I have a sad/morbid story for you guys! My sister told it to me and it feels like it flipped a switch in my brain. (I attended my first ever family funeral recently and it just made death feel so much more real to me, so this story freaked me out a bit in a way that I haven't experienced before).
Story context first I guess? My uncle and aunt manage a sheep station in the South Australian outback. My mum and sister went up to do some work with them recently and made friends with all the station hands, who are all female, surprisingly enough. For anyone who doesn't know what sheep/cattle stations are, they are HUGE-Thousands of acres of land in the middle of the outback used to raise live stock. The roads between stations, and on stations are long and not really used except by station staff. Every so often there are cattle grids to break up the paddocks, which are these: www.abc.net.au/news/image/5169…
Dogs, people and vehicles can go over them but cattle or sheep find it difficult to do without getting their feet stuck between the bars. They're used on roads where it's not practical to have a gate.
So. There was a guy from the mines travelling home and to do so he had to go across the station property. He must have been really tired or something and either drifted off at the wheel or not been paying attention to what he was doing. His came to a cattle grid and one of his wheels hit the side, which caused it to flip and roll off the road. He wasn't wearing his seat belt (no one does on stations, and it's not illegal because technically station roads are private property) and he was sent through the windscreen when the car rolled. Probably died on impact.
(Now this is the part that started to make me twinge.)
One of the younger station hands, who was a guy, drove past on a station errand and found the crash. He stopped and straight away called my aunt (station manager's wife) to tell her.
He was absolutely freaked out and she tried to calm him down, but told him that he NEEDED to go over and check to make sure the guy was actually dead and not just unconscious.
His answer was 'I'm pretty sure he's dead.'
'Pretty sure' here being synonymous with 'absolutely certain'. He refused to even approach the crash and he could tell from that distance, without having to check, that the guy was dead. This is the part I found surreal. I can't even comprehend how horrifying and sickly that feeling would be, to be able to look at a body from a distance and know with complete certainty that it's dead. The guy must have been mangled in a way that made it obvious he couldn't still be alive.
The station hand was too freaked out to stay but a crash can't be left unattended in the middle of the outback, so my aunt told him he could come back and they sent one of the more experienced station hands (female) out to wait with the wreckage instead. This is how isolated cattle/sheep stations are right, it took THREE HOURS for the emergency services to reach the crash site.
She said 'You never forget the smell of a dead person.'
This freaks me out a little bit because either the guy had been dead for a while and it took a few days for someone to find the crash, or, (and this sounds worse to me) he hadn't been dead very long but still smelt like death.
It's just a little bit creepy to me that human death smells different to animal death. Station hands deal with dead and dying animals all the time, so she knew what she was talking about.
Anyway. Just thought I'd share that thought because it's been tumbling around in my head for a while and I've already yammered on to the other people in my house, who probably don't want to be reminded of it every time it comes to my mind.