Page:Bush Studies (1902).djvu/76

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But he had planned to fix the dog. He would unpen the sheep, and the lurking dingoes, coming up from the creek to worry the lambs, would prove work for the dog. He crouched silently to again deceive this man and dog, and crept towards the sheepyard. But the hurdles of the yard faced the hut, and the way those thousand eyes reflected the rising moon was disconcerting. The whole of the night seemed pregnant with eyes.

All the shadows were slanting the wrong way, and the moon was facing him, with its man calmly watching every movement. It would be dawn before it set. He backed from the yard to the myall's scant screen. Even they had moulted with age. From under his coat the handle of the axe protruded. His mind worked his body. Hugging the axe, he crept towards some object, straightened himself to reach, then with the hook on his handless arm, drew back an imaginary bolt, and stooping entered. With the axe in readiness he crept to the bunk. Twice he raised it and struck.

It was easy enough out there, yet even in imagination his skin was wet and his mouth was dry. Even if the man slept, there was the dog.