Year 9 Short Story Competition

John XXIII College inaugural short fiction writing competition "Where for Art Thou?" came to a close at the end of Term 3 with a wonderful selection of entries. This new writing initiative encouraged Year 9 students to express their creative ideas whilst also giving them insights into the importance of writing to a brief, meeting deadlines and presenting their work well. Importantly, all entries had to make reference to two quotes, one from Ignatius Loyola and the other from Romeo and Juliet in their writing. These references could be direct or indirectly imbedded within their work and served to highlight connections within our texts to one of our important founders.

All stories were read and judged by the English Department staff, with Ms den Haan undertaking the difficult task of differentiating the category winners. The overall winner of the "Where for Art Thou?" short fiction writing competition (500 words or under) is awarded to David Stokes. The winner of the second category, 'Story of Distinction' is awarded to Gabriele Malaga.

Congratulations to our two winners and to all students who entered the competition.

Competition Flyer

What Goes Around : David Stokes

The darkness enwrapped me through my blindfold, infecting my eyes, my mind. The sweat on my neck a cold relief from the heat radiating out of the grille under my chair. The chemicals in my veins, chilling my blood and slowing my heart. Against my will, tears ran down my face as I remembered why I was there.

The laughing, the yelling 'DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!, my hands gripping the hot milk, shaking. Him crying, everyone cheering, then leaving. Me kneeling down, 'Are you okay?', the look in his eyes, loneliness, hate.

Walking away, the feeling in the pit of my stomach, what had I done? Why?

Twelve years later, the same face in the empty bar, raising the bottle, coming down with a THUMP, cold beer soaking my clothes, 'How do you like it?'. Walking to my car, getting pulled over on the freeway, drugs in the boot, not mine.

Back in the room, the cold numbing my skin, or was that the drug?

'Soon all your muscles will stop working, including your heart. Shame.'


'You had it coming.'

Not an answer.


The door closed, leaving the room empty, yet it felt no different.

Did I deserve this? Was this fair? Who knows?

What is the world that punishes an eye for an eye? What is the place where we listen to one and not another? That gives some priority while others suffer.

New question, how?


The milk, the heat, the pain. The apology, so meaningless, so irrelevant.

Bottle in hand, swinging the arm, THUMP! Outside, putting the packages in the boot, walking away.

Putting on the shirt, the badge, the belt, the hat, waiting, following. Pulling him over, partner going to the car, finding the drugs, man in the back seat.

'Good guess, Sarge.' Me nodding, listening intently to the man's ragged breathing in the back seat, behind a cage where he should be.


He deserved nothing kinder, he had caused humiliation, pain, sadness. After six years of working through the ranks, I had what I wanted. Sitting outside the room, listening to his twitching, his small movements in the chair, trying to get out. Waiting, waiting for it to end.


Why? Why was he there? How was he there? Did one day of mistakes lead to this?

Why? Then, it all came clear, all at once.

Then it all went black.


Silence, silence filled my ears, more intoxicating than any alcohol. I stood up and left the door shut. Getting changed, I dumped the uniform in the trash can and drove home, victory in my mind, emptiness in my heart and sickness in my stomach.

Why? Why did I do it?



The primary school photo album, his slick blonde hair, my scraggly brown, his blue eyes, my grey, his perfect teeth, my braces.

Regret. More engulfing than any revenge.

"Love is shown through action, not in words."

Two lives.

That's what I threw away.


Because I'd loved him…

As for myself…

My Name : Gabriele Maluga

Hello. My name is Adolf Hakey. I will wait until the thoughts of Hitler diminish from your mind, which may take a while. My initials don't help either. So once again, hello, I'm Adolf. I'm 12 years old and in need of understanding. I wish people saw how much the whispers hurt me. It's just as much of a lie as 'I'm fine' or 'Mummy and Daddy still love each other very much'. Children at school shun me, they stare and point, even in class. The teachers tell me to ignore it. But what is the point of a name change when it represents so little? We age and change, yet our name is the label of our existence.

We are but mere flesh castings, our purpose being to let our soul grow to one day be judged. When ridded of our soul, these useless corpses rot away, returning to ash and dirt, back to our beginnings as earth. We change these casts as we prefer, but our soul stays away from the needles and the knives that tear away at our image, at least the image which we see with our human eyes. Our soul becomes littered with scars of memories and the change, so faint yet a beacon to those who know how to see. Our soul's age is our downfall and success; it gives the illusion of life or haunts us behind our eyes of glass. For that is what they may as well be, for all the seeing we do these days. These days of sorrow, life and joy. Of love and death, the pull of darkness as we once again become the earth, remembered but forgotten, a statistic of mankind. While we, the casts, rot away, judgement will ensue.

But a name does not matter in judgement. Names don't dictate destiny; names are remembered, forgotten or a statistic. Our name does not define us, it is merely the shadow on the wall of Plato's cave, never really able to describe what it truly is. For what is in a name? For that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Names matter only to humans. The flesh-castings. And so I wait. For someone to see with their soul, look past the label that is my name, and see me.