22 of April, 2019 – The rioters returned.

I’d only just finished writing yesterday’s entry before I heard Miranda calling out from the other room. There was a panic in her voice, and she was trying to yell out in hushed tones.

She was looking out her bedroom window onto the street. Outside people were walking along the road towards the partially burned-out supermarket caring assorted items. They were hauling glass bottles with rags stuffed in the top, star pickets, bike chains and axes – clearly anything on hand that they could use as an improvised weapon. The crowd was made up of mainly men, and they walked along the street as silently as they could.

They weren’t coming to try and loot the supermarket. None of them came with anything that they could carry away quantities of stuff with. No, this looked like a mob returning to exact some kind of retribution. The cops? The supermarket? I wasn’t sure. I’ve stayed indoors ever since the earlier riot had gotten out of control, and I know nothing about what happened next. But what I did know is that this crowd now walking down my street was far larger than the crowd that I’d seen earlier.

Within minutes the sirens started up again; along with the gunfire. I could hear more police cars coming form a distance, but their sound became drowned out as the crowd started chanting. I couldn’t discern what they were saying as it seemed to be a muddled mess of cries, but I could hear the pained yelling and screaming that came soon afterwards.

At this distance, the petrol bombs being thrown sounded like the pop of bubble wrap as they exploded. Their sound was distinctly different to that of the gunfire, and I heard probably dozens of them being thrown. Often after each pop there was a furious volley of gunfire.

Police cars with their sirens blazing raced up my street towards the violence. Their blue lights flashed strange patterns around my darkened rooms as they passed.

Then the power came back on. I must have tried turning every light in the house recently, trying to find if we had electricity or not as every room lit up startlingly brightly the moment the power came on. Radio alarm clocks whistled to life, and other electrical appliances started to whir into function. With my heart racing in panic I ran between rooms switching everything off as quickly as I could. I then plugged my laptop in to power to charge it up, along with my phone and the several backup charger units that I had. I then scooped up Miranda and kicked two of our beanbags into the bathroom – the most central room in the house, and just held her tightly to me while the street outside turned into a battleground.

It occurred to me a little later what may have just happened. The power must be getting rationed at the moment, and the police were able to have it switched on in our area so that it made it easier to see rioters in the streets at night.

Popping, gunfire and sirens continued on for over an hour before it started quieting down. I could hear the police in their cars on the streets calling out over their loudspeakers to rioters that they had spotted, to drop their weapons and remain still. But now the sounds on the street had been added to with other noises – the sounds of cars either fleeing or speeding up to chase, and the sounds of momentary skidding before being followed by the sound of metal and glass striking solid objects with force.

Eventually the crowd’s noise stopped, and the popping from the petrol bombs ceased. All that was left was the sounds from hundreds of police cars slowly circling the neighbourhood, along with the muffled sound from their loudspeakers and the occasional gunfire. Some of it was startlingly too close to my home.

In the meantime, Miranda had fallen asleep while curled up in my arms. I dared not move in the hope of her being able to catch some rest. I guess she felt safer being wrapped up there with me.

At about 4am there was a loud bang on the door. An authoritative voice announced that he was a policeman, and that he wanted someone to come to the door. The knocking woke up Miranda, and she looked up at me with weary eyes. “Don’t get up” I said. “I’ll see who it is” as I shuffled myself gently sideways away from her.

I stood up, and as I did I kicked my shoes and socks off and walked through the house bare-foot. The floor was still damn cold, and my feet seemed to sting a little. I peeked through the peephole in the door and confirmed that there were two uniformed officers standing there before I opened it.

As I opened the door the two of them shuffled a hand each over their guns, and they both shined their torches into my eyes – blinding me with a biting beam.

“Excuse me sir” One of them began, “Where have you been this evening”

“I’ve been here with my daughter” I replied.

“And your wife, sir”?

“She’s a nurse. She’s been ‘Redeployed’ somewhere”.

The two of them were silent for a moment, and I saw one of them shine their torch down to my bare feet. I shuffled them in the cold and tried to look through the blinding light at the other officer.

“Is there anyone else in the house”? The first officer continued.

“No”, I stuttered as I crossed my arms in the cold. “Well, other than my daughter”.

“And have you seen anyone else around your property”?

“With all that shooting I have been hearing, do you think I’d go near a window”? I rhetorically replied.

The two officers stood there for a moment quietly, before one of them said “Thank you sir. We’re going to be looking around your property for a couple of minutes to see if there’s someone hiding here. We would appreciate if you could remain inside while we do this. Have a good morning”.

And with that they turned and headed back down the stairs. I closed the door and leaned against the wall and let out a deep breath to try and calm my racing pulse.

I went back to the bathroom and found that Miranda had gotten up and headed back off to her bed. Still feeling anxious about what had been happening tonight, I wasn’t yet  ready to let her out of my sight. So I pulled the beanbags into her room, and tried to sleep on them there. Dawn was starting to break outside, and I knew that it was unlikely that I’d be able to get a lot of sleep, but I thought I would try regardless.

I woke up about 10am this morning and I went and had a shower. The power had been switched off again, and I was glad that we had gas hot water. Fortunately the power had been on for long enough for me to be able to charge everything again.

After I had my shower went outside after I heard the squeaky brakes of a truck driving slowly up our street. There was a truck with a low-set open tray slowly driving up the road, with a variety of men in high-vis workwear hovering along beside it picking things up from the ground and throwing it onto the tray. The truck would occasionally stop for a while, and the whole group would move over to something that they would then in unison pick up and throw onto a separate pile on the back of the tray.

As the truck passed I had a closer look at what they had been collecting. The tray was partially filled with the debris of the makeshift weapons that, I guess, had been discarded as the rioters ran. There were also items of clothing and broken pieces of what looked like parts that had been torn off some of the neighbour’s fences.

However more disturbingly the back of the truck was partially loaded with a pile of long grey zip-up bags that had been filled. These looked like body-bags that were housing the remains of rioters, and maybe policemen that had been killed in the streets overnight.

I looked the other direction up the road, and I could see a handful of policemen on foot, photographing the debris laying on the ground, along with the bodies – which they then tagged rolled into a body-bag ready for the work crew to pick up. I just stood there stunned for a moment as I watched the grim procession moving down the street. I didn’t know what to say, or even really what to feel. I just turned and came back inside the house, and sat down thinking about the night for the rest of the afternoon.

I went and checked on Miranda early afternoon. She seemed fine, and was sitting up on the corner of her bed, reading a book in the sunlight. I thought for a moment about how much she seemed to be like Tess, in that she seemed to be reading a book no matter what was happening in the world around her at that time. I remembered that today was supposed to be a school day, but I felt a little conflicted about whether I wanted Miranda to go to school again.

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21st of April, 2019 – And the supermarket burned.

You know.. it kinda surprises me that it didn’t happen sooner. 

Perhaps it was because we have gotten so used to constrained supply of food and fuel ever since this war started that there hasn’t been a riot at the local supermarket as yet. Or perhaps we are a more civil society than I expected, and we just don’t crash our cars through the doors of our local. 

Well, that all changed today. 

There haven’t been any trucks on the roads around here lately, and I’ve heard rumours that both the New England highway, and the Pacific have been cut off south of the border. Either way, some of the locals must have twigged that the shelves were no longer getting stocked at all, and decided it was time to raid them for supplies before they completely ran out. 

The first I knew about what was happening, was the sound of the police sirens. I’m getting a little gun-shy about checking out what is going on outside ever since the explosion in the local shop that left that wretched body part on my roof, but after about 20 minutes curiosity go the better of me and I walked up the road to investigate. 

There were hundreds of people. Hundreds! Just throwing whatever they could through the glass and ripping what they could out of the supermarket with whatever trolley of basket was at hand. The police were clearly powerless to stop it as the scurried around trying to pull people from the broken frames. Many people were even injuring themselves trying to push through the broken glass.

And that’s when it happened. Some cop with a gun in his hand simply shot someone. With the crack of the pistol the crowd mostly froze and looked around, and a I saw a woman in her 50s stop and drop to the ground. Her breathing was clearly very laboured, and blood started to pool under her as she struggled. No one knew if it was accidentally or intentional. But with emotions running high, people probably just assumed the latter. 

The crowd stopped throwing things through glass, and instead started to throw things at the police. Someone driving a car seemed to lose control, and ploughed through the crowd at incredible speed – throwing police and rioters around like they were rag-dolls. The car eventually crashed through the doors before catching on fire with its screaming occupants fighting to get free of the wreck.

The riot then become extremely violent. Police started shooting at random to protect themselves, and rioters fell in a bloodied mess all round. Those that didn’t started ripping the guns from the hands of the police and many of the crowd went looking for whatever weapons they could to fight back.

The fire quickly spread across the supermarket, and before bullets came spraying my way I turned and ran back home. 

With the doors closed I listened to sirens coming from all around. More and more police came, and soon the streets were being patrolled by officers as they looked for rioters. From what I could tell fire trucks had now come onto the scene, and were trying to get the fire in the supermarket under control. The sky above me was black with soot and ash, and the air smelled like burned sugar. 

It is now 9:30pm, and I’m still reluctant to unlock the doors to the house and look outside. Whatever comes next after this can’t be good. 

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20th of April, 2019

The floor of the house is bitterly cold at night, and unless I wear slippers or shoes, I my toes seem to turn blue. Without any electricity for heating at the moment, there’s not a lot I can do to make things more comfortable. It seems odd for the cold to strike at this time of year, but not unusual. I’ve often found April getting quite cold before we get a sudden burst of warmth in May – an attempt for the city to fight off the inevitable winter chill, which it will invariably have to suffer as winter strikes. 

Even though it was cold last night, I sat up and watched from the back door as the sky was lit up with stream upon stream of artillery and missile fire passing overhead. It was mainly silent, but I knew that somewhere it was raining down destruction on something. With so little access to power of late, I hadn’t seen much in the way of news to know who or what. 

This had me thinking about returning to the office for a day or so, so that I could use the power created by the building’s generators in the hope of being able to see some news on the TV – and to charge up my flat laptop in the hope of getting to talk to Tess. I’d ran it down with the last few emails, and I’ve been only turning it on twice a day in order to check if there was any news from her. 

The sky at night glows red from the fire over the other side of the mountains around Brisbane. There’s a constant haze from the smoke that has arisen from whatever is burning on the other side of that, and I dread to think of what the world outside is like. 

Explosions like the one from the other night occasionally seem to happen all over the city as missiles and shells just… drop… on houses. Whenever I try to sleep I’m occasionally woken up by a soft thud and a rumble as yet another building somewhere in the city is smashed by a wayward munition. 

The sky may appear beautiful while it is filled with the streaks of a million shooting stars, but the terror of it just never goes away. This terror comes from simply not knowing what is going on – who is shooting, and what are they shooting at. Surely the cargo ships off the coast aren’t shooting? 

It is a fear of the unknown. A fear that is slowing ripping apart the people of this city.

I hear the neighbours fight all the time these days. Couples that seem to have been happily married for years are turning on each other. You can’t park your car on the streets at night – not just because they will get broken into by people seeking resources, but because people’s minds are so preoccupied with fear that they simply can’t drive and are often unintentionally ramming parked cars absentmindedly. 

I went for a walk this morning and found a friend of mine digging holes in his front yard. These were long, rectangular holes that seemed to have an ominous purpose. When I asked him what they were for, he just looked at me and said ‘It is for my family. I may not have time late, so I want to make sure I’m prepared’. I didn’t enquire any further, but instead turned and walked back home. 

I suddenly felt the need to give my own child a lot of love. 

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19th of April, 2019. A Hand.

It’s really starting to get cold here in Brisbane at night. Every morning I wake up and find the warmth from my feet getting sucked out by the cold wooden floor of our Queenslander house. As such I thought I’d spend the day outside in the sunlight where it was nice and warm, doing some maintenance on the house.

I borrowed a ladder from a neighbour to climb on our roof and try to get the debris from the explosion off. Even though I really hate heights, it had to be done. Last night I could hear Possums shifting the debris around while they scurried about looking for food. I would really have not been too bothered about it usually, but I’m having a lot of trouble sleeping as it is, and the extra noise is just making it worse.

There was a fair amount of damage around Miranda’s bedroom window that had been caused by the explosion. The other half of the tin of cat food was firmly embedded into the weatherboard, just inches away from where Miranda usually sleeps. There were also small shards of metal and glass stuck into the wood.

I didn’t have any paint to touch up the damage, but a lot of the wood had been heavily splintered and chipped and was in need of replacement before the next rain. I found an old canvas and nailed it up over the damaged section of the house, till I was in a better position to afford the repairs.

The view from the roof was surreal. Debris from the explosion had been scattered for quite some distance. I could see hundreds of smashed windows, shattered tiles and obliterated sun-rooves.

Pieces of brick and shards of metal littered as far as I could see. The force of the explosion must have been incredible. Police have worked out that the would-be thieves had drilled holes into the front of the building and filled the shop full of acetylene gas. The idea was to cause a flash explosion that would pop open the weakest bits of the shopfront, while keeping the cigarettes in their locked cabinet safe.

Possums had been on the roof. They’d been trying to get into some damaged tins that had landed there. Most of the debris however tended to be just small brick and mortar pieces.

However, while shuffling through all the muck I discovered something rather gruesome. I severed hand was wedged between the intakes on our air-conditioning system.

I guess that the police had missed it when they did a search of the area. It was rather damaged, and had been quite scorched. It had a variety of tattoos on it, most of which because of the damage I couldn’t quite make out.

It appeared that the possums might have been trying to nibble at it, because there appeared to be bite marks taken out of the skin.

I attempted to pick it up, but it was jammed in rather tight. Worse, the feeling of the cold skin, and seeing the broken fingers wiggle about as I tried to free it made me vomit.

As such I climbed back down the ladder, and just sat in the sun for about 20 minutes while I tried to compose myself again. I was rather glad that Miranda had gone to School today and didn’t have to witness all of this.

While back on the ground I got raided Tess’s makeup cabinet for the box of rubber gloves that she had stored in it for when she dyed her hair. I also grabbed a plastic bag and a screwdriver.

Back on the roof I found it a lot more comfortable handling the hand while wearing rubber gloves. I used the screwdriver to pry the intakes open just a bit so I could extract the hand out. I then bagged the hand and went back down to the ground for a second vomiting session.

At least I managed to stay reasonably composed while I was climbing down the ladder. But I can’t say this was my ideal way of using such a lovely sunny day.

It only occurred to me when I got back on the ground and tried to figure out what to do with the hand, that I should have called the police first.

When I did call the police, they didn’t really seem all that interested. They told me they would send someone over to pick up the hand, and that I shouldn’t touch it. Sometime later a courier arrived to pick up the hand. He hadn’t been told what he was picking up, and asked me if I had a box I could put it in so that he didn’t have to look at it, or smell it.

I spent the afternoon writing a letter to Tess after I’d finished cleaning up. I just needed to somehow get my mind off the events of the last few days, so I just made up some kind of story about how well we were doing here.

Ignorance is bliss I guess. I’m sure she doesn’t need the stress of knowing what has been happening back at home.

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18th of April, 2019. Breaking the silence.

I was sitting up in bed reading a book this morning at about 2am when I was scared witless by a massive bang. This was followed moments later by what sounded moments later like hail falling on our roof and an awful lot of glass breaking.

I attempted to get out of bed, but moments later Miranda came rushing into my room. She was clearly terrified, but wasn’t screaming. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her so white.

Miranda’s room was a mess. The mattress had been blown off the window it had been sticky taped to, and pieces of glass and other debris were all over the floor around where the mattress landed.

It was clear that the Mattress had taken most of the impact of the shattering glass from the window. I also noticed that embedded into the mattress was something that looked rather like half of an empty tin of cat food, which appeared to have been burnt.

Off in the distance there was the sound of approaching sirens. I could also hear voices and people running past our house outside. I wasn’t sure if they were running from, or towards something.

I grabbed my jacket and slipped into a pair of shoes, and went outside to see what was going on. I locked the door behind me; worried that Miranda may still be in some kind of danger.

The power had been out since 8pm yesterday, and all I could see was a sea of torches dancing around in the dark, most of which appeared to be heading in the same direction down the street. So I just followed the crowd.

I could make out a fiery glow between some of the houses, and it appeared to be coming from somewhere just around the corner from my house. I made my way there with the rest of the crowd, only to find that the local corner shop was heavily ablaze.

Or at least it was whereour corner shop once was. The building appeared to be ripped in half. Contents of the store lay on the road about the shop, many of them burning. Bricks and other debris covered the streets.

Most of my neighbours were standing in a ring around the building, keeping a reasonably safe distance while watching it burn. There were three bodies on the ground in front of the store. Two of them appeared to be on fire, while a third, located a bit further away from the building was lying in a pool of blood.

Nobody spoke. There was the occasional gasp of ‘Oh my god’, but no one could find the words to express what they were thinking at that exact moment.

I could see one of the corrugated iron sheets that the shopkeeper had bolted across the front window to stop people breaking in, had crashed through the door of the house opposite the shop. The occupants of the house were inspecting the damage to their property with fatigued bewilderment. Their belongings scattered and their windows blasted from existence. Still, it appeared no one in the house had been injured.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some movement where I hadn’t expected it. The man that was sprawled out on the road in a pool of his own blood began to move. Most of the crowd amassed around the shop noticed it too. All of them in unison made an involuntary half step back away from the man.

He groaned a bit at first, and then flapped his hands around uselessly. His legs didn’t move. He was so covered in ash and bloodied silt that it was hard to make out the features of his face.

‘Help me’, he moaned. ‘I can’t see, help me’.

He rolled over, trying to pull his way along the ground. ‘I can hear you breathing, someone help me’ he said with strained tones. Clearly gasping and holding onto his life.

No one could bring themselves to go and help the man. Most of us were just standing around in our panamas, keeping warm with a jacket or blanket. We were completely unprepared for this.

It felt like I was being cruel, and at the same time I felt totally powerless to do anything else. This man was dying and I couldn’t bring myself, or try and convince anyone else to help him.

The fire trucks arrived and were quickly followed by the ambulance and eventually the police. Even they were surprised to find this man half alive on the ground, struggling with life.

The police very quickly pushed us well away from the area. Apparently there was a suspicion that there may be some undetonated explosives on the site.

It’s kind of funny, but it hadn’t occurred to me to think about what might have caused such a horrific amount of damage. I felt that it was almost as though it was expected to happen at some point. Although maybe it was just the early hours of the day and I was just in a bit of a dream state.

Later this morning I was listening to the radio at work. The explosion was the hot topic of the day with the morning DJ’s making plenty of jokes about it while the news casters devoting almost 5 minutes to the story every hour.

The man we saw dying in the street apparently had died. But not before he divulged that he and has mates thought it was a good idea to detonate some gas cylinders that they had pinched. They were doing this in an attempt to crack open the front of the shop, so that they could steal cigarettes and whatever else, with the intention of selling them and making some money.

Although the story seems fit for a Darwin award, it’s really just a sign of how tragic the situation is becoming here in Brisbane while the uncertainty of the war rages around us. This story isn’t all that different to the some of the tragic insurance claims that are still piling up on my desk every day.

Even if we aren’t in the thick of battle, the war is clearly hitting home.

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17th of April, 2019. The killing of Barbra Olsen.

I barely recognised the Barbara Olsen that I’ve seen on the TV all afternoon. The woman I knew was a bit shy, but always pleasant and courteous.

You may see Barbara as something else, so I feel I should tell you a little more about her. She has worked in the same company as myself for years, and was the receptionist for the accounting department.

Barbara had one son. She’d spent years struggling with IVF treatment just to have that son, even travelling to Greece to receive treatment. She was always polite and courteous to everyone, but had a persistence and determination that occasionally got people offside.

Barbara’s husband unfortunately died a few years ago in an accident at work. Ever since then Barbara hadn’t had quite the same pleasant air about her, as thought part of her generous spirit had been burned. But she still attended church every week, went to trivia every Wednesday and still kept that pleasant yet professional air with everyone she spoke to at work.

I only knew it was the same Barbara Olsen the TV, because she was holding the same knitted bag that she’d used to carry her lunch to work every day. I’d never have expected in a million years that she’d use it to carry a handgun. She usually dressed very meticulously, but the woman on the screen had chaotic hair and dishevelled attire. There was clearly something very wrong.

I was in the office, watching the Pay TV with Jeremy in the meeting room this morning I heard that Barbara had gotten a letter that her son had been killed in Japan.  Louisa had been on the phone to her at the time that she received the letter, and said that Barbara just simply told her what the letter said in a matter of fact tone, then hung up abruptly.

I have no idea what happened in the hours after that, but the security camera caught the last few minutes of her life this afternoon. A video of which has been broadcast hundreds of times since on almost every form of media available.

This afternoon Barbara walked into the Strathpine army recruiting office and started yelling at two of the recruiters (there is no audio on the security footage). She then began crying and shaking uncontrollably, buckling over in emotion. One of the Recruiters moved around behind her to put a consoling arm around her. But before he could, she reached into her knitted back and then dropped the bag on the floor revealing a handgun.

She shot the recruiter that had been moving up behind her, shot the other recruiter and then moments later she shot herself.

The news has been painting her as someone completely different to the woman I knew. She apparently had a mental illness and was ‘known to authorities’. She had supposedly spent a substantial amount of time in an institution, although the institution wasn’t named.

The news didn’t mention her son’s death; the news also didn’t mention that she spent hours volunteering at community events.  She was however demonised as an anti-war protestor with a mental illness. She apparently had been sending aggressive letters to the army making un-named and reportedly unreasonable demands. All of which doesn’t seem anything like the woman I knew.

She isn’t named very often in the Media; she is instead repeatedly named as a ‘Mentally Ill Anti-War protestor’.

I feel sad for Barbara. Her mental illness, which she must have suffered with in silence with for years, appears to be being used as a propaganda exercise. Her death was truly tragic, as was the death of her Son. But to use it to paint anti-war protestors as mentally ill is just appalling.

I expect to hear all kinds of rumours coming out at work in the next few days, but I feel sad that I was never able to do something to help Barbara when she was alive.

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16th of April, 2019 When you wish upon a star

Unable to sleep for a variety of reasons, I decided at 3 am that I would take a walk around the neighbourhood.  I locked the doors and windows before I left home in order keep Miranda safe.

I haven’t seen the streets and highways this quiet for a very long time. With so few streetlights, house lights on and no cars to be heard, it reminded me much more of what it used to be like at this time of the morning when I was a child.

But I did see the odd individuals scurrying around the streets, looking into cars and peoples front yards. They were looking to see if there happened to be anything useful that could be easily acquired.  But there were only a couple of them, and they pretty much ran off the moment I came anywhere near.

The sky was clear and the air was rather crisp. With the lights from the city so dim, I hadn’t seen so many stars in the sky for a long time. It was actually quite beautiful.

I saw a shooting star. It streaked across the sky and landed somewhere to the west. I couldn’t recall the last time I’d seen a shooting star. But then again, I can’t recall the last time I looked up at the sky and saw such a magnificent sky.

A moment later another star shot across the sky, followed by several others.

Then they stopped coming.

I stood there hearing nothing but my heart thumping, and my breath exhaling into the air.

Then they started again. Tens of these shooting stars brushed across the sky to the west, all following roughly along the same path. Moments later I heard, or at least thought I heard a very distant rumble followed by a muffled crackling.

It might have just been the blood rushing through my ears, but then again it may have been something else. Just as quickly as the shooting stars started, they stopped.

I started to have a bit of a night-time panic. The kind where you spook yourself out from stuff that can’t see, and don’t understand. I could feel the adrenalin racing through me, and I had that sudden urge to run.

I didn’t run, but I ended up briskly walking home with a bit of a rush. Despite there being nothing threatening me directly, I suddenly felt safe by just being back in my own home. I even went to the effort of hiding under the covers, without getting out of the clothes I had been wearing first.

I felt like a bit of a Wuss when I got out of bed again this morning, but I am more than certain that what I had been watching wasn’t a show of nature. Not that I’d be able to verify any of this from the news online or on TV.

I decided it was time to start making some preparations in case we had to leave Brisbane in a hurry. Sure, the car is fuelled up and ready to go but we’ve done absolutely nothing to get ready to leave the city at a moments notice.

Some of my mates reckon that I’m over-reacting, and that everything will surely get better soon. However I’m a lot more cynical than they are, despite there being no one I know that believes that the war is likely to spill over into Brisbane.

History has shown us that even some of the greatest cities have been brought down in the past. I can’t see anything that would make Brisbane any different.

I spoke to Miranda this morning, and asked her to pack a couple of bags of clothes and necessities to go. I specifically made sure she had a limit of two bags. One rucksack and one carry bag, Just in case we had to get out without the car.

She’s procrastinating a bit, and has promised that she will do it when she gets home from School tomorrow, but I think she understands the reasons we need to do this. I feel it is a bit tough to insist to a young girl that she can only take a limited amount of stuff with her, especially when we have so much space in such a large Four Wheel Drive car. But she doesn’t seem all that phased by it.

I’ve loaded the Tent into the back of the car, but I’m already scratching my head as to what else I may need. Perhaps I should come back and try again when I’ve got a clearer head. I feel I’m making decisions in the wrong frame of mind.

But after the light show that I saw this morning, I’m adamant that things are slowly going bad. It may be such an odd thing to worry about, but while we seem to be living in a media blackout, it is hard to gauge if my fears are irrational or not.

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better about it tomorrow.  We’ll see what the new day brings.

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15th of April, 2019. Every night, every night.

I’m getting rather sleep deprived from the hundreds of planes that fly over my place every night. Ever since Brisbane airport has been opened up for the use of military aircraft, the situation has gotten progressively worse.

Miranda stripped the foldout visitors bed of its mattress the other night, and gaffer taped it against her window. It worked for her, and I’m thinking of trying to find some kind of similar solution for my own bedroom. She is such a clever girl sometimes.

Here in Australia, the media seems to have had a blackout of the events going on locally. The photos published the other day of Burketown have yet to even be acknowledged by our own newspapers and television updates, and the overseas news is still primarily interested in the major fighting in Japan. Even the border conflict in Pakistan doesn’t seem to rate a mention. I guess this is because there are so few American troops involved.

On the other hand, the GLIF (Government’s Lame Internet Filter) seems to have filtered out a lot of the material as well. I hadn’t been able to access the New York Times website in days, until I installed ‘GLIF PWnage Tool’ onto my computer to get around the filter.

Even then it wasn’t worth the effort, as there seems to be absolutely nothing significant about Australia being printed on the overseas sites.

Every night, every single night the planes roar out of the airports around Brisbane. Almost all of them are American strike aircraft. As the American ‘invasion’ of our soil isn’t expected till after ANZAC day, there’s been very little in the way of troop and supply vehicles coming and going.

Mind you when the troops arrive the situation will only get worse at night. I can’t see the American army’s massive troop and supply carriers being any quieter than the planes we already have filling our skies.

The power failures are also increasing in frequency and annoyance. The now too familiar rumble of the earth, followed by the sudden power dropout seems to have become a part of life here in Brisbane. Shops have sold out of the few candles that they had, and Batteries are now attracting an exorbitant premium.

People are even stealing batteries from people’s cars in order to power up inverters in their own homes in an attempt to keep the power on at night.

I’ve kept our car in the garage for weeks now, and I’m only using the motorbike to get about. As such, our car doesn’t appear to have been attacked for its battery as yet.

I’ve kept the car hidden away with a full tank of fuel, which I bought over a month ago. I made sure that we had it ready just in case we needed to make an urgent dash out of Brisbane.

Being that fuel has now hit  $9.50 a litre, the diesel that is sitting in the tank of our 4×4 (160 litres worth) makes our car too large a target to leave out on the street. I’m forever finding my heart racing every time I hear a squeaky garage door open.

I’ve also applied for the government’s Provision 59 assistance package (Provision 65). Although we still have a fair bit of money saved up, the guaranteed food packages and fuel vouchers will be more than welcome while our stores find themselves less and less capable of keeping up with need.

The assistance package is available to any family that has lost their only income source due to the Provision 59 redeployment. We may not be applicable for the package while I technically still have a job, even though I haven’t seen a pay from them in over a month.

But for now, I’m off to find a big chunk of foam in order to try and hush out the noise of the Jets screaming over Brisbane at night.

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14th of April, 2019. Burketown: Murder most horrid.

The first photos of Burketown were published on the Internet today, and I have to say, I didn’t expect what I saw.

The photos were taken by an unnamed photographer, and were originally published on the New York Times news site. These photos are quite possibly some of the most dramatic photos taken of this war so far.

It’s a bit difficult to describe them really, and they are even harder to understand. Burketown looks as though it had been hit by a bushfire, except for the twisted wreaks of metal and gaping pits in the ground. Pieces of unidentifiable vehicles lay strewn about the scorched earth, while charred body parts are in abundance.

There’s no doubt that many people have died here, although there’s very little to indicate how they came to their end.

Houses are mere jagged brick shells, and trees are represented on the landscape as charcoal stumps. Cars are either in pieces, or are crushed beyond recognition. The few identifiable vehicles featured in these photos, tend to be lodged across the walls of houses, or have rolled into craters.

This isn’t the result of a bushfire. This is the result of heavy explosive shelling and napalm bombardment. According to the article accompanying the photos, much of the countryside surrounding Burketown has been torn up and burned down in such a way.

The article also covers a lot of things that we’ve yet to hear about here in Australia. The photographer talks about seeing signs of a massive military action that had apparently been happening in the area. If you look at the photos hard enough, you can even see the debris of obliterated military hardware. Although there’s little to indicate which side of the war the hardware originally came from.

Hundreds of wounded have also been evacuated from the area. These people, troops or civilians it doesn’t state, are apparently being treated in hospitals across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The article says very little more, and tells even less about what has happened or is happening in and around Burketown.

I have to admit, after looking at these photos, I’ve found that it left far too much to the imagination. As such my mind has been racing with frightening scenarios ever since I looked at them. But at the same time, I’m finding the photographs strangely magnetic. I simply can’t get them out of my mind, and I find myself frequently revisiting them on the Internet. I feel that I’m desperate for updates or even some positive news. I urgently want, or need to see and find out more information.

Humans are funny people. Even in the most awful of moments we find ourselves strangely drawn to want and see more. Even in horrific moments of tragedy.

I also expect, that there’s probably more to this story to see yet.

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13th of April, 2019. When the General comes to town.

It appears that the wartime propaganda drive has stepped up a gear in the last few days. You can’t look at a local news website or magazine without it hitting you in the face.

Probably the most bizarre example I’ve seen so far would have to be in today’s courier-mail. Their website has a ‘redeemable’ barcode token that you can use to collect a limited edition (limited to 20 million, of course) plastic toy soldier. Apparently there are 20 to collect, 10 of which are the ‘valiant’ Australian soldiers, who come complete with slouch hat, rifle, cricket bat and Barbeque tongs. Oh, and the final piece in the set is a Barbeque. Several of the figures are even posing with their shirt off, buff six-packs almost poking your eyes out. One of them even sports a pair of rubber thongs, along side his rifle. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…

All are smiling, and looking like they’re hanging out at some beach party in their uniforms, or lack there-of.

I found it hilarious at first, but then I saw the IAA figurines. While not being particularly offensive, all 10 tend to be a variation of the same thing. All feature Asian faces with menacing aggressive looks, holding World War 2 era guns complete with bayonet, and all adopting a pose that looks like they are rushing to kill everything and anything that happens to stand in front of them.

So if you want to creep yourself out with these rather weird figurines, you can either get the tokens and print them out from the Courier-mail website, or you collect them with along with newspaper purchase, if you’re one of the few people that seem to still buy the printed copy.

On the other hand, another weird ‘what the heck’ moment came when Miranda and I were out on my motorbike this afternoon. As we approached Gympie road from a side street, a police car pulled up in our path, stopping us from turning onto the main road.

This was not just any police car, but it was an American police car. Several other police cars followed from behind it, stopping at the intersections of other side streets along Gympie road to block them off, before a cavalcade of American police motorcycles passed by that were surrounding an oversized American car with heavily tinted windows. It even had hackneyed mini American flags on tiny flagpoles coming from the headlights.

I was left rather bewildered and wondering what just happened.

Fortunately for me TV came to my rescue later today. I wouldn’t have had a clue as to who this person was, if it wasn’t for the tireless efforts of ABC news to give substantial coverage of the visit of General Richter, I still would be in the dark.

Well maybe not, as Channel 7, 9 and 10 also gave massive coverage to the General’s visit. The General is apparently visiting Brisbane in advance of American army units being deployed and stationed here.

Naturally, we’re being told and sold the benefits of these soldiers being stationed in Brisbane. There are supposed to be economic and security benefits from having them here. However, I can’t help but feel a little cynical about this.

What doesn’t seem to be discussing is why we need to have American troops stationed in Brisbane, and so many of them. Is there an elevated security risk that we’re unaware of?

I don’t have any answers, but it’s clear that we’re being sold something. The General’s visit was just for show, and clearly demonstrates the lack of understanding that Americans have of Australians and the way we live. I can’t see many Australians being Impressed by a large American car, and a cavalcade of motorcycles rolling into town, to tell us not to fear, because the Americans are here.

Oh well. It’s a Saturday. Things never seemed normal on a Saturday.

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