Day 314: The Plains

The Plains
Matt Zurbo


I imagine a flat semi-desert setting, with an Aboriginal girl and boy. Almost every image a panorama.

Thomy Wajhata lived on the plains.
(Kid, stretching on porch of wooden shack on two foot high stilts, in case of floods, on the plains.)

(Kid walking along long, flat plains panorama.)

“It sucks living here!” Cyril always moaned.
“Oath,” the other boys would agree.
(Boys cheering as bully fights a kangaroo. Dust raising. Main kid walking away.)

(Kid sitting on a small, flat rise, watching the plains.)

(Kid in same pose. Gigantic octopus arms are starting to appear from the lake.)

(Giant tentacles with fantastical sun-like dome in the middle, with smaller shapes in air around it, all rising from the dirt and water of the plains.)

(Kid sitting/lying on rise, weird, stringy, semi-human creatures – bunyips – rising from ground as they charge on all fours forward, leaping over him, and back into the soil.)

(Kid holding his palm up, looking up at hovering creatures that are more like shapes with propellers or wings, and large, weird insects.)

(Kid standing at base of rainbow rising from flat plains ground. Rainbow is made up of a cluster of red flowering banksias for red band, dusty orange rocks for orange band, cluster of frogs for green band, barramundi fish for blue band, etc…)

In Thomy’s heart, his home was anything other than flat.
(Kid walking along plain, but through fantastical Dreamtime characters/creatures, growing from the soil.)

After a while, though, Thomy felt hollow.
(Kid, looking bored, lounging on low-lying branch in shade, one hand is dangling in dust on ground as if it was water, shark fins swimming past. Other lazily held in air, as one of several flying fish pass through it, as if not really there.)

Without a centre, his dreams became lonely.
(Kid walking at night, head lowered, bored, as Dreamtime creatures bare fangs, etc. He is ignoring them.)

(Kid walking away from earlier setting, but it is just flat again. No fantastical imagery.)

(Other boys raising dust as they kick and push along a tractor tyre with boy curled in it. Our kid is a part of the pack, but walking, towards the back.)

Then, one day…
(Other kids moving on. Kid has stopped. He is looking away from us, at girl who is dancing on her own. No music.)

(Boy watching from behind tree. Girl dancing beautifully.)

“Hey,” he said. “Um… G’day.”
“I don’t dance very often,” the girl confessed. “The dust weighs me down.”
(Boy is standing, talking to girl, who is obviously blind – cane, closed eyes. She is standing in a small cloud of orange dust.)

“What dust…?” Thomy said.
(Kid smiling, as tentacles grow from ground behind him.)

“Are you serious?” the girl protested. “No wonder I don’t dance in front of people!”
“Let me tell you about what I’m looking at…” Tommy continued.
(Planets dangling above plains on strings, as giant owl grows from the flat ground. It is knocking away tentacles and bumping planets as it spreads its wings. Girl, unbalanced on its back.)

“I want to build you stages,” he then smiled.
(Girl is on back of owl, on the plains, who’s back is flat, wings spread. Boy is on clump of rising, earth, with tree on it. Roots and rocks dangling underneath.)

So, Thomy described what he saw…
(Girl dancing on giant owl’s head, owl’s wings up, forming dust love-heart with their motion. Sun burning behind them, streaking through dust. Desert moths in the air.)

And the girl danced…
(Girl dancing in dust of plains. Boy leaning against tree, talking to her, his hands animated, as he describes things.)

(Boy and girl walking away from reader, across the flat of the plains, holding hands.)



The End



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