Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Terror Scribes Teaser 11: Marie O'Regan

Tommy stood still, head cocked to one side, listening to the night-time noises of the playground. By day these places were full of the sounds of children squealing with delight, maybe crying at some mishap—a fall, or a bang to the head or knee, perhaps an argument with a friend or a tussle with a bully. But overall playgrounds were happy places, full of joy. Even their name showed that to be true.

Night-time was different. By night the only sound was the wind moaning through the creak of the swing’s chains and the whispering of the leaves on the trees—the slow sigh of the night’s chill as the playground waited for morning to come and banish the darkness. That was all the noises could be, he decided. He’d listened to, and catalogued, each of these sounds, one by one, until he was satisfied, huddled as small as he could make himself: a small dark shadow on the last swing on the row.

He sighed, wishing it was earlier. There was no-one left to play with—all had gone home for their dinner, full of the day’s adventures and ready for sleep to claim them; only to release them in the morning, eager for more. Their mothers had come for them, reducing their number by degrees until he was the only one left. He eased his weight back and kicked off with his feet, letting the swing carry him gently backward—he wasn’t sure where his mother was; and it was late. Shouldn’t she be here by now?, his mind whispered, and he told it to shush. She’ll be here. She’ll come.

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