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Activist Fighters


Rachel Baillie

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing

Highly Commended &


Literary Awards

Winner or Highly


‘The Building stands on no moral ground. Our righteous strength shall bring

it down.’

This quote was scrawled on a whiteboard propped up against the

back wall of Wallace Samuel’s garage. Wallace believed he was not

like ordinary men; he was a strong ginger leader in the eyes of God.

He had a mission. He had gathered together a following of fierce

activists, luring them in with the promise of a brighter future, and

together, they would destroy

The Building

. It would crumble beneath

the weight of their weapons and the red-hot fury of Wallace and his

organisation: The RAAF.

Several people tried to explain to him that the acronym ‘RAAF’

was already taken. Now, Wallace had this endearing quality that

enabled him to offend almost everyone he met. He argued loudly

and continuously that even though redheads were among the most

discriminated group of people in Australia, the recessive red-haired

gene was directly linked to superior intelligence. Therefore, anybody

debating his views was in the wrong.

It went downhill for him from there.

Some days he’d come home from the pub or even the supermarket

with bruises smudging his jaw. Eventually his parents just didn’t ask.

However, his warriors never questioned. The faith they had in his

saint-like halo of red was unbreakable. Or at least, they agreed with

some of his views.

At first, one might think the RAAF meetings were composed of

completely harmless and docile people who didn’t mind being

nicknamed ‘Ranga.’ But one should think again. These redheads

were sick and tired of the nicknames. They were soldiers, of different

ages and genders and backgrounds, but brought together by a fiery

passion for justice.

Fortnightly, Wallace cleared out the garage, which actually

belonged to his parents’, as did the house he still lived in, and set up

a forum of plastic chairs and light snacks. A quote was always in the

background of meetings, usually related to

The Building

. Since

Wallace was a pretentious, ego-driven fool, the quotes were usually

some rhyme he’d thought of himself and deemed quotable enough

for the meetings. His quotes often were suspiciously similar to

Nelson Mandela’s words, but the last person who pointed this out

was expelled, by Wallace, from the RAAF, on the grounds they