Asylum   Leave a comment

The Brownies sat in a circle around the campfire. Brown-Owl had been doing musical rounds with them.

“Now we are going to play ‘Never- Ending Story.”

“How do you play that?” called out some of the Brownies.

“Well I’ll start the story with a sentence, the next person adds a sentence, and so on, and we can make it go on for as long as we like.”

Some of the Brownies cheered, and Brown-Owl started the story….

“It was a dark, dark night and…..

“…a girl was crying in the dark,” Milly added; and the story continued around the circle.

Every time it was Milly’s turn she would add a heart-rending sentence, Brown-Owl noticed; sentences about people locked in rooms, of people being hungry, and about being scared of someone. Brown-Owl began to get worried, but didn’t say anything. She decided to keep a close eye on Milly.

Milly’s mother was dead, and Milly lived with her father and younger brother Sean. She seemed well-kempt, and was out-going with a vivid imagination.  

The next day the Brownies were going to have a Teddy Bear’s picnic in the woods. The girls had brought their favourite teddies from home. They prepared a big hamper of goodies, and took it in turns to carry it. Everybody was in high spirits, and some ran ahead along the woodland path.

All of a sudden there was an almighty scream. Brown Owl Andrea Smith sprang into action. She ran along the path towards a cacophony of shrieks. Andrea couldn’t believe the sight that met her eyes. There was a line of teddy bears strung up between two trees; some were hanging by the neck, others by their feet or hands, and all had blindfolds on. One large teddy had its side slit open with red stuff dripping from it. A few of the younger girls were crying, while several older girls were squealing shrilly, enjoying the drama of the horror. Andrea touched the red stuff oozing out of the split bear and smelt it then tentatively tasted it…tomato sauce!

Andrea clapped her hands for silence, told the older Brownies to take the younger ones to the picnic area, and waited for the stragglers. Then she took down the teddy victims and made her way to the picnic area.

“Someone has been very silly. There is nothing to be frightened of. Now I would like to know if anybody saw who did this.”

Milly’s hand shot up.

“Was it you Milly?”

“No…. It was a man…. A big hairy man!”

“Where did he get the teddies from?”

“I had them in my bag. I couldn’t just choose one to bring. The man grabbed them from me, and said he would do the same to me if I wasn’t quiet. He had a massive knife.”

“So what happened to this man Milly?”

“He ran off laughing an evil laugh.”

“Alright eat your picnic now. I will ring the police and report it.” Milly reddened slightly and picked at her food quietly. She watched Tawny Owl as she rang the police on her mobile.

When they got back to camp there were two constables waiting for them. Andrea introduced them to Milly, and told her to tell them everything. Milly repeated her story but added that the man had a black beard, yellow teeth, a gold earring, and a dragon tattoo on his hand. She had started off hesitantly, but then had become quite animated.  The police noted it all down, and suggested that all the parents should be informed. They advised that for the rest of the camp the Brownies should stay within the camp area.

So Andrea rang the parents. Some decided to come and collect their children, while others were reassured that camp security would be tightened. The other girls questioned Milly endlessly about the man. She told them that she thought there was another man hiding in the trees, watching the big hairy man. By the end of camp, Milly had persuaded them there had been a whole gang of men. But no man was ever found.

Brown Owl was convinced that Milly had been lying and had put the teddies up herself. She offered to take Milly home at the end of camp. So Milly rang her father and told him. Milly lived in a Victorian terraced house with a small front garden. The curtains were drawn. Strange Andrea thought. Milly began to tense as they stopped outside. She had been very quiet all the way there. There was no door-bell, just an old knocker, so Andrea banged it hard. There was a lot of scraping and then the door opened slightly. A man’s face appeared.

“Oh, Milly. Thanks for bringing her home.”

“Mr Hawkins I would like to have a word with you.”

“The house is a mess; I’ll give you a ring.”

“This is important,” insisted Andrea, putting her foot in the door.

Just then there was a high-pitched screech. Mr Hawkins turned his head, and let go of the door. Andrea was in; followed closely by Milly. There was another anguished cry which came from upstairs. Andrea pushed past Milly’s dad, and ran upstairs, taking two steps at a time.  Milly started bawling at the bottom of the stairs.

“People do bad things in there! Daddy says we mustn’t go in!”

Milly’s brother Sean suddenly opened a door downstairs. A television was blaring with the sound of gun-fire and swearing. He took Milly by the arm and drew her back into the room with him.

Upstairs, Andrea stood in stunned silence at the door of the bedroom she had just unlocked. There was a gaunt wild looking woman tearing strips of wall-paper of the bedroom wall, moaning and yelping in turn.

“My wife,” whispered Milly’s father. “I couldn’t put her away.”

He locked the door again, and they went downstairs and into the living-room. The television was still blaring, showing a violent adult DVD. Milly and Sean were staring at it mesmerised.

Andrea went into the hall and called Social Services.

 

 

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Posted June 4, 2014 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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