Mount Barker, South Australia
Wild Competition entry
Thought I’d lost me temper, me voice and me marbles all in one day, I did. Dratted kid. Caught him in ’ere before. ’e gets me so wild! Can’t leave a single door unlocked ’cos of ’im. The lectures I give jus’ go in one ear an’ out the other.
This day, ’e musta’ snuck in while I was down the back plantin’ vegies, cos I come in to see ’im sitting in the doorway of the room next to me kitchen firing marbles at that ’ole that goes through the skirtin’ board into the wall. One o’ me old petticoats was draped around ’is shoulders, an’ me cupboard o’ keepsakes ’ad bin ransacked. Photos of me ma an’ pa lay on the floor along with the Italian scarf an’ the silver icon an’ so much other stuff … an’ my floors ain’t always clean – not like those fussy ones you c’n eat your dinner off.
An’ the little bugger ’ad me marbles.
I yelled so loud me voice went. ’e leapt up like a startled rabbit, but got all tangled in the petticoat an’ fell over, so I pounced an’ ’auled ’im up by the ear an’ dragged ’im over to the ’ole.
‘Right!’ I ’issed, ‘Put yer arm in there an’ get me marbles.’
’is face screwed up an’ ’e went red – until ’e saw me expression. Then ’e turned white as a sheet. ’e shoved ’is arm into the ’ole an’ yelped, for it ’ad grabbed ’im an’ yanked ’im so ’ard that ’e’d slammed up against the wall an’ got stuck.
‘-elp!’ he screamed.
I still ’ad ’is ear. I twisted it. No-one, but no-one touches me marbles unless I says so an’ ’e’d shot ’em all into the ’ole: the ’ole that sucks up anything – an’ I mean anything! Not even the dust that blows into the room gets away from that ’ole.
An’ me marbles is precious. They bring memories o’ me old school days. Beat the boys, I did, with the green tom bowler an’ the rainbow swirly ones. An’ the little milky ones: didn’ much like their colours; but ’ell! I coulda knocked angels off a pin-head, they were so dead accurate.
An’ that scoundrel’d shot ’em all down the ’ole! I ’ardened me ’eart to ’is wails an’ twisted ’is ear further.
‘You c’n stop yer squalling,’ I spat. ‘That there ’ole’s magic, an’ it’s gonna take a mighty effort to get you out. Or should I just leave you – let the ’ole ’ave you? Let it stretch you out bit by little bitty bit ’til yer like a long, squashy sausage, then “slurp!” an’ you’re all gone!’
Gawd! You shoulda ’eard ’im! ’e thrashed aroun’ an’ belted the wall. Made such a din, I almost lost me earing.
‘Alright, alright! I’ll ’elp you out; but only when you promise to stay away an’ leave me an’ me things alone. D’ ya hear?’
‘D’ ya promise?’
’e nodded again.
I couldn’ stand the tears an’ snot on ’is dirty face. ‘Say it!’ I crackled, me voice poppin’ in and out.
’e nearly choked on the words, but ’e promised an’, with ’im pushin’ an me with me arms around ’is waist heavin’, we pulled ’im out. Course, we both fell back. ’ard. Me tail-bone still ’urts.
The kid groaned. ’e wanned t’ get away quick but I’d seized ’is wrist.
‘I see you again, I’ll feed pieces o’ yer to the ’ole. Unnerstand?’
’e yanked outa me grasp an’ fled.
I ’auled me ol’ body up an went to tidy me keepsakes. An’ would yer believe it? In a box poked to the back o’ me cupboard, I foun’ me marbles!
Bio: Lyn says that she will be forever grateful to U3A for sparking her interest in writing and allowing her imagination to run wild.