International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes Childhood
gang, what we gonna do today?" Wen asked.
She looked towards Richard, who as the tallest of them was their
"Pirates?" he suggested.
"We played that yesterday. Its boring!" Davy whined.
"Shut up!" Wen snapped. She couldnt stand it when
he started whining.
"You got a
better idea?" he challenged.
"Yeah," Richard Said.; "Lets bomb Nagger Bag."
Davy grinned. "Yeah! Thatd be fun." He turned to the
rest of the gang. Susan nodded immediately, Michael punched his fist
in the air, and Peter looked down at the cobbles beneath his feet, hesitant
as always. Wen wondered why theyd let him into their gang.
"Lets go." Richard ended the discussion with a quick
about-turn. He marched along the alley until he got to Albert Street.
He stepped out into the sunlight and the gang followed.
Wen was glad to be out in the sun. The alley was always cool, shaded
by the houses that bounded it, the back of Victoria Road on one side
and Albert Street on the other. She stepped into the summer day and
ran onto the croft. This was her world, a magic place of wild grass
and muddy ponds that held all her dreams. There she was a pirate, a
champion horse rider, whatever her heart desired.
The croft also provided a supply of stones for their bombing raids.
Richard was already hard at work collecting ammo. Wen knew from experience
that the stones had to be round to fly straight, and not too heavy to
be lobbed the few feet from Nagger Bags front garden wall to her
door. Shed got to be expert in sorting ammo this summer.
She bent to pick up her first stone. On one side of her Richard was
pushing aside dirt, selecting only perfectly rounded stones. Richard
never had second-best of anything. He was the only one in the gang who
had a rocking-horse. Wen made sure she stayed friends with him so she
could get a ride occasionally.
"Okay gang, we ready?" Richard asked.
Wen took up her position as his deputy. Shed had what her parents
called a "growing spurt" this summer, and she was only just
shorter than Richard now. She could run as fast too, so shed overtaken
Peter at the start of the summer hols. Hed been upset about it
and theyd fought, but she could run much faster and further than
he could and thats what mattered to the gang. She was better than
Peter, so she was second.
They lined up at the edge of the croft, clutching their handfuls of
stones. Wen felt the flutter of fear and excitement she always did at
the start of a bombing raid. She wondered whod get it today. Since
shed moved up to second it wasnt her any more.
"Go, gang!" Richard yelled and took off across Albert Street.
Wen couldnt remember how they knew where Nagger Bag lived. Every
house running down Albert Street was the same, a long line of red brick
with doors painted boring brown and green. Anyway, however theyd
done it, they knew where Nagger Bag lived.
Wen yelled as Richard hurled his stones against Nagger Bags front
door. Rat-tat-tat, three perfect hits. Now it was her turn. She got
up to speed fast, digging in her toes hard to halt before the low wall
that formed the boundary of Nagger Bags front garden. Rat-tat-tat.
All her stones hit the door dead centre, just below the tarnished chrome
letter box. She sprang away, back to the croft, leaving space for Peter
to do his run behind her.
She heard the shout and turned around. Nagger Bag had thrown open her
front door just as Davy raised his hand to throw his second stone. The
bucket of cold water hit him full in the face, and Nagger Bags
curse at those "damned kids" floated out to her.
She turned to Richard and grinned. Another successful raid. One day
Davy would learn to run faster and not get wet, but until then Wen was
happy with things as they were.
There were three more weeks left of the summer hols. Plenty of time
for more raids before they went back to school.
© Wendy Metcalfe November 2006
Author and Writing Tutor
Wendy is studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at the University
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