The white panel van came over the
rise and the two passengers saw the windmill sitting there alone on the plain.
To the right of the windmill a mob of big reds bounded off, kicking up small
puffs of dust. The sun was going down behind the windmill and coupled with the
dusk light, made it glow and throb.
The two men in the van looked at
each other and knew they had to attack.
They were both small men with
crazed, deep blue eyes and a two-day stubble. They'd been through this before
when the chips were down and they were the only ones between the towns and the
desert monsters that inhabited these parts.
The people in the towns didn't
even know the monsters existed because they took on various forms as a disguise.
The two men had fought wheat silos, water tanks, oilrigs, combine harvesters and
big bananas before, but this was the first windmill monster they'd come across.
The passenger got out, went around to the back of the van, opened up the doors,
took a mike stand out, extended it and climbed up on top of the van where he
settled himself into a sitting position on the roof rack. The driver gunned the
van's engine and set off across the plain towards the monster. The van hurtled
forward, the driver framed in the windscreen, and the one on the roof
silhouetted against the orange-troubled sky. They had that grin of brotherhood
only true heroes facing death can have. Spittle formed in bubbles on the sides
of their mouths as they raced towards their adversary.
The windmill monster finally
noticed them about 250 metres out and started its blades up like a frilly-necked
lizard, clattering and groaning in fright and anger as it realised that its
guise hadn't fooled these two heroes.
The van veered to the right and
raced around the windmill, both men screaming obscenities at the top of their
voices. The one on the roof raised his spear and at precisely the right moment
hurled it at the monster's furious eye. The spear flew straight and true between
the blades of the windmill and jammed in the supporting frame of the uprights.
The monster's blades came round smack into the spear and shuddered to a halt.
The force of the impact shattered the monster's gear wheel teeth, loosening the
whole blade structure until it sheared off its mooring, tipped forward, and with
the sound of screaming metal fell to the ground like a crippled flying saucer.
The van came to a dust-shrouded
halt and the two men climbed out to view their kill. They took turns taking
snapshots with their feet resting on the monster, laughing and cracking open
beer cans in celebration.
"Pthunk!" A bullet punched a very
small hole in the side of the van and a split second later they heard the
distant crack of a gunshot. Over to the left they saw a 4x4 racing towards them.
Other bullets kicked up dust around their feet as they ran towards the van and
leapt in. The two men took off at great speed muttering to themselves how
farmers never understand. They'd just saved their lives by destroying another
alien shape-changing monster.
That night at a motel the two men
slept the deep sleep of heroes.
Tomorrow they had a date
with a big lobster in Queensland.
— Broderick Smith