Author's note: Recommended reading

Not much to look at… just a dingy old watering hole with a few hoppin’ mice scurrying about the grass. I don’t even know why it is I came here, never was the superstitious type. Guess it’s a bit loopy to be sayin’ it now, though. The troopers, they’ll be after me ‘fore too long, cuffs an’ tasers a-ready. There really is nothin’ left for me here, seems like. It’s a flippin’ daydream, lookin’ back on it all… had to be in my attic. Ain’t no one ever heard of an Australian ghost story, right?

I’d been runnin’, fightin’ the truth of what I’d done. Swear that damn preacher thought I was possessed… hell, maybe I was. Still am, for all I know. Sure would explain a lot. I mean, what the hell was I supposed to do when he came at me with that candlerod? Turn the other cheek? World’s too cruel for that, I know that much. Ain’t my fault the bastard went and concussed himself… troopers won’t care, though. Ain’t no excuse for killin’ a holy man, they’d say. No excuse for lettin’ a lamb o’ God die. Christ.

And again, I’d heard that damn song while I was leavin’ the church. It was the choir, I’d tell myself. There was a bass in there, singin’…

Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda…

I couldn’t get away from it. I’d heard the song all damn day, even before I’d met with the good Father. Would you believe it was the thing I’d gone to see him about? Bloody ironic… or maybe just incidental. It’d been haunting me all day, that tune. Not stuck in my head, but everywhere I’d go, I’d hear it, and it didn’t seem like it was comin’ from anyone at all. Swore I must be goin’ mental.

I’d started my day like any other (well, anymore): Boilin’ soup in a can. My back was killin’ me, though I s’pose sleepin’ on benches’ll do that to ya’. ‘Tweren’t nothin’ new, least not to me. I wasn’t bothered by the buggered bitch, no sir. Real men know how to survive, anyway. Let her have her bed, her house, her kids… think it was Queen that said it best: It’s just me and the road from here. Now that was a song I wouldn’t mind having on the brain… but no, I couldn’t have it. I couldn’t fucking have it. That little shit voice in the back’a my head had to come back with its blithering squawk.

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And he sang as he watched and

waited ‘til his billy boiled… fuck me, it never ends. I never wanted any of it. I never wanted this life! Ran into a bloody two-child marriage like it was a marathon… oh, sure, I just wanted to live the dream! Have a quiet little life in the outback, retire young. Shit if that’s happening. Look at me. I lost my family, stabbed me in the back soon as the income went away. Lot of fucking foresight I had with that one. Never marry young, kids—that’s what I’d tell ‘em if I still had ‘em. God forbid they wind up like me… sittin’ here, a wanted man, feet in the lake like I were ‘bout to hop in.

Maybe I should.

Waltzing Matilda…

Maybe I should hop in.

Waltzing Matilda…

Ain’t no one would bloody miss me, and at least…

Who’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

At least it would get this fucking song out of my head! This bleedin’ specter, haunting me!

And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong…

You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.

Waltzing Matilda

Written by Xelrog T. Apocalypse
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