Corporal Larnach’s Report 31 January 1833. Supplement 2
By White Dwarf
It was the bones we noticed first, they crunched beneath our feet, little animal bones, perhaps thousands judging by the number of skulls, which ranged in size from the very small mice like skulls, to larger beasts like the kangaroo. The carcasses were not all ancient and turned to bone, some still had their desiccated hide, indicating only a few months since their death.
They were not the only curiosity. Some of the trees had been carved upon, long twisted faces designed to inspire fear. There were one of these trees every five metres, and just like the bones, they encircled an area of highly dense scrub.
The eeriness of the site was like nothing I had ever experienced. The weight and silence of the air was stifling, it pressed in upon us and made us dizzy. There was no sound, no bird or insect, just our own beating hearts, like someone had balled wet cotton wool into our ears.
Private Stubbs, bless him, offered to push through the dense scrub and search for the missing men, but the day was passing, and our proper location was not certain. We needed to reach the relative security of the house before nightfall. We pressed on.
Upon reading the following report history might think me a fool, or worse a madman. For surely no one will believe me, they will deny what I have seen. They will blame the natives, and in this regard their response with be just as bloody. This is why I must write this account, for there to be some true record of the happening that has led to the death of some many.
We reached the Bigge farmhouse before nightfall, reuniting Mr and Ms Bigge. He remained in his trance like state, moving and walking when prompted, but otherwise vacant behind the eyes. His wife fussed about him, all the while demanding answers, which we could not give, only that we had been attacked in the night, and that we believed the rest of the men to be dead or captive. She demanded we fetch the doctor from town, but I convinced her of the danger to us if we travelled at night, and that we would all travel to town in the cart at first light.
The maid, Betty, a convict out of Dublin, prepared food and beer for us. Short lived was the relief we felt at this time.
As night fell Bigge again became hysterical. It took the four of us to hold him down. He began to seize, with his eyes rolled back into his head, and his face turning blue. He had swallowed his tongue. McDougall didn’t hesitate to reach into the stricken man’s mouth to retrieve it. I had never seen a throat expand such. As McDougall freed the tongue and withdrew his hand Mr Bigge’s teeth came down like a rabbit trap, snapping shut and not letting go, only when I applied all my weight to the jaw, and felt it pop out of joint, were we able to release McDougall’s fingers, which came out in an awful state. A nail on his middle finger was missing, and his ring-finger nearly flayed.
Stubbs and I held the thrashing Mr Bigge down while Betty washed and wrapped McDougall’s hand. Bigge struggled and screamed like the devil were inside him, his jaw jutting at an unnatural angle. We were forced to lash him to the bed with hemp cord, and thankfully once he was bound, his struggling ceased abruptly.
Betty’s scream drew everyone’s attention to the window, where she was pointing, she cried she had seen a face, and indeed, there were dark figures moving in the night, a raiding party. The women took cover near the stricken Mr Bigge, and we three took up firing positions at the windows, which were narrow, and constructed of narrow wooden slats. They provided good cover. We watched the natives circle, and we watched as three fire torches appeared out of the black and drew closer to the house. They intended to burn us out.
I ordered the Privates to fire at anyone carrying a torch.