Good Riddance is a reflection on the way Westerner’s impose their lifestyle on the Indigenous people of Australia. Its purpose is to reflect the reactions to and consequences of, Westernisation. I wrote this piece orgininally in one of my year 12 literature creative writing SAC's, then further developed it to submit as an english writing folio piece. It was inspired by a short story written by Janette Turner Hospital.
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"I don't think he's gonna stop." Blood was running down his back, rivers changing course and flooding. Another day another flogging, no not the usual, Mr. Brady had slipped under a tide of rage. The veins in his neck dilated with hatred.
"Don't cry; don't let him get to you. Think of something else, not the pain, something else...
A hiss of air and the crack of leather broke the boy’s concentration. A memory half forgotten slipped to his conscience, silencing the cane.
"We come from the Yolngu" a weathered voice whispered.
“...yeah think about that, not the pain...”
"We follow the birds, wander from billabong to river"
“...wait who wanders? What were they saying? He’s stopped, where is the cane? He's stopped."
The boy’s thoughts straightened, focused. The tide was spent, Mr. Brady's hard cane broken.
"Get back to your seat" The boy’s blood stained the floor, Mr Brady's hands and the horrified classmates minds. He stood on shaking legs, chin held high and walked from the room.
"Good riddance, bad blood in that one," muttered Mr. Brady as the boy left.
The afternoon was soft and moist, the ground not quite crunching under his steps. Breakfast creek opened up ahead, revealing overhanging gums and a rusted river boat. Approaching his house, the boy's footsteps became sluggish. It was the shoes. "Why do we need shoes anyway" he thought. "You can't feel the mud under them, can't track silently" ripping them off, he threw them into the usual hollow tree trunk.
"How come you always take your shoes off?" she'd asked
"Coz" he’d answered.
Walking into the cool brown water of breakfast creek, the boy washes his welted back. "Scars will remain to remind me. Pain, they always cause pain." the water turned pink, clearing away the pain, the memory. After a time of unmoving, unfeeling the boy climbed onto the boat. Cut the tie. He left the pain behind and the tide took over. The rusted river boat flowed.
“Seven times eight? Come on, speak up!” he mumbled an answer, wrong again.
“That’s not good enough! You didn’t study last night did you? Your kind never studies! If you’re not going to willingly learn this I’ll beat it into you! Stand up!” a hiss of air and the crack of leather…
Unrestful slumber gripped the boy. Questions and answers colliding in his dreams.
"You come from the Yolngu. We are wanderers" the ageless voice was louder now.
"...wandering... who wondered? They did! For forty years, searching for their Promised Land, the Israelites... promised land? Where’s mine?"
"We follow the birds, boy."
The boat rested against a foreign bank. Muddy water lapping at the hull. His eyes searched the new surroundings. Untouched, unchanged, unknown. Nothing to taint him or his heritage. No canes or straps, numbers or letters. Just earth. Stepping off the boat his toes slid into the mud. About to step forward, the boy suddenly felt trapped. The tie, it was the tie. "Why do I have to wear a tie anyway?" he thought. "It stops you from making proper bird calls." Ripping it off, he threw it into the boat. His shirt followed.
"Why do you always take your shoes off?"
A noise attracted his attention, a bird! Mr. Kingfisher. The bravest and most cunning. Something to aspire to.
"We follow the birds"
No more traces of them. Free as the land, as the birds, the boy moves ahead. He shadowed the kingfishers, searching for his heritage, his culture, his totem, and his people. Weaving under over and around the earth. The boy ran.
"Coz...I don't like the trappings of you white fella's."
- Guilty gets no sleep in the last slow hours of morning, experience is cheap I should of listened to the warning