☰ From the Writers' Corner

From the Writers' Corner

Posted on: March 9th 2012

Whatever You Do, Don’t Go Down The…

by Molly RoylanceGreat Aunt Iris. Those words still haunt me, ever since I visited her house a few years ago. She’s the kind of women that spends her weekends inside, reading a bible and grunting at the children outside. When she opens her wrinkled old mouth she reveals stained brown teeth and a sharp tongue. I know I make her sound old and unable to move an inch from her decrepit chair, but she hides a dark secret. When a child comes into sight, she throws her crumbling walking stick at them.  Someone refuses to go by her rules and she beats them with a cane she used as a teacher, no matter how old you might be!  The worst thing she does is creep into your room at night to check you’re not misbehaving whilst you sleep! If you’re snoring she takes a grimy slab of soap and grates it into your mouth! If you’re tossing and turning, she pins you down and tucks the sheets in, so close to your chest that it makes you unable to breath! Last but not least is when she sees you have taken your pyjama top or trousers off, she grabs her thick bible and throws it at you!  I experienced all these tortures while I was there…Nerves shook me as I approached her house on a summer’s day. “Now Josh, Great Aunt Iris…”. A shudder crept up my dad’s body as he mentioned her name.  “Well...she’s a bit tricky to handle, but..,” dad awkwardly stuttered.

“Martin! No, no, she’s lovely at heart. You’ll be fine.  We’ll be back before you know it! Just till the baby arrives, okay? Now whatever you do, don’t go down the crooked bridge,” my mum explained. I nodded cautiously, then rang the doorbell.  The sincere face of Iris appeared, “Just as I was starting the bible.”  My mum looked back at her and sighed.  I went inside.

“Entertain yourself,” Iris grumbled.  “Don’t go in any rooms but your own.” Unfortunately, the only fun thing to do in my room was to shuffle cards, so old that they fell apart in my hands! Days went past, I kept waiting for my parents to come.  After a week, I decided that I should go outside.  I turned to the garden. “Excuse me?” Iris asked, arms crossed.  She peered up from her bible and glared.

“I thought maybe...well, I could go out?” I stuttered.  It was a fantastic day after all. Mumbling something, Iris opened the garden door and shooed me out. Olive grass danced with the wind and I noticed vibrant-coloured bugs hidden in the blades.  As I stepped out, I remembered my mum’s orders.  “Whatever you do, don’t go down the crooked bridge.” I felt like a toddler, wanting something after I knew I couldn’t have it.  I shook my head, chestnut hair stabbing my eyes.  “No Josh, she told you not to,” I told myself. But as I thought of the dull several days to come, I knew that this was the only way I was going to properly entertain myself.  Deciding to do it made me feel rebellious and brave.

Birds twittering on the path of the woods comforted me as I set off.  As I went in, the forest grew darker.  Just before me stood a wooden rope bridge, rotting and leaning to the right.  “Crooked bridge,” I whispered. The bridge travelled about five hundred metres, as far as I could see.  A fast flowing river gushed underneath it; dead rabbits were carried by its furious body.  I noticed a crimson sign blocking the bridge, it read “NO ENTRY. DANGER”.  I climbed over it.  Nerves tingled in my stomach as I put my left foot on the bridge.  SNAP!  A string twanged off the bridge at the end.  I shuddered.  Right foot on. CREEEAK. The bridge was pressurized under my weight. Suddenly, the bridge flipped over to the right side! Leaving me dangling by the feeble strings! I held on for dear life. “Idiot,” I breathed.  “Should have listened to mum.” I peered down.  The bridge was far higher up than I first thought and there were some jagged rocks that I hadn’t noticed before… I leant as far as I could to the left, eventually flipping the bridge back.  No-one was brave enough to do this.  I turned back.

Dread approached me as I stared at the loss of several wooden planks.  There was no way I could jump over that hole! My only option was to finish the life-threatening course.  At every step a plank creaked, a string snapped. A squawk was heard in the distance, then seconds later a crow flew whizzing past me! It knocked me right off my feet! I was flung over the side of the bridge.  This time I tried leaning like before, but it was no use.  I decided not to panic, there were only a few steps to go.  I could crawl underneath the bridge, like I practised in circus training, then make my way to the end. Simple.

As I hopped onto the dewy grass, I lay down and breathed a sigh of relief.  I looked at my course: the bridge was near collapsing! Planks of wood were still dropping after I got off.  I made my way back to the old cottage.  “Maybe Iris’s house isn’t so bad after all.”

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