Thursday, July 10, 2008


Sponsored by Beyond Blue

The Theme
Look for signs of depression, Listen to your friends experiencesTalk about what’s going on and Seek help together
Using these messages about improving mental health as a theme, compose a piece of creative writing in the format of a short film script, short story or poem of no more than 1,500 words.

A gluey wetness seems to drench every inch of my hot skin. In the second after my eyes have flared open in alarm I think I’ve wet myself in my sleep. With a horrified gasp from the suffocating discomfort from the heat strangling my limbs I fling the sleeping bag off my body in disgust. It limply hurls through the air and drops from my thankful sight behind the foot of my bed. Panting, with my foul smelling hair sticking to my sickly wet face I manage to yank myself upwards into a sitting position from the bed as the fitted sheet upon which I had been lying seems for a moment to want to follow my bare sweat soaked back.
It’s so hot and I think I’m going to hurl for a moment as I suddenly realise that light has flooded my bedroom. The nightmare of the night has finally ended. The strands of my long brown hair obscure my vision but I still gaze around me numbly, my breath still running in and out in spurts that seem to shake my whole body. My mouth is so dry and the gagging taste of my breath suddenly hits me as I fling out my arm almost choking for my water bottle. Snatching it viciously from my bedside table I spit and curse over it’s emptiness before my eyes finally hit the small black digits telling the time on my mobile phone.
9 am. I swear bitterly again. It’s my birthday.

I stagger up the long hall of the farmhouse, my dead tongue running over the roof of my mouth as I look in every room individually as I pass it. It’s all the same as when I went to bed the night before, then the thought hits me bitterly, did I expect it to be different?
In the kitchen I wrench open the door of the old fridge that whines as though in protest. My hand grabs at the first object and I twist the lid off the bottle of milk. Gulping deeply, the cold liquid freezes my tongue as I drink and drink heavily till I have to stop to breath. Heaving, with the dead taste in my mouth now sickly mingled with the thick remnant liquid of the milk I put it back in the fridge as I remember that it’s my birthday. The thought sinks in gradually, I’m 18.
A grimace slices through my face and my brow knots up painfully with anguish.
“Fucking wonderful” I sneer to myself.
The sun is already gushing strongly through the large kitchen window that is so thick with built up dirt visibility through it is no longer possible. It feels like just another day, but it’s not, it’s ten times worse than an ordinary day, the dreaded, cursed day that had been lurking at the back of the mind and loitering in a future that seemed too far away to be even comprehended only a few weeks ago has finally arrived in grandly-shit glory. I give a shriek of anger and pad out of the kitchen with a heavy tread before I start venting my fury on the walls and crockery of the filthy old kitchen.

As I open the back door a fury brown lump instantly flings itself at me. I’m surprised at the sound of my own laughter, “Brandy you stupid mutt”. She stands on her hind legs with the sharp nails of her front paws digging into my leg, her floppy puppy tail that she still has little control over spirals in every direction, her big shiny eyes staring at me mischievously. Her nails begin to hurt so I push her off me.
Maggie is there too, older and more observant to my moods she hangs back till I give her a ‘Good morning your heiness’.
Then, pink tongue lolling she mooches over for a cuddle.
“I’m nearly as old as you are today Magsy” she grins, “It’s not bloody funny!”. She keeps grinning. “Good on ya”.

My pack and I saunter outside into the day. I round the old milking shed and narrow my eyes into the distance. Something white lies near the Woolshed. My head droops as I go get the shovel and some twine from the machinery shed.

We tread through the dewy grass not speaking. Brandy romps ahead while Maggie and I are more sober, remaining side by side at a steady pace. Occasionally her nose drops to snuff something in the grass, but she doesn’t let her small white paws fall out of line with the scuffed brown toes of my Blundstones.
As we near the object lying in the grass, illumination shows its texture to be far from white as any optimistic doubt I had on my final conclusion drops away. Standing over the sheep’s carcase Maggie and I look down at its glazed eyes, swirling with a colourful oily spill.
Still in my bright red pyjama pants I bend down, the pain in my knees forgotten. “Sorry buddy” I whisper softly as I begin to wrap the blue twine around the wether’s hind legs.
I stand straight and wrap the twine around the shovel before I start to drag the heavy carcase of the animal through the dirt, the dogs trotting along behind like a funeral procession.
Pain from my knees seems to seer up my spine with every cursed step. I spin around and begin the trudge backwards, a crude grin making its way across my face, “Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to me! At least my day hasn’t run, with as much fun, as the poor bugger I’m draggin’ along. Happy birthday to me!”
The dogs both give a few swishes of their tails, but I think it’s only to humour me, so I ignore them and keep trudging in silence, insulted.

At the fire pit I untie the twine from the shovel and start sifting through the bones and burnt carcasses of other long dead sheep before I find a spot that seems to have no big lumps of crap hidden beneath it to block this sheep’s passage into its grave. I start to dig, thinking about every other sheep lying scattered in numerous spots on the pile individually. I dig up skull.
Was that the fella that chased Brandy when she was only a few weeks old?
I hit a leg bone.
Was that the ewe that spat the drench all over my face that day when I tried to dose her?
Eventually I had cleared a sufficient hole for the latest edition to the bone pile.
Superstitiously I look carefully for a long moment one last time for a pulse. Once satisfied on the wether being dead I drag him into the hole and don’t look at his face as I push the fire pits’ collection of ash, carcass and bone over the body as though it were just pure dirt.

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