[Editor: This story is from Bill Bowyang’s column, “On the Track”, in the The Townsville Daily Bulletin, 1932.]
[A dream of Death]
“Lana Siding” has stiff luck : I am the most sad and lonely man this side of the Gulf. I have been turned out of a good home by a woman who could not see the funny side of any thing. It was all over a dream, and Bill, knowing the sympathy you have for married men. I feel I must unburden my story to you.
After retiring to bed and sleeping in my usual place, i.e. with my head at the foot of the four-poster, I had a dream that I had come into a lot of money. After celebrating for a couple of days with my friends I was kidnapped by two bandits.
I was blindfolded, thrown into a motor car and driven some distance before the car stopped. The bandits carried me into a house and laid me on a bed, then took the handkerchief from my eyes. One of the men then informed me I was in the room with death. Death was represented by a woman, and I was told that as soon as she touched me it would be the end of yours truly.
The men then retired, locking the door as they went out. Looking around the room where I lay I could see nothing strange except that the footrail of the bed was higher than usual, and a lot of clothes were thrown across it so that I could not see behind it.
After a time I could hear “shoo-shoo, shoo-shoo” and a shuffling of feet coming from behind the bed. Then Death appeared, and what a sight it was — a form clothed in a long black robe, with arms two feet longer than they should have been. Her head was about 18in. in length, tapering to a sharp point, with a pineapple stuck on top of it. She had a very large chin with wrinkles under it like a stud sheep’s neck.
This awful-looking thing shuffled forward, waving her arms, and “shoo-shooing” all the time. Sometimes she would stagger and almost fall on me, but would recover herself when she was the width of a cigarette paper [away]. Without touching me she kept this up for some time and then returned behind the foot of the bed.
It looked as if she was going to have a game with me before she gave me the final touch but I decided I would not have a lingering death. I made up my mind I would touch her and hurt her as much as possible in going so. I had not long to wait before the “shoo-shooing” started again, and she advanced from behind the bed. I drew both my knees up as far as possible and when she got to within striking distance I let drive with both feet, intending to strike her in the stomach, but this is where the trouble started.
At that moment my wife happened to wake and sat up in bed with the result that she got the full force of both my feet in the face. She was knocked clean out of bed, but needless to say I had no chance of explaining to her that it was only a dream.
Now Bill, if you happen to meet me on the roads you will know me by the scars I am carrying.
The Townsville Daily Bulletin (Townsville, Qld.), Friday 24 June 1932, page 4
[Editor: Corrected “known me” to “know me”. Added comma after “four-poster”. Added some joining text in square brackets, “[away]”.]