The wind cut through the long grass, stirring the wilderness, providing a moment of gentle relief from the midday sun. A mob of wallabies lounged beneath the blue-grey gum trees, and Ballanan crept through the scrub, his spear-head forging the path before him, his movements echoing the wind’s own footsteps. Just the way his father had shown him.
His father would be so pleased – Ballanan had fashioned the spear himself, now he would finally prove himself a man.
The tribe would feast tonight.
Mount Boonballbi loomed before him, casting its shadow long across the land between them.
He didn’t even notice the imjin creeping up on him.
His father called out his name into the gathering darkness, shouting out until he grew hoarse.
He wept by the fire.
The imjin feasted that night.
Bill stood on the step of his tractor, watching the wind dance through the cane field, its whistling voice shrill beneath the baking blue sky. The timara stood in the cracks of the great read rocks, watching Bill sweat beneath his broad-brimmed hat, keeping to the shadows, keeping out of sight.
Back-burning had to be done in Spring, before the full force of Summer began.
Bill stood, watching the wind cut through the long grass, fanning the flames.
Later he found the bodies, both narrow and squat, charred in the fire.
Humanity had its revenge.
Originally written as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge and now reposted as part of Goblin Week. The Quinkins were the subject of a book (which itself was a part of an excellent series) on Aboriginal mythology that I read as a child. I still can’t find a copy. Although I did find this excellent little video retelling of it. The quinkins are actually two distinct types of creature, one tall and mischievous (timara), the other squat and violent (imjin.) A friend of mine once told me a story of when he was a kid, in Far North Queensland, when his grandmother screamed at the kids to come inside, and they watched a group of imjin creep through the yard. He certainly believed it was true, and would swear black and blue that he witnessed these creatures who wanted to snatch him and his cousins. Watch the video if you’ve got ten minutes, it’s worth it! Comments and criticism always welcome!