Drawing of a long-haired ape-like creature, mopping the floor in an office. Caption reads: "A large ape-like creature was mopping the floor."

Yowie short story by Iris Carden

Five storeys below Brisbane’s Roma Street Police Station, is the headquarters for the Human Defence Unit. Its members are drawn from among the highest performing members of military, intelligence, and police forces throughout Australia, along with select highly specialised members of the civilian population. The Human Defence Unit and its elite staff are neither police, military nor intelligence. They do not exist.

Trainee Agent Harry Smythe arrived into the office early, and was shocked to discover a large ape-like creature mopping the office floor. He stood frozen to the spot, staring at the creature, not knowing what he should do.

Agent Marissa Tyler arrived. “Still working?” she said to the creature. “Running late today huh?”

The creature shrugged its shoulders, and looked past her to Harry.

“Oh, you two haven’t met yet? Yowie, meet Harry, he’s new here. Harry, meet the Bundamba Yowie.”

The yowie nodded to Harry and resumed his work.

“He’s really a yowie?” Harry asked.

“He’s really a Yowie. He used to live in the area where the TAFE college is in Ipswich. It was a big, open area. He got his water from Bundamba Creek. It was a nice life. Humans moved into the area, and he stole chickens for food along with the native plants and animals he’d always eaten. The city of Ipswich built up all around him, but he still his his bit of open space, until the early two thousands, when the TAFE college was built in the middle of his territory.”

“Wait, he was in Ipswich before they built it up. It’s not a new city. How old is he?”

“No-one knows. Anyway, he went a bit aggro when people took over his home. He kept wrecking the building work overnight. It was a big deal at the time. The Education Department were freaking out their property being constantly destroyed and their cost overruns. Then Kurt Davidson got involved. I’ve told you about Kurt before. He was Senior Agent here at the time. He stayed on the building site overnight, and met with the Yowie. They talked. Well Kurt talked. Yowie used gestured. Kurt went back every night until they reached an agreement. It took about a month, but Kurt didn’t want to use force unless he absolutely had to. Yowie lives in one of the units in the floor below our cells. He works as an after hours cleaner for us, and the HDU provides all his meals and everything he needs, so he doesn’t need a territory and doesn’t run afoul of humans who don’t understand.”

“That floor below the cells are living units? I thought it was files or evidence of something.”

“Well, the residents are kind of evidence, but files and evidence storage are the next storey down.”

“And he just lives down there and never leaves?”

“Sometimes one of us will take him out to a national park or a big park late at night so he can have the night out. He’s nocturnal. He enjoys a good run, and having a bit of a hunt and gather even though he doesn’t need the food.”

“Who else lives down there?”

“Well you remember that zombie? The one Helen looked after and finally healed? Andrew Harrison? Yeah, he didn’t want to horrify his family by going home after he was officially dead and they buried him. He was a nurse before all of that. He’s starting next week as Helen’s assistant. He’s living there. I don’t think there’s anyone else at the moment. Jo and I have both stayed in spare units overnight when we’ve had big cases on or something was happening and we couldn’t go home.”

Yowie was packing up his mop and bucket. He patted Harry on the back, and nodded to Marissa, then went to the lift and selected the “down” button.

Human Defence Unit Stories

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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