Posted by Barbanne on September 19, 2003 at 00:32:04:
PART ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN
The encounter with Rose had really spooked me.
So much so that when Alex asked me and Jade to join him, Dave and Loreen on the documentary shoot I agreed readily, keen to get away from town and the motel for a while.
The next morning we all piled into the Sprinter and took off for the old mines about ten kilometres out of town. Alex's documentary so far had involved lots of touristy shots plus interviews and items of interest and the early rushes he had sent back had been very enthusiastically received and the money was there to get us across the dead centre and up to the North West coast and then what had been done to that stage would be put together into "Travels across Australia" and, depending on how that went, the sequel, more of a part two really, would be funded and would cover the Territory and the Coral Sea.
Of course when "Travels across Australia" was finished shooting we'd all be back in the big smoke while the editing and post production got done and I was aiming to have my western ready along with my other photo shoots and when we were back in big town Playdead dot com would once again live on the internet.
Aaaaaaaaaaaah how I looked forward to that.
Anyway today we were going to get footage of the old mines which had once made this place famous. Mining today was proceeding out to the west of the settled areas and was mostly open cut or long wall and these old underground shafts had long been vacant and one of the things sold to tourists nowadays was a sort of jokey myth that in some way they were haunted or more correctly possessed. By whom I could never find out.
Jade and I were still working as waitresses at the pub although our other string, Frankie and Johnnie had run out of steam. The publican wanted us to develop something new but my dancing had definitely come to the end of its repertoire and when I asked Jade she showed no enthusiasm to become a full time showgirl and so we opted to stick to waiting tables.
Today though we were film crew gofers.
When we arrived at the mine there was an older guy waiting to meet us. Alex had arranged for us to come here and film and this guy, his name was Pete, was like a broken down one time miner who now conducted tours for tourists. No tourists today only Alex and his intrepid band. We loaded up with our gear and then Pete led us over to a horribly nineteenth century looking lift which would take us down into the bowels of the earth. He fired up a generator which caused a number of descending bare bulbs to flicker into dim life and grinning he said, "Hope the petrol lasts or I might have to leave yers in the dark while I come back and fire her up." I swallowed like in a gulp and decided going into the gloom with every chance of being plunged into dark wasn't me and I said, "I'll stay up here and mind the van."
"No you won't Barb, you're coming with us."
We got into the lift car crammed together and down we went.
Shit it was cold.
I was wearing a short singlet top and jeans and scuffs and I was starting to freeze.
"Told you to wear something warmer Barb," said mister know it all Alex and he had too.
"I'm fine," I lied through chattering teeth.
Down in the mine it was fucking freezing. I mean arctic. But no way I was going to confess that I was cold. I just shivered away my goosebumps and pretended I was alright. Of course all the other smartasses had come properly dressed. Just Miss "I don't mind the cold" had to wear the totally wrong thing.
The mine consisted of dank drippy tunnels and the dim light provided by the flickering bulbs only made it look even more gloomy and uninviting. Dave and Loreen set up their lights to get some shots and Alex was directing them as to what he wanted and Jade was standing there, eager as a beaver and waiting to fetch when asked and so I found myself a bit surplus and wandered off down a cross tunnel.
About a hundred and twenty metres in there was this big steel door built across the tunnel and fitted with three monstrous locks.
Now what was this for?
I went up to it and felt around the edge. Really strong and really sealed tight.
"Aaaaaaaark!" I jumped about a half a metre as a hand gripped my shoulder.
"Shouldn't come down here Miss, it could be dangerous."
It was our guide and he gently steered me back to the main tunnel.
"But what is that?" I asked and then I said to the others, "hey you want to see this big old steel door down here its like a fortress."
Just a safety door Miss, the tunnel beyond is unsafe."
"Yeah show us."
The others wanted to see it so we all trooped down and looked at it."
"Wow that's a serious door," said Loreen.
"Sure is," said Jade.
"But why is it a door and why locked, why didn't they just seal the tunnel permanently?" I wondered out loud.
"Could be necessary to go in there some time," Said our guide.
"But the mine's disused and well, it seems strange."
"Now now Barb," said Alex, "a door, a wall, what difference is there?"
"Yeah I suppose so, its just odd."
"Can we get a shot of this?" said Dave.
"No filming in this tunnel," said our guide, the guy was starting to piss me off.
"Why not?" I snapped.
I was going to have another go at him when Alex took my arm and said, "Come on Barb time to go."
"Hmmmnn," I let myself be led away.
"OK Dave, let's wrap it up here."
Back on the surface I said to Alex, "That there door was definitely suss."
"It was strange, that's for sure."
"So what are we going to do about it?"
Back at the motel I was getting some stuff ready for a feed when the phone rang. Our phone almost never rang, I mean who did we know to talk to? The pub sometimes called but that was really very rare. Dave answered it and said, "Its for you Barb."
"You got her." I sort of recognised the voice.
"Meet me behind the pub where you work, next to the hardware shop and come alone. Don't let anyone know you've had this call."
My tummy iced over and my heart started thumping. What was this all about? I was frightened and decided to play along for now.
"Rose," I whispered.
"That's right Barbanne and do as I ask and tell no-one or Alex will suffer."
The ice invaded my whole body.
"What are you talking about?"
"Don't worry I'll explain everything but be there in exactly one hour or that boyfriend of yours will regret it."
I felt sick, worried, confused and very, very scared.
"I'll be there," I whispered into the phone.
"Who was that Barb?" said Alex.
"Er nothing much, something with Jay. She wants me to meet her in a while. Now lets have that food. Who wants tea and who wants coffee?"
As soon as we had eaten I said, "OK I won't be long."
"Be back soon Barb we start work at five don't forget."
"Yeah if I don't get back I'll meet you at the pub at starting time."
I hurried down to the pub and around to where the big hardware shop was in the street behind. As I turned the corner I saw Rose standing there and she beckoned me and disappeared into the lane at the side of the store. I followed her. One side of the lane was the blank block wall of the hardware store and the other side was a mesh link fence bordering a used car dump. Rose was standing about half way down.
I walked up to her. I noticed there was a recessed fire door into the hardware shop part way down and as I passed it I felt a shiver of fear.
"What's all this about Rose?"
"Now Barb that's no way to greet an old friend."
"We aren't friends Rose so spit it out. What did you mean Alex will suffer?"
"Barb I'm disappointed and here I thought we were all old friends."
"All friends what are you on about? You're a doper Rose, are you on drugs now?"
"Always Barb but I'm not the only old friend wants to renew acquaintances."
"What are you on about?"
Then I felt him behind me and a car turned into the lane and I said, "What the fuck?" and spun around and screamed and said, "YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then the hands grasped me and I saw the dirty cloth and I thought "fuck what have I done?" and realised I'd been really, really stupid and then the cloth was pushed over my face and although I'd never smelt it before I knew the sickly sweetish smell was chloroform and I started to struggle but then it was invading me and no matter how I tried I coudn't stop inhaling it and I thought, "Oh Alex forgive me," and my knees wobbled and my body became jelly and I screamed "STOP!" but it was only in my head and I thought "I'm going to pee myself," and then the grey wave washed me away.