Australian Beasts is a collection of stories written by Michael Dolf Craddock available on the Amazon Kindle. They are as follows:
Peter stood in her doorway – angry and soulless and damned in the doorway – and called her name again.
Reeling from a road rage incident, Peter struggles to come to terms with a world capable of inflicting random acts of violence.
At first the incident brings him closer to his endearing housemate Lilly, who consoles him with a liberal dose of gin and her take on the intuition of animals. But the more Peter dwells on what happened, the more the contagion of random violence threatens to infect every aspect of his life.
Under the cold, watchful eye of a raven, Peter’s humanity slowly unravels.
With echoes of Edgar Allen Poe, this modern gothic tale confronts, disturbs and chills.
The more I said, the more I believed in what I was saying, like a dream that becomes more real the longer you dream it. So I carried on talking…
In an attempt to break an emotional slump that begins to affect the whole world around them, Henry lures Tom onto their balcony and tells a story from his childhood featuring a creature more fascinating and dangerous than the drop bear, yowie, and bunyip combined: the yara-ma-yha-who.
Infusing nostalgic horror and magical realism, ‘The Yara-ma-yha-who’ is a classic tale, inspired by an aboriginal myth, that explores the enduring power of loss and the shadowy nature of memory.
Prufrock vs the Shark
It was then that he wondered if it had all been worthwhile. If he felt the jaws clamp around his chest and wave him around, blood spurting from his mouth like a geyser of red vomit, would he feel like his life had been worth it?
Jon is a man trapped in the jaws of indecision, longing to make a real human connection.
Will he ever dare show himself? Will the prospect of failure always paralyse him? Or does the answer he is seeking lie with the great white stalking the shore?
The Learmonth Monarch
If there was one thing that Alyssa had learned from her boyfriend it was that conservation, contrary to popular belief, was not solely about the preservation of things. Frequently, in fact, it relied on killing a large quantity of creatures… Nothing that could be classified as ‘introduced’ was safe.
Being Mary Poppins must have been hard. But Alyssa knows that when the children you are looking after are aliens you’ve just found in the Australian outback, and you’re a prisoner on a military base, Miss Poppins had it easy.
Things go from bad to worse when one of the aliens changes from something more adorable than a baby wombat, a baby panda and a baby koala all rolled into one, into something so grotesque it’s vomit-inducing.
After all, what chance do intergalactic illegal aliens have if they don’t even look cute anymore?
The Dumb Cell
‘Oh, I’m not the Devil. Though God knows I’ve been called a devil many times before,’ he says. ‘You know how I know, boy?’
‘Because I’ve seen the Devil. And he aint nothing like me. He aint nothing like any of us.’
Back in the early days of the European settlement of Australia, one of the worst things that could happen to a convict was to get sent to the penal colony of Port Arthur. And even worse was getting sent to the dumb cell, an isolation room that was pitch black, timeless, and deathly quiet.
That’s where we find William, who struggles to maintain his sanity as he is taunted by an angry voice that calls itself Jeffers.
William’s only solace is his brief walks out in the yard at night, and the conversations he has with a young soldier called Robert Young. But it transpires that Robert may have a dark secret of his own …
Based on the stories of real people who inhabited Port Arthur, this is a ghost story classically told, with a twist.
The Grey-Headed Flying Fox
Most of the flying foxes took no notice, but some peered curiously down at him. He saw their soft grey heads, red chests, and glistening black eyes. He thought they looked expectant rather than concerned.
Max likes it when the grey-headed flying foxes take up residence in his local park in regional Victoria. But when someone he thought of as a friend throws his favourite pair of cricket shoes right into the middle of a tree full of them, he starts to wonder if he has the guts to go up there and get them back.
While considering what to do, Max thinks about his troubled relationship with his mum, a girl he has a crush on called Jenny, and why this particular tree is ominously called the ‘Widow Maker’.
‘The Grey-Headed Flying Fox’ is a tragicomic story about one boy’s struggle to understand his relationships with those closest to him, and the most important and dangerous tree climb of his life.