Part One in the series
OLD McLARSEN HAD SOME FARMS
Now, after the chase of that dignified old man roo, I felt a whole lot less sure this was the sort of adventure I wanted. I understood the increasing numbers were a problem. I accepted that shooting by good marksmen was humane compared to poisoning. But somehow, knowing all these things couldn’t seem to quieten the growing knot of guilt and unhappiness in the pit of my stomach. I tried to keep up a good front. After all, we were guests, and the men were doing what they assured me they had to do. So I gradually became a whole lot quieter as I wished desperately that we wouldn’t find anymore this night. But my wish was in vain. The worst was still to come.
Ten kangaroos died that night. Some dropped in full flight – others as they began to turn away from the blinding brightness of that pitiless spotlight. Most were dispatched with a single shot and none were left to suffer – but that was small comfort to me or the roos as the destruction continued. The last was a gentle grey doe, mesmerised by the alien spotlight. Soft stricken eyes stared in confusion and terror, as she paused, not knowing which way to turn. She was a perfect target. After she had fallen, we could all see movement still continuing in the area of her pouch.
I felt an overwhelming sickness as one of the men pulled a joey from her pouch. Then red-hot rage engulfed me as he said, “I’ll just put this little bugger out of his misery.” He took a firm grasp of the baby’s tail as he spoke, and began to move towards a nearby tree. It was obvious what he planned. Guest or not, I couldn’t control myself any longer. I exploded out of the ute, physically and verbally.