Once in Emerald, two girls were walking through a tunnel. The tunnel was well known to locals, as it was a quick and easy short-cut that connected the main road to the area behind Mitre-10. However, the tunnel was sinister and parents always told children not to go through it.
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The girls were returning after buying a take-away dinner for their family, McDonalds and KFC for themselves and a Red Rooster for their younger brother. The night was cold and it looked like rain, so the girls were desperate to get home into their warm house.
"Come on, lets go through the tunnel, " said one of the girls.
"What? The tunnel! It's way too dark to go through there!" exclaimed the other.
"No way, there are lights all the way along. It'll be fun!" urged the first girl.
The second girl, just wanting to get home reluctantly agreed and into the tunnel they went.
As they walked through the tunnel, the girls were starting to regret their decision. Nevertheless, they continued along the seemingly endless tunnel. They were nearing the end when they heard mumbling.
"What was that?!" whispered on of the girls. The first girl hushed were and nudged a crumpled heap with her toe. Just then for the first ime, the girls noticed a smell - a vile odour filled the tunnel. It seemed to be coming from ................... the lump.
The lump began to move. The mumbling became louder and the odd word became recognisable. The man, they were fairly sure now that the lump was a man, rose to his feet.
The dumbstruck girls said the first thing that came into their heads.
"What is that smell?" The drunk man grinned, and from behind his back he produced a .................... a hand - a dead, rotting, maggot-infested hand. The girls screamed. The man slowly shook the hand, back and forth, back and forth. Two greenish-yellow fingernails dropped off the hand and onto the floor of the tunnel. The girls screamed again, louder this time.
"Whose hand is that?!" asked one of the terrified girls
The man broke into tears, "This hand belongs to the one of the greatest men who ever lived, my, my, my ............ brother!" The man staggered around as the girls tried to push past him and he fell back to the ground and into oblivion and the hand disappeared.
The girls ran home as fast as they could
"Where have you two been?" shouted their mother as they entered the house, puffing and panting.
"Did you get my Red Rooster?" demanded their brother. One of the girls shot him a dirty look while the other threw him the bag.
"Mum, mum, you'll never believe what we saw!" said one of the girls excitedly.
"A man, an old homeless man, just lying around in the tunnel. And guess what he had. A hand! A real live hand!"
"Are you sure? Absolutely positive?"
"Yes mum! Call the police or something! Please!"
"OK, Ok, Ok. I'll call them now. What's that smell by the way?" said their mother as she walked towards the phone.
Meanwhile, their little brother was opening his Red Rooster bag, "Oh, ha, ha, ha!"
"Ha, ha what?" said one of the girls.
"You think it's really funny don't you, putting rubber hand on top of my Red Rooster don't you. Well here's what I think of it." He grabbed the hand a took a bite out of it.
"Oh yuck! You are so gross! That was THE HAND!" screamed one of the girls. The brothers face turned pale, pale as a ghost. He ran to the bathroom and the family could hear the retching from the other end of the house.
"Right! That's it. I'm calling the police," said the mother. Then she took what was left of the hand, put it in a plastic hand and left it on the front porch.
It wasn't long before they heard a car pull up out front and Constable Pratt was at the door.
"Did you ring the police?" The constable asked the mother.
"Well, yes ....., yes, I did," the mother said, slightly uncomfortable and not knowing how to address such a figure of authority. "But it's the girls who know the story."
"Well then, what's this about a hand?" he said, looking at the girls.
After they told him the story, he went out to look at the hand.
"So where is it? inquired the constable.
"Well, it's right over here .................," the mothers voice faltered. "Well it was,"
As the family stood silently contemplating the spot where the hand had been, they heard, "Grrrr, woof, woof, woof, woof." And with that their family dog came trotting around the corner, with the old, rotting, smelly hand in his mouth.
If that wasn't bad enough, out of the darkness lurched the drunk, roaring incoherently at the dog. The dog dropped the hand and took off for the back yard. The drunk fell onto the ground clasping the hand to his chest and fell asleep.
"Is this the man," constable Pratt asked.
"That's him, that's him!" said the girls.
The old drunk was dragged into the back of the police car and the hand was put carefully into a specimen bag and placed in a grey box in the boot of the car.
"Thank's," said the constable. "Enjoy your tea!"
They didn't see the old man again or the hand and it took the children a while to start using the tunnel short cut again. Now they rush through it and jump at the slightest strange sound. It's strange, there used to be cans and rubbish strewn around but now it's always mysteriously cleaned every night, especially the area around a little white cross.
(Story created by Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller and the year 6/7 students at Denison State School. Written by Jessamy Routley.)