The Goosepill Gang


Chapter 1

The Storm

A storm raged deep in Goosepill Woods the rain lashed against the old barn, crash, bang, groan, crash, bang, screech, Scrag bolted upright with a start at the screaming coming from deep within the barn, there it was again a high pitched screeching and more screaming. Scrag scrambled over the hay bales from her sleeping place and peered into the gloom. The noise from within was disturbed further by the lashing of the rain and thunder claps from the storm outside, lightening flashed lighting up the scene, the wind whistled in tune with the barn’s groaning timbers. Scrag blinked trying to adjust her eyes to the gloom, she edged closer around the hay bales, the storm raged, the screaming and screeching continued, as Scrag got closer she could make out two rats who were engaged in a terrible fight, she recognised one of them as Tar, a local black rat who had a ferocious temper, Scrag dared not come between them and stayed safely out of sight, both rats were fighting over a strange blue coloured bottle.

Tar’s rival made a run for the door, both rats toppled to the ground and in the ensuing scrabble the bottle was hurled high into the air, the bottle landed at Scrag’s feet, she picked up the bottle and stuffed it down into her jacket and quickly moved back into the shadows. The storm continued to rage, Scrag safely hidden in the hay, peered out toward the door, Tar remained and his outline was lit up by the lightening flashes, his breath rasped, his one eye narrowed and the light flickered menacingly on his diamond studded eye patch, he searched wildly for the bottle, but it was nowhere to be seen.

Scrag was very frightened and her heart pounded, she thought Tar could hear the pounding of her heart as he tore the barn apart looking for the bottle, there was no let up to the storm and Scrag could hear Tar’s oaths above the howling of the wind which threatened to tear the barn apart. After what appeared an eternity Scrag heard the barn door being dragged open and Tar disappeared into the night.

The wind howled in through the open door, the thunder exploded in deafening bangs, fork lightening sizzled and cracked in the highly charged storm, Scrag felt the barn was in danger of collapse and Marmaduke, Scrag’s trusted companion popped her head out from Scrag’s pocket and whispered.

“Scrag, can you hear me”

“Yes” Scrag replied, the wind taking her breath away.

“Are you alright” Marmaduke enquired.

“I think so” came the reply.

“What should we do” asked Marmaduke.

“We cannot stay here" replied Scrag, Tar will be back before very long, and I don’t think this old barn can take much more of this storm. Scrag and Marmaduke braved the storm and found further shelter a short distance away, cold ,wet and bedraggled they stripped off their outer clothing and both eventually drifted off into a deep sleep, safe at least for the moment.......

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