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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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March 29, 2019. And so it begins.

It has been 5 weeks since the government finally admitted that Australia was formerly at War with the Inter-Asia alliance, and I felt that this is a good time to start a blog.

With the Warships arriving in the Gulf of Carpentaria, it’s now pretty obvious that Australians aren’t going to be protected by the tyranny of distance that we’ve always believed would protect us from any invading forces. With Japan seeing the most ferocious fighting between the Coalition forces (including our Australian troops) and the Alliance, and Pakistan’s government crumbling into chaos I can’t see the presence of Indian warships in our gulf being a good thing.

Personally, the situation scares me a little. I thought that writing a blog might somehow help people understand what is going on in and around Australia. Feel free to add comments about what’s happening where you’re living.

The government is pretty sure that the attacking forces wont make it as far as Brisbane, but personally I’m less confident. Hence why I’ve decided that I should write a blog about what is happening as my country falls into War.

I’m also a little uneasy about China dropping their blockade of cargo-ships heading to Australia. As many of their forces are currently involved with fighting our allies, there must be some kind of ulterior motive involved with them now ushering trading ships towards us. Perhaps they are going to seek some kind of new trading agreement?

That wouldn’t make sense. The current Liberal government has been hostile towards Chinese trade for years. It’s all a bit odd.

The war is already affecting my household.  With provision 59 being tabled in Parliament this week, which effectively conscripts nurses and doctors involved in the public health system, my wife has become increasingly agitated that she will be forced into some war-zone somewhere.

For those reading this that aren’t living in Australia, provision 59 calls for the ‘Redeployment’ of federal and state health workers to assist with wartime casualties. They might not be calling it Conscription, but it sure sounds like it to me.

I’ve never been a fan of this kind of political double-talk.

Anyway the vote happens tomorrow, so we’ll all know our fate then.

My wife is pretty up beat that it will get voted down by ‘The Greens’ in the senate, so we shouldn’t have to worry. I hope she’s right.

More tomorrow, Scott K

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