Three hours into the five hour drive from Bungowan to Sydney, Brian started telling zombie stories.
Katy tightened her grip on the wheel. Brian was the most annoying co-worker she had ever had.
“- and he sucked the guy’s brains right out of his head! So,” Brian loosened his tie and opened a bag of chips, “You know any stories?”
Katy frowned as a line of rocky cliffs rose out of the plain, “Actually, my dad told me a story about those cliffs over there. My family used to go camping out this way. That story frightened me to death when I was a kid.”
“Forget it. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“It’s scary Brian.”
That was the worst thing she could have said. Brian leered as he stuffed Burger Rings into his mouth.
“It’s about things that live in the earth,” Katy kept her eyes on the road.
There was a sign indicating a scenic lookout, “So let’s go up there.”
“To the cliffs?” Katy felt her heart pound.
“Sure. We’ve got time.”
Katy swallowed. Brian was the senior salesman and she didn’t want him telling the whole of head office that Katy was scared. She turned onto the dirt road. The eucalyptus trees were short and twisted with a smooth white bark. The forest looked like an army of skeletons. A few kilometres in, the bush became eerily quiet.
“We’ll just drive around the lookout okay?” Katy’s voice was a dry whisper.
“Fine by me,” Brian smiled as the car bumped over the track.
At last they reached the lookout. The sun was hovering over a mountaintop nearby.
“So what’s the story?” Brian persisted.
“They live in the earth over there. They only come out if you honk your horn three times. There’s three of them. Come on, let’s go,” Katy began to swing the car around.
“We can’t go without -”
“Leave the horn alone Brian! I mean it!”
But Brian had banged the wheel three times. The sharp sound sent a flock of cockatoos circling.
“Ha ha!” Brian bellowed.
Then something shuffled through the trees. Something grey, vaguely human, with hollow eyes and mournful mouths. They stepped over the ferns and onto the dirt car park.
Brian scrambled backwards in his seat, “Go quick! Get out of here. Before the third one gets here.”
Katy sighed as she waved to her parents, “I’m already here Brian,” she said as she switched off the engine and her skin turned grey.
* * * * *