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The Young Boy

by Laurence 

Posted: 20 August 2011
Word Count: 650
Summary: Challenge 369

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The car bounced along the country road. Trying to avoid one pot hole only to hit another. A single track road. ‘I hope I don’t meet anyone else,’ I said out loud more to steady my nerves as I turned into a blind bend. I had been told to follow this road for 1.75 miles. It seemed like an eternity. Where was this village? The radio blasted out the afternoon play ‘Slowly he walked down the narrow street not knowing what to expect.’
‘Don’t go there you idiot,’ I retorted. A build up of music tried to create the suspense with the haunting lyrics of ‘ring a ring o’ rosies.’ It sent a shiver through my spine. Perhaps it was the tunnel effect of the trees. Flicked the radio over to the Test score. The village appeared around the next bend. ‘At last!’ A cow looked at me curiously. I made a face.

The cottage lived up to my expectations. This would be a quiet retreat to get down to some serious writing. I unloaded the car and settled in. The breakfast bar provided the perfect work space for the lap-top. I was amazed that my dongle picked up a reasonable signal. Mug of tea in hand I wandered out into the garden armed with pen and paper. I started making some jottings for my next novel.

‘You found us alright,’ said the owner of the cottage a woman adorned with a large floppy hat and secateurs in hand.

‘Yes,’ I said putting my mug on the table and standing to greet her. ‘Such a lovely quiet place. Ideal for my writing.’

‘Write a lot do you?’

‘Yes. The odd short story. Preparing to write a crime novel.’

‘Sounds interesting.’

‘Anything unusual happened in the village? Ghosts? Murders?’

‘No nothing like that,’ she said apologetically.

After exchanging a few more pleasantries she returned to her garden and I to my scribbling.

Early evening I decided to stop writing and make a light supper. I watched some TV but felt sleep was over taking me so turned in for the night.

‘Ring a ring o’ rosies’

Jesus what’s that?’ I exclaimed as I sat up in bed. I checked my watch – one thirty. I got out of bed and moved towards the window. Pulling back the curtains revealed a small group of children. They were lit by a strange blue light. Their manner of dress reminded me of the drawings in ‘Oliver Twist’.

As I watched a young boy turned towards me and stared deep into my soul. His face was almost transluscent. He broke from the circle and stretched out his hand as if pleading for help. I flung the curtains back. Counted to ten. Looked out on a moonlit gravel drive way. I returned to bed somewhat shaken.

The next morning I rose early. Finishing my second cup of coffee there was a knock at the door. Opening the door revealed a young boy.

‘Please sir do you have any change?’ he said putting out his hand.


‘A few coppers!’ His eyes were blue, his face was transluscent.

I slammed the door. I was shaking. I glanced out of the kitchen window. There was no one outside. There had been no footsteps retreating down the drive.

Another knock at the door made me jump and I retreated towards the bedroom. A voice called out, ‘Mr Jones? Papers.’

I opened the door and there was the owner of the cottage.
‘Good gracious Mr Jones you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.’

The radio suddenly struck up the tune ‘Ring a ring o’ rosies.’ All went blurred and I fell to the floor. I came around a few minutes later. I was being offered a glass of water.

‘I have a confession Mr Jones, this cottage was built on a communal grave several children died of the plague.’

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Comments by other Members

dharker at 19:56 on 20 August 2011  Report this post
Spooky and quirky Laurence! I love the imagery you evoke when the boy turns and offers a pleading hand...


Gerry at 06:21 on 21 August 2011  Report this post

Nicely done, Lawrence. I liked the focus on one boy reaching out like Oliver Twist for more.

tusker at 06:31 on 21 August 2011  Report this post
A spooky tale indeed Laurence.

Good build up of tension. The country side can be quite a creepy place and MC's search for peace and quiet will, no doubt, stall his hopes for writing that novel.

One suggestion which you might not agree with is to cut out your MC speaking aloud, in the first paragraph, as he drives down the narrow road listening to the radio play. Then having him flick over to music and hearing that that song, 'Ring a ring o rosies.'

Also, 'I watched the TV and felt sleep overtaking me...' It sounded a bit clumsy.

Just fall asleep in front of the TV. Wake up with a jerk and go to bed, something like that.

It just needs a bit of pruning and you'll be able to send it off.


Desormais at 11:18 on 21 August 2011  Report this post
A really good submission Laurence. Good to see something from you again. I really enjoyed this and you built up a chilling atmosphere.


Bunbry at 11:38 on 21 August 2011  Report this post
Good to see you back Laurence - this is exactly my kind of tale, a slow spooky build up to a shocking ending. There are a couple of areas that could be smoothed out, but I'd not worry unduly about that as you have a strong basic plot which count for a great deal in my eyes. In my opinion, this was a strong contender for the crown this week!


Laurence at 19:40 on 22 August 2011  Report this post
Thanks Guys for your comments - much appreciated.

Just returned from Yorkshire where the internet signal was touch and go.

Wanted to comment on line but unable to keep the signal.

Hope to be in with another piece next week.



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