The Calm Before The Storm

By Hannah, Stage 5

Written as part of Art Write Light 2021

Art Write Light 2021 is a  creative writing project curated by Story Factory, in collaboration with visual artist Blak Douglas. During the program, students from Bonnyrigg High School and St Clair High School were introduced to the work of Blak Douglas, and created written and audio pieces responding to his artwork. The audio you’re about to listen to features a young writer from the program reading an extract from their work.



The Calm Before The Storm

Laying on their back, the rustling of grass filling the air. A gush of wind and then animal claws on the path behind them. 


Darkness. Nothingness. That’s all I see. But what I hear and feel is very different. Footsteps, circling me. Breathing. Not mine but someone else’s. The surface below me is hard, cold. I can feel another presence in the room. Watching me. Constantly. I can’t see them. A piece of fabric obstructs my view. Tape covering my mouth.

I’m numb. Paralysed. Ropes encircling my wrists and ankles, tying me down. Restricting my movements. The footsteps stop. Where, I don’t know. I feel eyes on me. Gliding over my body. I feel something cold against my skin. I try to remain calm and still but I flinch away. Laughter. Deep laughter. It flows through my ears. The coldness disappears followed by footsteps. Quieter and quieter. The sound of a door opening and closing is the last sound. Then, silence. Nothingness once again.

Minutes, maybe hours have passed. Time is a concept lost on me. My wrists are aching, my ankles killing me. The door opens and footsteps fill the silence. The sound of someone’s voice. Followed by silence. They’re talking on the phone. A final statement before the hang up tone. This is followed by the same deep laugh as before. The sound of a photo being taken and yet another laugh. I squirm and make noise, screaming loudly but hardly any sound escapes. I’m met with a voice. A yelling voice. Telling me to stay quiet. I obey. I continue to obey until I’m released, which could take days.


Much is Rife, Blak Douglas, 2021

Art Write Light is generously supported by the Balnaves Foundation.

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