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    quokka
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Fordell - 9. Ford Ch 9

I guessed that I had hidden the wave runner at Amber Creek, as I decided to continue to move away from the river, as a deadly slow pace, trying to make very little noise and very little sign of me being in this area. When I heard the motor start up again, I increase my speed, as the motor would hide any noise that I would make, as I headed in a south-westerly direction according to the compass that I had retrieved from my backpack.

I was aiming to come up to the road that I pad passed under earlier, and then maybe hitch a ride southwards towards Strahan, if it was the Zeehan to Strahan Road as I hoped. It felt like that half of a day had passed as I continued to crawl through the very thick forest.

It was very tough going, and I had to stop for a drink of water and a snack bar, to allow me to rest and get my energy back. When I finally reached the top of a hill, which was nearly bare of trees and shrubs, I went flat onto my stomach as soon as I saw the bitumen road below.

There were a few large shrubby pine trees very close to the road, so I carefully made my way towards them, diving for cover if I heard a vehicle, just in case the chasers had flagged them down, to see if I had headed southwards. “No doubt there would be a team heading north to Zeehan, to see if I had gone that way, so I had to take great care from now on.

When I hid behind a large pine shrub that has thick foliage and it about two metres high, I soon discovered that I had found a hiding spot, very close to something that smelt very rotten, as I put my hand over my nose to mask the terrible smell.

As I looked around my immediate area, I soon discovered the cause of the smell, new road kill, in the form of a wallaby, and it was then that a brilliant idea came to mind. Leaving my backpack hidden, I walked up to the wallaby, almost throwing up, as I grabbed its tail and pulled it towards the road, placing it in the middle of the left hand lane heading south.

Once I was happy with its position, I returned to my hiding place, and retrieving my backpack, I poured a little bit of water into my handkerchief, before placing it over my mouth and nose, before relocating to another shrub a bit further away from where the wallaby lay, before I moved it.

I was now upwind from the wallaby and its former resting place, so the smell soon disappeared, as I waited about thirty metres south of the wallaby on the road. My plan was that when a vehicle slows down to avoid the wallaby, it would give me the time to see if the vehicle has any passengers, and if not then I had time to flag the vehicle down.

When the first vehicle finally came, I did not get the courage to step out, when the vehicle slowed down, so I promised myself that I would with the next vehicle. Nearly an hour later, the next vehicle slowed down, and I was about to jump out, when I saw a head bob up from the back seat, so I stayed down, not sure if it was a child or one of the people chasing after me.

As the vehicle was about to go out of sight around a corner, I saw the head lift up and it was a man, so I was very glad that I remained out of sight, and now that I knew that they were already in a vehicle, I decided to flag down the next person, and as I heard a vehicle approach, I soon saw that it was a large truck, hauling timber logs, heading north for the timber mills near Queenstown, turning East just before reaching Zeehan.

The truck slowed down enough for me to run along the road, and jump onto the back of the truck, on the tow hitch between the two trailers. “I knew that it was very dangerous doing this, but I felt it safer if the driver did not know that I was onboard, as I squatted down, with my feet on the tow bar, and I was gripping tightly to the rails of the end of the first trailer, with large heavy logs, just inches from my fingers.

The one thing I had forgotten was that we would be passing the spot where the motor yacht stopped on the river, and could possibly still be there. It was only when I saw the yacht that I remembered, and I crouched as low as possible, to not be seen.

As the truck slowed at an intersection, I read the signs that we passed, left to the town centre of Zeehan, and right to Queenstown and Rosebery, and I waited to see which direction the truck would turn, and thankfully it turned to the right, and soon picked up speed again.

Thankful that the threat had finally passed, I began to relax a little, but I knew that there was a fair distance until we get to Queenstown, so I needed to get to a better spot, which I felt is on the top of the logs.

I carefully climbed up the steel fence that keeps the logs from sliding backwards, and reaching the top, I shuffled along the top middle log, until I reached a tie down strap, where I took off my backpack and lay face down on the log, holding onto the strap.

Once I felt secure on top of the log, I fished out the sat phone and switched it on, and waited for connection, before dialling a number. “Captain speaking, is that you Sir mate?” the captain said answering the call, and I chuckled at the name, “Yes, it is me. I am safe for now… well I think I am.

The power yacht that was chasing me is currently just down steam from Zeehan, on the Little Henty River, just up from the road bridge that is just south of Zeehan, so you should be out of danger for now, as they decided to chase after me on the Wave Runner,” I replied.

“What is that rumble noise that I can hear?” the captain asked me, “I am actually perched on top of a log, on a logging truck bound for Queenstown, can you call Charles, and ask him to arrange for a tourist charter flight from Queenstown to Strahan, for three people,” I asked.

“Three? I thought there… oh, I get it, right I will do that, and you want Charles to collect you from the airport or from the usual jetty drop off spot?” the captain asked, “Just make it the Manuka Creek Jetties, that way it won’t sound strange to the taxi driver,” I replied. “Righto, I will get it done, see you in a few days time, when we return,” the captain said before ending the call.

I waited for the truck to slow down a little on the next sharp bend, before I made the next call, making sure that the Caller ID was off. “Tasmania Police, how can I help you,” I heard the female voice say, “You need to send police to Zeehan right away, there are about six men heavily armed with automatic guns, and they sound foreign, maybe European is my guess.

They have a motor yacht in the Little Henty River, just up from the road bridge, south of Zeehan. Be quick or you will miss them,” I said in a gravelly English accent, before ending the call and switching it off, and putting it away in the backpack.

About twenty minutes later I heard police sirens and soon after I watched two police vehicles, race past at high speed with lights and sirens going, and I smiled as I hoped that they are caught. Another twenty minutes later, I saw the sign saying Airport turnoff - two kilometres, and I quickly put my backpack on and carefully turning around I slid down the log to the end, and climbed down onto the tow bar.

I should have thought about it some more, as I suddenly realised that this was going to hurt like hell, as I saw another large sign and taking a deep breath, I jumped as hard as possible to get clear of the truck and its many wheels, and when I hit the ground I rolled as much as I could to try and reduce the impact of the hard gravelly surface, and I came to a stop in the middle of the bitumen road, and I quickly rolled a few more times to get off the road and into a grassy ditch.

I lay still for a long time, mostly because I was very sore all over my body, also to listen to see if the truck or any other vehicles had stopped, but there was nothing. I slowly crawled to some nearby shrubby trees and once I was under them, I collapsed onto my belly, and closed my eyes to rest for a while.

When I woke up, it was because I was feeling quite cold, and as I opened my eyes, I noticed that it was dusk. Suddenly I was wide awake, realising that I had fallen asleep. I stayed still and listened, and suddenly I could hear voices.

“This is number five, no sign of him here, I spoke to the pilot, he said that all he knew was that there was a charter booking for three people, leaving Queenstown airport an hour after receiving the call, going to Strahan Airport, that is all he knew, over,” I heard the voice say.

“Yes, that is right, three people, apparently they are tourists, according to the charter booking,” the man said, and this time I detected the European accent, and I was glad that I had waited for a bit longer, as I first thought it was a police officer. “Ok, on my way there now, over” I heard the man say before I heard a door slam and a vehicle drive off.

I waited for fifteen minutes, before removing my backpack, and as I searched for the sat phone, I discovered that it was now in a number of pieces, probably due to the heavy landing and rolling that I had done earlier. I was not sure what to do now, I still had these armed men looking for me, and I was approximately four kilometres out of the town of Queenstown.

All I could do was get up and walk into town, and duck for cover when a vehicle approaches, and hope that I can find a public phone quickly. There was no point in going to the airport, as I am sure that it is being watched, so town was my best option, as I put the backpack on again, and attempted to stand up, and suddenly there was a shooting pain going up my leg, starting from my ankle.

Searching around, I managed to find a large stick that should be strong enough for a crutch, to help me walk, although it would be with great difficulty. Finding my pocket knife, I measured the branch along my leg from my foot to my shoulder, and selecting the mini saw blade, I cut away at the branch, till it was deep enough to break easily, and once I had done that, I removed my book and sock from my injured foot which was swelling up very quickly.

Retrieving my water bottle, I soaked the sock with water, and placed it on my injured ankle, which stunk with pain, and I kept the sock wet for about twenty minutes, until my ankle was numb due to the cold water. Wringing out the sock of most of the water, I wrapped it around the top of the stick where it will be placed under my arm. Next, I put my boot and water bottle into my backpack, before slowly standing up and adjusting to my new crutch.

By now, it was well past dark, with just a little bit of moonlight showing the way along the main highway towards Queenstown, going slowly as I did not want to injure my foot any more than it is already. I could just see the readout on my damaged watch, which had been badly scratched when I had jumped off the truck, and it was shortly after 6.15 pm, as I started my long trek.

When I stopped from exhaustion, I sat down well off the road, and took a drink of water from my water bottle, which was nearly empty now. My foot was throbbing and my armpit was chaffing from the sock covered stick rubbing, as I strained to see the time on my watch, and it was 7.40 pm.

I had been going for nearly 90 minutes and I had no idea how far that I had travelled, especially when I had to dive into the gulley when a vehicle approached. From the faint moonlight, I could see that there was a bend in the road ahead, but I had no idea how much further it is to get to town.

I carefully stood up once more, and began shuffling along the edge of the road, and soon after rounding the corner, I noticed what looked like a power substation on the left, and on the right the shadow of two houses, the first was completely dark, but the second house I could see flickers of light, what was possibly a television.

I continued on, and not seeing any access to the front of the house, I saw road leading to the back off it, directly across from a road junction, and I struggled along the uneven ground to the back of the house, finding a gap in the boundary fence with no gate, and a few steps up to the back door.

I tripped on the second step and went head first into the outer door of the house with a loud bang, collapsing into a heap on the back step dazed by the impact, as a light turned on, and the inner door opened. “Who is there, what do you want?” a woman called out.

All I could do was groan, as I moved a little and suddenly I was bumping down the stairs, landing with a heavy thud at the bottom, where I groaned again, this time in extreme pain, and I blacked out. When I woke up again, I was nice and warm, I was no longer in pain, and I soon drifted off to sleep once again.

When I woke up again, I was feeling sore all over, but mostly in my foot, and my head, and as I tried to move, the pain got worse, I yelped in pain, and suddenly a woman appeared in a nurse’s uniform.

“I am in hospital?” I croaked, but not in English, but in German instead, and the nurse poured a cup of water, and added a straw to the cup and held it near my mouth, so I could take a drink. I smiled and nodded thanks, before laying back, and I watched as the nurse wrote something down, before leaving.

I must have fallen asleep again, because when I woke up again, I was feeling very hungry, and then I spotted the tray at the foot of my bed, and I leaned forward to get it, but it was out of reach, and my foot hurt more if I tried to move it, so I looked for the button to call fro a nurse and pressed it.

When the nurse arrived, a different one this time, she smiled and I pointed to the meal, which we pushed up towards me, and although it was cold meat and salad, I did not mind, as long as it was food. When I spoke again, it was in German again, as I said thankyou, which she must have understood.

“Are you from Germany?” she asked me slowly, and I shook my head no, “Nein, ich komme aus Zurich,” I replied, and I wondered why I fully understood English, yet I could only speak German. “Zurich, in Switzerland?” the nurse asked, and I nodded my head yes.

The nurse left the room, a few minutes later she returned with a telephone in hand, and she plugged it into a socket, and placed it on the bedside table, before pressing the speaker button. “Hello. I have you on speaker, in the patient’s room. Can you ask the Gentleman his name, and what happened to him,” I heard the nurse ask, and a voice on the phone asked me the question in German.

I thought for a moment, and realised that I do not know who I am or what happened to me, and I relayed this to the person on the phone, who translated it to English. “The doctor who treated you, has written down on your charts, that you have a hairline fracture of your ankle and a large contusion on your head, which we believe you received, when you crashed into Mrs Beachwood’s back door last night, which scare her greatly,” the Nurse said to me.

I interrupted the man on the phone, informing him that for some reason I fully understand English, but can only speak in German. I then asked if the lady is ok, and that I apologise for scaring her, and this was translated to the nurse, who smiled. “She is ok now, she stayed overnight in hospital so they could monitor her heart, but she went home after breakfast this morning,” the nurse informed me.

“I am glad that she is alright,” I said in response, which the man on the phone translated.

Copyright © 2020 quokka; All Rights Reserved.
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Amnesia + concussion = FAS*

Edwin is in Big trouble. At minimum he needs a head CT or preferably MRI to check for and eliminate clots with TPa (clot buster, but most effective if administered in first 3 hours).  At least he can communicate, albeit with restrictions.

I would think between 'Tipperary' and being a no-show for the charter flight, Robert will be alerted, coordinate with the Calamity Jane's Captain on the logging truck info and along with Hunter find Edwin before the terrorists. 

* FAS - Foreign Accent Syndrome is a medical condition in which patients develop speech patterns that are perceived as a foreign language, that is different from their native one. While is usually results from a stroke, it can also result from head trauma. 

Edited by Anton_Cloche
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Another story with amnesia, seems like every author i read includes the amnesia plot.  I don't care story is really good.  Amnesia season galore. 🐨

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