash
sounded on the bottom of the boat, along with a loud splintering
of wood, Con cried, "The boat's breaking up! We've got to swim
"You're crazy!" shrieked Dave.
"The croc'll get us if we jump into the water!"
"Not if we head straight for
shore," insisted Con. He pointed to where the nearest bank was
only fifty or sixty metres away. "While the croc is busy
wrecking the boat, we can make it safely to shore if we're quick
"What about him?" asked Dave.
He pointed to Murray Senkans, who now lay on the bottom of the
small boat, having fainted from shock and loss of
After a moment's hesitation Con
said, "We'll have to leave him, we can't possibly take him with
us." Seeing Dave Kelly's horrified look, he added, "He's
probably already dead from loss of blood anyway."
Without further hesitation both
men jumped into the water.
* * *
It was nearly
when one of the croc-squads on
the shore located the wreck of the small runabout on the bank of
the lake. Nearly twenty minutes passed before Bear Ross, Terry
Blewitt, and Mel Forbes arrived on the scene.
"What the Hell could have
happened?" asked Terry rhetorically. He stared in horror at the
mangled boat, whose bottom had been bitten clean
"Could a croc have done this?"
asked Mel. He fingered the jagged point of a wooden spar that
thrust up from the great gaping hole in the bottom of the
"Possibly," said Bear Ross,
"but where the Hell are Jim and the others?"
There was a moment's stunned
silence as the small group of men stopped to contemplate what had
probably happened to the four missing men.
* * *
Over the next few days the two
remaining patrols continued to search for the elusive "croc", as
well as some sign of the missing men. Without any
The search was already winding
down, ready to be abandoned, when one afternoon Bear, Terry, Mel,
and Paul Bell plus a few others were slowly searching along the
bank of the lake. The other men had already moved a few paces
past him, before realising Mel Forbes had stopped.
"What is it Mel?" asked Bear
Ross. He started back to where his friend was crouching,
peering intently into LakeCooper.
"I'm not sure," said Mel
straightening, "but I think I can see a mound of bones on the
bottom, a few metres out."
"Where?" asked Bear. He
walked up to the very edge of the lake. Too late he realised
what Mel intended, and made a futile grab for him, as Mel started
to wade out into the shallow water.
"You can't go out there!"
"Don't worry," said Mel without
stopping, "there's nothing hiding in this crystal clear
Gradually the others all
grouped around Bear, watching as Mel waded out into the lake.
"Find anything?" asked Paul Bell.
"No," replied Mel. He looked
perplexed as he reached the point where from the bank it had
looked as though something white lay. Turning back in
frustration, he started back to the shore, then stopped and began
to scream shrilly.
Bear Ross started to rush
forward to his friend's aid, but was held back by Paul Bell and
The surface of the lake began
to ripple strangely. Then slowly the water transformed,
solidified and took on the shape of a giant mouth.
A mouth which slowly devoured
Mel Forbes from the feet up!
Finally Mel's screams ceased as
he was completely consumed. Then the watery mouth pursed its
lips and spat, sending the mangled bones up onto the bank, at the
feet of the search party who ran screaming from terror into the
nearby forest, narrowly avoiding high-speed collisions with
conifers and ghost gums as they headed for either Harpertown or
Perry, depending upon which town each man thought was
* * *
After the gruesome death of Mel
Forbes, things quietened down around LakeCooper. With almost a dozen witnesses to Mel's
bizarre death, Bear Ross managed to convince the local coroner (a
long-time friend of Bear) Jerry Green, to write bogus death
certificates for the five men and five teenagers
Then the lake was declared
quarantined. A three-metre high chain-link fence ,was erected
at great cost around the full two-kilometre length of the lake,
to prevent anyone else falling prey to the flesh-eating
It was left up to Jerry Green
(as resident scientist) to attempt to explain what had happened.
"Suppose," he said to Bear one day, "that the crystal from out
of space was a living thing. All life on the planet Earth is
based on carbon, but for decades scientists have theorised that
life in other galaxies might be based on other chemical elements
such as silicon.
"Suppose the crystal was a
non-carbon based life form, and when it landed in
LakeCooper, because of its crystalline structure it
dissolved in the water. But instead of dying, it took over the
water in the lake, united with it, and formed a brand new life
form. In effect carnivorous water!"
After the deaths of Jim Kane
and Mel Forbes, Paul Bell and Andrew Braidwood were promoted to
sergeant in their respective towns.
Andrew Braidwood stood in the
front office of the Merridale Police Station. Looking down at
the sergeant stripes on his left shoulder he remebered how he had
got them, the horror of Mel Forbes; gruesome death.
Then hearing the
ratta-tat-tat, machine-gun-likr fire of the pelting rain
he wondered if the horror was truly over yet?
LakeCooper had been ringed with a six-metre high concrete
fence to try to contain the hideous new life-form.
But fears had mounted in the
winter of 2000, when the long-time drought had finally broken and
reservoirs in Victoria had reached near record levels. The waters
of LakeCooper had swollen to record levels and would have
flooded over, if not for the concrete retaining wall.
"But how long can it contasin
the water … the creature, thought Andrew, "if last years record
rains are repeated this year?"
As the rains had poured since
late May, Andrew had taken to going down to the retaining wall
every day to check the levels. Yesterday's lvel had been barely
half-a-metre below the top of the concrete dyke.
Otherwise nothing much happened
in the area after the lake was fenced in, until a few years later
when in the winter of the year 2001, the Yannan River overflowed,
flooding the area around Harpertown and meeting up with Lake
Cooper. Then the essence of the living crystal was finally able
to move on to seek out new feeding grounds. First around
Harpertown, Perry, Glen Hartwell and Merridale as it took over
the Yannan. Then further afield, first in Australia, then the
rest of the world, as it followed the course of the Yannan River
out into the Tasman Sea, then into the Pacific, Atlantic, and
Indian Oceans, until it possessed all the oceans of the world.
A gigantic, carnivorous organism that surrounded all the Earth's
land masses, devoured all of the fish and marine life across the
globe, then waited for the greenhouse effect to melt the polar
caps, giving it new body and allowing it access to increasingly
greater parts of the land, where the human race cowered in terror
from this horrible new life form: The new dominant species on the
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