Copper from the dark

Up from Sydney town a boy rode with haste

He had been caught in traffic and had no time to waste;

The dark was setting in as he made his lonely ride,

On the Hume highway,

And then Monaro drive.

 

 

The fog started to roll in, it chilled him to his bones,

He had a hip flask with him, to seal his troubled woes,

He put the liquor to his lips with each stop he made;

He ‘had to stay warm’ he said,

It was colder than the grave.

 

 

Riders are partial to the road that ebbs and flows,

So to ease the boredom he went down Old Federal Road

A pass long ceased to be used – he rode it hard and fast,

Glee at each corner he took,

Escaping death’s grasp.

 

 

Upon a flat he saw behind the flashing blue and red,

The wail pierced the silence, he felt intangible dread

A copper was behind him, that was plain to see.

He eased the throttle off,

And stopped beside the trees.

 

 

The copper parked beside him, dismounting from his bike,

Surveyed the boy from Sydney with sunken and cloudy eyes.

A smile appeared on his face and through dirty teeth, he said

‘Mate you better watch yourself,

You’re riding with the dead.

 

 

You’re breaking the bloody law you see, you’re riding way too fast,

And at every pit stop, you’ve drunk from that flask.

I’m letting you off this time, but keep this thought in mind,

One more drop goes into you,

And mate, you’ll be mine.

 

 

To the judge you’ll go, and he’ll sentence you hard time,

And in his gaol boy, you’ll pay dearly for your crimes’.

And with no further word, the copper turned his back,

Mounted his bike again,

And took off down the track.

 

 

Though shocked, the boy from Sydney did not feel ashamed,

He took pause to think from where the copper could have come.

Shaking off a darker thought he muttered a single word,

It could have been an adjective,

Perhaps a noun or verb.

 

 

Back on his bike again, he carried on his drive,

With his current speed he would arrive well past sunrise,

With a glance around him, he throttled up his bike,

He would ride hard and fast,

All through the bloody night.

 

 

And through that darkened world of his, he had a guiding light,

A faint glow upon a hill, just off Monaro drive,

And so he carried on his way, wondering what it could be,

Making such a hellish blaze,

Glowing through the trees.

 

 

As he approached the light he slowed down with some haste

For there upon the road, he saw a vision of great distaste,

A car crashed and aflame, he tried to use his phone,

But could not get a signal,

It appeared he was alone.

 

 

The boy from Sydney spied, just off from the flaming wreck,

Strewn across the road, a driver with snapped neck,

Thrown, it would seem, from the driver’s seat.

The body lay still and mangled

A vision no mother should meet.

 

 

Summoning up his courage, he approached the hellish blaze,

And stopped as the dead man suddenly met his gaze,

His head bent, his charred skin pulled to bare his teeth,

‘Mate you better watch yourself,

You’re in trouble with the police’.

 

 

He raised a menacing finger, at the wild Sydney boy,

And croaked these gravelly words with a tongue all but destroyed.

‘Be more careful how you ride, the copper is out tonight

That man will give you more

Than just a scare or fright.

 

 

He’s marked you as his next, and won’t warn you again,

All who break the law here, do not call him friend.

So heed my warning boy, listen to what I say

Be a smart lad now,

And drive slowly on your way’.

 

 

In a flash the rider had taken to his heels,

He mounted his bike again, and sped off with great zeal.

Once he left the animation far behind in the dark,

He stopped again to recover,

And reached for his flask.

 

 

After a quick smoke, he mounted once again,

And through the dreadful silence, heard the wail behind him,

Out of nowhere it would seem, the copper was making chase.

He kicked his bike into life,

He had no time to waste.

 

 

He roared along the road with the copper catching up,

The wailing of the sirens, he’d just ran out of luck.

The copper gave a cackle, that pierced the blackened sky,

The faster the boy drove,

The quicker the copper did fly.

 

 

The copper was upon him, the boy did he scream,

The spectre raked his chest with claws long and mean.

He grabbed him by the collar, held on good and tight,

And took the wild Sydney boy

Far off into the night.

 

 

Not a trace was found although a thorough search was lead,

Eventually the police admitted the wild boy was dead.

A funeral was held and they grieved as was proper,

But never did they find

Any signs of a copper.

 

 

From the politics of Canberra, to old Sydney proper,

Along a stretch of road patrols the spectre of a copper.

Past the southern highlands, and the stretch of tablelands,

Amongst these ragged valleys,

Rides the judge’s handyman.

 

 

So mark my words now, those who dare to ride,

If you are bad you’ll find the copper at your side,

Go slow between Sydney and Canberra’s first park,

Because there you will find him,

The copper from the dark.

Thomas Green

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