An Extract fromthe
SECOND NOVEL OF THESERIES - "VALLEY OF THE EAGLE"
The final scene in Chapter2. The English aristocrat Benjamin hasbeen summoned to the cattle station after his immoral father deserted thefamily. He has managed to get a lift to Moorooba Down Station with the crusty old carrier Bill, who drove a 6ton truck to the Outback Stations delivering the mail, drums of fuel andanything else that was needed.
Benjamin listened in stony silence to stories ofvarious creatures that found their way into Bill’s truck cabin, appearingunexpectedly while he was driving.
The story of the taipan caused Benjamin to looknervously around, expecting a poisonous snake to pounce on him at any moment.
‘I ain’t spinnin’ yer yarns mate, no way,’ Billinsisted when Benjamin gave him a curious look.
The mailman’s voice droned on as the miles slippedaway. Benjamin was only half listening. There was a tale of a crazed bullcharging the truck, another of a stray bullet from wild pig shooters, thebullet splitting the hairs on the mailman’s scraggy head.
Bill stopped the truck to relieve himself behind aspotted gum and Benjamin climbed out to stretch his legs. A turbulent flappingof wings alerted him to a gigantic brown eagle landing just yards in front ofhim on the road. Its enormous wings spanned the width of the gutted track asstealthy eyes absorbed Ben’s features, seemingly with purpose.
Benjamin’s heart was pounding for reasons he couldn’tquite define. He knew Australia didn’t have man-eating birds or he hoped not.It dropped something that looked like a piece of cloth from its distinctivehooked beak then, with a deafening screech that threatened the eardrums, it wasup and gone, soaring ever higher into the cloudless blue sky.
Bill jumped from behind the tree as he buttoned histrousers. ‘Blimey! What the hell goin’ on?’ He put a finger in one ear and shookhis head.
‘It would appear one of your native eagles, whichhappens to be the largest flying creature I have ever witnessed, popped in topay his respects.’
Benjamin bent forward and picked up the leatherstrap the bird dropped.
‘Blimey,’ Bill declared, ‘must be tame or somethin’.Never heard of anyone training a wedge-tail.’ The scruffy truck driver put hisfinger in his other ear and shook his head. ‘They sure as hell scream like abanshee. I can’t believe some bloke could be so stupid to tame one of them hugebuggers – dangerous if you ask me. Most people poke a shotgun at them, especiallyin sheep country where lambs go missing – ugly, cruel buggers, themwedge-tails.’
Benjamintook little notice of his companion’s raving rant. He was examining the leatherstrap that was carved rather crudely with his little sister’s name. It wasobviously a hatband. Benjamin pushed it into his coat pocket before it cuedBill into an avalanche of questions. His sister Annie or someone attached toher was the suspected bird trainer and that fact he would not believe ina second. There was something weird and mysterious about the incident whichgave the word surreal a whole newdimension. The incident had the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream.
Benjamin Clarke knew nothing of theDreaming magic of the aboriginal Head Stockman, Mick Lawton who had the powersof a tribal witchdoctor. This man was little Annie’s best friend.
Readthe unusual history of the second novel, (going back to 1995) on Barbara’swebsite: