I placed my foot cautiously as I walked down Lather Rd and then to Birkin Street. Birkin three years ago was completely under water when Bellbowrie and most of Queensland flooded. Out on my regular walks, I passed a house three kilometres from where I lived. It was getting late and the day slipped by gently. I did not want to trip.
Children were in the park and packing up to go home; people arrived home from work and the nearby shopping centre was busy. I could hear someone in the shower singing. A black cat meowed and ran into the back of a house. It must have been frightened.
Next, a young couple walked towards me and I heard him. “The Job is guaranteed and I know that I will get it”. She looked at him and smiled. She did not look so sure. The young man kept boasting and the young woman smiled and held his hand. I tried not to think about what kind of relationship they had. I needed to keep my pace steady to keep my heart rate up.
I walked on the grey dirty concrete footpath passed three more houses. They were all brick and tile with dark colours. No light. The gardens outside were ordinary. Most were rental properties. The houses signalled, the owners were not home yet. It was almost 6pm.
I took Birkin because it did not have too many dogs. If I went up Lather, I would get barked at all the way to the three kilometre end and back.
One two-level designed opened-planned and a duplex came into my view and I could hear people shouting on the crickets field opposite to me. I looked over and they cheered as someone ran up with the bat. The flood lights were on and the field looked as bright as day. In contrast the free wide open field looked beautiful.
The next house was dark but the following house which was ten meters ahead of me was surrounded by tall trees and thick brush. A grey station wagon car parked in front of the driveway with its lights still on. I could hear the car engine running. There was another white car parked in front of it. As I came up to cross the driveway, I changed my direction and walked away from the car onto the main road. In that instant I heard female voices, the house door opened and I heard a dog bark and run out of the door towards me.
“Troy! Troy!, a woman was desperately calling and running behind the dog.
TROY! TROY! she called. When the woman could not stop the dog anymore she changed to : “Don’t touch him! Don’t touch him!” as she yelled at me and ran behind the dog towards me.
I froze. Having been bitten twice by dogs as a child I had been permanently scared physically and emotionally. The yelling kept going and I was totally confused by what this woman meant. I kept still while my head and eyes followed the dog as it missed my legs. I starred at the raging dog as it barked and circled me like a hungry little beast.
“Do not touch him,” she yelled at me.
I could not help but wonder who was more afraid – the dog, the woman or me?
I guess it was me.