It felt great, the smoothness, the shine; it was hard to decide what was most bewildering was it the weight or the blackness.
For something the size and shape of a large goose egg, it felt feather lite, yet felt more substantial than anything around her. The shade of it was absorbing, unlike other blacks, some that reflect light this one did not; as shiny as it was, looking at it in the palm of her hand was like looking into bloodless, black stigmata. It was mystical, it was so out of place.
Here in the high country, the landscape was harsh and lush. Severe in that the eucalypts and scrub that had to grow in the rocky terrain. Scrub that constantly scratches you as you push through. Luxurious in that when you hit the open plains, the trees and shrubs give away to open expanses of native grass.
Not anywhere in the three days of travelling had she seen or felt anything like this. The Australian bush, like the insects and reptiles, was hard, rough and prickly. Always grabbing at your clothes, scratching and tearing your skin, the ground undulating trying to trip you, be it light sinewy sticks or hard rough granite trying to trip you to tear at your legs as you fall.
It was everything she could do to tear her eyes away from it, realising that the day was getting on she dropped it into her scroggin bag hanging from the waistband of her backpack. She knew she had another hour to walk to get to camp, best keep going, she could always look later.
He didn’t think anything of it. He’d been driving his semi for a decade now and had come across all sorts of things in his travels. He’d once found an antique typewriter on the Oodnadatta track, it was in pristine condition.
This event was odd; even peculiar. He’d flatted for the first time in ages, he knew he was due a blow-out, the tread had been ripped from the tire. Halfway through changing it, he came across this black as black rock, he was in the Simpson desert, a red dessert, there was nothing like this about.
It had most definitely not fallen from his truck. Thinking nothing of it, he picked it up and dropped it in his pocket, maybe like the typewriter he could get a couple of extra bucks.
It had been a long time since any had been seen, yet here it was sitting on the bar. This was the second one he had ever seen; not many people had seen a yan let alone twice. Many did not recognise it for what it was, they’d reach out, take it, no doubt pocket it, warming it, triggering it.
It was old Jim who told him not to touch it; he took it for himself. That’s how the rumours went, took it and sold it to make some money to drink. It didn’t make sense if that were the Jim would’ve come back to the pub to drink his ill-gotten gains.
He’d had a good life. His lifelong adventures with the love of his life had ended a year ago when Melany had died. He picked up the Yan, dropped it in his pocket and looked around the bar, the hotel that had been their life together.