Here’s a little something I posted on Twitter today. Click through to read the tweet thread, or it’s all transcribed below.

It’s New Year’s Eve, so that seems like a good time to tell this story of what happened back in about ’02 or ’03. Somewhere around there. I’ve never told anyone before.

Me and three friends decided to see the new year in somewhere remote. We rented a cabin up in the Snowy Mountains (don’t forget, it’s summer in Aus for new year) and we headed up there with loads of food and booze.

The place was on a property, but miles from the main house. You went past the house, then along a dirt track for about 3km to the edge of the bush. Little log cabin, it had power, tank water, all that.

It was beautiful. Bush along one side, and a view of a million miles across a huge valley right in front, with epic mountains in the distance.

We arrived about lunchtime on the 31st, got set up in there. Had the place booked until the 3rd of January. A cool private break for four friends.

There was a big old BBQ out front, and seats with a wooden table. The new year would be seen in looking at stars over that massive view, cooking up steaks and snags, drinking cold beers. Wonderful.

It all went well to begin with.

Honestly, we were all pretty wasted by about 10pm, but had no intention of slowing down. As the clock rolled around towards midnight, one of our number (let’s call him Jim to protect the innocent) said he needed a piss. He strolled off towards the bush.

“The toilet is about 3 metres away and inside!” I yelled after him, but he called back something about country living and walked into the shadows under the ghost gums.

We carried on, opened new beers, and then I realised it was coming up to midnight. “Where’s Jim?” I asked. He’d been ages.

The other two shrugged, let’s call them Gaz and Baz (I don’t know how much the guys would want me to share this story, so…)

Gaz laughed and said Jim probably got lost in there. Baz said he’d probably passed out, he was so drunk. He’d wake up in the bush in the new year with leaves and twigs stuck to his face and wonder where the hell he was.

I said we should look for him, but then Gaz said, “Hey, it’s midnight! Happy new year, ya cunts!”

We started cheering and whooping, clinking bottles and wishing each other all the best, Jim forgotten for a moment.

As our celebration died down, there was the tail end of a bloodcurdling scream from somewhere out in the trees. My stomach turned to ice at the sound of it, goosebumps rippled my skin, despite the hot summer night.

“Did you hear that?” I asked the others. “Hear what?” they both said.

“There was a scream,” I said. Gaz and Baz both shook their heads, claimed they didn’t hear a thing. “Probably a dingo howling or something,” Baz said.

But I knew it wasn’t.

Jim didn’t come back that night. The next day, hungover as fuck, we went looking for him in the trees. Didn’t find him. All we found was his t-shirt, ripped and torn, and bloodstained.

We stood there, the three of us, holding this gory thing. What the fuck had happened?

We reported him missing, and of course, they searched. But they found nothing. One bloodstained shirt was all that was left of our friend.

I’ve wondered a lot over the years what got him. The rangers said there was no sign of a struggle, no evidence that he’d even been there except our word and the shirt. No tracks at all.

I mean, they couldn’t even find the tracks he’d left going into the trees. The three of us they accounted for, but not Jim. They started asking us if we were fucking them around, lying about a 4th person for a laugh.

But the owner confirmed four of us had checked in.

What happened to him?

We kinda moved on with our lives. Just one of those unexplained things, you know?

But a couple of years later I went back out there. I rented the same cabin again, just by myself. Not for new year, but some time in February, I think it was.

When I got there, I went back into the bush right where we’d found the shirt. I remembered it well, the tree the shirt had been caught on – it was a unique shape and hadn’t grown that much. I just went there to sort of remember Jim, but something made me look up.

Not sure why, I climbed the tree. It was really tall, but easy enough to clamber up. When I got about twenty-five metres off the ground, and it started getting thin and really unstable, I saw something caught up in a small V of branches.

It looked at first like some sticks, strangely weathered. But as I got closer, I saw it was bones, held together by skin and ligament gone hard and leathery like jerky.

Fingerbones, mostly.

Then I realised, the way the old skin still hung off the bones, it was pretty much an entire hand, jammed hard into the V of the branches, torn off at the wrist. More than twenty-five metres off the ground.

I left it there, and climbed back down. I decided not to tell anyone about it. I mean, it wouldn’t bring him back, would it?

So I’m a bit half-hearted about new year’s these days. It always reminds me of Jim. Cheers, mate, wherever you are.

And call me crazy, but every year, if I stay up, just as the cheering and celebrating ends at midnight I always hear the tail end of a bloodcurdling scream. Somewhere above me.

Anyway, Happy New Year, all!