|[ The Yellow Shirted
Man With The Reddened Foot ]
Weird things continue to happen
near me. Settle down, if you care, and get ready for a good little story.
It's all happens to be true as well...
Last Wednesday I was on the
train home, dozing in the early afternoon sunlight as it occasionally streamed
in through the dirty windows, with headphones packed into my ears and filling
my head with the sweet, deep sounds of Isaac Hayes (so that I wouldn't
hear any noisy children - I hate 'em, I tells ya!). We were on a slightly
desolate patch of railway line between Coalcliff and Scarborough near the
location called Clifton (I hate to use the word 'suburb', as there's nothing
there other than a house or three and a derelict 1920's school of arts
building). Suddenly (yep, it does sound like bad crime fiction), I heard
some frantic screams above the soft crooning of "Shaft" and everyone in
the carriage half stood up with frightened looks on their faces. I ripped
off the headset and got the full force of this yelling - it seemed to be
coming from outside the train!
At first I thought someone must
have been hanging out the doors and been injured by a passing stanchion
- these things do happen, ya know. As the train slowed to a stop (the guard
had heard it too and pulled the plug), this large bloke (mid 20's, closely
cropped haircut, yellow t-shirt, powder blue shorts) dropped down onto
the sharp 'metal' stones next to the line with a face full of something
like pain. "Yep", I thought, "stupid bugger's been messing around and hurt
himself somehow". But then he turns around and starts screaming "help me,
help me" with this look of abject fear on his face. He runs for the edge
of the tracks and plummets over the 1 in 10 slope, that's covered in prickly
brambles, hurtful vines and sharp lantana, heading straight for the coast
By this stage all of the passengers
are over on my side of the carriage where the best view of this weird event
is happening. I heard some people near the front saying that they'd seen
the guy hanging around "the vestibule area" and that he looked a bit strange
but everyone else was just struck dumb. As we all watched intently, he
somehow gets to the road quickly and falls on all fours in front of a car
that's approaching slowly Northwards. He's looking at his hands (he could
have easily cut or hurt them on the stones and thorns) and, still screaming,
walks towards the cars and bus and motorbike that have stopped for him.
It's then that I notice he hasn't got any shoes on, although his socks
are still dangling from his toes, and that his right foot is covered in
blood. Then he gets to the door of the car and starts pleading with the
driver who, I think, is indicating that he'll help somehow.
The train has started to move
off slowly now. I'm sure the guard thought that there were so many people
down on the road that he didn't need to be involved and, anyway, I wouldn't
have followed the guy down that slope. But the quiet is broken by everyone
on board taking, what seems to be, a collective, surprised deep breath
as the guy reaches into the car, rips the driver out of the seat belt,
bashes him twice about the head and starts getting into the seat himself.
The last thing we all saw as the train moved round a corner was the hurt
driver running back along the road, arms raised in panic, pain and desperation.
The carriage is now a communal gasp of incredulity as the questions start
poring out - Why? How? What? And we don't get any answers. No one on the
train knows who this guy is (or won't own up to it) and no one has any
idea at all about what caused the man's terrible fear. We settle back down
for the rest of the trip home with worry lines creasing our foreheads.
But, wait, there's more:
I arrive at my home station,
Thirroul, about 10 minutes later - it's mostly straight, fast track after
the place where this horrible incident occurred - and walk across the main
road to go home. I reach the other side and then I hear this screaming
of "help me, help me" and there's this bloody guy again, driving madly
in and out of traffic. It's easily a 20-minute drive from Clifton, even
if you're going over the speed limit because the road is just cram-packed
with curves but somehow he's managed to do it with 10 minutes to spare.
Anyway, he's still screaming as he overtakes on the wrong side of the road
at a red stoplight and careens around the corner away from me. I don't
see him ever again but all afternoon I can feel his ghost and I watch out
over my shoulder as I cross every road. The person at the newsagent is
nonplussed as I ask to ring the cops and whilst listening in as I tell
this very tale to a weary functionary on the other end of the line.
Don't forget the steak knives:
I got on a bus about 20 minutes
after this and, you guessed it, it was the one that was on the road just
behind the car jacking. The driver said that he picked up the 60 year old
bloke that had been ripped out of his car and took him to a nearby surf
club to wait for the ambulance. He had a long gash on the side of his head,
was bleeding far too much and didn't have a clue as to where he was. The
bus driver then told me stories of revenge and summary beating to which
I simply nodded sagely - I wasn't going to argue with him about possibilities.
And, lastly, Your money back
if you aren't completely satisfied:
I thought for sure that the
guy would have killed himself driving as erratically as he did whilst in
the grip of this awfull fear and pain. But, no, he wasn't even caught!!
The car was found somewhere in Kogarah (many, kilometres north of the beautifull
Illawarra) sometime later that evening.
I just can't believe that this
maniac has gotten away. I need to know more; to know it all, if at all
possible. But I suspect that I'll never actually find out what the hell
was going on just as I'm certain that it'll haunt me until I do find out
Now where's that number for
the local cops again...