There are technically two stories here but they are similar and in the same area so I'll tell them together. I live in the far North of Queensland, Australia, where the tropical rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. A family friend owns a lychee farm that I work at during the season, usually at the end of the year between November and January. Its good but hard work, exhausting both body and mind. The long days are hot and the nights cold and the bunkhouse for the workers is far from cozy, but I look forward to it every year.

Just to give you an idea of the location of the farm it is on the Atherton Tablelands about two hours from the city I live in. To get there you have to travel the Kuranda Range, a winding and narrow road up a rainforest covered hillside. Once on the tablelands it's just seemingly endless roads through farmland and bushland, There are several small towns along the way but for the most part its a whole lot of nothing and several of the roads are notorious for accidents.

Because of the nature of the drive there, we typically live on the farm for the whole season, the only days off being Christmas Day and New Years day if the season is still going then. Last season however, a friend of the farm owner died suddenly and we got an extra day off so he could attend the funeral. As mean as it might seem, I was happy for the extra day of rest.

Having driven home and enjoyed the luxuries of civilisation and a good night sleep, it was time for me to return to the farm in order to start work the following morning. I had tried to make the most of the day off but I drive a small hatchback I had to be at the farm before it got too late. In addition to the roads being isolated and treacherous, wallabies and other wildlife come out during the twilight hours and have few qualms with playing in traffic. A high speed collision with even a small wallaby would probably write off my car. Because of this I had intended to be back at the farm before sunset. Alas, it was not meant to be.

To reach the tablelands from the city you have to drive up the winding Kuranda Range which on a clear run it takes 20 minutes. On my run, I got stuck behind big semi-truck with no way to overtake. Having cleared the range and on the open road I seemed to meet with every caravan, trailer and bus and as such, before I reached the township of Mareeba, the last town before farm, the sun had set.

I made the decision to keep going, the farm wasn't much longer from Mareeba and the roads are fairly empty past the town even during the day. There isn't much out there, a few spread out farms, a low security prison, but mostly it's just bushland. I'd just put on my highbeams I thought, keep an eye out for any suicidal wildlife and take it carefully. So off I went , flooring it on the empty roads. It was a pitch black night, the only things visible was what was illuminated by the headlights of my car. Occasionally I'd see lights from farmhouses through their paddocks or orchards but other than that it was just me and the darkness. That was until I got onto a straight stretch, flanked by an irrigation channel on one side and mango farm on the other. Down the road I saw the orange blinking of car's hazard lights.

I eased off the accelerator, a conundrum passing through my mind. I'd heard tales of people getting robbed along roads like these by people pretending to be in distress. This could be such a trap. Then again, if it was someone genuinely in need, it was unlikely anyone else would be along this road anytime soon. My conscience got the better of me and so I slowed down and stopped on the road next to the car. It was an old looking sedan with the hood up under which a bearded older man stood seemingly scouring the inner workings for something. He had white hair, a flannel shirt and was probably in his early sixties and he didn't look up as I stopped next to him. I asked him if he needed a hand. Still he didn't look up, he just stroked his beard for a moment before replying "Mate, if you can give us a jump start, should be able to her home."

Despite having jumper cables in my car I didn't entirely trust him. I checked the time quickly in case I needed details for a police report. 7:15pm. Still, he may be genuinely in need of help and I couldn't drive away knowing I could've helped. "No worries mate, I've got cables in the back. Let me just get off the road and get them out." I told him, pulling up about 10m ahead of his car, still skeptical of his situation. As I got out I clutched my keys and headed to the back. The man was still in the same position looking under the hood of his car. Not wanting to turn my back on him for too long I merely cracked the boot door so the light came on, and I peered in through the rear window only to see my jumper cables weren't there.

"I'm sorry mate, it seems like I forgot my cables..." I started saying, turning back to face the man only to find, to my surprise, I was talking to myself. A little stumped I simply got back in my car and resumed my journey to the farm, looking in my mirror at the red glow of my tail lights and the nothing beyond it. It wasn't until I began thinking about it did I realise that what had just happened wasn't right.

Where had he gone? I'd only turned my back on him for a matter of seconds. I hadn't heard him close the hood or open his door to turn off his hazard lights, The road was essentially blocked on either side and I hadn't heard the ignition if he had moved the car. The more I thought about it the less I could explain and by the time I got to the farm I was physically shaking, unable to comprehend what I'd just experienced. Luckily, I had some whiskey to help me sleep that night and soon the busy farm life made me forget about it. That is until the next incident, just after Christmas along the same stretch of road.

I'd basically made the same bad decisions as last time and found myself once again driving back to the farm in the dark. Just before the straight I was on last time there is a dip in the road. That is, the road comes around a corner, goes down a hill then up the other side before continuing, the whole section being a few hundred metres long.

As I was approaching the dip I could see headlights behind me and they're gaining on me fast. The headlights basically chased me down the hill and by the time I've reached the top they're right on my tail. A lot of people speed along these roads, so I assume it's someone too impatient to obey the speed limit on such an isolated road. A few seconds later, I'm on the same straight stretch as before though at the time I didn't realise. I pull over as far as I can in my lane and stick my arm out the window to wave at the guy, signalling that I was letting him overtake me. It's not an overtaking lane or anything, but it's long and straight and I really didn't want this guy literally pushing me all the way to the farm. He seemed to get the message and I watched in my mirrors as the headlights moved to the side and sped up.

Suddenly, a gust of wind violently rocked my car. I swerved and frantically wrestled with the steering wheel not wanting to careen off the road into either the irrigation channel or the rows of trees on the other side of the road. I regained control, gasping frantically, my heart pounding like it was trying to break out of my ribs. I quickly scanned my mirrors and look over my shoulders to see where the other car had gone, thinking I may have hit it. It was nowhere to be seen. It was at this point I realised I was on the same stretch of road as last time and I began to panic. I quickly glanced at the dash to check my speed and for any warning lights but my eyes drifted across to the clock. My heart froze and my throat clenched, the panic being replaced with my stomach sinking like a rock. 7:15pm.

I got to the farm and worked out the rest of the season without further incident besides from the typical farm oddities that everyone experiences; strange dreams, figures in your periphery, rustling in the paddock at night etc. I did some research and found there has been several fatal crashes on that road. I'm not entirely convinced what I experienced was paranormal but I am at a loss explaining them. As for the relevance of them both happening at 7:15pm, perhaps it is just a coincidence, perhaps there are strange things that only happen at the setting of the sun, I don't know.
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