Safe | Daniel Norrish

Daniel’s second series for the To The Nines Award. Part 1 is titled ‘Safe


Daniel Norrish

For the ‘To The Nines Part 1’ Award

I can’t believe the horror of it all. At no point, at absolutely no point, did I feel safe. To think that this could soon be the world, this doom might envelope all of Earth, is sending me mad. But I am not mad yet and you are still alive. Whoever you are, please, you MUST read this and believe it. I write now because I have no other way to pass on what I know. Do not discount my story, read this and BELIEVE, or everything is lost.

We will all be lost.

It started with an email. A friend of mine from Spain, Antonio, said he’d found a cavern with Aboriginal markings only six and a half hours from Perth, here in Western Australia. He asked me to come and bring supplies, food and water. He asked me to bring petrol.

What a fool I’ve been, why would he ask me? I should never have brought the petrol. Please believe me when I say that I’m sorry. I should have burned everything as soon as I came across it.

I should have burned them all.

There were nine of us in total at the beginning and the first bullet hit Chris in the chest. We didn’t know what had happened. We were standing exactly where Antonio had indicated, at the top of the apple shaped rock with the base narrower than the body, and Chris just let out a single hard, wet cough. We didn’t hear the gunshot. He fell away and we couldn’t see him all the way down below us, but we could see the blood.

When the bullet hit Adrianna, I was standing right beside her. Her head erupted like a dropped ice cream cone. The bone and blood and brain just sputtered through the air around us all, such vital things transformed into nothing more than colours in the breeze. It was the most terrifying thing I had ever seen; my legs collapsed underneath me and I lay on my back as her body went limp and rippled over the rock.

Everyone was screaming then; the bush was dense with our cries of horror and every creature with wings took to the air. The trees seemed to dump the birds into the hot midday sun like insects rising from a shaken corpse.

We were on a rock, a bare boulder, but there was bushland all around us. There was COVER all around us so I bellowed, “RUN!” into the thick fog of confusion.

I leapt from that great stone and rolled as I hit the ground and there are stitches in my shoulder from that huge leap, but nothing more. I was standing for only a moment when a shot hit the stone behind me.

Thank the LORD for my training, so that I could think at such a tumultuous time. I have faced many riffles before and perhaps the very first thing I ever learned is that a bullet in a solid surface behind you, means the killer is ahead. Knowing this invisible, slaughtering fiend was somewhere in front of me, I sprinted, slipping and stumbling over the unsealed ground, to the other side of that apple-rock.

I am fortunate, very fortunate that I didn’t know just how many people were trying to kill us then. If I had known, perhaps I would have hesitated, but assuming only one murderer could possibly be behind me, I ran frantically through the bush. I scrambled like a man who knows his nightmare is close at his heals and I heard the beckoning voice only moments before I collapsed.

I recognised Virginie’s French accent whispering, “In here, in here,” with furious urgency, so I dove in her direction.

I tumbled down those stairs and into the strange, underground bunker as I heard the familiar PANG PANG of gunfire on metal.

I rose, panting and coughing and bleeding from the shoulder to stand in the orange glow of a flaming torch. I looked around myself; I looked out into the hot darkness to see a crowd of filthy faces watching me. I studied each of them and it became obvious that I was with four of my travelling partners in some black, unknown chamber underground.

Before us stood a gaggle of strangers, all with cracked lips and misery within the curves of every face, some with fire on the end of sticks.

“Welcome,” someone said and I asked, “Are we safe?” And they said “No.”