Paint and Punishment

By Scarlett Sharma. Scarlett, 12, is a student at St Francis' College, UK. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

The prison cell was damp and cold. Not that it mattered. Sophie was to be executed tomorrow.

Sophie Bunzel had seen the monster of the Pura behind its diplomatic appearance. Its insidious rise, the labour camps, the cruel laws outlawing any form of art, but, above all, their brutality. She watched them take over her country, now it was time to take action.

She wanted the people to rebel, to rise up together against the evil that had infected the land, to think for themselves, instead of believing what the Pura pushed in their faces. One idea could start a revolution.

She started planning her most ambitious painting yet. It was suicide, she knew that well enough; she had already arranged a safe passage to America. She just hoped she would get there.

The next day, she slunk off after curfew to the middle of the city with her cans of spray paint and a large rope. She worked all night, abseiling down the ugly concrete wall of The Dictator’s mansion, painting every inch with her cause. Bright colours shone from it, a bold piece with a bold message. It was a tribute to the people suffering under the Pura’s reign.

It was soon completed, bringing a beacon of truth amid all the propaganda, amid all the lies.

Noon, the next day, Pura agents swarmed into Sophie’s cramped apartment room like locusts on a piece of fruit. She was arrested just before she was about leave for America, and taken to New London. Of course, there are no trials in the Pura’s world, no hearing or judge, just a death sentence.

She stayed in prison for two days, two short days full of hopelessness and worry. She was then shot, her blood, bright smears on her paint stained hands. Her painting was whitewashed; no trace of it was left. Like her work, Sophie Bunzel was erased from existence.

21 comments on “Paint and Punishment

  1. Vicky Bryan on

    This dramatic piece of writing is very thought-provoking and moving. The shock ending horrifies the reader and leaves the memory of Sophie Bunzel forever imprinted on the reader’s mind. Fantastic writing!

  2. Thusharani on

    Wow- what a gripping piece of writing! I’m truly speechless! This piece is very poignant ; it really makes you wonder how many people in our world have sacrificed their lives’ to stand up to authoritarian dictators…It’s a dark and sombre though. Well done- I will never look at historical figures, who defied all odds to make our world a better place, in the same way! Brilliant!

  3. Simone Dennis-Sharma on

    Highly imaginative, this piece is an intriguing and original reaction to an image that my mind hadn’t even contemplated.

  4. suzanne giltrow on

    An intriguing concept, captivating my interest. I am not an avid reader, but the style in which you write makes it easy to read and fills me with a yearning to read more. I look forward to reading your finished book. Well done Scarlett!

  5. AJ Giltrow on

    I just completed my yr12 English exams, which as part of the study and practise for it, I wrote many short stories, as well as read many past “good answers” for year 12 ATAR exams (final year exams). Scarlett’s short story is amongst the top short stories I have read, surpassing almost all of the yr12 short stories I read. She did very well, her above story being full of emotion, imagination as well as being very descriptive, helping it to be a very well written piece. I can easily see Scarlett having a successful future as an author!!!

  6. William Dennis on

    I am an avid reader and I was struck that one so young could put so much drama and feeling into such a short piece , it is
    a sign of a good writer and I for one look forward to reading any other short stories she has penned and wish her every success for her future.

  7. Neelam Sharma on

    Wow! What a great short story. Scarlett gave away just enough to keep me reading and curious. The sad and dramatic ending was worth the wait, and reveals an acute awareness of a harsh world in such a young writer. Hope to read more from this author.


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