Thursday, 23 April 2009

BEATERS - by Dorothy Davies


See the men come toward us in line with sticks and clubs and guns. Like a line of beaters.
See the men and know they come -
Lord Amighty but I'm that scared I could -

It was Bunce who started all this - or was it Jimmy?
Bunce. It was him who come arunning and said
"Hey guys, there's a spacemen in the woods!" and we, knowing Bunce ain't all there, you know what I mean, the lift don't always go to the top floor, like, we laughed and said: "You've been watching too much Star Trek!"
But he kept on saying, "There's a spaceman in the woods!"
It were a kinda boring day, too hot to kick footballs, torment dogs and cats, too brainstorming to go to school, so we went to the woods.
Well now, like I said, Bunce ain't got all that there is in the way of brains, so we weren't surprised when we got to the woods to find there was not a spaceman there at all.
An alien: not a spaceman.
It was kinda hard to say what he/it looked like, really, green and scaly and like nothing on earth and then it was changing shape, first grey and smoky like my old Dad's pipe smoke, then sort of like a tree, then sort of like a large polecat, then sort of like -
That's when I got a bit scared and backed off a bit but it spoke with Jimmy's voice and kinda sounded sad and lonely-like.
"Stay with me," and it was kinda hard to go, then. Bunce and Jimmy and me, we stared at it for a while and walked round it and it looked more like Jimmy every minute till even Jimmy was taken to say,
"Damn it all, whoever you be, you looks just like the twin brother I never had!"
"But you don't like me as I am," and it sounded even more lonely, like an old train whistling across the countryside in the middle of the night, rushing headlong to - Nowheresville.
And you feel your heart sort of sink in your boots and you want to go and cry into some bale of straw or sommat.
Then it became Bunce. Just like that, in a twinkle of a will o' the wisp apassing us by, it became Bunce.
And then they were astaring and pointing because it became me.
And I got real scared.
"We'd better get going, guys!" I took off running, fast as I could, sweat apouring under the arms and everywhere, heading for home.
"Dad!" I yelled, knowing damn well him were asleeping off the old moonshine somewhere on the back porch but not caring if I got a licking or not. Somehow it didn't matter.
"Dad!" and he woke and shook the porch with thumping feet and yelled enough to bring down the old lightning struck elm outside.
"What is it, boy? This had damn well better be good!"
And I told him about the alien and how it was first Jimmy then Bunce and then me and how it stared and cried and made us feel all lonely.
"There be no such thing as an alien, boy." He spoke kinda slow and serious. "That there be the work of the Devil himself. I'll just go and see old Sam, downalong" and him peg legged off down the dirt track, raising dust devils of his own.
Good, I thought, the men will come and kill the creature!
Then I got thinking about Bunce and Jimmy and how the alien looked like them and how the men wouldn't know who they be ashooting and I got even more scared and ran back as fast as I could, stitch cutting my side into pieces and gasping like I was a marathon runner done the 26 miles without stopping even for a coke along the way and found three people sat at the foot of the old oak where it was once said a man done hung himself after a love affair went wrong and we thought how stupid to do that.
And I was thinking round in a circle because the three who sat at the foot of the tree were -
And something reached out and touched me. I felt cat's paws of tickling all over my head my back my stomach my legs and I felt myself changing and changing and changing -
Into Bunce.
Now we were four.
Work of the Devil.
Satan's children.
No one would believe we were victims of an outer space creature now, would they?

See the men come toward us in line with sticks and clubs and guns. Like a line of beaters.
See the men and know they come -
Lord Amighty but I'm that scared I could -


Amor Vincit Omnia


  1. Dorothy,
    A real chiller this one.
    A sense of foreboding throughout.
    Good stuff.

  2. Hey Dorothy, awesome stuff. Like Col says, a real chiller. Love the first person dialogue - really gives the piece a sense of place. Love it. Matt

  3. There are a few comments of people loving this over on WN Talkback, too!
    Well done Dorothy.

  4. Bill#

    Wonderful, Dorothy.
    wonderful mix of youthful wonderment and scared-ness in that Ist pov.

    loved that lonely train

  5. I'm not usually keen on 1st POV and don't usually read thriller stories, especially to do with aliens but this is first class. Good voice, strange stort, lingering description. Very gripping. Great stort.

  6. Obviously the stort on the comment above should read story. My excuse is that I have been out for a meal and had one too many fine glases of wine

  7. Great story, Dorothy - really enjoyed it. Thanks!

  8. omg DD - Riveting!

  9. This is brilliant. Love the twisted idea behind it, Dorothy. Great dialogue and accents, too.