Playing football with my brothers usually ended with them winning and running around like lunatics, after overdosing on red bull and skittles. Apart from foaming around their mouths I swear they look them dogs you see them in horror movies mam tells me not to watch.

Well I kind of got fed up with listening to how good they were and girls can’t kick a ball high enough to score. Well I imagined it was one their faces and I thought of everything they had said and done. I even recalled them throwing a giant spider on me as I lay out sunbathing. I screamed that loud my poor grandpa had to get therapy as he thought he was back in the trenches of World War Two.

I kicked the ball like I never done before. I thought it was either paddy’s or John’s ugly mugs of a face. It went whizzing past the post, over the fence and then I heard it, the sound of shattering glass. Crikey oh, what is the loudest roar you have ever heard? Well multiply it by ten. The ball had smashed old Bertha’s battle bag’s window. We were all frozen to the spot as she stood gawking through the greenhouse window.

Suddenly my dinner started heading south quick, I kind of knew by the way she was rubbing her head, that my ball had smacked her a cracker on the head. She is the worst tempered woman this side of the river ban and probably the other side too,

Paddy and John had suddenly started running and roaring, Da help, quick Da, I did know why they just scurried off and roared as they ran off into our home, crikey I soon knew why, battle bags or battle-axe as we call her was no longer staring out of the greenhouse, but she was jumping over the garden fence, walking stick and all. Her face was all screwed up and withered like over dried prunes, for an old doll, by heck she fairly jumped over that fence. I couldn’t move, my mouth had frozen at screaming stage but not a word came out, all I could manage was a squeak,

As she came closer, I seriously thought I was going to wet myself, I always knew she was ugly but crikey even the fiercest dog on earth would fear her face, her nose was that hooked you could put you coat on it, a giant wart was on her hairy pointy chin, I never saw a woman with hair on her chin, her eyes were glaring straight at me and she smirked as she tossed me over the burst ball,

My two half Wits of brothers had kindly told my dad, you should have seen their faces when my dad told us he was handing me over to battle-axe and it was up to her what my punishment would be. I thought I was scared but I now had lost all hope of surviving my fate. Some of my brothers so called friends, say she has a cellar full of naughty kids and that her growling dogs gnarled them to death. At night, I can hear screams coming from her house. All, of the windows and curtains are always open except the top window. Curtains are always drawn, sometimes I see a light peeping through the curtains.

I went to bed trembling and wondering if I would survive the next day, knowing I was to spend every Saturday with battle-axe filled me with fear I had never known. My tears stung my cheeks as they continued to flow. The only good thing about if the dogs eat me I will meet my mama in heaven. Just thinking of her makes me sob even more. How I miss her. Mama wouldn’t have let this happen to me. I don’t even think my da o my brothers love me. No one does. Pose I will just have to face my fate.

Paddy and John had escaped upstairs as soon as battle-axe had leapt over the fence. The way she leapt made me rethink and ask myself was she really a woman.

“Come here you little brat, you need your backside tanned quire and hard, “

“tanned “I asked battle-axe, I even told her that was some odd expression and that if I was looking a tan, I would expect more than my backside to be done, Nothing but an all-over tan for me “

“Oh, Goby as well as being a vandal, you not only broke my window, the ball whipped the head of my lily’s, then it came off my face, look at it, you see that red mark, “

To be honest I was going to tell her that the slap from the ball had improved her, and gave her a rowdy complexion, but by the way she pulled my ears and marched me over to my house I decided not to offer my opinion.

My da instantly stood up as battle-axe had marched in the door with me, battle-axe had finally let go my ear, I put my hand up to see if it was still there, glad to say it was but it was mighty sore. Battle-axe rushed out the story of how I smashed her window, destroyed her precious lily’s and finally came off her face in one sharp kick of a ball, Da being da offered to give me a good whaling with the belt, he even had started to take off his belt and had pulled me over to his knee.

Now you leave that girl alone, giving her a belting will never teach her, you give her one lash and I will come after you myself, she needs learning manners and taught a lesson but not your way “

No one had ever stood up to da before but by the way she yanked my ear I was more than confused. “have her ready for 8am tomorrow, I will make sure she gets the right discipline and taught some manners, she can come over every Saturday until she learns her lesson.

I suddenly felt a lump in my throat, she saved me from a belting but what would be the price I would have to pay. The door frame seemed to be bulging and ready to burst with battle-axe standing in the midst. One of her burly arms was placed on her plump frame, the other arm was outstretched. Her fat long fingers had one finger pointing to me, beckoning me over,

I stood wondering what my fate was, her eyes were a vile green colour, her eyes reminded me of the toad paddy and John sometimes find in the garden and chase me with, the wart on her chin seemed to produce another hair. Suddenly she wretched my hand away from the table I was cling onto like grim death.

“I don’t want to go da, please, please da, I will do anything “

“Of with you, you little brat “

I looked over to the photo of mam hanging on the fireplace wall, how I wished she was here to help, she would have stood up for me, tears always fill when I think of mam, da never talks about her, I get a clip anytime I do ask, he just drinks and drinks,

Battle-axe seemed to drag me out if the door, goodness knows what was going to happen next. I felt as if I was being marched to the doom of eternity. The house looked as if it’s windows were watching me, every time I tried to wrestle from the grips of her fat, greasy hands her grip tightened over my hands which were now lost in hers. Gently she pats my hands and said the following words, “it will soon be over little Mary “. At that point I just yanked my arms away from her and I screamed, my eyes suddenly looked up, way past where the ivy had stopped, up near the roof was a small window with a faint light on. Through her greyish lace curtains, I swore I thought I saw a twitch of them as if someone was peeking through them, where they are waiting for me and was my fate about to be revealed.

“Ber- tha “my voice said shakily, “What’s, up there “

Before I could run or scream, she lifted me up and carried me into her home like the way da carries a bag of coal into our house, she ran up the steps with me still draped over her back. She looked at me, the green eyes were even more scarier close. I could look up at that window again, as she looked up to where my eyes were glancing, she told

“that room up there is full of bad monsters, that eat nosey girls like you. Never go there Mary or they’ll get you and they will tear you from limb to limb “She said with a laugh that hard her body shook and her eye balls turned poor red. My reply was a shaky ok-ay, never mind wetting myself, tears were forming and my hands were trembling as she opened that door.

As it squeaked open the door, my eyes scurried round her hall. There were pictures hanging, which covered one wall. One picture was of a young male in a military uniform, the other of an older male again in military uniform. During the pictures were two photographs, one was of bertha standing beside the men, they were all in uniform. The other had them all laughing, crikey old ugly bags knew how to smile.

My dad always said I was a nosey child and I couldn’t help but ask her who was in the photos, I was kind of scared of her answer as she had a fierce roar, da always said her roar could weaken the dead.

“child you do ask a lot of questions, do you want sent up to that room she screeched “.

I looked over at Bertha and as I caught her casting her eyes over to the pictures, I thought I saw tears in her eyes.

“that darn old dust is always getting in my eyes, “As she wiped her tears she called dust, she wiped the family photo with the sleeve of her cardigan. The dust slowly made her eyes water more.

“you brat, what you are glaring at, now let me tell you one thing, you never tell a person about these pictures or mind you anything else you see in this house or I will let the monsters visit you, you wouldn’t want that “

“No mam, “

Battle-axe stood staring at me, eyeing me up and down which seemed like for ever, as soon as she told me “Child you need fattening up “I wondered what I was being fattened up for.

As Bertha battle-axe told me I needed to fatten up I began to cry. The tears began to flow despite me trying not to, I started to wipe the tears away as they formed but they were stinging my eyes. Through my sore eyes, I stared at the kitchen table, on her table were two plates of food that was meant to fatten me up.

“what you think of that your skinny little scamp”

I sensed one plate was for me, possibly my last meal before them monsters met with me.

“but- but, I will never eat all that “

We’ll have you ever heard a witch laughing and a pig snort at the same time. Battle-axes laugh sounded far worse than that. She kept bending over and with every chuckle a droplet of the yuckiest green gunch bubbled over from the large pan sitting on her table as she hit the table with her fist every time she laughed.

I didn’t know what was in the pot but it smelled gross, she caught me looking and quickly lifted over to the stove.

My eyes wandered over to the plates of food again, perfect sausages, a nice golden brown and not black with hard crispy bits like da cooks when he is drunk, although ma used to cook perfect fries, thinking of her makes tears form in my eyes again, them sausages seemed to glisten in the mid-morning sun that filtered through her windows. My stomach was saying hurry up lass get them down you, then I noticed the eggs, again not a bit of black gristle, the yolk in the middle was a nice light orange colour that craved for a dollop of ketchup.

Then I thought yikes, she sure is planning to fatten me up, but what for? That fry sure does look tasty but if I eat it I will sure find out my fate, I still glanced over to the pot, now simmering away on her stove,

“pose child you are wondering when will I start “

“start “I managed to squeak out, there was no laughing this time, she just dragged a chair out and with one hand she pushed me down to its hard surface, crikey it would have been nice for a cushion. My poor arse.

She looked at the saucepan, one missing ingredient but I will get you fattened up before I add it, you will be no good to me lass if you get that in you, I instantly wanted to run but my mouth, hands and legs all froze at the same time. She carried a knife and fork and placed it ever so gently beside me as if they were always there, as she said the words tuck in and that she was running out of time I froze, she had sat down beside me, her huge frame spilling out over the sides of the chair. She spied me staring at my plate again,

“you know the food won’t jump into your gob, eat it quick or ill shove it down your scrawny throat, I looked at her huge hands and thought I don’t y want them things shoving stuff down my throat or I will be dead by choking or fright.

I lifted my fork and knife and slowly ate the food, I so wanted a huge dollop of ketchup cos who eats a fry without ketchup, I didn’t ask as I was convinced now more than ever that this was my last thing I would ever eat. She was sitting opposite me wolfing down her food as if she was late for something. The silence was rare for me. My house is full of noise, loud noises, here it was pure silence. All I could hear was that pan bubbling, a clock somewhere in the house ticking and the noise of battle-axe devouring food as if there was no tomorrow.

I slowly ate, well I wanted to delay the moment that I was dreading. As I looked at my empty plate, she bent over and stared at me up close. I saw that the colour of green again but this time in her eyes, her hooked nose was covered in scratches, big deep ones, she caught me looking, well with a nose like that you couldn’t miss it, she just mumbled something about walking into bushes.

“Now lass, come on, “

Why-ere, why-at were the only words I could think of. She wrapped her huge hands around mines as if she was boy about to unveil my fate, I thought of my life at home and I reality fate couldn’t be any worse. She stood up and walked over at a huge worn rug on the floor and she kicked rug off to unhide a huge trap door which she abruptly opened. Light suddenly light part of the wooden steps that I obviously had to go down,

Come child, follow me, stay close to the edge, a few lose boards here and there, don’t want you falling. Um I thought, why would she worry, if I fell it would be all over.

“Now child the missing ingredient is down here, I have a surly for you here too, close your eyes, stand still and wait, As I stood still, my eyes firmly shut, my stomach was tumbling around the contents of the fry, that I solved down not long ago, was it my last supper, I wanted to open my eyes but I was kind of scared of what I would see. Anyway, the sight of battle-axe ‘s face plus the fact of me meeting my fate was not anything for my bladder now either. I was now wishing I hadn’t holes in my shoes as I could feel a cold stone floor beneath me. My bare toes poked through my shoes to touch the stone floor beneath and me shiver even more. The moment of silence was shattered like a huge mirror smashing into pieces, something was being dragged or pushed on the floor, I assumed it was Heavy as battle-axe was doing some moaning and groaning and slipping of whatever was being moved.

“Now lassie, don’t dare open your eyes, not one peak or it could be the last time you open your eyes,”

I now wanted to cry cos I felt a familiar feeling oozing down my dress, it happens a lot when I get scared, especially when da comes back drunk from the pub, I was certain she would wallop me before she killed me. She grabbed my hands and started to slowly walk me forwards,

“crikey child, why are you walking like a crab, something wrong with your mouth now as well as your legs “. I slowly tried to tell her but my tears came before my words.

Then she gave me a sharp thud on the back. “Never worry child, it happens to me a lot, I blame this cold basement, I will sort you out after.

A lump had now formed in my throat, it wasn’t going well for me, I broke her window, I peed myself in her house and now I was about to know my fate. Suddenly instead of the cold hard stone floor, I could hear birds singing in chorus, the same birds that I hear outside my window.

“Now child, open your eyes “

My eyes suddenly met with the soft rays of the October sun, its brightness was creeping into my cold body and I started to tingle. I glanced around me, All I saw was space that had gradually gave up its freedom to the wild uncontrollable weeds overpowering it. Over in one corner was a huge giant oak tree, from it a swing was hanging from its huge branches. Its branches looked as if they had huge arms, she saw me glancing at the swing.

“go on lass, go on it “

I stopped and felt like asking whose swing it was but my ma always told me, that if I asked too many questions, I might get my tongue cut out. Again, as I thought of my ma, tears crept into my eyes and danced wildly down my cheeks, stinging as they went. The swing had a massive carpet of leaves discarded from the oak tree above. As I ran over to the swing, my feet crunched on the leaves under my feet. I wanted to forget where I was and toss them all over me. However, I stay thoughts as I wanted to go on the swing more. Suddenly I saw her hand rise above her head, I froze and waited for its impact, it never came. Instead her hand went to the swing and she her huge hands swept over the loose crackling paint and tossing it to the carpet of leaves.

“Go on lass, jump on”, As I was about to sit on it, I saw the name Jacob on it carved on to its seat. I stood and looked at it and before I could pick up the courage to ask who Jacob was, she told me it was his garden at one time and that she would tell me about it one day. I noticed her hand going up to her slightly red eyes. There’s that dust again, that old seat must have been kind of dusty. As I sat on the seat, all I could think of was Jacob, who was he? I knew it wasn’t her dead hubby as my Da said he was Called tom and he was worse than her, crikey oh perish the thought .My hands grabbed the old rope and it felt as If I was grabbing a rope made of the wire wool my da gets me to scrub our back step with .

I felt as if I could fly, as I gradually went higher and higher, it was as if I wanted to touch the big fluffy clouds in the pearly blue sky above. As I reached as high as I could go with the swing I noticed a roof of something near the hedge. at first I thought it was an old barn but it was a small cottage just like ours. I thought I could see a small light coming from one of its window. I wanted to see it again, so I raised myself up a bit more, just ever so slightly. As I did, I felt myself losing the grasp of one of the ropes, I tried to grab it again but before I could I went tumbling onto the ground beneath. Last thing I felt before darkness came was battle-axe’s feet plodding heavily on the ground below.

“Ah darn it child, don’t you dare close them eyes, your head kind of came of the base of the tree trunk mighty hard. However loudly she told me to keep my eyes open, the dark was too inviting. The ground above me was twirling around me, sickness was invading my stomach and threatening to erupt through my throat like a volcano getting rid of is lava. The darkness was now making my eyes heavy and slowly it all because dark, then darkness had won.

. CHAPTER TWO

. BATTLEAXE AND HER SECRET

. CHAPTER TWO

. BATTLEAXE’S SECRETS

It doesn’t matter much about tomorrow or does it matter much about what happened yesterday.

“Why darn, you little whippet, why did I ever bring you over?” bertha mumbled down to Mary, she glanced down at where Mary lay, her little frame of a body was curled up under the huge oak tree where she had hit her head. The dust that bertha kept getting into her eyes had now converted into tiny droplets of tears and slowly meandered down her plump rosy cheeks. that were now being battered by the October wind.

It doesn’t matter much about tomorrow, nor does it matter about yesterday,

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