The Shrouding Mysteries of ‘Them’

By Isem, 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 Shrouding Mysteries of ‘Them’

Screeching, it rears its head. Mild rustling ensues as it surveys the area. I hold my breath. Its head turns in my direction. “Well Damn.”


I quietly open the door to the prime minister’s office, knowing that a vault lies inside. Don’t ask me how, I just do. Creeping in the dark, as per my job, I attach my C4 to the vault, unbothered whether anyone hears me or not. Most are dead already. Backing away slowly from the vault door, I hear the office door creak open. Before I know it, a blinding pain takes over me, centring from my left thigh. Gasping and shivering in pain, I turn towards the shooter, waiting for the end. I took them in; their wavy and disheveled brown hair, golden tan skin unmarked by scars, and her slit on her eyebrow. If I was honest, she was quite beautiful, even noticeably drunk. 

Breathing hard, I lay on my back stretched out upon the grass. I relish the feel of the sun against my skin, taking in great gulps of air. Slowly, painfully, I begin to stand, my joints grinding against one another. You can even hear the creak of my bones. Moving my hands to balance me, I feel a blinding pain in my left thigh. “Ahh!” I scream, breathless already from the added agony. I spin, my eyes searching for the idiot who decided that shooting me was a good idea. I notice them, weaving their way through the streets of this ghost town. “Not so fast,” I breathe, starting after them. My feet pound against the ground, bringing me closer and closer to my assailant. As I run after them, I feel the skin around my bullet wound pull tight, the wound already healing. Although it feels as though salt is engraved deep within it. At least it won’t scar unlike the wound upon my back. Those actually had salt embedded in them. 

It’s not long before I’m right behind them, breathing hard down their neck, the smell of alcohol filling my senses. It dazes me, this new sort of sensation. Pushing through, I continue my chase through the woods, gaining ever closer to my prey. Soon, the sound of crashing waves penetrates my ear drums. Unlike mutants, I’m not afraid of water; I can swim, I was actually better than all the other kids in my area. The trees open and I watch as they jump. I look over and watch as they continue to fall down… down… down…

And then, I jump. Stupid, I know but there’s something about them that just resounds in me. I slip through the waters with a crash, my vision blurring as I search and search for my assailant. I surge upwards, my head breaking the surface, my gaze still searching. And then… there! Laying on their back atop a rock, their midnight black hair spread out upon the surface. I push myself, working my arms as I swim towards her. Grabbing her upper arm, I tug her towards the shore.

Laying her flat on her back, I begin CPR. I deliver 2 breaths even though I’m out of breath myself. 1… 2… 3… Chest compressions… 8… 9… 10…


Much is Rife, Blak Douglas, 2021

Art Write Light is generously supported by the Balnaves Foundation.

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