This was the Blog Battle Entry for June 2021 and the prompt was Myth.
The heat bore down onto Basil’s back relentlessly, if he had anymore water left in him Basil imagined that he would be sweating rivers of water from his brow alone. Breathlessly he looked up for a moment and could see the service station was now only less than a hundred metres away. Still he knew it would seem like a mile in this heat and pushing his now quite useless car would make that even harder. Wincing as he once more placed his hands onto the boiling hot body of his old car he took one step, then another and another. Basil had been pushing this car for several miles now and even he was beginning to wonder if everyone else had been right.
He thought back to the day at the pub back in Basildon (see what I did there) when he told his friends and his lovely wife Linda about the myth of the Omua beast in the deep Australian outback and they all just laughed at him. At first Linda had been supportive, in the way that a spouse does when they sympathise but secretly hope that this is just a phase and you’ll see sense soon enough. As Basil researched and talked about this beast and became more and more obsessed, his friends stopped laughing, then they stopped talking, one day even his beloved Linda had decided enough was enough and left Basil for a plumber, the same one that had come to service their boiler for the last ten years.
Soon all Basil had left was his interest, no passion, no it must be an obsession with the Omua beast. Still here, he was, so close and yet so far, the ground crunching underneath his tattered boots torn and scraped from the torturous terrain and the endless walking. After what seemed like an ice age Basil pushed the car into the service station next to the pump, leaving his car to rest he collapsed into the shade offered by the welcome but nonetheless old and worn out canopy. After sitting in the shade for a few moments Basil spied a drum filled almost full with water, as he staggered towards it he debated whether he was going to drink it, or just dunk his head, instead he just jumped in and for a few moments enjoyed the satisfaction of immersing himself completely in water.
When he eventually emerged his lungs almost collapsed, not only did he have to cope with the lack of oxygen he had subjected himself to but the sight of a short wild looking man, with wild eyes and wild beard and hair almost caused Basil to have a seizure.
“G’day!” The man greeted him in a rough but perfectly friendly tone. “Ya made it then? Took ya time!”
Basil dribbled water as he answered him. “Y-yes, I ran out of fuel! You’ve been expecting me?”
“I’ve been expecting someone to turn up, it’s been a few years.”
“How many?” Basil asked.
“Err… lets see, I set up here in 1982 and I’ve.” The wild looking man looked up, then counting on his fingers and eventually announced. “Since about then.”
“You’ve never had anyone come here.”
“No! It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I set this up here about 100 miles further than the range of any car – I thought I would be onto a winner with people coming here that need fuel but It’s not worked out.”
Basil stared, not really sure what to say. “Strange isn’t it?” he eventually mustered.
“What can I get ya anyways?” The man asked.
“I need fuel and supplies.” Basil replied. “And about a gallon of fresh water I’m literally so dried out that I think my insides have turned into the dust that this road is made from!”
“Let’s see what we can git ya! As you’ve my first customer I’ll charge ya double – special rate as I need some cash!”
Basil winced at the idea at first, but seeing the prices up on the board overhead hadn’t changed much since the 80’s and the fact that he was desperate he didn’t care. “What do I call you?” Basil asked as he got out of the barrel, water pouring from every part of him.
“Wally, great to meet you!” Holding his hand out.
Basil grabbed Wally’s hand. “Basil.”
“What brings out here Basil? I can tell you’re not from there parts!”
“Is anyone from around these parts except you? I’m from England though and I’m looking for the Omua beast.”
“That’s a good point…” Wally agreed. “Ahhh… England eh and you’re looking for the best? Many people pass this way looking for the beast!”
“I thought you said you hadn’t been visited before?”
“I haven’t.” Wally replied.”They would do though if they didn’t run out of gas! They seem to git about 50 miles from here closest and then run out and die in their cars or something.”
Basil looked horrified at the thought. “So those cars I passed all that way back… had dead bodies in them.”
“Yup. Poor sods! How’s you make it?”
“Extra fuel tank fitted. Still didn’t get me here.”
“Close enough! Let’s get you sorted and back on the road again I’ve even got some jerry can’s I can sell ya to git ya further! I might even be able to help you with the beast.
“You’ve seen the beast?” Basil replied.
“Not sure, but I’ve sometimes seen something move on the tops of those mountains at night when the Moon is behind them, but it’s the noise mate. I tell ya – there’s nothing like it you’ve heard before!”
Basil filled up the car with gas, there was running water but not much else. When he asked Wally about how he could exist out here and even why he was here, he was oddly evasive so Basil left it. Night drew in soon after and Basil said he could stay in the old caravan parked out front for double the marked price. Basil again thought it worth while, until he tried to sleep the old dusty bed. Still it was the closest thing to comfort he’d had for a while.
The next morning the Sun peeked though a gap in the curtains like a laser beam a pierced Basil’s eyeball. waking and quickly pulling on the clothes from the day before (they had been on him all week, but that’s another story) and made his way out into the bright morning heat. Coughing for some minutes Basil got the dunt from the bed out of his lungs, he then walked to the middle of the road, the grit crunching under his feet and looked back up the road from where he had come from, he then turned and looked forward. The road shimmered in the sunlight and Brian knew that’s the way he must go.
“You need to drive to the Wallagong valley about 5 hours in that direction, it’s a straight road so you won’t miss it!” Wally instructed him.
Surprised by his sudden presence Basil regained his composure, looking at the wizened old man he asked him “Are you sure?”
“Yup! That’s where the beast lives. Good luck mate! Don’t get eaten!”
Basil started a moment longer, he wasn’t going to get eaten. He was going to find the Omua beast, prove it existed and go back to England a hero. HIs friends would beg to come back to him as would Linda… He would prove that he had been right and it was worth it!
The 5 hours drive passed without much incident Basil passed old car wrecks, jumping Roos’s, and million metric tons of dust and sand he got out of the car and under the scorching afternoon sun began to scope out the terrain. He thought he would set up camp and wait until dusk before starting his search. Basil pulled out all of the gear and started setting up. It was just as he was sliding one of those irritating tent poles into one of those irritating tents holes that there came a smack on the back of his head.
Basil fell flat out.
A few days later an old explorer called Wally who had been missing for nearly 40 years and presumed dead wandered back into civilisation to a media circus where he announced that the beast of the Wallagong valley way out in the west had held him captive all this time. Details like where a beast got a car from and the like was largely ignored. In a few weeks life was good for Wally, he had been brought officially back to life and had quite a sum of money to see his through life. He began a career consulting expeditions to find the wild and vicious Wallgong beast… called Basil.
People who go there at night often hear it’s wails in a strangely English accent wailing about a lovely Linda.
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