The Kadaitcha Man

1st in the 'Shades of Darkness - Inaugural 1997 Schools Short Story Competition - Horror/Thriller Theme' competition

The night was black. As black as the heart of the devil himself. The young woman used it to her advantage as she fled from the bunkhouse. Her fleet feet barely touched the rocky ground. She did not need to look over her shoulder; the signs of pursuit were unmistakable. The hounds thundered through the brush baying and howling. It was not the hounds she feared though; it was t he armed men on horseback. Exhausted, she crouched down in the boll of the largest tree and waited. Her breath came in sobs and the perspiration stung the cuts on her legs. The snarling visage of a dog loomed in front of her. Her scream split the night. A man appeared behind the beast. She had intended to stand tall and face the gun, but she couldn’t. She cried, begging to be spared, she didn’t want to die. The stationhand only smiled. He didn’t have a clue what the Aborigine had said – probably pleading to live – but that was nothing. He had caught his prey. That night, the lightning from the storm above was not the only flash that could be seen.

The dust and wind did not affect the five men who sat in the circle out the front of the hut. The hushed conversation had been going on for some time now. That young men and women had been sent away as the elders became serious. ‘It is not right that our daughters have been taken away as playthings for the amusement of white men. Something must be done!’

‘That is easy for you to say. You were not there when we made a stand. It was a bloodbath. Our traditional weapons are but toys against them.’ The four turned to the only person who had not contributed to the conversation so far. ‘Spears are not our only weapons.’ Five wise heads nodded as one.

The stationhand woke. The first rays of light had not yet appeared. The desert was crisp and cold, yet he was sweating more than on a hot, summer day. He sat upright; there stood an Aboriginal man dressed in traditional garb. The old man lifted his hand and pointed a bone at the worker. The stationhand screamed and leapt off the bed. His head hit the cabinet and the last thing he saw was a pair of dark, four-toed feet.

The station manager stared at the doctor in disbelief. What he had said was incomprehensible.

‘I can find no reason for this illness. He is young and fit. He doesn’t smoke or drink and everything appears normal. I cannot help your employee.’ ‘He is fine but you tell me is he dying? This is ridiculous!’

The two men looked on as the attached E.C.G flat lined. They did not see the elderly Aborigine as he nodded his head knowingly. The dusty thongs he wore did not hide his dark, four-toed feet.


25 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


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