For the last couple of years in between working the Sydney Opera House and painting I have been slowly working on a book. The genre is a little hard to pin down… It is a little like a fantasy novel, a detective story, a political manifesto and an Indigenous fable all rolled into one. It is set in Australia and in the story the gods are all real and interact with people. So are the creatures form Aboriginal lore. Quinkins, min min lights, medicine men (and women) are all real and interact with us on a daily basis even if we don’t know they’re there. It’s a world that I’ve been creating to tell stories in. All of the characters from my paintings also come from the same world and I’ve started putting together the rules and mechanics to play a RPG in the world.
Anyway with all of the commentary around January 26th and the rallies that have been going on I wanted to share a short excerpt from the book. This section is one of the interludes from the larger story and is titled Stockpiles.
Have a read and let me know what you think… This section is still in draft for so please be nice.
A statue is vandalised in the park of an outer Sydney suburb, directly across from the council chambers. The security cameras didn’t record anything, it is as though the graffiti appeared in an instant or they were hacked and erased.
In blood red paint the words MURDERER, JUSTICE and STOLEN is sprayed across concrete and brass. The head of Admiral Arthur Phillip lays disfigured on the ground at the base of the statue, the brass twisted and torn, seemingly wrenched from the neck. A stylised representation of the Aboriginal flag is painted directly over the original plaque.
Reports in newspapers and websites are all full of opinions and very little factual information. On message boards hundreds of people argue about whether or not it should have been done and what should be done about it. Most of the commentary leaves little doubt as to who they believe the culprit is. People are angry and emotions run hot. Other people are tired of being controlled.
A young dark skinned girl travelling on the train with her friend is stalked, abused and beaten by a group of young white men. She is fifteen, only trying to get home after school.
A rally is held on the streets of every major city in Australia. Some media reports tell that a record number of people attended peaceful, ideological protests. Another media outlet focuses instead on one rally organiser’s speech detailing the need to tear down more statues and burn flags.
Outside the large country town of Moree a group of young men and women have been meeting in secret. In these meetings they talk about the world they live in and what they believe needs to be done. They meet away from technology and they don’t speak of their meeting over the phone or via electronic message in the fear that they are being monitored or will be discovered.
“Every government that this country has ever had is complicit in this, they are all a party to the slaughter and the trauma that happened, that continues to happen. None have their hands are clean. Dirty hands, stained, red. Some dry, the blood dust etched into the lines and cracks of their palms, for others the blood is still wet and continues to pool everyday. They are all complicit and they must answer for that guilt, the payback ceremony must happen”.
They are a church. They call themselves the Warriors for Indigenous Light and Lore or W.I.L.L. Their leader is a man in his mid-thirties, with dark hair, light skin and unmistakably aboriginal features. He goes by the name Col. Rumours surround him yet the group trusts and follows him without question. To some of the members of W.I.L.L. he is bold yet arrogant, a bull of a man who knows how to get his own way no matter the cost, the one who will lead them all to a better life. To others he is compassionate, caring and exemplary of what a man should be. To all of them he is inspiring. They all believe that he will be the one to change the shape of the society they have lived in. The society they have never felt a part of.
Col preaches using the old ways in a new world. Their ancestors staged a resistance when the first ships came. With spears and clubs that were never going to match the superior firepower of the oppressors and yet they survived. They are the legacy of that resistance. They way he tells it, in his sermons, now it is time for them to begin mobilising.
The group, instructed by Col, have built connections with a wide criminal network and have been slowly, and now with more fervour, stockpiling weapons. It began with rifles and pistols, and moved on to illegally importing automatic firearms, explosives and riot gear. It is held in the farmhouse of an old cotton field where many of the members of W.I.L.L. worked at one point. The sheds, barns and house are full of secret rooms, barricaded and fortified, ready for the war to begin. They train at night in guerrilla battle tactics, siege strategy and hand t combat.
“There is a war coming on the not too distant horizon, this will be a war like no other our people have ever fought. We represent the will of our people. No longer will our land be used and cast aside. We represent the land and fight for her. She cannot fight for herself. There is a war coming and you my family must decide which side we are to be on”.
Thanks for reading guys, again give me a yell and let me know what you think about this excerpt. To clarify my position on the January 26th conversation is that I believe the date could easily and should change. I don’t believe in going to the rallies as when I have gone to them there were so many people there who believed completely differently and I felt like the issue is hijacked by so many parasitic agendas. I choose to tackle the problem in a different way. I spoke to a friend about it yesterday and decided to release this.
If you’re interested in more little sneak previews you can head on over to my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/travisdevries and pledge some support or buy a T-shirt right here in my online store. Each sale helps me keep making art.
Featured Image is borrowed/ stolen from abc.net.au…
Please don’t sue me