Jack Waghorn was one of five writers with disability who received an inaugural Write-ability Fellowship in 2013.
The Fellowships, a joint initiative of Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria, enabled Jack to work with mentor Bethanie Blanchard.
Following is an extract from Jack’s short story, which is part of ‘House of Shadows’ – an anthology of short stories written within the horror genre.
The Crier of Greybank
‘Don’t come any closer to me,’ I say, heading back out into the street.
I start running out of town and back towards the main road.
Soon Greybank becomes only a silhouette in the distance behind me. I tell myself that I’ll make it to the road and that I’ll keep on going until I find my way home.
But the road never comes, only endless earth under my feet.
Have I gone in the wrong direction?
The air has become frosty, and I wrap my arms around myself but it barely helps. There’s something in the distance, something large. At first I don’t believe it, but there it is: Greybank, looming on the horizon. I turn around and start walking in the opposite direction. It doesn’t take long until it appears again, mocking me in the distance. I turn left this time, there it is. I turn right, and it’s there again. Again and again. Peter was right; it wasn’t going to let me leave.
Exhausted, freezing and defeated, I see the shadow of Greybank once more. I don’t turn around and walk away this time. I make my way back into its streets.
As I move between the buildings, I realise that I’m not alone. There are people here now, dozens of them. They come out of their front doors. They stare out of their windows. They look at me the way someone would look at a stray puppy, pitying and sad.
I find myself back outside The Eternal Bliss, and there’s Peter waiting to greet me. But something isn’t right. The window to The Eternal Bliss – the one that I’d broken – is back in its frame just as it had been when I first arrived.
Peter sees me eyeing the window.
‘Oh, don’t worry about that. Nothing in this place ever really changes. Come on, now,’ he says, throwing a warm blanket over my shoulders. ‘Let’s go and find you a room to stay. There are plenty of people your age around here. I think you’re going to be really happy.’
© Jack Waghorn 2014
Writers Victoria acknowledges the generous support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust for this program. The Write-ability program is a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria made possible by the generous support of the City of Melbourne and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Write-ability is grateful for the previous support of the Copyright Agency Ltd, the Ian Potter Foundation and the Victorian Government.