The Widows Blade Chapter Two
Scene 1 The Argument
“Mum” called out Ben from the hallway. “Is it okay if we go down to the site for a bit of a kick?”
“Alright Ben, don’t be too long though. Lunch will be ready in an hour.”
Kathleen Sneddon didn’t like her boy’s going to what they called the site to play, but she couldn’t really come up with a good enough reason for them not to go there. After all, most of the kids from the Willow Creek housing estate went there every weekend to play. The estate was one of the newer medium density housing schemes that had been put up on the outskirts of Glasgow in the post-war period.
The houses were all much the same. They were all terraced in blocks of eight and had shared entrances to the rear gardens. They weren’t the prettiest of houses with their grey roughcast walls, but they were solid and quite roomy for something provided by the council. Lots of people had recently taken up the option to purchase their home from the council instead of renting. Kathleen hadn’t done that though. Being a single mum who didn’t earn very much in her job as a Bakers Assistant, she simply just couldn’t afford it.
She knew she could trust Ben and Matt not to go inside the old brickworks factory itself. They would kick the football around the old brickyard for an hour or so and get rid of some energy, and God knows they had plenty of that at the moment since the school holidays had started. Kathleen was glad this was the last weekend before they went back to school. The summer break was always difficult for them. She heard the front door close and Matt talking in his usual full volume voice, “I bag’s first kick,” and Ben, much more quietly, “It won’t help you, I’ll still run rings round you.” She smiled inwardly, thinking how lucky she was to have such sweet kids.
The boys went down the road and turned left walking towards the walled entrance to the estate and then on out and across the main road. They were heading for the old brickworks factory that had been closed down for years and was now a popular playground for the local kids. Willow estate was nice and all that, but there wasn’t really anywhere for playing football. They expected to see a few other boys there when they pushed through the broken cyclone fence into the storage yards but there was no-one else in sight. No matter, they could easily play themselves.
Ben and Matt collected a couple of bricks each and set them out to use as improvised goalposts. They started in the middle and, with Matt quickly kicking the ball off to the right, the two boys started the game of football for two. They had been playing for around ten minutes when the sound of voices, raised, angry voices came to them. They both looked over towards the main building and saw three men arguing. The men were obviously getting angrier about something as they moved inside the building. They were still getting louder and a few words floated clearly out to the boys, “it’s you’re fault,” “mind,” “who do you think paid.”
“Come on Matt. Never mind them.”
And with that, the boy’s continued their game. They had been playing for around fifteen minutes when, after a bit of a heated tussle with the ball at their feet, Ben managed to get past Matt and raced off towards Matt’s goalposts. About ten yards out he gave the football an almighty kick with the toe of his training shoe. The ball, instead of going through the middle of the goalposts as intended, shot off the right edge of his shoe and flew through the air towards a pile of broken bricks and cement.
The ball must have hit a corner of one of the bricks as it ricocheted off the rubble at an angle and bounced its way across the ground and through the broken roller door of the factory that was partially hidden by more rubbish.
“You kicked it, so you can go get it,” said Matt.
Once Ben had trudged around behind the pile of bricks, Matt could no longer see him. “Come on, hurry up,” he called.
“I can’t find it, it must have gone through the door.”
“Hang on, I’ll come and look with you.”
Matt trotted around to where Ben had been looking, “Did you look behind the pile of rubbish over there?”
“Well it must have gone inside, go get it.”
“We aren’t allowed in there.”
“That’s only to play, stupid! We can go in and get our ball. No-ones around anyway. Come on.”
They went through the broken and twisted roller door into the gloom of the main building. The inside of the building was cavernous. It was about a hundred and fifty yards long by about fifty yards wide. It was one huge room with the ceiling height an equivalent of a three-storey building. Even though the building had lots of windows up high, as soon as you moved away from the doorway it became very dark. The odd shaft of light came through a broken window here and there adding to the atmosphere which the boys were finding rather spooky.
“Do you see it, Matt?”
“Yes. Look, it is over there.”
Just as they picked up their ball, a strange noise was heard by both of them. It was a sort of gurgling sound accompanied by a scraping noise. Then a wheeze followed, by another weird sound that came through the gurgle. The boys froze. They were frightened to look. Hearts pounding deafeningly in their ears, forcing themselves to slowly look to the right where the sound was emanating from, they gradually turned.
Gripping Ben’s arm hard enough to cut down the blood flow to his hand, Matt whispered, “Let’s go.” “Please, let’s go.”
Ben was older so he wasn’t about to show his little brother that he was frightened. With as much bravado as he could muster he took a step towards the scraping, wet sound, that was coming closer to them. About another twenty yards into the gloom a shaft of light was illuminating a section of the floor. As the boys stood there, rooted to the spot a shape began to form in the gloom beyond the light. Both boys were visibly shaking now as they took a couple of stumbling steps backwards.
“Run!” yelled Ben. Turning on their heels the boys ran towards the roller door, Ben ducked down under the hanging misshapen door and out into the sunlight. Matt was right on his tail but got his shirt snagged on the ragged edge of the door. In his haste to get free, he ripped the material and tore a gash in his arm. Oblivious to the pain because of the adrenalin pumping through his veins he very quickly caught up to Ben and the two of them ran back through the cyclone mesh fence, straight out across the main road where a car screeched to halt, barely avoiding running over both of them, and then on down the street heading towards their home.
Ben and Matt burst into the house almost breaking the glass in the front door.
“Hey, you too! Do not bang the door like that when you come in.”
The two boys were not able to get the words out fast enough, “There is someone in the site,” was what Kathleen could make out. They tried to explain that they thought there were two men arguing and that they got scared and ran back home to tell her about it.
“Right. Listen, you two. You know you are not allowed inside the factory. No more going down there to play.” Holding up her hands she said, “No but’s, I know the other kids play there but I do not want you to go there again. There is no telling who those people were but they were like as not up to no good. So that is it. I will hear no more of it. OK?”
The boys reluctantly agreed, “Yes Mum.”