The March of the Dead

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I stayed in my bedroom.

Took me a while to come out.

Mum and Dad were with me the following day.

Mum hugged me out back there.

Dad threw the ball.

I tried smiling, tried running after it.

His shoulder’s slumped down.

‘Come on, Blinky, you can do better, son, run after it. Come on.’ He threw it again, and so I jogged, to try to get it, just to appease him.

In the afternoon I stood out the front of Uncle’s.

His place sat there amongst the barren red sand of the central west.

Uncle sat out the back there, dressed in jeans and his red shirt. He held the spear.

Other young Koori boys stood around him as he showed the boys how to throw it. The kids stepped up, trying to throw the spear over their shoulders as well. Afterwards, I sat there with Uncle.

We gazed at the mulga around us.

‘Doesn’t make any sense at all, Uncle ... I don’t understand it.’

Uncle peered, grey hair slinking down the side of his face. His black skin reflected the afternoon sunlight. In a rough kinda voice he said, ‘It’s the mysteries of the Dreaming, Blinky ... death ... one of the greatest mysterious in the world.’ He looked to me. ‘I can teach you, if you let me ... can teach you all about it, Blinky ... there’s so much to learn.’

I shook my head, placing an earphone in my ear. ‘Uncle ...’ I looked out. ‘I don’t ... I just wanna be normal, okay?’

He glared out to the mulga. ‘You can’t change what you are, Blinky. You’ll come to realise that one day.’

Those spears lay there. I walked up to one, lifted it. ‘Can you show me?’

I looked over to Uncle who still sat there, an orange juice in his hand. His red shirt was wrinkled, Adidas shoes contrasting to the red sand.

‘Can you show me how they throw the spears?’ As the sun went down Uncle stood beside me, the spear alongside his chest, and in slow motion he motioned throwing it.

I pulled my arm back, then brought it forwards again.

I was out there the following day, picking up a spear again.

Uncle stood with another group of kids, showing them the digeridoo. I held the spear, looked at my target and thew. It flew through the air and missed.

In History, Aisha came over.

A sadness caused my bones to feel weak.

‘Can I speak to you?’ she said.

There I sat in the classroom with her. She showed me that gleaming medallion on her chest. ’This is Lavia, my God,’ she said, looking down at it. ‘Please, Blinky ... pray for her ... pray for her with me ... she needs our prayers.’ She lowered her head, cupped her hands together and prayed, but me, I just sat there looking at her, then looked out the window.

I grasped that spear in the daylight that afternoon, and grunted as I threw it. The spear went strong and sharp and at the target, missing by a touch.

Aisha came up to me the following day. I let her pray, if it made her feel better, but me, I stood out front of the small memorial out front of the Science building, thinking.

Slunk! the spear struck into the target.

Uncle, holding a cup of tea, a Lowes shirt draped over his lean body today, strolled up to me. The mulga bush stretched off. ‘You have a natural throw,’ he said.

I swung that baton, hitting the bark shield, then grasped that wooden knife, poking the blade through it. I kicked that shield and holding that spear there in the sunlight glared at the target.

I will have my vengeance.


There I sat, gathering my things.

Uncle looked over.

‘I want you to come back, Blinky .... Whatta you reckon, kid?’

I once more placed in the earbuds. I looked to the sign which read Gunai Reserve.

‘Uncle ...’

I didn’t continue.

I gave him a slight grin. ‘Thanks for having me today, eh.’

And walked off.


I hung with Mum and Dad the following day.

It was a beautiful and blue day, and for some reason a sense of happiness streamed through me. Mum looked over towards me. ‘You look happy, Blinky. What’s gott’n into you?’ Sunlight shone off my face.

I looked up to the blue sky. ‘I don’t know ... I don’t know, Mum.’

Back at the house, the board game sat before us on the table. I shifted a piece. Dad laughed, moving his. We played Twister afterwards. I tried moving over Mum, but fell and landed on the floor. She laughed.

On Friday I played rugby.

My friends chuckled, trying to throw the ball around, and smiling I ran up, grasped at one of the boys. We watched the sun go down on the last day we’d be together in this world. Sausage sandwiches sat in our hands.

Cantey said, ‘Looks mad, doesn’t it? You boys every wonder what the hell’s out there? On the other side of the universe?’

‘Long as they have bitches there I ain’t really care,’ Turner said. We all chuckled.

I was over by her grave and laid some flowers. I knelt, saying some words in my head.

At Mrs Jones’ place, she got me tea. We shared memories and smiled. Mrs Jones broke down at one point, quivering. Flowers sat all around the room. I moved over, holding her.

Sitting on the lounge beside me Mrs Jones said, ‘The closest they could find is that she had an aneurysm of sorts ... a kind of blood-clot.’ Her voice broke. She shook her head. ‘Oh Blinky ... what happened to my life?’

I hugged her.

I felt Mum’s hand as we walked side by side that evening.

‘I think I’ll be OK,’ I told her. She grinned at me, but in the distance came long grey flat clouds.

The next day, those clouds had reached us and it rained. I was choked up in my room again. I played songs on my phone and stayed listening to those tunes we used to listen to as I went through an album of her photos. A photo of Kehlani and I at the dam came up, she in only a bikini, skin shining, blonde hair flowing, blue eyes bright. Skin soft and luscious, curves nice. In my mind I lay next to her.

‘Do you think we’ll see each other again?’ she said, sun glinting off her back as we lay on that sand on the summer’s day. People splashed about and swam in the dam beside us.

I smiled, leaning over, kissing her warm cheek, and up close, yes, yes I saw the freckles. She tilted her head up. I kissed her. ‘Of course, babe ... we’ll be together again soon.’ Her hands came around me as more tears slipped down my face.

And that’s how this story ends.

There with me, heading in to school Tuesday mid-June, the day before the world ended.

I was with Cantey, Turner and Wilby there at lunch. In the distance those grey clouds headed off.

‘Everything’s going to be okay,’ Turner said.

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