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Rated: 18+ · Draft · Horror/Scary · #2317656
A Catoblepas resembles a buffalo; its stare turns people into stone; its breath kills them
Sunday, March 24 2024

The Swift family were seated on a large red, white, and blue striped blanket in the colours of their favourite AFL team, the Western Bulldogs, in the forest not far from BeauLarkin, in the Victorian countryside.

Tatiana "Tats" Conrad, a sixty-two-year-old brunette, the matriarch of the family, was passing around thick, juicy roast beef sandwiches to her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandkids.

"Thanks, Granny Tats," said young Teresa "Tessa", eight years old and a brunette like all of the Swift family women.

"Don't call me Granny!" chided Tatiana not for the first time.

"Sorry, Gran," said Tessa, making her grandmother glare at her, and her two siblings titter.

"Tessa!" called her mother, Florence "Flo", an attractive thirty-eight-year-old. Despite being barely a hundred and sixty centimetres tall, she could back down most strong men when she raised her voice at them.

"Sorry, mum," said Tessa, unconvincingly.

"Show Tatty some respect," teased her father, Lionel "Leo" Swift.

"Lionel!" called Flo, to show she meant business. She only called him by his full name when angry at him: "She's my mother!"

"That's why we put up with her," said Timothy "Timbo", a tallish handsome nine-year-old, with blond hair like his father.

"Tim ... othy!" said Flo, making him hang his head. He knew she was mad at him when she pronounced his name as two words.

"Sorry, Mum ... I forgot you were there."

Darlene "Dahls", the youngest of the Swifts, just seven, couldn't help snickering at her brother's reply.

"Get on with eating your sandwiches," said Flo: "Mum and I spent three hours cooking that roast, so show some appreciation."

"Sorry Mum, sorry Gran," said the three children, unable to resist snickering as Tatiana glared at them.

Over at the Yellow House at Rochester Road, Merridale, they were also sitting down to lunch.

"Oh, Duck a L'Orange!" said Sheila Bennett. A tall, athletic Goth chick with orange-and-black-striped hair, at thirty-five she was the second-top cop of the BeauLarkin to Willamby area: "My favourite!"

"Yes, I know," said Deidre Morton, the owner of the Yellow House, so nicknamed due to her love of the colour lemon, which the house was painted inside and out: "I made it to welcome you back from Melbourne."

"Wacko," said Sheila: "This almost makes up for not qualifying for 'The World's Stupidest Stuntman Down Under'!"

"Don't worry," said Terri Scott, a beautiful thirty-something ash blonde, who was the top cop of the area, and Colin's lover: "You'll always be the world's stupidest stunt woman as far as we're concerned."

"Here, here!" said Colin Klein. A recent employee at the Glen Hartwell Police Force. At forty-eight he had retired after thirty years as a top London crime reporter, after coming to Australia and clicking with Terri.

"Absolutely," agreed Tommy Turner, a short, podgy recent retiree with shoulder-length blond hair.

"Yes, indeed," said Natasha Lipzing. At seventy, the tall thin grey-haired lady had spent the second half of her life at the boarding house.

"I second the emotion," said Freddy Kingston. Also a recent retiree, tall and bald, apart from a Larry Fine-style ruff of curly black hair at the sides and back of his head.

"I don't know whether to be pleased ... or to beat you all up," said Sheila, before tucking into her Duck a L'Orange.

The Swift Family had finished their roast beef sandwiches, and salads for the adults and had now started on small Dixie Cups of vanilla ice cream.

"I prefer stwarberry to nilla," said Darlene.

"I always say, Dahls," said Tessa: "There are no bad ice creams ... Just some are even nicer than the rest."

"That's true," agreed their mother, Flo.

"That's what I always say about lollies," said Tatiana: "They're all nice, but some are nicer than the rest!"

Timbo Swift had just finished his Dixie Cup, when he noticed the Catoblepas standing a few metres away, looking away from them.

"Dad, do have water buffalo in Australia?"

"Yes, there are some wild ones up in the Northern Territory. In the early days of white settlement some drongos imported some from America," said Leo: "Although God knows why!"

"But what about down here in Victoria?"

"Nope, the people who settled in Victorian were too smart to import something as useless as water buffalos."

"Why do you ask, sweetie?" queried Flo.

"There's a buffalo standing a few metres behind you."

"Don't be silly... " Tessa started to say; stopping to stare gape-mouth as she looked up from her Dixie Cup and saw the Catoblepas standing behind the adults, looking away from them.

"He's white," said Dahls, looking up from her ice cream: "Dare is."

"There can't be," insisted Leo: "I don't know what you kids...?"

He stopped to stare wide-eyed at the Catoblepas. It resembled a cape buffalo, with its head always pointing downwards due to its great weight. The creature was a herbivore, about the size of a domestic bull, with a heavy mane, narrow, rheumy eyes, a scaly back, and shaggy eyebrows. The head was so heavy that the beast could only look down.

"What is it, honey?" asked Flo, turning around, to stare at the creature behind them.

"It can't be a water buffalo," insisted Leo, causing Tatiana to look around and stare amazed at the creature.

"It bloody well is," said the older woman. She stood up and started walking slowly toward it. Forgetting her rule to never curse in front of the kids, no matter how much they or their father irritated her.

"Mum, be careful," warned Flo, as she and Leo also stood.

"I'm just gonna have a butcher's," said Tatiana.

Slowly she approached the creature, which stood rigidly still, still looking away, as though unaware of her approaching presence.

When the Catoblepas still had not moved she tentatively stepped around in front of the two-metre tall creature. Although its head was lowered, she could still tell something wasn't right about it.

Then the creature stared at her with its slightly rheumy eyes and she was frozen. Her limbs slowly began transforming from flesh, blood, and bones into lifeless white marble!

"Where to now, Chief?" asked Sheila as she got into the driving seat of Terri's police-blue Lexus.

"Twice around the block and don't spare the juice," said Colin.

"Ignore that," teased Terri: "It's my juice, so use it sparingly."

"Don't you get reimbursed by the force?' asked Greta Goddard, a sixty-nine-year-old pro rata policewoman, who had stood in as designated driver while Sheila was up in Melbourne.

"Yeah, but not until early July when we get more cash from the cheapskate Victorian Government.

"So how are the boys doing?" asked Greta: Referring to two local policemen, Jessie Baker and Donald Esk, who were currently recovering from radiation sickness.

"Why. are you getting sick of police work?" asked Colin.

"No, I'm chuffed. But Geoff, my hubby, is moaning because he had to get his own tea twice last week."

"Oh, boo hoo," said Sheila: "Serves the lazy bludger right to get himself tucker sometimes."

"Sheils, you hypocrite," said Terri: "When was the last time you got yourself tea? Deidre Morton waits upon you hand and foot, pampering you with your beloved Duck a L'Orange whenever you want it!"

"So? We have a symbiotic relationship ... She enjoys pampering me; I enjoy being pampered. So we're both happy!"

"So about Jessie and Don?"

"Jessie should be back after Easter, Donald perhaps by Anzac Day."

"Mum?" asked Flo Swift as she and Leo walked across to where she stood in front of the Catoblepas.

"Tatiana?" called Leo.

As they approached they noticed the almost alabaster white complexion of the older woman.

"Mum?" asked Flo again.

She stopped to stare in horror at the white marble statue, which had been her mother!

"Mum!" shrieked Flo.

Behind her, Leo was too transfixed by the Catoblepas to hear his wife or see her race over to hug the lifeless remains of Tatiana Conrad. Instead, he stared gape-mouthed at the buffalo-like creature with the rheumy eyes.

The three kids started walking across after the adults, despite having been warned to stay well back.

The Catoblepas opened its large mouth and exhaled loudly.

Leo started to hack furiously as though trying to throw up his lungs.

"Dad!" cried Tessa, racing toward him, followed by her two siblings, as Leo fell to the forest floor ... dead! "Dad!"

"Kids, stay back!" shouted Flo, finally recovering enough to attempt to protect her brood.

She started to race back toward them, and then she made eye contact with the Catoblepas and could no longer move.

"Kids!" was her last word before turning into a white marble statue, like her mother before her.

"Mum!" shrieked Timbo.

He raced across to grab his mother, cringing at the marble coldness of her.

"Dad!" shrieked Tessa, racing across to try to help up her father. Before bursting into sobbing tears as she finally realised that like her mother and grandmother, her father was dead!

Darlene, despite being the youngest child, was the only one with enough sense to run back to hide in their family car, a lilac-coloured Citroen. Opening a back door, she climbed in and locked the doors and windows, then hid her head in her hands and started to cry.

After a while, she heard rattling at the left rear door of the car but refused to look up. Then after a few seconds, the rattling stopped.

Despite her terror, the seven-year-old finally fell asleep in the back of the car, only awakening as the chill of the night started to set in.

Waking suddenly, she looked around herself, uncertain where she was. Finally, she remembered what had happened and started to cry again. Then as she started to shiver from the cold, she tentatively sat up, starting as she saw a ghostly white figure standing outside the left rear door of the lilac Citroen.

She shrieked in terror, then realised that it was Timothy, transformed into a white marble statue.

"Timothy!" she shrieked.

At first, too frightened to move, finally she climbed over into the front seat. She opened the door and tentatively stepped out. In the fading light, she could see that the statue which had been her brother had its right hand on the handle of the back door of the car. Half a metre behind him stood a white statue which had been Tessa Swift.

"Tessa! Timothy!" she shrieked, before starting at a run into the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest outside BeauLarkin.

At the Yellow House in Merridale, they were setting down to a scrumptious dinner at 7:30, when the telephone in the hallway rang.

"Why do they always ring at meal times?" demanded Sheila Bennett.

"Police work doesn't stop for meals," said Terri Scott. Getting up she went out into the corridor.

"It might not even be police related," suggested Tommy Turner.

"Since when do we get non-police-related phone calls here?" asked Colin.

"He's right," said Deidre Morton serving out the dinner: "The department really should pay my phone bills. Ninety-nine percent of calls are police related."

"Don't suggest that to Tessa," said Sheila as the blonde returned: "The department is almost bankrupt now, without having to pay your phone bills. We're not getting Easter eggs this year!"

"That was from Hetty Cooper, mayor of BeauLarkin," said Terri: "Something weird has happened to the Swift family."

"Why don't normal disasters ever happen to people around here," complained Sheila as she and Colin stood up.

"The Swifts were having a picnic, when, according to young Dahls, who just wandered into the Beau, a water buffalo came along and killed them all."

"You were right about normal disasters, Sheils," said Colin as they set out for BeauLarkin; a two-hour drive.

Two hours later they finally arrived at the outskirts of BeauLarkin, the furthest town in Terri Scott's jurisdiction, to find the area already swarming with people. Apart from Hetty Cooper, a tall portly, sixty-something brunette, there were other police: Stanlee Dempsey, a tall raven-haired ox of a man, just back at work after a case of Covid, Paul Bell, a tall wiry dark-haired man, and Drew Braidwood, a tall gangly constable with long shaggy blond hair. Also on duty were two pro rata policewomen: Wendy Pearson: a forty-five-year-old honey blonde, and Hilly Hindmarsh: a tall, Teutonic blonde beauty of German ancestry.

Also along were three air-ambulance light airplanes as well as Jesus Costello (pronounced 'Hee-Zeus'), the co-ordinator and chief surgeon of The Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital; Tilly Lombstrom, Jesus's chief assistant, a tall attractive fifty-something brunette; as well as three nurses: Annie Colfax, Topaz Moseley, and Leo Laxman.

"Annie, Topes, Laxie," said Sheila Bennett by way of greeting.

"Laxie?" queried the Jamaican-born man.

"I've been struggling to come up with a nickname for you ever since you came to the Glen late last year," apologised Sheila.

"Take it without argument," said Cheryl Pritchard, the senior paramedic of the BeauLarkin to Willamby area: "I got stuck with Chezza."

"Chezza's not so bad," said Colin Klein.

"Yes, she calls me Tezza, until I tell her off," said Terri.

"In fairness, Totty Rampling came up with Tezza, I just jumped on the bandwaggon," explained Sheila.

With Harry Dinnigan, an Elder from the Werrawerra Aboriginal tribe outside BeauLarkin, leading them, they set out to track down the Swift family's Citroen.

"We tried the police app. to track their mobile phone," explained Hilly Hindmarsh as they set out: "But we just got white noise."

Finally, they reached the picnic site and saw for themselves the corpse of Lionel Swift, and the four white-marble statues which had been the rest of the Swift-Conrad family.

"The little buggers almost made it," said Elvis Green, the local coroner, pointing to the statues that had been Timothy and Teresa outside the Citroen; Timothy's right hand upon the door handle.

"Timothy did make it," pointed out Harry: "But the door was locked ... presumably Darlene was too terrified to realise it was her brother trying to get in to safety."

"But assuming she's telling the truth about a water buffalo that can turn people into marble," said Colin: "Why would being inside the car protect her?"

They called for one of the air ambulance planes to come to collect the remains of Lionel and the two children.

"We'll need the Department of Public Works to Shift the two adult statues," pointed out Colin Klein: "But where to put them?"

"At Mitchell Street for now," said Terri. Then to Jesus: "Can you and Tils try to get proof that the little statues are really Timbo and Tessa?"

"We'll do our best," said Jesus: "But we're not stone masons."

"My uncle's a Mason," said Sheila: "But he's down in Sale."

"Actually, I was being sarky, Sheils," said Jesus.

Westmoreland and Wilhelmina had been thriving towns until a disaster struck in 1978 and both towns were abandoned en masse. However, due to Australia's super-inflation in house and land prices from the 1990s to the present day, the properties had become far too valuable to leave empty. So local property sharks such as Nicholas 'Nick' Webber and Carrie Healey had moved in to buy up cheap, build two-storey villa houses, then resell at greatly inflated prices. Taking advantage of gullible city folk not realising that land is worth a lot less in the countryside than in Melbourne, Brisbane, or Sydney.

Carrie and Nick were snuggling up together on the second-storey bed sipping pink champagne, celebrating their latest dodgy deal in which they had sold a unit worth four hundred thousand dollars to a Sydneysider as a holiday home for a cool million dollars plus taxes.

"Gullible sap," said Nick. A ruggedly handsome man of forty-two.

"Hence the expression, 'There's a sucker born every minute,'" said Carrie. A beautiful platinum blonde of thirty-eight. The living proof of the saying, 'Beauty is only skin deep!', she had never been above using her looks to rip off horny men.

"Speaking of which, how about sucking my cock?" asked Nick.

"You disgusting ... Yes, all right," said Carrie.

Putting down her glass she quickly undressed, then helped Nick out if his slacks and Y-fronts, before starting to lap his penis, while using her long, pianist's fingers to stroke him to a full erection.

"Oh God!" cried Nick as she started to take his large penis into her mouth.

She had been fellating men for over twenty years and was an expert by now. So she had no trouble taking Nick's oversized organ down her throat until her chin was nuzzling his balls.

"Jesus!" cried Nick trying his best not to come yet. However, Carrie was too good at fellatio, and so his testes were soon seething, ready to explode.

Not wanting to miss the tangy taste, Carrie pulled up until only the head of his cock was in her mouth, using her hands to caress his organ, to keep him coming.

"Yes!" cried Nick as his seed started to flow. Just as loud footsteps sounded outside on the circular metal staircase.

"What the...?" said Carrie, pulling up at the wrong second. Receiving the greatest bukkaking of her life. Not only her face but through her long hair and across her generous breasts.

"Gotcha!" said Nick: "I've wanted to bukkake your face and tits since the first time we did it ten years or so ago."

Ignoring him, Carrie said: "I heard footsteps on the stairs."

"It's probably just Selly," said Nick, referring to a partner-n-crime of theirs, Thomas 'Selly' Selkirk: "Come in Selly, I've just bukkaked Carrie good! She's well splattered!"

As the footsteps resumed, Carrie started to redress hurriedly.

"What's the prob., babe?" asked Nick.

"I'm not convinced that's Selly."

"Well, if it's rapists, they'll soon get you naked again."

Carrie turned to glare at him, then looked back toward the doorway as the Catoblepas squeezed in through the open doorway.

"A water buffalo?" said Carrie, looking around as Nick started laughing: "What's so bloody funny!"

"You're still splattered with my cum," said Nick between laughter.

Grabbing some tissues from a box on the bedside table, she started wiping down her face, hair, and chest as best she could.

"Shoo shoo!" said Carrie waving her hands toward the bleary-eyed animal, which seemed to have trouble holding its head up.

"What the...?" said Nick.

"It's not..." started Carrie, stopping as the Catoblepas walked up to make eye contact with her. In moments the naked blonde had transformed into a white-marble statue.

"Carrie!" cried Nick. His last vocalisation before the creature gave him the evil eye and he transformed into marble also.

After giving the two statues one last look, the Catoblepas turned and pushed its way out through the doorway onto the thin landing. Then with surprising dexterity, it trotted down the circular staircase, and then across the teak floor and out into the eucalyptus and pine forest.

After some consideration, they decided to move the three large human statues to the BeauLarkin town hall in Paisley Street. The two child statues were flown by air ambulance back to the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital.

"So what now?" asked Colin Klein.

"So now we wait to hear from Jesus and Tilly, and hope this is a one-off event," said Terri.

"I hope so," said Sheila yawning as the town hall clock struck four AM: "I can't take many more all-nighters."

"So those stories about you being a goer are false?" teased Paul Bell.

"Let's say, slightly exaggerated," teased back Sheila as they climbed into the Lexus.

The sun was coming up by the time they reached Merridale, with an exhausted Sheila having almost crashed the Lexus three times along the way.

"So what's first on the agenda today?" asked Colin between yawns as they headed into the Yellow House.

"First up I ring Alice Walker to let her know not to expect us until noon, then we eat something, then we go to bed till early afternoon," said Terri.

"Sounds good to me," agreed Sheila.

"And we hope nothing else goofy happens today while we're sleeping."

Inside, Deidre Morton was already up and about and made some cold roast beef sandwiches for them.

"Breakfast early today?" asked Tommy Turner coming down the stairs.

"No it's tea twelve hours late for us," said Sheila.

"Then we're straight off to bed," said Colin.

"Ho-ho!" said Tommy.

"And there'll be no ho-hoing," said Terri: "I'm far too exhausted."

"Barely seems worth going to bed then," teased Colin, drawing a glare from Terri and laughter from the others.

Around 11:00 AM Selly Selkirk turned up at the Westmoreland villa house shared by Carrie Healey and Nick Webber. A tall obese man of fifty- five Selly was dressed in a smart grey Harley Street suit. He had always believed you had to dress well to fool the rubes; and had never been able to deprive himself of anything.

"Carrie! Nick!" he called out.

He went to knock on the front door but was surprised to see it standing wide open. Going inside he saw no sign of movement and assumed the couple must be still upstairs.

Wondering if he could catch sight of Carrie naked after a heavy session with Nick, Selly crept up the spiral staircases as quietly as possible, grimacing at each metallic squeak.

Taking out his mobile phone he slipped into the upstairs bedroom and snapped off three quick shots: of the white marble statues of a naked, heavily bukkaked Carrie, and a partially naked Nick.

"What the Hell!" said Selly.

Walking across he took his time ogling the naked Carrie 'statue', taking a few more happy snaps. Then thinking: Talk about ego, having statues made of yourselves! And why is Carrie's statue bukkaked? Although he did remember Nick telling him it had always been a dream of his to heavily bukkake the beautiful realtor.

Maybe she finally let him, he thought, heading back downstairs to eat their caviar and drink their champagne while waiting for the 'real' Carrie and Nick to return. He decided not to tell Carrie he had snapped off half a dozen or so pix of her naked, bukkaked statue.

If only I could get pix of the real Carrie naked, he thought, going to an instant erection: Or better yet bukkake her myself after she sucked my cock!

Over at the Yellow House, they were finally getting ready for a late lunch just before two PM, after Deidre Morton finally woke up Terri, Sheila, and Colin.

"Two o'clock?" said Terri looking at the kitchen clock: "Mrs. M. you should never have let us sleep so long!"

"Or make us starve so long," said Tommy Turner, not happy that they had had to wait for lunch until the sleeping beauties awakened.

"You needed the sleep, dear," said Deidre. Then to Tommy: "And it won't hurt you to wait for a meal occasionally."

"Yes, it might help melt of some of that lard around your midriff," said Natasha Lipzing, despite her own tummy rumbling from hunger.

"How dare you," protested Tommy: "I'm a fine figure of a man!"

"For a hippo maybe," said Freddy Kingston, making everyone except Tommy laugh.

By two PM Selly decided he had waited long enough for Carrie and Nick to return. He was tempted to go back upstairs to wank over the Carrie statue, to increase its bukkaked appearance; then he wisely realised Carrie would murder him, or at least thump him, if he did.

"If only I could bukkake the real Carrie," he said with a sigh as he stood up and turned around.

Stopping to stare at the Catoblepas standing with its head and front feet inside the villa house.

"Nice bull, friendly bull," he said in terror; wondering if he should make a run for the circular staircase.

He thought: Can bulls climb stairs? He wasn't certain, but he was sure that he could never outrun the creature. It was only a few metres away, and the spiral staircase was a good ten metres away.

Maybe if I walk slowly toward the staircase, doing nothing to startle it? he thought: But that would mean having to turn my back on it! Still, it hasn't shown any aggression, it might be just lost, having wandered off some yokel's farm.

The Catoblepas was looking bleary-eyed and innocuous, showing no sign of aggression, so Selly decided to risk it. Slowly, forcing himself not to run, Selly started across the polished teak floor toward the spiral staircase.

A few metres behind the stout man, the Catoblepas watched seemingly disinterestedly for a moment, then slowly started to trot after him.

Hearing the footsteps behind him, Selly almost ran, despite his best intentions. But somehow he managed to hold his nerve until he reached the metal staircase, which he ran halfway up, panting from fatigue, not being built for running, before looking back toward the Catoblepas.

The creature had stopped at the base of the stairs, making Selly sigh in relief. Then, to his horror, the Catoblepas placed a front hoof upon the bottom step, and slowly, carefully started up the spiral staircase after him.

"Holy shit!" cried Selly.

Throwing all caution to the wind, he raced up the remainder of the staircase as quickly as he was able, then ran into the bedroom, slammed the door, and went to lock it. Only to remember that they had saved money on the villa houses by not bothering to put locks on the inner doors.

Outside he could hear the tap-tap-tap of hooves upon the metallic stairs as the Catoblepas trotted slowly but surely up the circular staircase after Selly.

What can I do? wondered the realtor. None of the rooms had locks, so there was nowhere safer. Then he saw the en suite and realised they had been forced by building codes to put small locks inside the toilet-bathrooms.

Selly raced across to enter the en suite, latched the door, dismayed at how flimsy the lock was, lowered the lid of the toilet and sat down. Taking out his mobile phone he rang through to his secretary Lisa Williams, who was currently away on compassionate leave due to her fiancé Donald Esk being in hospital suffering from radiation poisoning.

At the Glen Hartwell hospital Lisa Williams, a beautiful shapely blonde in her late twenties, and nurse Topaz Moseley, a gorgeous platinum blonde in her early thirties, were helping Donald Esk, a tall muscular, policeman with dark brown hair, to sit up to have his afternoon tea.

"How are you feeling?" asked Topaz.

"Better, I could probably go back to work soon."

"Don't rush it, honey," said Lisa, who enjoyed looking after her debilitated lover.

"According to Tilly and Jesus, you'll be in here for another month. Though Jessie will be going home soon ... probably next week," said Topaz.

"Lucky bastard," said Don as Lisa's phone rang.

"Who the Hell can that be?" demanded Lisa: "Don't they know I'm on pasho-leave."

"Don't get me excited babe," said Don: "We were planning to have a night of passion just before this happened."

"Don't worry. lover," she said: "As soon as you get home I'll bonk your brains out." Taking out her phone she said: "This had better be urgent."

"Help me!" cried Selly as he heard the sound of the Catoblepas entering Carrie and Nick's bedroom: "I'm trapped in the toilet of Nick and Carrie's bedroom at their villa; with a five hundred kilogramme bull chasing me."

Holding the phone away from her ear, Lisa said to Don and Topaz: "He says he's trapped in the dunny with a five hundred kilo bull terrorising him."

"That sounds like a lot of bull to me," said Don, making Lisa and Topaz giggle.

Into the phone, Lisa said: "Hold on, I'll ring through to Terri Scott."

"No need," said Terri, as she, Colin, and Sheila walked into the ward: "We were here checking on another case when we thought we'd see how the irradiated wounded are doing?"

"Well enough to get in some serious bonking soon," said Don.

"Well, you'll need to see Lisa about that," said Sheila: "You're not my type."

"So why did you need to phone Tare?" asked Colin Klein.

"My boss, Slimy Selly Selkirk, just rang to say he's stuck in the loo at Carrie Healey and Nick Webber's villa house in Westmoreland. He says a five hundred kilo bull is chasing him."

"That's a lotta bull," said Sheila.

"We already did that joke," teased Don Esk.

"He also said there are white marble statues of Carrie and Nick in their bed," said Lisa; startled as Terri and co spun around and raced back out into the corridor: "Was it something I said?"

Over at the villa house in Westmoreland, Selly could hear the sounds of the Catoblepas padding around the bedroom. Then to his relief, the footsteps headed back to the doorway and began to fade away, as though the creature had lost interest in, or forgotten about him.

He waited inside the en suite for another forty minutes, until hearing the sound of approaching sirens, then tentatively unlocked the toilet door and peeped his head around the corner. After assuring himself that there was no sign of the Catoblepas in the bedroom he stepped out and tiptoed across to the door. He placed a hand on the doorknob but hesitated to open the door. Finally, steeling himself, he opened the door a tiny fraction and peeped out. Unable to see far down the corridor, he slowly forced himself to open the door wider to peep out into the corridor. Looking both ways, he quickly ascertained that there was no sign of the Catoblepas and stepped out into the corridor.

Hearing the approaching sirens growing louder, he wondered: Should I wait until they arrive? Then, seeing the front door still wide open he decided to creep down the steps to close it in case the bull, as he still thought it was, tried to re-enter the villa house.

Selly had barely started down the metal staircase, when the Catoblepas stepped out of the second bedroom and started toward him. Hearing the patter-patter of footsteps, Selly Selkirk looked around and came face to face with the rheumy-eyed Catoblepas.

"How...?" asked Selly. His last words before he started to solidify into white marble.

As the sirens outside grew still louder, the Catoblepas tried to push past the statue which had been Selly, and got stuck in the circular staircase for a moment. The creature bellowed like a true buffalo in distress and for one of the few times in its life in fear. Then finally it managed to half jump, half push past the human statue. Pulling the statue down the steps after itself. Selly's revenge was to crack headfirst into the creature's rump, causing minor pelvic damage; making the Catoblepas bellow again and start hobbling down the steps.

It reached the front door as Terri's blue Lexus was pulling up outside. Bellowing again the Catoblepas hobbled out the door and started into the jungle away from the direction of the police car.

"What the Hell...?" said Terri as they alighted from the car.

By way of an answer, Sheila Bennett started at a run after the creature.

"Come back, Sheils!" ordered Terri.

When the orange-and-black-haired Goth chick kept running, Colin shouted: "Don't let it look you in the eye! According to Darlene Swift, that's how it turns you to marble!"

As Paul Bell, Greta Goddard, and Drew Braidwood turned up in a police-blue Land-Rover, Terri instructed: "Go after her Colin. We'll check inside!"

"Okey dokey," said Colin starting at a run through the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest.

Despite its injury, the Catoblepas was managing to retain a reasonable lead on the Goth policewoman, but gradually started to tire, and Sheila, getting her second wind, started to slowly catch up.

"I'll get you yet, monster cow!" said Sheila drawing her handgun.

Inside the two-storey villa house, Terri, Drew, and Paul started up the spiral staircase, having to climb over the remains of Selly Selkirk to get up to the top storey. Where they located the marble remains of Carrie Healey and Nick Webber.

"Well," said Drew looking at the marbleised corpses: "Selly Selkirk rarely spoke the truth..."

"But on this occasion he did," Paul Bell finished for him.

"Stranger Things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio Alger," misquoted Terri.

"So what now?" asked Drew.

"So now we get the Department of Building and Works to remove the corpse-statues and bring them into the Glen."

"Where we house them where exactly? Mitchell Street is getting overloaded with wacky artefacts," pointed out Drew as they started back down to the ground floor.

"There's still plenty of room in the morgue at the Glen Hartwell Hospital," suggested Paul.

"Jesus will shoot us if we try to take them there,' said Terri: "But good idea ... Now how do we sneak them into the hospital unobserved?"

Outside, they found Greta Goddard talking on her phone. Disconnecting she said: "That was Tilly Lombstrom. Scans they've performed of the small statues confirm that they used to be human; presumable Timbo and Tessa Swift."

In the jungle, Sheila was rapidly catching up on the fleeing Catoblepas. Aiming her handgun, she fired three shots, two of which hit the creature in its already damaged rump, making it bellow again and stop in its tracks.

As the creature started to turn toward her, the Goth policewoman reached into her shirt pocket and removed a pair of Polaroid glasses which she placed on, hoping to prevent the effects of the Catoblepas' gaze.

"Smarter than the average oversized moo cow," said Sheila, before firing three more shots into the already severely injured creature.

Behind her, finally catching up, a panting Colin Klein placed on his own pair of Polaroids, before drawing his revolver and firing all six shots into the Catoblepas' face. Destroying both rheumy eyes and putting paid to its days of marbleising people.

Gasping for air, Terri, Greta, and the others caught up just as the Catoblepas bellowed one last time then fell down onto its side ... dead!

"Good ... job," gasped Terri: "Sheils ... Colin."

"Wow, you're really oughta shape, babe,' teased Colin.

"She's gonna have to start joining Strong Arm, Chezza, Ali, and me at the Muscle-Up Gym on Saturdays again," teased Sheila: "I got her to go one Saturday ages ago, but she only went once."

"She's right, Chief," said Drew, despite gasping a little himself: "You're disgracefully out of shape."

"What happened to the good old days, when a woman's shape depended on how curvy she was ... not how strong?" asked Terri.

"Woman's Lib, you know," teased Colin, going across to put an arm around her.

The next day shortly before noon, they pulled up outside the main entrance of the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital, with the marbleised remains of Carrie Healey, Nick Webber, and Selly Selkirk on a Department of Building and Works tip truck, along with the carcase of the Catoblepas!

"Hold it right there!" said Jesus Costello coming out of the main doors. He held up a hand like a cop stopping traffic: "No way are you taking those into my hospital."

"Then where am I supposed to put them?" asked Terri.

"Don't ask, he might be tempted to tell you," advised Leo Laxman.

"You could always ring Russell Street for advice," suggested Jesus.

"What, and get shouted at again! They always shout at me when I bring them one of our goofy cases. I don't mind being shouted at by people I can shout back at, but I can't stand it when people I can't shout back at shout at me."

"Go on Tezza, don't be afraid to shout back at them," urged Sheila: "Then after they fire you, I can have your job."

"Then after they fire you, Sheils, I can have your job," teased Colin.

"Except if they fire me, I'll recommend Colin for my job," said Terri.

"Then when they fire me, I'll recommend Stanlee," teased Colin.

"Damn, how is a girl supposed to get ahead?" complained Sheila.

"We'll just have to take them back to the villa house and leave them outside it," suggested George, the foreman from the Department of Building and Works: "They might help sell the villa house."

"Especially the one of a bukkaked Carrie Healey," teased Drew Braidwood.

"Crude ... and yet probably true," admitted Colin Klein: "So what do we do with the buffalo carcase?"

"We could always send it to Totty Rampling at the Melbourne Wildlife Safari Park," suggested Sheila; referring to a wildlife biologist friend and sometimes co-worker of theirs.

"Tots would have a heart attack from excitement if she saw that," said Drew.

"A cardiac arrest," corrected Jesus.

"One Hell of a cardiac arrest," amended Leo.

"And if she survived that," said Colin: "You'd be in the shits with Russell Street anyway if she published the results of her research."

"True," said Terri with a sigh: "But more importantly our budget doesn't run to sending anything that big up to Melbourne."

"So, definitely no Easter eggs from the force this year?" said Sheila, making them all laugh.

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© Copyright 2024 Mayron57 (philroberts at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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