2nd Place Dally Not

My quest to capture a panoramic sunset. A spur of the moment hunch. The back road I found running off Barron Valley Pass. The sunset. If I want it, get there now.

My camera gear was already in the Jeep. Time was crucial if I were to make it and find a good position in time for the setting Sun. Once it starts going down, and hits the horizon, the brilliance does not linger long.

Dally not. Go now!

My estimations think about 45 minutes…I should make it. I watch the Sun and clouds along the way, shifting and glowing. Finding the right spot certainly will be worth the rush. I try recalling camera settings to stifle anxiety in the time-verses-distance battle with the dropping Sun.

Perfect. I had made my rendezvous with photographic glory with time to spare.

A verge of gently bowed grass on one side and thickets of trees paraded before me on the narrow gravel road. I pulled over enough into grass on a stretch to afford safety. There I sat to allow my eyes to feast upon scenery. Panoramic views of lolling hills drooped themselves into valleys of meadows where cattle fed lazily upon rich green pasture. Stands of trees added contrast of texture as they lined distant hills. The sprawling scene added itself to the plateau of colour on the distant horizon, where puffy clouds bunched as balls of Sun reflection.

But the Sun was on the other side, unseeable.

My interlude with such splendour of nature was suddenly interrupted. I heard noise of an approaching vehicle. I watched it come towards me through the mirror, travelling!

A large, modern black ute easily went around me, then made a grand exit by means of an exaggerated fishtail — an exclamation mark in the gravel.

‘Idiot, I am entitled to be here, you fool,’ I curse, as the menacing black intrusion sped off.

The serene green with shadows creeping across the fields garnered my attention, and the task at hand. Time favours me to explore options for the setting Sun scene, perhaps around a bend, further along the road. The idiot should be well gone by now. Slowly I drive, observing, craning my neck for that perfect vantage of vista.

Then I come to it.

The black nemesis straddles the roadway, blocking further way forward. On its roof.

I saw movement from within the upturned cabin. On foot now, away from the safety of my Jeep, I approached with trepidation. A pair of heavily tattooed legs emerged first, followed by a body that spelt torment.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked from a safe distance as I quickly observe the menace of strewn tools about his pathway of escape.

‘Yeah, yeah, all good, I’m right. I had to swerve around you,’ he stated, approaching, holding up his phone, ‘Look, only just a scratch on the finger I had my seat belt on.’

‘Can I help in any way? Get you help or something?’

‘No, na, it’s right. I’ll ring me brother. Don’t ring the cops will ya?  I’m alright, okay.’

‘It’s okay. I won’t call the police.’

‘Give me a look at ya licence. My brother is coming, so I’ll be right. I had three stubbies, okay, so no cops.’

I backed away. ‘I will not ring the police. I will be on my way then.’ No longer wishing to be there…

I retreated from the scene; determination still fuelled my desire for photographic sensation. I found a more secluded place. Here the palette of colours before me danced in shadows of sunset light. I also noticed two other vehicles heading toward the stricken scene.

Meanwhile, a foursome surveyed the wreckage and pondered consequences.

‘I saw that white Jeep back up the road — some old fella set up with a camera.’

‘Yeah, that’d be him. I got photos of him on my phone anyway.’

‘You’re meant to deliver the vehicle unmarked, Mick, not flip it over. No money in it for us now.’

‘And we have a witness…’

‘Fuck! what now?’

Four minds scrambled for answers, tension at fever pitch.

‘We’ll have to do it. Mick, you stay here in case anyone comes from the other direction. Ring us if they do. Brody and Jess, come with me. We get the old fella, bust him up, put him in the cabin then torch it. The cops come; he gets the blame for vehicle theft. We take the Jeep and strip it down for parts. At least we get something out of it. Agreed?’

A chorus consorted in the devious plot.

That inkling, the sense that brought me here, now took my focus from camera, to safety.

Dally not. Go now.

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