Chuck Wendig's challenge this week - to write a story involving travel of some sort.
My story is about travelling into your neighbours yard.
Tadgh and Peadar were playing football in the street outside their home. They had spent all morning kicking the ball off the high garden wall of Mr O’Shaughnessy who was according to Conor, their older brother ‘at least one hundred years old’. Their mother had warned them not to bother him because he was old and cranky and ‘she wasn’t going over there asking like a beggar for some lost ball’. It was hot and sunny and their sport was kicking up dust flurries off the street.
Tadgh the younger brother kicked hit the wall at midpoint, it bounced back and Peadar catching it on return ‘gave it wellie’ and sent it sailing over the wall. ‘Conor’s going to kill us’ Tadgh’s lower lip was already trembling and his eyes were welling up. ‘Shut up’ Peadar snapped ‘don’t be such a baby’.
Peadar chewed his thumbnail and drew blood. His finger stung and he felt close to tears. Conor would be mad as anything when he missed his prized ball signed by Colm Cooper ‘The Gooch’. It wasn’t even supposed to be used as a ball.‘We’ll have to go over and see if we can find it. Come on’ but Tadgh held back. ‘I don’t think Mum would want us going over there. She said she wouldn’t be bothering Mr O’Shaughnessy. And you know that’s cause she’s scared of him.’ Tadgh pulled back to his own side of the street and stood up on the footpath. The extra few inches almost brought him eye to eye with Peadar. ‘Come on’ Peadar insisted, not wanting to travel into Mr O’Shaughnessy garden all by himself. ‘If something does happen I’ll need a witness! You can stay about ten feet behind me. Any how if he’s as old as Mum says he’ll never catch me or you neither.’Tadgh didn’t answer just nodded his head and wiped his running nose on his sleeve. ‘You go first and I’ll follow. ‘
Peadar crossed the street, the midday sun created dark shadows under the sycamore tree next to Mr.O’Shaughnessys gate. The old iron gate was cold to touch. Peadar pushed it open and the hinges tore and snarled so loud Peadar felt sure his mother would hear. He glanced back at his own back garden just to make sure she wasn’t flying out her own front gate at that very moment. Tadgh was making very slow progress down the footpath on the opposite side of the street. Peadar followed the drive up to the old mans house as it snaked through several large sycamores. His footsteps echoed against the tarmac and Tadghs footsteps echoed as well so it sounded like an army was trailing him. A blackbird flew out of one of the lower shrubs; Peadar gasped and only barely managed not to scream. His nerves were on edge and he could feel his palms sweat. The sweat was making his thumb sting.
The front of the house was shaded by the trees but in the centre of the lawn was an old man sitting on a sun lounger. He was holding the football in his hands and looked as if he was reading the inscription on it. He was wearing red tartan slippers with worn out soles. He had a walking stick lying next to him on the lounger. It was a funny looking stick because instead of a rubber stopper on the end it had a tiny slipper about the size of Tadghs fist. Peadar glanced back and Tadgh was standing just behind the blackbirds shrub. Just out of sight of the old man.
‘Hello. I was wondering who was playing such fine football off my wall all morning’ Mr. O’Shaughnessy looked at Peadar over his reading glasses. ‘So which one of Lily McDavitts boys are you?’
Peadar chewed at his bleeding thumb, unsure what to do next. The old man sat there watching him like he had all the time in the world. Peadar knew it was only a matter of minutes before his Mom noticed they were gone from the street out side his home and she would come looking for them. Taking a big breath he said ‘I’m Peadar, the middle one, Conor is the oldest and that’s his ball you’ve got there.’
Peadar waited then afraid he had said too much. ‘And who is that young gentleman behind the bushes’ he said raising his eyebrows. ‘That’s Tadgh, he’s the baby’.
This is a fine ball. I can just make out the signature. I don’t suppose Conor knows you have it? The old man stopped and waited.
'No he doesn’t and he’d kill us in he finds out.’ Peadar was afraid the old man was going to tell on them. His anxiety was making him sweat again.
'I’ll tell you what Peadar, let you take this ball back home. And why don’t you and your brother come here and play ball. I’ve a whole collection of them in that shed and you could play on the lawn over there. And besides you wouldn’t be wreaking my head ricocheting the ball off the wall all day for the rest of the summer. What do you think of that?,