Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2321640-THE-BRUMBIES
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2321640
Sometimes shaped like women; sometimes like horses, Kelpies lure men to a watery death!
Harry, Harvey, and Henry Richmond were staggering along the banks of the Yannan River late on the 10th of May 2024. It was a Friday, so with the weekend coming up, they had allowed themselves to get as pissed as judges. All except for Henry. The baby of the group, just eighteen, Henry was tall, mousy-haired, and deathly thin and had a quirky metabolism that burnt off any alcohol before he could get drunk. Still, he preferred hanging out with his older, less wise brothers rather than staying home with his parents after dark.

"Sweet FA never gonna make her, Sweet FA never lets me take her," sang Harry, holding a large opened bottle of Boag's Lager in one hand, and a bottle of Foster's in the other. A short, redheaded man with an ever-widening beer belly, he was the least wise of the three brothers. His motto was: 'Life is for living ... until it kills you!'

"That not how it goes!" shouted Harvey aged twenty, not out of anger, but because he had reached the shouting stage of inebriation. A tall blonde youth of nineteen, who unlike Harry could drink any amount of alcohol without gaining weight; although, unlike Henry, he certainly got pissed. Like his two brothers, Harvey was a 1980s rock fan. Like Harry, he carried a large bottle of opened beer in each hand, a Melbourne Bitter, and a Carlton Draught.

"Sweet FA, never gonna make her, Sweet FA, never lets me take her," sang Harry again, too drunk to notice, let alone care about Harvey's criticisms.

"No! No! No, that's not it!" shouted Harvey before taking a large gulp from the Melbourne Bitter bottle: "Ah that's good stuff."

"You know what I could use right now?" asked Harry.

"A drink of beer?" shouted Harvey.

"Yes," said Harry, before taking a deep gulp of Boag's Lager: "But that's not what I meant. I meant I could really use a woman."

"You're too pissed to even know what to do with a woman," said Harvey as they walked through the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest, not far outside Glen Hartwell in the Victorian countryside.

"Am not!" insisted Harry: "I know exactly what to do ... Whether I'm capable or not is another matter though?"

"Never a wiser word spoken," teased young Henry.

"Listen, Eisenhower," said Harry, meaning Einstein. He stopped as a beautiful white filly trotted by, followed by two grey fillies: "Who wants to go horsey riding?"

"No! No! No!" shouted Harvey: "I'm far too pissed."

"And I'm nowhere near pissed enough," said young Henry.

"Well, I'm pissed just the right amount," insisted Harry.

He skoaled the last of the Boag's Lager, threw away the empty bottle, then raced across toward the beautiful white filly. Which, instead of racing away in fright, conveniently stopped, and even stooped a little, to make it easier for the drunkard to half climb, half fall aboard her strong back.

"See, easy as falling off a barn door," insisted Harry. Surprised to find the horse already had reins and a bridle-bit in place: "It's already ready for riding," he said, holding onto the reins.

"I thought only camels stooped to help you climb aboard?" pondered Henry.

"Listen Eisenstein!" said Harry.

Despite some reluctance, Henry joined Harvey in racing across toward the grey fillies, which had stopped as though waiting for the two men. Again the fillies stooped to make it easier for Harvey and Henry to climb aboard their broad backs.

"Giddy up A Ding Dong!" said Harry, kicking the flanks of the white filly and lashing the reins up and down.

And as though he were wearing spurs, the white filly took off. Fast enough to startle the drunkard, but not fast enough to pitch him off her back.

"Slow down, horsey!" begged Harry, lying down against the horse's neck, and holding on for dear life.

Seeing the murky waters of the Yannan River a few metres to their left, Harvey said: "Why didn't we just go for a swim, like any ordinary drunken idiots?"

As though understanding him, the three fillies turned to the left and headed straight toward the Yannan.

"At least if we fall off, we won't break any bones!" shouted Harvey.

"No, just drown," said Henry prophetically; wondering if he would be better off if he were plastered like his older siblings.

Without stopping, the three fillies raced straight into the frigid night waters, taking the Richmond brothers with them.

"C...Cold!" said Henry, stating the obvious, as he suddenly found himself chest-deep in the murky Yannan River. No longer riding the grey filly, which seemed to have vanished under them. As had the other two fillies.

"Here horsey! Good horsey!" called Harry. Never a very good swimmer, and panicked to find he couldn't reach the bottom of the river with his feet.

"Well, now!" said a beautiful, naked redhead who suddenly broke the surface of the water not far from him: "Don't tell me that you're afraid of a little bracing water."

"Bracing? It's f ... freezing," said Harvey, sobered up enough by the cold water to no longer be shouting.

"Aah it's good for the lungs," insisted the redhead, Bridget.

"Not if you're a lousy swimmer, like me," insisted Harry.

"Then let me help you," said Bridget, swimming across toward the drunkard.

Readily Harry grabbed onto her; not too drunk to appreciate the softness of her curvaceous naked body.

"Now see, you be safe in my arms, said Bridget.

Then, instead of helping the drunkard out of the frigid waters, the redhead suddenly pulled him below the surface of the water, down to the bottom, five metres below.

"Help!" Harry tried to call, releasing most of his air. He struggled against Bridget, however, the redhead held him down with surprising strength.

Then to make certain of things, Bridget suddenly punched the fat man in the stomach, forcing him to exhale the last of his air, accelerating his drowning. And knocking the last of the fight out of him.

Above the surface, Harvey was rapidly sobering up, and Henry had always been sober; both men were concerned that their brother had been underwater too long. Especially when a great rush of air bubbles suddenly broke the surface.

"They've been underwater too long now!" cried Henry.

"Perhaps their feet got tangled in something," suggested a beautiful ravenette, Alannah: "We'd better go help them."

"Yes," agreed the third woman, a gorgeous blonde, Cara: "They might need our assistance"

Without hesitation, the two men allowed Cara and Alannah to take hold of them and lead them down into the murky depths of the polluted waters. Where they saw Harry with eyes bulging out, and Bridget, clearly doing nothing to help him.

What the... thought Henry, just before Cara punched him in the stomach, forcing him to exhale.

When the youth tried to swim back to the surface, the ravenette grabbed him, and held him in place with surprising strength, smiling almost erotically as she watched him drown.

Not noticing the fate of Henry, Harvey, a good swimmer, unlike his brothers, took off to try to save Harry, until Alannah suddenly grabbed him by the feet and held him back.

What the fuck? he thought; suddenly exhaling his precious air, as unexpectedly Bridget punched him in the stomach.

No ... can't! thought Harvey, his last thought before death overcame him.

Over at the Yellow House in Rochester Road, Merridale, they were sitting down to breakfast at 7:30 the next morning.

"Here you go," said Deidre Morton the owner of the Yellow House, so named due to her obsession with the colour yellow, which the house was painted inside and out.

She placed a plate with half a dozen vegemite crumpets in front of Sheila Bennett. At thirty-five Sheila was the second-top cop of the BeauLarkin to Willamby area, and a Goth chick, with black-and-orange-striped, shoulder-length hair.

"Bonza, Mrs. M.," said Sheila before getting stuck in.

"And this is for you," said Deidre, placing a plate of Cherry Jam crumpets and a cup of tea in front of Terri Scott.

"Thanks, Mrs. M.," said Terri, the top cop of the area; a beautiful ash blonde, and Colin Klein's fiancé.

"And some marmalade muffins for Colin," said Deidre, as she placed the muffins and coffee in front of the redheaded man -- having finally learnt that, despite being English, Colin could not stand tea.

"Thank you," said Colin. At forty-eight, he had recently retired after thirty years as a top London crime reporter, to take up a position with the Glen Hartwell Police Force, after clicking with Terri.

"What about us?" asked Tommy Turner, a short blond retiree with yellow hair.

"You've got your porridge," said Natasha Lipzing, a tall grey-haired lady of seventy, who had been at the Yellow House for the second half of her life.

"Not completely," insisted Tommy.

"Oh, of course, how could I forget," said Deidre. Taking a small key from her pinny, she walked across to tall black cabinet, one of the few furnishing in the house that wasn't yellow, and unlocked a drawer from which she took a bottle of rum and a shot glass.

"Forget the glass, just pour it onto my porridge," said Tommy, making everyone else look sick. A chronic alcoholic, he had had his stash seized by Deidre, who now parcelled it out to him, one drink, per meal.

"How does he keep it down?" asked Freddy Kingston. Also a recent retiree, Freddy was tall, plumpish and bald -- other than a Larry Fine-style ruff of curly black hair around the sides and back of his head.

"It's bonza, you should try it," insisted Tommy.

Before Freddy could answer, a knocking came at the front door.

"Now who could that be?" asked Deidre. going to investigate.

A minute later she returned with Stanlee Dempsey and Jessie Baker in tow.

'"Ello, 'ello, 'ello," said Jessie, a great bear of a man, with rusty red hair, doing the worst imaginable impersonation of a British Bobbie.

"Eve'nin all!" said Stanlee Dempsey, a tall raven-haired cop, coming up behind Jessie.

"Oh God, Geeko and Nerdo are back," said Sheila.

"I hope those feeble attempts at British accents weren't for my benefit?" asked Colin: "Or should that be for my embarrassment."

"A little of both," said Jessie.

"So, other than to embarrass my fiancée," said Terri: "Is there any other reason for you two to pollute our atmosphere?"

"They've discovered three drowned men at the Yannan River," said Stanlee.

"Does it look like murder?" asked Colin.

"Don't think so," said Jessie: "There were beer bottles everywhere..."

"And it was those notorious plonkos, the Richmond Brothers."

"Why do drunk men always decide to go for a swim, even if they can't?" asked Natasha Lipzing.

"It's a bloke thing," said Jessie, drawing a nod from Stanlee.

"All right, then sit down and have brekkie," said Terri: "And we can go down to the morgue at the hospital, once we're finished."

"Let Jesus and Elvis work their bums off, while we cram ourselves?" asked Jessie: "I like it." Sitting down he picked up a raspberry-jam-filled flapjack and started eating.

"Good thinking, Chief," said Stanlee grabbing a flapjack in each hand as he sat down.

An hour later they were in the morgue at the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, in Baltimore Drive. Terry and co. were watching on as Elvis and Jessie performed autopsies on the three young men.

"What's the verdict?" asked Terri.

"Well, their blood-alcohol level almost needs a Richter scale to measure it," said Tilly Lombstrom, a tall curvacious fifty-something brunette, chief assistant to Elvis Costello.

"So we're guessing they got stonkered and decided to go for a swim," suggested Elvis Green. The local coroner, Elvis was in his mid-sixties, and an avid Elvis Presley fan.

"You know how drunk men are with water?" asked Jesus (pronounced 'Hee-Zeus'), the administrator and chief surgeon of the hospital: "They only have to see a puddle of water, and they decide to go swimming."

"Yeah, we established that that's a bloke thing," said Sheila.

"It also doesn't help that they picked one of the deepest parts of the river to swim in,' said Topaz Moseley, a gorgeous thirty-something platinum blonde nurse: "Much of the Yannan you can wade across and barely get your socks wet. But it was a good five metres deep at that point."

"Ouch," said Terri: "So nothing suspicious about the deaths?"

"Not that we can find," said Tilly.

"Then, we'll leave you to it."

Colin and the police turned to walk over to the stairs to head outside.

At a little after seven that night, Lonnie, Lom, and Lila Hogworth were strolling the banks of the Yannan River. They had heard rumours of three beautiful brumbies (feral horses) in the forest not far from the river. Accomplished riders and horse-breakers, the three siblings had come to see if they could lasso, break, and sell the steeds.

"A nice little earner, as George Cole would say," said Lila, a short, but strong seventeen-year-old brunette.

"Who's George Cole?" teased Lonnie, a tall lanky, eighteen-year-old with flaky dandruff which powdered his shoulders.

"Don't tease her," said Lom, a tall barrel-chested man of twenty-one.

"Yeah everyone in the British world knows George Cole," insisted Lila, a massive fan of British comedy. She started to sing the theme from the classic British comedy-drama Minder.

"Pardon me, Ms. Waterman," teased Lonnie.

"Leave her alone," insisted Lom, stopping as he saw the three beautiful horses standing less than a dozen metres away watching them. Pointing, he said: "The brumbies."

Lila and Lonnie stopped arguing and turned to where he was pointing.

"They've already got reins and bridles," said Lila; "So they can't be brumbies."

"Yes they can," insisted Lonnie:"The reins look ancient. Once they've been wild for five years or longer they count as brumbies by Australian law. And then it's strictly finders keepers, losers weepers."

"I'm not convinced 'finders keepers, losers weepers' is an actual Australian law," insisted Lila, as they slowly approached the three beautiful horses, which continued to watch them, with no sign of fear or intention of taking to flight.

"Course it is," insisted Lonnie, never one to like being corrected; especially when he was wrong about something.

"I bags the white horse," said Lom, striding toward it. Fast enough to leave behind his siblings; but not fast enough to startle the filly. Although it showed no sign of fear, making him wonder if Lila was right about the horses being newly escaped from ownership, so not legally brumbies.

"Here, horsey," said Lom reaching out for the reins; surprised when the beautiful filly suddenly stooped to make it easier for him to climb aboard. I really don't think these are wild horses, he thought: Still, we might get some kind of a reward for bringing them back in. And it beats walking all the way back.

Lila and Lonnie each selected one of the grey fillies, equally surprised when the horses stooped to make it easier for them to climb aboard.

"They must be some kind of escaped circus horses," suggested Lonnie: "We might get a good reward for them."

"Since when do circuses bother to come to places like Glen Hartwell?" asked Lom.

"And how long is it since real circuses with live animals have existed?" asked Lila: "The do-gooders have corrupted them so that so-called circuses are now just gymnastic-brat displays."

They were still arguing the point when the three fillies suddenly took off leading them toward the deepest area of the Yannan River.

"Who the Hell said giddy up?" demanded Lonnie.

"And where the Hell are they taking us? asked Lom

Over at the morgue in the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, Jesus Costello, Elvis Green, and Tilly Lombstrom were finally able to announce:

"Harvey and Harry Richmond were well plastered, which would explain them drowning," said Jesus: "But Henry curiously had no sign of alcohol in his bloodstream."

"Explanation? asked Terri Scott.

"According to his distraught parents," said Tilly: "Henry couldn't get drunk. His peculiar metabolism burnt off alcohol as soon as he consumed it"

"So why did he drown?" asked Colin Klein

"Possibly trying to save his brothers," suggested the coroner, Jerry 'Elvis' Green: "According to their parents neither Henry nor Harry were very good swimmers. Only Harvey was a strong swimmer; but he was the most pissed of the three, so it wouldn't have helped him much."

"So, it's still accidental drowning as far as we know?" asked Terri.

"Nothing suggests otherwise," said Jesus.

"Then let's get back to the Yellow House for our tea?" said Sheila.

"How could you want to eat after seeing the remains of the poor Richmond brothers?' asked Colin.

"A girl's gotta keep up her strength, so I can wrestle down the next supernatural monster we encounter."

"When was the last time you actually wrestled down a supernatural monster?" asked Terri as they said their goodbyes and left the morgue.

"Well, I chased down that killer moo-cow that was turning everyone to stone a while back," said Sheila. [See my story, 'The Catoblepas'.]

"Technically it was a Cape Buffalo, and you shot it to death," pointed out Colin as they approached Terri's police-blue Lexus: "Which suggests it wasn't supernatural; merely a freak of nature."

"I still needed the running strength to chase it down before I could get close enough to shoot it."

"Yes, I remember nearly getting knackered running through the forest, trying to catch up with you."

"Anyway we're having my favourite, Duck a L'Orange, for tea tonight, so I don't want to miss out."

"How come we keep getting your favourites?" asked Terri, as they climbed into the Lexus.

"I'm Mrs. M's favourite. She likes pampering me; I like being pampered ... It's a perfect symbiotic relationship."

"And the rest of us get stuck eating whatever you like?" said Colin as Sheila started the Lexus.

"Yes, a perfect situation all around."

"So Mrs. M. has forgiven you for those semen stains she found on her beloved yellow, floral sofa, after you and Derek Armstrong spent the night alone there, while we were down in BeauLarkin bowling?" asked Colin.

"Yes, I explained we were both inexperienced daters, and we clicked after he complimented me, and it just sort of happened. Besides I'm her fave she couldn't stay mad at me for long."

Over by the Yannan River, the three fillies had started charging wildly as they headed toward the deepest part of the river. Their three riders were pulling wildly upon their reins, trying to slow or stop the three horses.

Looking down at the soft carpet of pine and gum leaves on the forest floor, Lonnie shouted: "That's it, I'm jumping off!"

However, when he tried to jump, he found that he was somehow stuck to the back of the grey filly, unable to leap off the mount.

"I can't, I'm stuck," he shouted.

"Me too," shouted Lila, then Lom.

"We'll just have to wait till they stop!" cried Lom, the most experienced horseman of the three siblings: "They can't run forever with us on their backs."

''Let's hope not!" called across Lila; no longer as confident around brumbies as she had been a short time ago.

And sure enough, as the horses reached the deepest part of the Yannan River, they headed down the bank and dived into the murky water, carrying the three unsuspecting Hogworths with them.

"What the Hell!" cried Lom as they were suddenly submerged in the icy waters of the River Yannan.

"Hey, I'm unstuck!" cried Lila, startled as the naked form of the beautiful redhead Bridget suddenly appeared beside her: "Who the Hell are you?"

"Your future," said Bridget.

"Forget it, I'm strictly straight," said Lila; despite having had a crush on one of her female classmates, Susie O'Neil, for the last two years.

"We'll see about that," said the redhead. She grabbed Lila, then instead of dragging her out of the murky water, dragged her down to the bottom of the Yannan River.

What the Hell is she...? thought Lila, just before Bridget punched her in the stomach, forcing her to exhale her air supply. Lila began struggling to swim to the surface, despite her aching stomach, however, the redhead easily held her down until she drowned.

"Why the hell did she take her down?" asked Lom.

"And how long have they been underwater?" asked Lonnie, as ravenette Alannah and blonde Cora suddenly appeared in the icy waters near the two men.

"Perhaps we should go and help them?" suggested Alannah. She took Lonnie by the hand and pulled him with surprising strength down into the murky water.

Where the Hell did she come from? thought Lonnie; just before Alannah punched him in the stomach, forcing him to exhale his air.

Oh, Christ! thought Lonnie, trying desperately to swim back to the surface. However, smiling lasciviously, the ravenette managed to hold him down, ensuring that the eighteen-year-old soon drowned.

What the Hell! thought Lom, seeing that Lonnie was in trouble and that the black-haired beauty was doing nothing to help him. He started to swim across to them but was caught off guard when Cora suddenly punched him in the stomach.

Oh, Jesus! thought Lom as his air supply bubbled to the surface, Despite the pain in his midriff, he tried to follow it. However, the beautiful blonde easily held him down, until he had drowned like his two siblings.

Smiling broadly at each other, the three women returned to the surface of the river and climbed out onto the gum leaf and pine needle-covered bank ...

Then, they transformed back into their equine form. Neighing in delight, the three fillies galloped off, looking for their next victims. It was a long time since they had been in their native Scotland, but they still enjoyed the thrill of luring innocents to their deaths.

Over at the Yellow House, they had just finished their Duck a L'Orange and were awaiting their rum trifle -- Tommy Turner almost salivating from expectation.

"You know what we should do next Saturday?" asked Terri.

"Yes, but Mrs. M. doesn't like it if we spend an entire day in bed," teased Colin.

"Besides that, lover boy," said Terri: "We should spend Friday night in BeauLarkin, then you losers could spend all Saturday trying to break my local bowling record of 299 at the Kennedy Street Bowl." [See my story, 'The Beldame'.]

"Actually, I've been trying to summon up the courage to tell you, babe ... you no longer have the record at the Kennedy Street Bowl," said Colin: "Their previous champion, Kevin Longwood, who had the record of 297 before you broke it, spent an entire week at the bowl before he finally got a perfect score, 300, to topple your record."

"That bastard!" said Terri: "That decides it: I'm going to spend every weekend there, till I get their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th perfect score. Thereby assigning his perfect score to the scrap heap!"

"What if he gets their 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th perfect scores?" asked Sheila: "Thereby assigning your record to the scrap heap!"

"Who's side are you on?" demanded Terri.

"I'm just playing devil's Advocate."

"Or maybe I'll just arrest Kevin for being too good a bowler."

"Is that even on the law books?" asked Freddy Kingston.

"Well, here you are," said Deidre Morton, placing the rum trifle on the kitchen table; as much to change the subject as anything else.

"I still get my glass of whisky with my dessert, don't I?" demanded Tommy Turner, making Deidre sigh as she went to get him his whisky.

The next morning they were sitting down to breakfast when Stanlee Dempsey and Jessie Baker turned up, doing their feeble British Bobbie impressions again.

"Don't you two blokes ever get tired of making fools of yourselves?" asked Colin Klein.

The two men exchanged looks before saying: "No, never!"

"So whatcha want this time?" asked Sheila between scoffing a vegemite crumpet.

"Three more young people drowned in the Yannan River yesterday evening," said Stanlee.

"In approximately the same area," Jessie finished for him.

"Stewed to the gills again?" asked Colin.

"Nah, stone-cold sober. They were out brumby hunting," said Jessie, accepting Deidre Morton's invitation to sit and join the breakfast feast.

"Brumbies are wild horses, aren't they? asked Colin.

"Horses that were once owned, but then escaped and went feral," corrected Terri.

"And there are plenty of horse footprints everywhere," said Stanlee, then, looking puzzled: "But these horses aren't shod...."

"As they should be, if they were domesticated, then went wild," Colin finished for him.


Fifty minutes or so later, they pulled up at the banks of the Yannan River, where Elvis Green, Tilly Lombstrom, and Jesus Costello were just finishing up examining the corpses of the Hogworths.

"So what's the verdict, Docs.?" asked Terri.

"Drowning, after being thrown from three horses that they were riding .. we think," said Tilly. She pointed to where hoof prints lead down to the murky Yannan River.

"Stanlee and Jessie said they were brumby hunting," said Colin.

"Well, it looks like they caught the brumbies, then couldn't control them," said Jesus.

"Strange them not wearing horse-shoes though, if they've brumbies," said Elvis: "Unless they're old horses who have gradually lost all of their shoes."

"In which case the Hogworths should have been able to control them," said Sheila. Then pointing across the river where the three horses stood watching them: "And if it's those three... they don't look very old."

They all turned to where she was pointing.

"Well, I'll be buggered with a broomstick," said Elvis.

"Whatever turns you on," teased Tilly, laughing.

"Come to see what we make of your handiwork? Jesus called across to the three beautiful fillies.

Whinnying as though angry at the suggestion, the three horses turned and galloped off along the opposite bank of the river.

"Well, at least we know now that there definitely are brumbies in the area," said Colin as three corpses were wheeled across to three waiting ambulances.

"So, still no sign of anything suspicious?" asked Terri, as they followed the medics up the banks.

"Only the fact that they all died within a few metres of each other," pointed out Tilly Lombstrom.

"But there are always idiots getting themselves drowned," said Sheila.

"In summer, yes. But we're three weeks away from winter," said Elvis.

"Touché, Mr. Turtle," said Sheila: "And don't pretend you don't know what that means!"

"We wouldn't dare," said Tilly. Then to Elvis, she whispered: "Who's Mr. Turtle?"

"One of TV's Retard Ninja Turtles, I suppose."

It was nearly bedtime for the three Tamworth children: Tatiana, a brunette like her mother and brother, aged three; Alli aged four, a blonde like her father, and Donny aged five.

"It's nearly six-thirty," said Deborah, as they sat together on the porch of the Tamworth sheep station, not far from Harpertown.

"Uva kids at kinder stay up till seven-firty," said Donny.

"Not our three little kids," said Gordon Tamworth: "Here your mother sets the bedtimes."

"But six-firty?" protested Alli.

"Six-thirty is plenty late enough for little ones," insisted Deborah. Standing, she picked up Tatiana and called for the other two to follow her into the farmhouse.

"Ho hall right," said Alli, reluctantly following after her mother, although she was more of a daddy's girl.

With a frustrated sigh, Donny stood up to follow, then stopped at pointed out into the back paddock:

"Hey, horseys."

"And don't try changing..." began Gordon, stopping as he saw the three beautiful fillies standing a few metres away: "Hello, ladies, where did you come from?"

"Dare horseys, dey can't hanswer," insisted Donny.

"What are you two...?" asked Deborah turning back, stopping to stare at the three fillies: "Where did they come from?"

"I just asked them, and they deigned not to answer," teased Gordon.

"Why do all men think they're funny ... when most aren't?" asked Deborah of no one in particular. She held out a hand to Donny, who reluctantly took it and followed her into the farmhouse.

"It's that most women have no sense of humour," said Gordon under his breath.

"I heard that," called Deborah.

"You get da boss hangry and you'll regwet it," said Alli, parroting something she had once heard her father say.

"Uh-oh," said Gordon, getting up to walk across to the three fillies. He walked over to the white horse and asked: "Who do you belong to, beautiful?"

By way of answer, the filly stooped to make it easier for him to climb aboard.

"A trained horse," he said. Then seeing the reins, he took hold of them and climbed aboard the white horse.

"What are you up to now?" demanded Deborah, returning from putting the children to bed.

"Going for a midnight ride, my chestalicious lady wife."

"Firstly, it's only six-thirty," she said: "Secondly, you're nowhere near the rider that I am."

"Is that a challenge?"

"I see I'm going to have to whip your tail," said Deborah. She walked across to one of the grey fillies, which promptly stooped to help her climb aboard: "They've got reins, they must belong to one of the local farming families."

"That doesn't mean we can't ride them tonight, then ask around about them tomorrow."

"All right, let's go," said Deborah. She kicked the sides of her mount, so it took off, leaving her husband in her wake.

"Oh, sneaky, as well as beautiful," said Gordon; kicking the white filly's flanks to get it running after the grey horse and Deborah: "Come on White Beauty, we can't let that sneaky so-and-so leave us in her dust."

As though obeying his command, the white filly took off, and soon caught up with, then overtook Deborah's horse.

"Oh, you cheat," said Deb: "You took the fastest one."

"Catch me, if you can, babe," he said, driving his mount on to faster and faster.

"I'll catch you, Gordon Tamworth," she cried, kicking her horse's flanks again, but struggling to catch up with them: "Where are you heading?"

"Don't know," called back Gordon: "The horse is going where it wants to go."

"Might be taking us back to whoever owns it," suggested Deb. However, they could soon smell a stench that told them they were approaching the Yannan River.

"I hope they're not planning on dunking us," said Gordon prophetically.

"They don't look like sea horses," shouted Deb, finally managing to draw level with her husband: "Maybe it's time we headed back? We shouldn't leave the kids home alone too long."

"Yes, you're right," said Gordon, attempting to get his mount to turn back toward the Tamworth Sheep Station.

"Can't get mine to turn," said Deborah.

"Me neither," said Gordon: "I'll jump off, then you jump and I'll catch you."

However, when he tried to jump off the white filly, he discovered that he seemed to have become stuck to it, and could not dismount.

"I can't get off the damn thing!"

"Me neither. Looks like we're going for a swim after all," said Deborah as the three fillies raced across toward the banks of the murky Yannan River.

"At least that should get us unstuck," said Gordon, seconds before the white horse leapt into the dirty water, followed by the two grey mounts.

At first, it seemed the horses were going to swim straight to the bottom of the river. Then Deborah and Gordon found themselves flailing underwater with no sign of the horses. Instead, they were surrounded by three beautiful naked women, a redhead, a blonde, and a ravenette.

Smiling sweetly at them, the three naked women took Deborah and Gordon by the arms as though to lead them back to the surface. Instead, they pulled them deeper into the murky waters. When Deborah and Gordon tried to struggle, Bridget and Alannah punched them in the stomachs forcing them to exhale and hastening their drowning.

To be on the safe side, the three women held Deborah and Gordon underwater for five minutes; before releasing them to head back to the surface

Ronnie and Ernie MacLaren were two preteen boys, who had made themselves fishing rods from pine branches, with pins for hooks.

"I'm telling you nothing could live in the Yannan River," insisted eleven-year-old Ernie; the smarter of the two boys.

"Fishing ain't about catching fish," insisted twelve-year-old Ronnie: "It's about relaxation and solitude."

"We could get that at home lying in bed, or watching TV; without being out in the freezing night air."

"What night? It's barely seven PM," insisted Ronnie: "Besides what is there to watch on TV except 'The World's Stupidest Stuntman Down Under'?"

"I thought you liked, 'The World's Stupidest Stuntman'?" asked Ernie.

"Yeah, but..." said Ronnie, stopping to stare as the three beautiful naked women emerged from the Yannan River on the opposite bank. Dropping his tackle, he grabbed his mobile phone and recorded the women until they had raced out of sight into the forest:

"Now do you find fishing boring?" he asked, playing back the video of the three beautiful naked women.

"Nah ah," admitted Ernie: "I'd come here every evening if we could be certain of seeing them each time. Play it again."

After they'd watched the video a few more times, Ernie asked: "Can you email me a copy?"

"Sure, but don't let Mum see it, or she'll kill us. You know how she is with boys and naked women?"

"Yeah, I remember she ripped down my Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball poster," said Ernie: "And I told her I didn't like Miley's singing, just seeing her naked."

"I'm not sure that would have helped," said Ronnie as they started back along the bank of the river.

They had sat down to breakfast at the Yellow House at seven-thirty the next morning when Terri's mobile rang. Taking it from her shirt pocket, she connected and asked:

"Hello? Oh, Alice."

She talked on the phone for five minutes, then disconnected:

"That was Alice Walker," said Terri: "She said Donny Tamworth rang to say their parents were missing. Deborah put them to bed at 6:30 last night, then they were gone this morning."

"We'd better get out there, then," said Colin.

"No, she sent Stanlee and Jessie to collect the kids and take them to the hospital for now."

"That explains them not doing their Two Stooges impression for us this morning."

"Did she say anything else?" asked Sheila.

"Only that the kids saw three beautiful fillies approach the back door, a white horse and two greys, just before their mum dragged them inside"

"What?" asked Sheila and Colin as one.

"You heard me. So we should start at the Yannan, in what I now choose to call the drowning site," said Terri, as she, Colin, and Sheila rose to head outside.

"Hold up," said Deidre Morton. She quickly packed their favourite breakfasts into brown paper bags.

"Tah, Mrs. M.; you're a star," said Sheila hugging her.

Forty-five minutes later, they had managed to drag the corpses of Deborah and Gordon Tamworth from the murky Yannan River.

"Now what?" asked Colin as they watched Elvis, Jesus, and Tilly examining the two corpses.

"Now we leave the medics to clean up here," said Terri: "While we go to see a friend of ours named Magnolia."

"Magnolia?" asked Tilly.

"She changed her name by deed poll," explained Colin, as they headed across to where Sheila was canoodling with her boyfriend Derek Armstrong.

"It used to be Mavis, but that didn't sound witchy enough for her," explained Terri.

"I'm sorry I asked," said Tilly.

"Come on, Sheils," said Colin, having to virtually drag her off Derek and back to Terri's Lexus.

They had barely entered the Lexus when they received a phone call from Madelyn Rogers.

"Okay, send it over," said Terri.

"What is it?" asked Colin.

"A naughty video Madelyn found on her two sons' phones."

"Really?" said Sheila, leaning over the front seat so she could watch it: "Hey, isn't that the drowning site?"

"Looks like it," agreed Terri: "So three horses go into the river, and three naked women came out."

"How come they never saw they were being filmed?" asked Colin.

"Ernie and Ronnie were on the opposite bank fishing."

"Boy, they really got the catch of the day," said Sheila, making Colin laugh, but receiving a glare from Terri.

1/21 Calhoun Street, was the right-hand half of a sub-divided yellow weatherboard house. It contained a lounge room, a small bedroom, a kitchen, and a small shower room-cum-toilet cubicle. Inside, Magnolia McCready, a tall attractive redhead with electric-blue eyes, handed around cups of raspberry tea.

"So what can I do for you this time?"

"What do you know about beautiful naked women who climb out of rivers, and beautiful horses that take people to drown in rivers?" asked Terri.

Almost dropping her cup of tea, Magnolia said: "That sounds like Kelpies you're dealing with."

"Aren't they a type of Australian Sheepdog?" asked Colin.

"No, these Kelpies are Scottish fiends. They can take on many forms, but most commonly appear as either beautiful naked women to lure men to drown. Or else as horses which dive into rivers, drowning their riders."

"Then the naked women...?" began Sheila.

"Were the three horses changed back to human guise," finished Magnolia: "They can also take on many other guises such as a massive bear-like creature. You don't want to tackle them in that form."

"So they can be tackled?" asked Colin.

"Yes, in human form you could shoot them; in horse form you grab their bridle-bit and order them to stop, being careful to hold onto the bit as you dismount. Then you order them to go back to Scotland and never return to Australia. Oh yes, and you'll have to order them to let you dismount. Usually, when you're on a Kelpie's back you're stuck to it like with superglue."

"Do we each have to do all that?" asked Sheila.

"No, just one of you; all the Kelpies will obey," said Magnolia, holding out her right hand: "Fifty bucks for the consultation, please?"

"Yeah I know," said Terri reaching for her purse: "Wiccans gotta live too."

"Hey, honey, let me get this one," said Colin: "No reason for you to keep paying."

"No sweat, I took the fifty from the petty cash box last time ... I'll do the same again."

"What you two get away with," said Colin with a laugh.

"We have a petty cash box?" asked Sheila as the three cops rose to leave.

"Yeah, said Terri: "But I keep it well hidden so you can't spend it all."

"As if I would," said Sheila as they headed outside: "So give me a hint where it's hidden."

"No!" said Colin and Terri together, as they climbed into the Lexus.

"So what's the plan now, honey?" asked Colin.

"Get Jesus to send out another false plague warning to keep everyone hidden indoors; while we three spend our evenings lurking in civvies around the banks of the Yannan."

"Aren't you overdoing the false plague warnings?" asked Sheila starting the Lexus: "You've used them a number of times before."

"So, what do you suggest?"

"You could always say that World War Three has just broken out."

"Then everyone would stay outside digging bomb shelters in their backyards," pointed out Colin: "Making them all vulnerable."

"Trust you to point out the one fatal flaw in my otherwise brilliant plan," teased Sheila.

Two nights later, around eleven PM, Terri, Colin, and Sheila, dressed in plain clothes, were strolling through the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest perhaps a kilometre from the drowning site.

"It's looking like another washout," said Terri.

"Like Hecate," said Sheila. Trying not to get too excited, she pointed to where the three 'horses' stood a dozen metres or so away watching them intently.

"What are they waiting for?" asked Colin.

"Careful they might be able to understand English," said Terri.

"Not likely," teased Sheila: "They come from Scotland."

"So why are they so stand-offish?"

"Maybe they remember seeing us in our uniforms when the Hogworth kids were discovered," pointed out Colin.

"Oh, crap yes," said Terri.

"Maybe we should have got Stanlee, Jessie, and Greta Goddard to tackle them?" suggested Sheila.

"How could I assign them to such a dangerous mission, if I wasn't prepared to tackle it myself? Besides, you two are now experienced monster fighters."

"So what...?" asked Colin, stopping as the three horses came gently striding toward them. Not running forward, but not running away either.

"Act natural," said Terri.

"Oh look, some horseys coming towards us," said Sheila as though she had just seen them; talking a little too loudly.

"I said act natural; not retarded!" said Terri.

"There's no pleasing her," said Sheila.

She risked walking across toward the three horses, which stopped but made no attempt to flee.

"Here horsey," said Sheila taking the reins of the beautiful white filly.

"How come she gets the white one?" asked Terri.

"First come, first serve," said Sheila, grinning cheekily.

After a moment the filly stooped, to help Sheila to mount it as did the two greys as Colin and Terri took their reins.

Immediately the three cops were aboard them, the three horses took to flight in the direction of the drowning site.

"Guess where we're heading?" shouted Terri.

"Death river," said Sheila.

Remembering what they had been told, the Goth cop reached forward to grab the bridle bit in the horse's mouth. But, as though knowing what she intended, the white filly suddenly bucked its front upward, pitching Sheila off backwards.

Although she screamed, the thick layer of pine needles and gum leaves carpeting the forest floor meant that Sheila sustained only minor bruising.

"Are you okay, Sheils?" shouted Terri.

"I'll live," shouted back Sheila.

"My turn next," said Colin.

He reached forward for the bridle-bit in the grey's mouth. This time the horse came to an abrupt stop ... throwing Colin off over its head. Then immediately took to flight again, easily leaping over the prostrate policeman.

"So much for being stuck to them," said Colin staggering back to his feet.

"It seems they can turn that on or off at will," said Sheila, rubbing her aching back as she came across to him: "Magnolia didn't mention that."

"Maybe she didn't know," said Colin.

With the other two gone, Terri hesitated to grab for the bit, in case she also failed. However, realising that they were not far from the drowning site, she hesitantly reached forward, holding onto the Grey's mane as well as the reins.

The horse immediately stopped, throwing her over its head. But even in flying forward, Terri managed to grab hold of the bridle-bit, just managing to keep hold of it as she crash-landed on the forest floor.

"You must obey me!" said Terri, and the three 'horses' all watched her intently, no longer trying to escape: "When I release your bridle, you are to return to Scotland instantly, and never come back to Australia ... in fact the Southern hemisphere ... Or North America .. or Africa...

"Oh, what the Hell, you are to return to Scotland and never leave Scotland until the day you die ... if you can die."

The three horses dipped their heads as though nodding in agreement.

"Good, go now," said Terri, releasing the grey's bridle.

In seconds the three horses vanished, never to haunt the Glen Hartwell area again.

"You know you've just inflicted them on Scotland instead of us," said Colin as he and Sheila caught up with Terri.

"Yeah," said Sheila: "But you know how the Scoots are, anything to attract naive tourists. Look at the fortune they've made from gullible morons visiting Loch Ness, hoping to see the Monster!"

"Good point, well made, Sheils," said Colin, making them all laugh.

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

© Copyright 2024 Mayron57 (philroberts at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2321640-THE-BRUMBIES