It was 2002 and we were living in a small town in the Callide Valley in central Queensland (Australia) called Biloela. (an aboriginal name for White cockatoo). It was a very apt name for the town as their were literally thousands of white Sulphur Crested cockatoo in the region.
We had, 2 years before, bought a home on the outskirts of town on the side of a hill with a magnificent view overlooking the Callide Valley.
There was a punishing drought, so bad that the ground was cracking open and the dam was drying up. There were water restrictions in force and it was a very worrying time for all the townsfolk and farmers in the region. Whenever there was rain around it seemed to bypass the whole valley. The relentless heat, dry arid conditions along with the lack of rain brought in many beautiful birds to our bird feeder and birdbath. Birds I had never seen before, but unfortunately it also brought many dangerous snakes in search of food and water. So bad that we eventually got rid of our swimming pool because my husband almost got bitten by one while cleaning it one day. We had snakes falling off our roof, dangerous snakes in our fish pond and pythons wrapped around the rafters on our verandah on many occasions. It was an uneasy time and when we ventured outside our eyes scanned all around us, even above us searching for snakes.
We had a verandah at the back of our home that overlooked the valley below of farmland and bushland and the hills in the distance. The verandah was enclosed with fly wire to keep the mosquitos out because they were also a problem in the area.
Often, at night, we would hear something very big thrashing around in the bush and many times we used our hand held spotlight to search for what it could be, but could find nothing. So over time we deduced it was probably wild pigs. There were many wild pigs in the region that grew very large. The farmer down the hill behind us kept horses but we knew it wasn't his horses making that noise late at night. Often was the time that our 3 cats would be sitting on the verandah just staring out into the darkness, and suddenly they would turn and run and hide in fear. Running very low almost on their bellies so as not to be seen, but we could never see whatever it was that frightened them.
One particular night when my husband was away in Brisbane on a work related course, and my teenage son had come off his bicycle, cutting his ear in half and dislocating his shoulder I was up during the middle of the night watching over him. He was in a lot of pain due to the steel pins that had been inserted in his shoulder to keep it in place and could not sleep. Eventually with the help of medications he drifted off to sleep propped up by pillows on our long lounge. It was 3 in the morning and I could not sleep worrying about my son, so I got on the Internet to keep my mind busy, and as it was close to him I could keep my eye on him.
In a small country town, on a weeknight, at that hour the silence was deafening. This particular night was dark, and there was no moon shining. I was sitting very quietly at the computer when suddenly I heard the pound of heavy footsteps. The footsteps were so heavy that the concrete floor under me was shaking with each step. I leapt out of my chair and raced around the house switching off the inside lights and throwing on the outside lights. My heart was absolutely racing with fear. What could it be? What could be so heavy footed as to make the ground shake like that? It was definitely something that walked upright by the sound of the footsteps. I ran from window to window trying to see what it could be but because the night was so dark out I could not see anything beyond the glow of the outside lights. I ran and checked the doors were locked and then decided to stay quiet and still to listen, but by then my heart was racing so fast and loud I could not hear anything but its sound pounding in my head and chest. Needless to say I did not get a wink of sleep that night, how could I sleep knowing that something very big was lurking just outside my home. I barely slept for nearly two weeks until my husband finished the course he was attending and came home from Brisbane.
The punishing drought brought more than just birds and snakes to our home in search of food and water. Did it bring a Yowie? I don't know, but I do know the aboriginal say they exist, and some have reported seeing them in Queensland. What I could not understand though is that our two dogs and the neighbor's dogs never made a sound. Was it because they were too frightened? I don't know, but whatever it was, it will always remain a mystery to me.
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Submitted by PL