Yesterday, 26. Then 35. Then 65. 76. 96.
Today, 108. Then at 4pm this afternoon, 131.
That's how many people have died in this fire catastrophe so far. 750 homes destroyed.
There'll be more to come of course, the fires are still roaring across the state, and there are so many razed houses that they'll be finding more victims for weeks underneath the collapsed rubble. People on outlying properties who stayed to fight, people who tried to run in the cars but couldn't go faster than the flames -
I'm profoundly disturbed by the newspaper photos of cars sitting on roads, mangled and burnt out, sometimes crashed into each other. There are dead people in those cars, and those pictures are actually images of tombs.
I don't like thinking about the poor animals in the forests and on farms who would have been terrified by the cataclysm, frightened out of their lives as they tried desperately to escape. Or the people who only had two seconds to run and couldn't grab their dogs or cats. The mental horror, guilt and anguish for them is unimaginable.
And then there's the Age, which tells the story of a man who stayed with his horse (and survived) and sent his brother away on his prized 1993 Harley Davidson to escape the fires. He doesn't know if his brother is okay.
In the Herald Sun there's a photo of a Harley Davidson lying on a road, on its side, and the story says the body of the rider was found nearby.
Are they actually two halves of the same story?