I know it sounds kind of cliché but waiting for those lights, and the vehicle they were attached to, to arrive at the airfield where we were waiting in hiding seemed to take forever. I know for a fact that it was only a few minutes but it just didn’t feel that way.
I wasn’t sure what Matthew and Nick were able to see from their hiding spots but I had a bullet hole in the wall of the tin shed I could see through. It wasn’t quite eye level and I had to bend over slightly to see through which made my back ache a little bit but it was better than trying to peak around the walls and it did give me a really good view of the road coming up from the south.
Ok, here’s a little tip about hiding from people, I don’t really make a point of hiding from people but I have learnt a bit since my childhood games with Matthew and the sometimes stupid people you meet on the road. Firstly peaking around the corner, around a wall, over the top of something in your best Foo like pose, all those things are not a clever way to do things. There is a reason that Australian troops in World War I invented the box telescope using the boxes that their tea leaves came in and their shaving mirrors, it allowed them to look out of the trenches without exposing themselves. Technology and humans may have changed since World War I but the principal is still the same, by the time your eyes are at a level where you can see over or around something nearly half your head is exposed and to someone looking for you, you do make yourself very vulnerable. It’s the kind of hide and seek trick that when a kid learns he or she suddenly realises how easy it is to find other people who can’t hide without peeking.
Our arriving visitors might still have been too far out to see me poking my head around the wall to get a glimpse of them, but I wasn’t risking it while I had a bullet hole that some inconsiderate dickhead created when he couldn’t control himself.
And while I’m on a roll with tips here’s another one. In the darkness with headlights coming towards you the person on the other side of the headlights can see you better than you can see them. You might think you are hiding behind a tree but one slight movement and you give yourself away while still knowing very little about the person behind the lights. It works for torch light as well, in fact the only time a driver can’t see you as well as you think they can is when you are crossing the road, dark clothes or not, in a well lit street. The reason for that is because their headlights bounce off the street lights, and different coloured street lights, like for instance the yellow ones used in Australia cities supposedly to help when the fog comes down, make a figure walking across the road harder to see than the person walking actually thinks.
Oops, I got carried away again. You came here to find out what happened at the airfield after we captured Mr Growly Man and his friends, you didn’t come here for a lesson about moving in the shadows and moving in someone’s headlights. Oh well consider yourself educated by the wise words of Dean once again and we shall move on. Where were we? Oh yeah.
I was watching through the bullet hole some idiot had shot in the tin shed, waiting area, baggage terminal and while it was difficult to tell exactly how far away the vehicle was I could tell it was approaching fast. I doubted that from the distance they could see the three men tied to Nick’s cop truck but the reflective tape down the sides of it would surely be visible.
To give my right eye a rest I pulled myself away from the hole in the tin wall, blinked a few times and counted to ten. Looking out into the dark I could see the flood of light from the on coming vehicle which I knew meant they were getting closer. I again looked through the bullet hole, the bright flood of light still making it impossible to make out any detail of the vehicle.
Seconds later the car sped past me and braked hard. Had the surface been bitumen the tyre screech would have been deafening however because the surface was dirt that screeching was replaced with the sound of grinding gravel and stones being forced out from under the car and pinging off anything close. If you’ve heard it before you’ll know it’s not only hard to describe but very distinctive.
Before I could see what sort of vehicle it was I knew it was a diesel four wheel drive, more than likely a Toyota going by the sound. As soon as it drew level with me I recognised it as a newer model to Nick’s cop truck, while the same reflective tape along the side of it told me it was a more than just a newer model, it was a police truck, no doubt one of the ones from Fitzroy Crossing.
It wasn’t the fact that there was no flashing lights and screaming sirens that had me remaining in the darkness of the tin shed. It was more to do with the fact that I was still a bit on edge and confused about the explosion we couldn’t place that had me somewhat reluctant to move. Oh yeah and the fact the Nick was the police officer and he told his to let him take the lead, yes that was the main reason!
It may well have been a police issue vehicle but until I, and probably Nick and Matthew, could confirm there was a police officer inside it there would be no jumping out of hiding.
Previous Outback Rescue story here.