It was dark when he arrived at the desolate and uninhabited bush camp.
The holiday ‘cottage’ was more of a hut. Circular and of a very basic wattle and daub contruction, with a thatched roof.
It had three rooms, a living-room with a squat, square chest of drawers, a rickety table, on which an ancient two-slice toaster and equally ancient electric kettle rested. There was also one ladder-backed chair. The furniture was all made from dry flaking wood.
A small bedroom which housed a wooden bedstead like an oblong box on which rested a thin mattress and thinner pillow. A small recess across which a rusted metal bar stretched, served as a wardrobe.
The third room was a miniscule shower room that was accessed only from the bedroom and consisted of a ceramic toilet pedestal, devoid of seat or lid and stained brown inside; an equally stained sink with one tap that leaked brown water from its base and a shower faucet attached to one wall; beneath which the concrete floor was slightly below the level of the rest of the bathroom where the concrete was covered with wrinkled, mottled grey/black linoleum.
There was no door to the shower, just a sagging, grey plastic shower curtain hanging from rusty loops.
No wrapped bar of soap nestled in the cracked soap dish and Dale had forgotten to bring any, so he used his shampoo to wash his hair and clean himself all over. Despite there being no hot water tap in shower or sink, the brackish water from the cold tap was blood warm and not very refreshing.
But Dale did not care. He was exhausted after the nine hour drive in the sweltering heat, so after eating six slices of toast smeared thickly with peanut butter and drinking a glass of cold milk liberally laced with whisky; all of which he had purchased from the village’s only shop – a mini mart that sold everything from car oil to toothpaste – he retired to the lumpy mattressed bed, and, despite the still extreme heat, fell asleep almost immediately.
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