The writing is mine, but the flow, puncuation, grammar is all my Beta's idea. Thanks BabePopMassacre, you're the best

A large, white Toyota Hilux utility 4WD was travelling in a paddock. The driver and owner of the land, Cody Wilson had just been checking her stock of cattle as well as attending to some of the run down water pumps that dotted her large outback station. When one says "large", it would be the size of a small European country.

Out on her land, it was hot and dusty. If you didn't have a supply of water, it wouldn't take long to perish.

She had lived on the land all her life following in her family's footsteps. Cody was a strong woman, 38 years old and well aged from years in the sun. Her only companion was a 5 year old Border collie named Toby. His role was simple, herd up the animals and his favourite past time, chase anything that moves.

The Hilux started to slow down as it closed in on a dried up waterbed. It was semi-secluded and overshadowed by a rugged ridge that housed wild goats. It also provides some much needed shade from the heat which can be up to 45 degree Celsius. As the vehicle slowed, Toby started to get excited, barking and yelping in anticipation.

Cody laughed as she pulled up near some bushes. This was Toby's reward for a good days work, play time. His tail was wagging and he kept spinning on the front seat.

"Hang on, hang on boy." laughed Cody.

Cody looked over at the bushes and her eyes focused on movement and so did Toby. He was now barking excessively. Cody just got her side of the door open when Toby, with little regard for his owner, jumped across and raced into the bushes.

Cody had a good chuckle. Toby was after the elusive rabbit that he has been trying to catch for ages. Cody jumped out and jeered him up "C'mon Toby, git em, get it."

Toby disappeared into the bushes after the rabbit. She could hear him yelping and thumping around. Cody shook her head when the rabbit shot out straight in front of her feet and headed down another burrow. Toby meanwhile was still in the bushes searching.

Cody reached inside her vehicle and grabbed a water jug and took a long drink. She took off her hat and pushed the top in to make a little drinking bowl and filled it up. She whistled for Toby, but he was in no hurry to return and was off sniffing around.

Cody looked at her watch reading just after 1pm. Her stomach was calling out for lunch so she called for Toby again. He poked his head out and looked at her.

Cody laughed "You missed out again you silly bugger, c'mon."

Toby ran over and Cody placed the hat down. He drank thirstily while she patted him.

"One day boy, you'll get it." She smirked. "Question is do you know what you will do with him?"

She squatted down and roughed him up as he licked her face. As Cody stood she caught sight of something reflecting high up on the ridge. Cody grabbed her binoculars and slowly scouted around. She could see some goats hiding in and around the rocky ledges.

A person high on the ridge was looking down, focusing the sight along the barrel of the rifle until it clearly gets Cody in full view. The rifle was quickly lowered and the person dropped down after realising a reflection was given off.

Cody looked again but then shrugged it off. She threw the binoculars back into her vehicle and opened her door.

The rifle sight focused lining up with Cody's head. A steady finger was on the trigger and squeezed it. The shot echoed around the ridge.

Cody fell down next to her Hilux. The person looking through the sight could only see her legs. The sound of a dog barking echoed loudly. The sniper looked through the sight again, Cody's body still motionless. The sight then focused in on the barking dog and the rifle reloaded. The finger on the trigger was ready to squeeze but paused. The gun was thrown over the shoulder of the sniper and moved back down the ridge to the waiting car.

Toby barked excessively at his owner. He couldn't understand why his master wouldn't get up. He licked at her face, pulled at her shirt and eventually rested his head on her chest whimpering.

Cody started to stir and tried to sit up while Toby continued to bark and lick at her face. Cody cried out and looked down at her right shoulder. Blood had been pouring from the wound and soaked her shirt. "Oh fuck."

She leaned against the car and slowly got up and pulled herself inside. Toby, already in, was licking her.

"Ok boy, ok…. Back off." She started her vehicle and put it into gear. She held her arm to her chest and drove off to her homestead.

She pulled up and almost fell out. She stumbled inside and went through the draws in the kitchen. She eventually grabbed a towel and looked inside her shirt for the first time. She saw the hole and grimaced. She shoved the towel in and headed back to her vehicle. Toby followed.

"No boy, stay."

Cody belted up with much agony and got on the radio. Her nearest town was Bundi, where the hospital was, except it was over 2 hours away. She contacted the outback doctor who arranged for the Flying Doctor Service to meet her at the nearby airstrip.

Cody floored the vehicle down the dirty road until she came up against a gate that separated her two paddocks. She didn't have the energy to stop, so she drove around and through the fence. Groaning not just from pain, but the fact she would have another job to add to her growing list of things to be fix around her property.

The vehicle speeds down the unsealed road until she reaches an intersection. If she headed straight on to the main road would be 45 minutes to the air strip. She decided to turn left as a short cut, reducing the time by 15 mins, still on unsealed road.

It was hardly used by vehicles, mainly a stock route with bushes grown almost. The road was also very bumpy making it extremely uncomfortable for Cody. She came up to a clearing and remembered at the last moment a creek bed that was lower than the road. She stepped on her brakes to slow down but the Hilux drive slammed down into the creek and up the other side. The 4 WD stalled and Cody screamed her pain, grabbing her shoulder. She rested her head against the steering wheel for a moment, breathing heavily.

She reached around and started the Hilux again spinning the wheels on the dirt road before racing off again. She was feeling thirsty and her shoulder thumping. She focused on the road while trying to understand why she was shot. She was coming up to a dirt intersection but maintained speed. In all her life she had never seen anyone use this area as a thoroughfare. She was almost on the intersection when out corner of her eye she noticed dust flying into the air.

At the point she slammed on the brakes hard locking them up, the vehicle skidded but remained at a great speed. Then into sight came a sedan and Cody's vehicle hit it full on. The sedan spun numerous times.

Cody's vehicle came to a halt and no movement came from either vehicle. She groaned and put her head back. Now she had pain from her head, and felt groggy. She looked in her rear vision mirror and touched her forehead cringing. A huge bump was evident where her head had hit the steering wheel. She then recalled hitting something.

Cody got out of her Hilux groaning. Her vehicle was undamaged, protected by a large bull bar on the front. She staggered over to the other vehicle, to the driver's side. It was that side that received the full impact, the side windows all smashed. She looked in to see the driver motionless, head forward and blood over the steering wheel and dashboard.

"Fucking hell!" Cody touched the person. "Hey… hey… can you hear me?" She pulled the head back and saw it was a woman. Cody touched the side of the driver's neck and found a pulse. "Hey can you hear me?"

The driver moaned slightly, but didn't move.

Cody tried to open the door but it would only slightly move-the impact had crushed it. She groaned not wanting to leave her and go for help. She didn't know how long she was going to hold up already feeling light headed.

Cody stepped back and took a deep breath. She kicked hard at the door three times then with all the strength she could muster pulled at the door, its creaked and finally opened up. She knelt down and shook the woman again. "Hey…. Can you move?" The woman only groaned.

Cody unclipped the belt and with her good arm, picked up the woman and threw her over her good shoulder to carry her back to the Hilux. She belted up the injured driver and noticed her face was swollen, a wound to her head and her nose were all bleeding but she couldn't do anything about it.

"Who-ever… you are just hang on."

Cody went around to her side, her knees buckling and she fell, her good arm holding her from the ground while she threw up. She felt tired and wanted to lie down; only the crackle from her CB radio brought her back to her senses.

She drove up to the airstrip. The plane was already waiting along with two people. As she stopped the vehicle a person came to her side.

"No… no… her… she bleeding, I didn't see her." Cody stuttered.

The guy reassured Cody as another person attended to the injured driver. Cody went to get out of her vehicle and remembered nothing after that.

She stirred slightly, her body felt numb, her eyes trying to focus. The room was dim and she was trying to recall the events.

"Cody, you are going to be ok." She heard a voice while feeling a reassuring hand on her left side

Cody looked at the ageing man. He was the town's only police officer, Sergeant Richard Cooper. He was in his early 60s and had a soft spot for Cody. Every since her parents died, he and his wife put a place in their life for Cody. They never had any children of their own, she was the closest thing to a daughter and Cody appreciated it.

She bit her lip to fight back tears. She always tried to retain a tough image around people, but she was unsure of anything "Richard."

"Its fine….. you are going to be alright. The doctors are taking good care of you."

"Ohhh Toby." she grimaced, feeling ill again.

"Meredith has got him. We will look after him until you are on your feet again honey. Rest."

Cody eyes grew heavier and she did as she was told.

It was a week before Cody was coherent and Richard was making an official visit regarding the incident.

"I have no idea who shot me, I suspect it was some stupid city idiots coming up to shoot goats or something, I don't know."

"You don't look like a goat." Richard remarked with arms folded stating the obvious.

"Well I don't know. Hey, how is the woman from the car I hit?"

"She is going to pull through. Concussion, broken ribs and cracked cheek bone."

Cody hissed "Jesuz, nobody ever uses that track Richard. Why was she out there? Did you ask her?"

Richard smiled. "You want to wear my badge too?"


"She is not talking at the moment, still pretty beat up. Look, it could have been worse for both of you. Right Meredith will be in later today with a change of clothes, and no doubt to fuss over you."

Cody smiled. "Your wife is too good."

"Hmmm yeh."

"For both of us Richard." She laughed.

"So she keeps saying. …. The neighbours are looking after your stock, so you rest."