Damien Sullivan's Journal Entry

3rd April, 1868

I have woken up to the moaning from Cell Block next door as the sun rose from the horizon. As the rooster stirred, I heard multiple yawns as loud as a trumpet smacking a drum from the wrong end. My cell mate, Billy Thompson, was mumbling to me from the lower bunk of the bed.

‘You don’t have to do this, you know.’ I heard him say in a sad tone. I knew exactly what he meant; I have to whip him today with the cat o’ nine tails 50 times because Bill didn’t do the warden’s bidding on the field last Saturday. He said if I whip him, I’d be able to go home to Brisbane and I’ll be free. I gave a long sigh.

‘Sorry, Bill.’ I replied. ‘But I desperately need to get back to Martha, my wife and son.’

‘I understand, Dan…’ he sobbed. Damien was my real name but I was called Dan for short. However guards just called me by my I.D number, “1.7.3.” Anyway, Bill was wailing last night for me to not whip him today, but I had to get home. The cobblestone walls creaked as the cell gates slapped open for work. As I stepped out, Billy scrambled out like he was on a stallion and shrieked ‘YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME ALIVE!’ and he whooshed into a vent like lightning. There was a loud scream, then a “BANG!” and suddenly, there was silence. I was pretty sure he was either knocked out by a smack in the head or he was dead. I was worried for him. That’s for sure.

Later in the day, while I was on butcher’s duty while all the others other than the secondary prisoners were out on the fields harvestings. I saw a flicker of light. Then a shadowy figure arose from the hills near the bay of the island. I could tell it was not a guard, nor the warden, however. It was a prisoner. He was tattered and thriving with flies. His shirt and trousers were ripped. He was limbering and had blood trickling down his waist. It was as though he was – Nah, it couldn’t be, I thought to myself. He must still be down in the vent. I peeked a little closer and he noticed me. I jumped back and he ran off down the hill again. Could it be? I thought to myself once more. Oh no, I thought. I looked to see if no one was looking and I ran after him. As I reached the bay, the same figure ran up to me and smashed a rock in my face. The world faded around me and I blacked out.