In senseless segments
Quietly I’m coping
If I’m going
In senseless segments
Quietly I’m coping
If I’m going
This is a story that happened to one of my best friends and I. Thinking back now we both can not believe that we ended up in such a ridiculous situation, especially one that could have ended so horribly wrong. To this day it still confuses and creeps us out.
It began as an absolutely beautiful day on August 23rd 2015 in Perth, Western Australia. My friend (let’s call her Charlie) is a photographer and wanted to take sunset shots at a place called Busselton. Busselton is a sea-side town two hours drive south of Perth that is mostly known for its extremely long jetty (it stretches roughly two kilometres or 1.2 miles). We would spend the day there, enjoying some sun, taking some snaps. Which is what we proceeded to do. We walked the full jetty and took lots of photos.
Once it got dark we went to the restaurant by the beach and had a very unsatisfying and expensive meal (albeit an incredible view). Charlie was so unhappy with her meal she decided to drive to a nearby KFC and order some chips. At this stage it was 7:15pm, I was her navigation using Google Maps and we were ready for the drive home.
In the confusion of figuring out the way back and putting music on we started heading in the wrong direction into a semi suburban/blue collar business area.
“Nah, dude I think you’re heading in the opposite direction, you need to go back.”
“Okay, which road can I take that leads me back to the main traffic lights?”
I zoomed in on the dot that represented our car in the app and saw a small road that could shortcut us back the right way.
“Take a hard left onto this road ahead.”
Charlie turned the car around on what began as a normal road. According to Google Maps the road went straight and joined up with another.
Within about 30 metres the normal road lost its middle white line and we just thought it was a sneaky old town road and continued. Then it wasn’t a smooth road anymore, it was dirt.
“Ah…okay that’s weird,” I say looking forward into darkness.
“This doesn’t seem right, maybe we turned too early.”
We passed a partially mangled gate and fence.
“We might be going through someone’s property…”
“Oh well, fuck it. We’ve committed to this now!” Charlie declares, increasing her speed a little.
“Ha ha ha, well it say’s we should see another road soon.”
The car bounced up a little as it rolled over the uneven track. This car was definitely not designed for this. We bounced up even higher to the point where we came a bit out of our seats and that is when Charlie slammed the breaks.
“Okay, this is definitely not right.”
We were in front of a large bush and we could only see trees, a fence and open land surrounding us.
“Yeah, just turn around here and we’ll go back.”
As Charlie turned a hard right, we noticed the car was almost about to go into a huge puddle of water. It was basically a pond. We nervously laugh a little at how crazy it would have been to drive straight into that.
We were now facing the way we came and this time we see what we were driving over.
There were two tracks forged by four wheel drives carved into the mud. It was so deep there was water in some parts.
“I don’t know which one to go on, I’ve never driven in these before,” she admits, a little tentative to go.
“You’ll be fine. Just try and stay in the lines and go quickly,” I stupidly attempt to calm her when really I know fuck all about it too.
“I’m really worried we’ll get bogged.”
She floors it and tries to go back on the exact same track on the right side. However, the way the track was formed it forced her car over onto the left track and before we knew it we were stuck.
We looked at each other in disbelief. She kept revving the engine but we were going nowhere.
“Oh fucking shit,” I utter.
Charlie is shaking her head with a slight smile out of frustration, “I knew this would happen, dammit.”
We sat in silence for a moment. It was the first time we noticed how quiet it was in this strange area. The only lights we could see were at the proper road at least 100 metres ahead but they looked miles away.
We get out to investigate just how badly stuck we are. As I opened my door I almost put my foot into a giant puddle of water. It turns out the front left wheel was completely submerged.
At this point I was freaking out a bit. One minute we were on our way home, cut to being in the middle of a swamp paddock…that may or may not be abandoned. I had no experience in these situations. I felt isolated and scared anyone could come along.
Especially because we were both avid horror movie watchers. We loved to make fun of stupid people and the wrong choices they make that lead to their eventual demise. We had now become those people. Two young girls alone and stuck.
“How the fuck did Google Maps lead us here!”
“Okay, we need to create a flat surface the wheel can roll over. Get some branches and sticks and wedge them under the tyre,” Charlie acts swiftly and calmly in the situation. Charlie has always had a knack for dealing with intense and odd circumstances. She has some of the best stories because she has the worst luck and seems to be a magnet for trouble.
We wandered away from the car, grabbing at anything we could, being slightly weary of spiders. It took us some time to decide which way to wedge the sticks and whether she would reverse or drive forwards. We got covered in mud and I even tried pushing the car. At one point we thought the car would not start. Basically it was a whole hour of achieving nothing.
We regrouped in the car. Charlie eating the now cold KFC chips. Everything became eerier when there was silence. At least when we were out of the car we were busy and distracted. Both of our phones were on low battery due to using them all day. Charlie could luckily charge hers on the car battery.
“We could walk and find a hotel…” suggests Charlie.
“There is no way I’m walking at this time of night, perhaps we could get someone to come pick us up?”
“That would take way too long. Do you really want to wait here?”
“We could call the police? Tell them our situation and they could drive us to a hotel?”
“We could, but I’m afraid they will breath test me,” Charlie had one cocktail at dinner.
“There is no RAC here as well.” (A company that comes out to help broken down cars).
“How the fuck did we get here!”
“I really don’t know.”
We were not in mortal peril but we expected to be on our way home an hour ago. Charlie finally decided to look up local tow truck services and found a contact number. She spoke to a woman who directed the call to a man who could help us out. Thank the heavens somebody locally was working. He asked us to send a screen shot of our location because we could not properly explain given what Google Maps was displaying. It was 8:30pm when the man said he would be on his way.
I noticed also in the area was a local gun shop. Just what we needed! We were still on edge. Who knew what this man could be like. What if hearing the news there was two girls stranded he could call up his buddies and bring them along too and have a jolly good time with us? Like I said, we felt vulnerable.
We sat with no lights on to conserve power. The only sound was chirping insects but even they were very faint. Then something very unexpected and alarming happened.
We were both in the front of the car, chatting to each other but gazing out into the night. You could not see much but your eyes do adjust a little so you can make out silhouettes. Out of the corner of our eyes a large figure crossed from the far right into a bush that was still to the right but closer. It moved very fast.
I felt my blood turn cold.
“Did you see that?” Charlie asked.
“What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck,” she began to panic a little.
“Dude, it’s okay. We are near a paddock it could be a sheep, or I bet it was a kangaroo.”
We made no sound but heard no sound back.
“Maybe, but I swear to god it was too tall to be any of those.”
She was right. What we both saw was a figure at least the size of a person. I was spooked but knew the tow-truck man would be coming soon and that there must be a rational explanation. I kept suggesting things it could be to relax her. You could tell she was really tense though. She saw the shadow again, cross over to the left hand side.
“Did you see that!”
“It moved over there. I’m going to turn the lights on.”
The head lights came on, but we saw nothing.
She wanted to keep them on for a little bit. Mentioning she had a bike rack in her backseat she could use as a weapon if need be. As she was looking away I saw a shadow move in front of the lights. I did not see anything in particular but the lights went off and on as if something crawled in front of the car. At this point I was praying for the tow-truck man to appear. We turned the lights off again, afraid of attracting something to us. But I think mostly scared of seeing something else.
She told me she was slightly worried it was some sort of entity. She explained that all her bad luck seemed to be getting progressively worse. She imagined it as having a physical manifestation, like a demon, that was slowly coming to get her. I was more worried it was a crazy psychopathic serial killer, but you know either is not a great choice.
It seemed like forever but finally we saw a truck pull up at the end of the dirt road. Hesitantly, we turned the lights on, hoping nothing would be standing nearby. He came closer and stopped right before the road got muddy. He got out of the truck, thankfully, alone. A part of us was worried about the creepy shadow killing him in front of our eyes but we felt closer to freedom and had to get out of the car as well.
Turns out he was a lovely man. He quickly assessed our car (we were apparently so badly bogged we could never have escaped without being towed). We apologised for the late hour but he said he has been in worse situations. Apparently local teenagers are constantly getting bogged on the beach drunk at midnight.
He hooked our car up and HALLELUJAH our car was free after Charlie expertly steered us out. We were able to pay the man by transferring money, but I wanted to give the poor man a hug. I can not tell you how good it was to be on level dry ground.
He wished us a safe journey home and warned us about a stretch of road that was notorious for kangaroo crossings. It was 9:20pm by the time we left that place. Still with the journey home to go. Charlie had to stop at a petrol station to stretch her legs and calm down a bit. We blasted some innocent Disney songs to cheer us up but we just really wanted to get home and safely tucked in bed, away from mysterious lurking shadows and swamp lands.
It was near midnight when we got home. To this day we are still puzzled as to what we saw. This may not be a very exciting story but I can assure you this was all 100% true and it 100% scared the shit out of us. I have some screenshots to prove to you this really went down. In 2015 the area we went to did not have an accurate Goggle Map but I looked at it again today and now it shows the road as a no through road. Unfortunately we did not get any pictures of the “thing” we saw because: 1. We were absolutely terrified and frozen. 2. It moved faster than a human.
Here is before getting bogged taking the sunset photos: http://imgur.com/mAXoOsY
Here is what Google Maps was displaying in 2015: http://imgur.com/IKJeHhy
(You can see the time and the low battery on my phone)
Here is the Google Earth image of where we were. This is to show we almost drove into a goddamn river: http://imgur.com/Y7cKYmS
Here is the current Google Maps display of Frederick St: http://imgur.com/fWCFJpZ
(What it should have been)
And finally, here is a crappy picture of the tow truck dragging us: http://imgur.com/n5t8dhs
in a darkened building
she is behind a counter
there is a long line of shadows
waiting on her
filling the space with decaying breath
she feels around for a screen
or a till stashed full of money
nothing is switched on
she is helpless
but the shadows refuse to leave
with their yellowing nails
clutching this and that
a lot of time has past
the urgency makes her teeth grind
they only care for themselves
she lies on the floor in desperation
they can not see her there
she knows it is childish
she is tired of being gawked at
despite the feeling that she is in trouble
it is a relief
unusually soft too
a body grabs her
she sits up
sticks her hand out
on to her bedside table
the counter seems to vanish
with the realisation
that her partner is embracing her
in their double bed
far removed from registers
her heart beat slows
she is in her favourite place
it feels like the shadows linger
in an unending cycle
There is something wrong
With this world
Thoughts overcrowd my head like a Bangladesh train ride
Don’t know what to believe
Who to trust
How can I trust myself when everything I know could be false information
Fed to me in a drip
There is too much of everything
Too many people
Too many lies
Brainwashed into the roles designed for us to live happy and fulfilling lives
It’s laughable to think we are close to freedom when whistle blowers are being sent to prison
In prison, snitches are taken care of
I guess our society is a bigger prison and we survive through our ignorance
It’s hard to have control of your life when you never owned it to begin with
There is something wrong
I’m awake at night
Haunted by dreams of eyes that never shut
That watch as I leap from a building that melts to the ground
It’s the world
I hate the way you think I can cheer up just by the silly faces you pull because you’re right.
You inflate me in a world of pin pricks.
You ignite me in a pile of damp sticks.
One of my Creative Writing tutors told me that the percentage of writers/artists being depressed is incredible high. I’m beginning to understand why intellectuals and artists are this way.
Since I was young, I always wondered why I was at my happiest getting stuck into a Harry Potter book. But in my youth I was still excited for the future, when I would grow up myself and go on adventures of my own, just like Frodo and Bilbo did. Yet, now I have grown more I lack this enthusiasm for the future. The real world doesn’t have a concise ending. The hero doesn’t win and live happily ever after.
The world isn’t full of evil like described in books. Not pure evil derived from a ‘hell’ or dark magic. People become evil through the way they grow; their environment and influences. There is no such thing as pure evil. People, no matter who they are, are shades of good and bad.
In a way, it is worse than the fictional worlds. You don’t know who the villains are. People aren’t all fighting for freedom or love, money has a stronghold over humanity and it is harming the rest of the world.
The world is random, made of bits of coincidences that have formed into a mutated state of being. It doesn’t follow a narrative structure where everything ends in closure. You can live your whole life and never find that closure.
This is why artists can be the saddest people in the world, because they are constantly trying to escape it. I want to live in the Shire, go to the Green Dragon for a pint and see Gandalf’s fireworks. I don’t want to work for a pile of money that secures me a comfortable position in a nursing home. Reality is too full of disappointments and uncertainties.
This was a great article about Tolkien’s books and what they were to a sub-culture of people in the 60’s and 70’s. I think the books continue to offer this to people. The Shire is a utopia we can never achieve, but can’t help but dream of.
I’m going to New Zealand soon, and hopefully will visit the place where the Peter Jackson filmed The Shire. It will be beautiful and will fuel my imagination, but it will still be me reaching for a different reality.
The best we can do is find happiness.
I think the problem that some men faced when watching the video was that they felt like they were being generalised as being predatory if they wanted to get to know a pretty girl. We know not all men are like that, that not all men would ever mean harm to a woman or anyone else for that matter. These men are our friends and family. Unfortunately, at face value on the street, we have no idea what sort of a person could be talking to us. Dangerous people can look like anyone. We all just want to get from A to B safely, so unfortunately we have to question anyone’s intentions (including strangers who are women).
We have to be especially cautious as there are those sorts of people that victim blame if there is an incident e.g. they shouldn’t have stopped to talk to that person, they were being careless, if they ignored it nothing would have happened. I agree, men should definitely have the right to talk to women they find attractive (and women to men), but I think the circumstances really make a difference.
Approaching someone at a bar or a party is definitely acceptable as people feel well surrounded (usually by friends) and therefore feeling more secure in the environment to talk to a stranger. Also, because they are at the event with the purpose to socialise. Approaching someone on a street is different though, it’s an open space where we are sometimes alone. We are aware that there are cases of abductions and assault that take place in broad daylight. If we are walking on the street we are most likely in the middle of doing something, going somewhere and just want to get on with our day. Everyone is naturally suspicious of strangers because that is a basic survival instinct.
Not that I’m saying people can’t talk to one another, it just needs to be done so that everyone feels comfortable with it e.g. when there are lots of other people around, keep a respectable distance, introduce yourself, don’t comment outright on the persons appearance (unless it is something like commenting on a cool accessory like a bag or some shit). I think if you tell someone outright they are beautiful, it implies a level of attraction that then suggests possible action to be taken, pursuit or more. If you get to know the person first and you both feel safe in each others presence then I think it’s better to say something like that then. Not that all people will react the same, but better to be cautious.
Sorry for the rant but it’s been bothering me that the video meant to do good is causing more divide.