‘Picnic Island’, Bronzed Statue
You walk into Picnic Island, but no picnics are happening here today. The leaves seem to be greying on the trees and the grass crunches under your feet. Something is very wrong here.
“I’ve seen places like this before, steeped in the darkness” the Hero tells you. “You know it’s bad when even the birds are silent, even they become afraid of the Dark Legion eventually.”
You step forward, something creaks behind you. You spin, hands raised, ready for battle. You’re starting to get pretty good at this Hero stuff.
There stands a man cast in bronze, at his feet a blue heeler dog. Both stand stock still, looking sad in this desolate place and your heartbeat calms when you realise they are only statues. You can’t see what would have made the creaking sound, but the eeriness of this place makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, a shiver running down your spine.
“Did you hear that?” you hiss at the Hero.
“Let’s get out of here,” you suggest, following the curving cement path across the grass.
“Waaaitt!” You hear a ghostly voice ring out, “Please, stop!”
You both halt. Behind you the bronze figure is moving, painstakingly slowly.
“No…one…ever…takes…notice…of…me!” He puffs out, stretching up to stand at his full height while his dog lets out a little yelp of agreement.
“I’m sorry,” apologises the Hero, “We just didn’t see you there.”
“See me? You were looking straight at me!” the bronze man cried.
“You just seemed like a statue, that’s all. We’re not used to talking statues,” you offer, then realise that actually you are getting fairly adept at the practice today.
“Well, I am a statue and I do talk, and I have something very important to tell you if you’d only bother to listen,” the bronze man mutters.
“We are listening, but hurry, we are short on time.” The Hero is getting frustrated, Picnic Island not his favourite place to hang around without a picnic.
“Right, well, firstly you’d better step off that path,” the man directs, “Or haven’t you seen what’s happened to those who have walked it before you?”
You look down at your feet and sure enough, something quite odd seems to have befallen its previous travellers. You see footprints, human, turning into animal prints, then birds, eventually the long slide of a snakes tail is all that remains carving a trail through the grass.
“Do you mean to tell us that the people who walk this path turn into animals?” you ask.
“Yes,” comes the answer, “the whole of Picnic Island is now a metamorphosis booby-trap. You must watch very carefully where you walk indeed, or else drop down a rung or two on the food chain.” The man gives a small, almost crazy sounding laugh.
“You find delight in this, little bronze man?” asks The Hero.
“Well, no, but when people don’t heed my warnings, I have to say it is satisfying to see their surprise! Soon they are spies for the Dark Legion, feathered ones at that!”
“He’s sick!” the Hero exclaims. You have to agree. The darkness of this place must be getting to the oracle, you can feel it creeping in on you, too.
“We need to get out of here,” you say to the Hero. “Do you have any advice for us at all?” you ask.
“Only this; on your journey there is one last clue,” says the creaky man, “and it is for your ‘Hero’. You may swagger around all day and all night, you might act as if you can’t get a fright, you may look tough and big and a Hero’s vision, but close to home is where you’ll find the Leader of the Dark Legion. Can you face the truth? I don’t know if you can! The good news is you’re very, very familiar with your enemy, in fact, you know him best of all.” The man cackles once more and then freezes again, a still statue.
“What does that mean?” you ask, though your mind is starting to put together the clues.
“Beats me,” replies the Hero. “All this rhyming is making my head hurt.”
You need to get out of this place of darkness, you can feel it leaching your energy and affecting your mind.
One (Confucius Statue): Take the Hero to the reflection pool across the Arbour walk path where the Confucius statue has more to tell you?
Two (Immigrant Art): Head back out of the Dark Legion’s territory, taking a refreshing stroll along the river to clear your head, then stopping at a Dark Legion crime scene at the top of the stairs beneath the Wheel of Brisbane, where you see three boxes and a suitcase with some very interesting contents?