The Goosepill Gang

Ollie & Karanagins

Karanagins struggled to breathe, with her brother Ollie she had been bundled into a sack and was being carted off to be drowned, Ollie was also holding on for dear life as the sack they were in bounced around on the back of the wagon. Suddenly the cart jolted to a halt, stern muffled voices could be heard, then the sensation of being lifted and flung and then the cold rush of the water, knawing away at the sack seam for all they where worth Karanagins struggled free, still holding on for dear life to her brother Ollie they both frantically held their breath until they felt their lungs would burst, in a mass of bubbles, and blackness they could work out the surface of the water a long way above them, Karanagins still refusing to let go of her brother, kicked for the surface with every ounce of her young life, the pair of them burst through the surface of the water. Spluttering and gagging to breathe she grasped onto a lump of driftwood which was floating on the surface of Goosepill Lake. Her brother Ollie lay next to her, rasping to catch his breathe the lump of driftwood which was an old partly submerged railway sleeper slowly drifted in the current on the lake, the pair of them lay there on their backs for some time staring up at the stars and the moonlight, there was silence apart from the rippling of the current on the lake. The part submerged railway sleeper drifted and spun in the current on the lake both Karanagins and Ollie lay motionless for some time exhausted by their efforts to escape, fortunately the current which had caught the driftwood was leading them to the shore rather than taking them out into more dangerous parts of the lake. Eventually the driftwood sleeper gently beached itself on the shore, both Karanagins and Ollie dragged themselves off the wooden sleeper and pulled themselves up the bank. At the top of the bank they where faced with a very busy railway lines which was enveloped in steam and mist from the trains and shunters busily taking their nightly goods in and out of the docks which lay to their right. Risking life and limb they dodged the steam engines and shunters and scrambled over the track, after crossing railway siding the noise of the trains began to drift off behind them up ahead lay more trouble as unbeknown to them they where entering black rat territory.

Looming out of the steam and mist was a very large old building, in the moonlight they could make out the dirt and grime covered the outside walls and huge tanks could be seen to the left of this building, the old gasworks was the hideout of Tar, a ferocious, evil black rat who lived there with thousands of his rat army.

As Karanagins and Ollie tried to work out a way around this building they where attacked, ferocious black rats descended on them from no where, teeth gnashing, clubs beat down on them, swords slashed and cut Karanagins ear, a blow to Ollie's head half blinded him, they both fought for their young lives and some how managed to escape, going back the way they had come over the railway lines and back to the safety of the lake. The driftwood railway sleeper was still on the shoreline where they had left it, scrambling aboard they pushed off into the lake once more paddling like fury for all their lives where worth. A mist had descended onto the lake, making it it very hard to know where they where going, by now they where completely exhausted and both fell into a deep sleep, their makeshift raft moving silently on the water as darkness fell.

Karanagins was first to awake and by know the sun had risen, her head hurt and she felt for the ear that had been slashed and was horrified to discover it was now just a stump, Ollie complained he could not see properly from his right eye, Karanagins made a makeshift patch for her brothers eye and comforted him as best she could. The driftwood sleeper had once again beached but it looked like they where on the other side of the lake, walking onto the shore they could see far above them Goosepill Woods. The climb up into the woods felt like it had taken forever but eventually they scrambled through the trees onto a woodland path, shafts of light broke through the tree cover and illuminated the path in sunlight. Both Ollie and Karanagins where desperate to find some shelter for the forthcoming night and set off once again through the woods looking for shelter, after what felt like forever they came across a tumble down barn, which still had part of he roof intact and contained some straw. Both cats gratefully crawled in under the straw and once again fell into a deep sleep.

Ollie was gently awoken by a gentle nudging on his shoulder he jumped up fearful that they where both once again being attacked.

"Don't be alarmed" a gently voice said "I will not hurt you"
"My name is Scrag I am the local scarecow and this is my home"

"What an earth has happened to both of you - you look dreadful"

Ollie and Karanagins relayed their story to Scrag and she listened intently.

Over the next few months Ollie and Karanagins stayed with Scrag, they slowly recovered from their injuries and became firm friends. Scrag told them about the evil rat clans who where headed up by Tar who had his army in the Old Gasworks and Tan who had his hideout the other side of Goosepill Woods.

Scrag would also change both Ollie and Karanagins life forever by introducing them to a docker cat called Scram who she knew would help them. Scram lived in an old concrete water tower on one of the disused railway lines which ran the other side of the docks out to the wharf piers. He was an old cat who had over the years had many battles with the rats Tar & Tan. Scram had himself many years ago suffered at the hands of descendants of Tar & Tan who had killed his entire family, Scram had developed over his lifetime his own form of marshal art called Katdo. Scrag had told both Ollie and Karanagins it would be too dangerous for them both to attempt to get to Scram's hideout on their own, but when the time was right she would get word to Scram who she was confident would help them.

Another month passed and by this time Ollie and Karangins where ready, they were fit and healthy apart from Karangins left ear being missing and sadly Ollie had only partial sight in his right eye which had been damaged when they where attacked, a permanent patch now covered his damaged eye.

They thanked Scrag for her kindness and told her they would never forget how she had helped them. Ollie and Karanagins where led by two members of Scram's clan and made it to Scram's hideout, for the next three years Ollie and Karangins where taught the ancient art of Katdo. They lived with Scram in the old watertower and also made new friends who had come to Scram in similar circumsatnces, Ollie and Karanagins trained with six other dock cats Tank, Smelly, Mo, Fingers, Face and Alfie who themselves would become life long friends and became part of what was to become the infamous Goosepill Gang.

Soon after their training was complete Ollie and Karanagins paid tribute to Scrag by visiting her and gifted her a small gold pendant which they had been awarded by the Dock Cat Council for being top of their training group. Ollie and Karangins told Scrag if ever they needed their help she was to raise the alarm by tolling the bell on the Old Northern Star trawler which was beached on the coast beyond the docks. They laughed and reminisced for a while and then parted company, little did they know how important the pendant and that pledge was to become for Scrag.

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