My new short story has been posted on Terror House Magazine:
“Bastards!” The man’s exclamation rang out through the bush, fading until the only sound was the cicadas droning in the heat. His vegetable patch was completely turned over, the chook-wire fence pushed down and flattened.
The man looked like a retired bikie, but in fact he was a retired biologist who had let his greying beard grow wild. He stood bare from the waist up in the blinding sunlight, a surgery scar livid on the brown skin of his chest. He stared at his ruined tomatoes.
“What did it, Julius?” asked Alina. “You told me there are no bears here. Was it wild pigs?” His much younger wife put an arm around him sympathetically. She spoke with a strong Russian accent.
“Could be. Maybe roos; kangaroos. Or wombats; they can get through anything. Something bloody hungry, whatever it was. We should keep an eye on what happens out here at night.”
Alina shook her elven head. “Never mind. We live in the forest, what do we expect? Just build a stronger fence.”
Julius built a stronger fence, but he also did something else. He installed a motion-activated camera that could send images directly to his phone. It had an infrared feature. He hid the camera in one of the new, sturdy fence posts where it could not easily be seen.
The morning after installation, Julius received notice of the camera’s activation. He rushed to his wife and told her what he’d done. “Whacko!” he said excitedly as he waited for the images to load. “Let’s see what it was. Do you want to place a bet?”
“No, dear,” said Alina. She looked uninterested. Not feeling well, thought her husband. Or angry about the unilateral spending on the camera.
“I reckon goats,” he said. They flicked through the photos. A kangaroo innocently grazing off at a distance. An owl flying by. A trundling echidna. And then, there it was.
“Deer!” he yelled. “I heard they were feral. They’re a pest, people hunt them.” He swiped again and saw a small herd of them straining to get at the vegetables, this time failing and giving up.
“Well, now we know,” said Alina. “It is not a dangerous animal. Let’s have breakfast.” She touched his shoulder, but he continued to look through the night’s pictures. Suddenly, he gasped.
Read the rest at Terror House Magazine.