Nowt much to do round here. Boring. ‘Gan play out,’ me parents say, ‘Where? we can’t in the street anymore, man,’. Old gadgies dinnit like the look of us, forget they were kids once. Can’t blame them, it was about a million years ago.
We run around beside their gardens, kick the ball near their windows, ride bikes next to their cars, and you’d think we’d killed their kids!
“Get away from my car! You kids these days, nee respect!”
“Aye, well why’d we respect you? All ya do is shout at us, you old tosser!” we’d shout at them and they’d run after us. That’s when we found out that getting chased is the most fun we ever had.
Us, was me, Jinkie, and Chambers, and from that first night Mr. Davenport ran up the street after us, we did everything to get into trouble, just so we could run away.
We’d pelt stones at windows, nick stuff from the newsagents, we even legged it from the police if they caught us. I still felt great getting took home by a copper, him telling me mam I’d been cautioned. Topper laughs.
Our favourite though, was always the park keeper. She was a chunky thing, never looked comfortable on her feet, like her legs would collapse under her belly weight at any moment.
“Park shuts at sunset, lads,” she told us the first time.
“Where are we meant to go, like?” Chambers said.
“It’ll be your bedtime won’t it? Cannit play out in the scary dark,” she replied. Prick. Chambers pushed her over and we ran back into the trees. She chased us for hours that night. It was epic. Sneaked out the back when the bizzies turned up.
Eventually though, the boredom found us again. We were sitting in Jinkie’s porch one night, doing nothing. Then, I had an idea.
“Jinkie, gan get a bottle of vodka from ya cupboard,”
“What ya thinking, Benno?”
“Get drunk in the park and see if that makes it easier for her to catch us,” it wasn’t a great idea, but it was better than doing nowt.
So he grabbed it and we ran to the park.
It was dark that night. The trees lurched over us and their roots grabbed at our ankles as we made our way out of sight by the light of our phone screens and cracked open the drink. It was a rush knowing she didn’t know we were there but she could find us anytime. Or maybe she saw us hop the fence.
“Benno, Jinkie! Shush! I think I hear something,” Chambers shouted like a mouse. We zipped our lips and peeked through the bushes. There were a couple of men with torches dressed in hats, wearing reflective jackets that screamed ‘POLICE’ at us. We stayed dead still, till one of them flung his light in our direction and in my panic I stumbled back and fell, whacking my head on something hard.
Must’ve knocked me out cos next thing I know, the lads are over me, panicking.
“Benno! Benno!” Chambers shook the life out of me.
“I’m fine lads, it doesn’t even hurt,” I said just as a twig snapped behind them.
“We can’t let ‘em catch us! We’ve been cautioned, we’re drinking. It won’t be a slap on the wrist for this!” Jinkie said, hysterical.
“Cut it out, Jink, we aren’t even that drunk, man,” I said, but he wasn’t paying attention.
“They must be down here. Hey! Come out!” the police shouted and we jumped up.
“Ha’way, we’ve gotta run, another chase,” Jinkie said.
“What about…” Chambers started.
“Leave it!” we told him about the bottle and we bolted out the side.
“Oh my God!” the coppers screamed “Get after them then!”
We ran for our lives, up banks, through trees. I didn’t know why, it was just a drink. The coppers didn’t let up though, they followed every step, my mates were struggling but I coulda ran all night.
Then, mother nature rugby tackled us. Chambers tripped then spewed all over the path. Lightweight. Jinkie couldn’t just leave him so we stopped and let ‘em have us. The bizzies grabbed them two and arm locked them. I just gave up and followed as they dragged us back to our cubby hole.
“You’re in big trouble, boys,” one of them said.
“I see you’ve been drinking. You don’t really look old enough, lads,” the other oppressor said.
“I didn’t know there was an age limit, officer,” I said. They weren’t in the mood to joke.
We stopped at the clearing they found us in. By now it was so dark you could see their torches working hard to cut through the blackness. An abyss waited behind the trees.
“So, what happened in there?” my mates stayed silent. I spoke up.
“Nowt, we were messing around, I slipped and banged me head but that was all,” They weren’t interested in my story.
“We’ve seen it. Care to explain how it got there?” he said with a bit more force. All this over a vodka bottle? Police brutality.
“I guess we’ll just have to show you it, refresh your memories,” they said and then Jinkie started crying. He could be soft as hell when it suited him.
They pushed us in and shone their lights, not on a bottle though. It looked like a log, but as I got closer, it was wearing clothes. ‘Oh God!’ I thought, ‘there was a body here the whole time and we had no idea!’ Then I got closer and the bright arms of the torches lit up more, they rubbed his eyes as I rubbed mine. That body was me.
The lights turned around and the four of them left among sobs and Miranda rights, leaving me there, the darkness surrounded me and crushed me and I lay by my corpse, as lifeless as it was.
If only Mr. Davenport let us play outside his house.
David R. Ford is a writer from Sunderland in the North East of England. He has been writing for six years and has had pieces published in various magazines and journals including Down in the Dirt, Centum Press Anthology, and Dark Gothic Resurrected. He is currently working on several projects in various stages of development, but you can keep up to date with them on his Instagram page @davidrford