Spud Prologue

‘She’ll come out. Don’t you worry.’

A smile scratched itself across the man’s unshaven face, a thin bitter smile that hung on the hate in his voice. He stood in front of a stringy-bark, a gun in his right hand, his left rubbing absent-mindedly at a deep scar on the side of his neck as he addressed a group of about twenty other farmers. They listened and variously nodded. But the tremble in the man’s voice, the slight shake in his hand as it worried the scar, and the strange stare in his eyes sent a shuffle of uneasiness through the group. Some scribbled their boots in the dirt, some squatted to roll fags. A few even moved away as though their physical act somehow distanced them morally from the madman.

‘I know that mongrel. She’ll come out for this.’

The smile tightened as the man delved into a hessian bag and pulled out a tiny creature. The animal, a sandy-grey pup only a few weeks old, screamed as the man dangled it by a hind leg before the other men.

‘Put the poor thing out of its misery, Jim.’ someone yelled.

‘I will, mate.’ the scratch replied. ‘When we’ve got her. Then I’ll put both of them out of their misery … with this.’

The man called Jim brandished his shotgun in the air and then stooped, pointing it into a narrow hole at the base of the stringy.

‘We’re waiting, ya mongrel!’ he screamed and fired both barrels into the hole.

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