Walking on the wild side of paradise

THE lyssavirus landed on my shoulder and ran down my back. A dozen dreadful mental pictures of the disease flashed through my head before I could stop them.

I live on Magnetic Island, Queensland, and I was walking through a park at 7 pm, passing under a tree, when suddenly I felt a sharp thud on my shoulder – a gumnut, I supposed – then I heard a cackling muffled screech above. My heart sank when my brain said ‘fruit bat!’. 

It sank further when, in the dark, I slowly reached up and fearfully felt for the impact area over my scapula, and my finger touched a warm, wet and soggy mass: not a gumnut.

I was still a 10-minute walk from the restaurant I had been heading for, and all that time I held my tainted finger at length, thinking only of fatal viral disease. At the restaurant I shed my shirt into a bin and held my finger under a tap for a long time.

Later that night the Internet only confused me, so the next