Buccaneer Chronicles

The Buccaneer Chronicles:

Written by Karen Dunn and Tony Gallichan

Chapter One - Innocence


The woods got cold at night.

Luckily, Daddy had made him wear a thick sweater when had walked Cally, so he didn't really shiver that much.

He didn't like the woods. They were dark and had shadows in them which were shaped like monsters. He had made a stick gun to shoot the monsters with but it was flaky because of all the rain. He didn't like the rain either. On the first night he had got very wet and had cried a lot. Voices had called for him - men's voices - loud and angry, so he had hidden in a bush until they went away. On the second night he had found an old hollow tree and climbed inside. It had been nice and dry and there had been some almost ripe blackberries on a bush next to it. They tasted horrible, so he spat them out. Then a big spider had come down a string and sat on his arm and he had hit it away and cried again. The voices had come back, nearer this time, and he knew that they were ghosts. He had curled up very small and quiet and they had gone away again.

Now though, he missed his Mummy and wanted to go home. He had looked for a policeman. He knew exactly what to say to a policeman. How did it go?

"My name is Andrew Fay and I'm lost."

Then the policeman would take him to the station until and Daddy came to pick him up. Then they would all go to the Wimpy for a hamburger.

It was nearly morning now, all cold and foggy. He could hear the birds singing to each other up in the trees and every now and then a little animal would rustle in the grass. Andrew struggled out of the warmth of the tree and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He was very hungry but would not touch the pinky green berries which looked at him from the bushes. He wanted to run to Mummy and ask for toast and Marmite and a glass of milk. He wanted her to tap her foot until he said 'please'. He wanted Daddy to ruffle his hair as he set off for work. And he wanted to watch from the window as he disappeared round the corner.

He wanted to go home.

Not knowing where he was going, he began walking rather unsteadily through the trees. Brambles ripped at his legs and roots kept tripping him up. By the time he had reached a clearing, his grubby face was tear stained and his nose was running like candle wax over his lips. He sat down in the grass, cuddling his bleeding legs and sobbed.

"Mummy." Another sob, harsh and agonising. "I want to go home."

Something moved in the bushes behind him. He turned to look, curiosity fighting through the tears. He loved it when the foxes and badgers came out of the trees and looked at him. He had learnt to sit very quietly so they wouldn't run away, and sometimes they would nearly let him touch them. He hoped it was a badger, all funny and stumbly with a snuffly wet nose.

The thing came cautiously from its hiding place. It was black like a shadow and hairy like a badger and its eyes were red like his guinea pig's eyes. It was nearly as tall as his Daddy and when he looked at the thing, it seemed all misty and soft. To Andrew, it was a bear. A friendly, lonely bear which was as lost as he was. Wiping a hand across his dripping nose and then cleaning the hand on his sweater, he got to his feet and smiled at the creature.

"Hello." His child's voice was high and innocent and the thing just looked at him. "I'm going home now."

He walked a few steps and looked back. It was following him.

Andrew smiled. Daddy wouldn't let him have a dog while Jamie, his, baby brother, was so small. This had annoyed him and just confirmed in his mind that Jamie was more trouble than he was worth and should be sent back at once. On the other hand, perhaps Daddy would let him have a bear. After all, bears can cuddle babies and keep them warm, and bears can hold the jar with the guinea pig food in it so that Mummy can feed them. And in the evenings, bears can lie on the carpet and people can put their feet in the fur and have warm toes. He waited for it to catch up then reached up to where its paw should have been. He felt something engulf his hand and stroke it gently while at the same time not actually touch him. Then they walked together, the boy talking excitedly to the black something which seemed to be listening intently to every word he said.

"I went with Daddy to give Cally a walk." Andrew looked at the bear.

"Cally's Mr. Jones's dog. They're sort of hairy and scratch lot and have wet noses and chase cats and get fleas." He lowered his voice, whispering a great secret.

"Mr. Jones had to get a flea collar to stop the fleas going on the chairs. Mummy got it for him from the shop 'cos Mr. Jones hurt his leg in a war and can't walk now." He remembered feeling very sad for Mr. Jones. He couldn't walk, couldn't run, couldn't play football in the park or make great big footprints in the snow at Christmas time. But the creature just looked down at him, curiosity somehow playing across the mist of its face.

The walked in silence for a while, then ...

"I miss my Mummy and Daddy ... I want to go home but I don't know the way and I've missed Rainbow and Mummy might have forgot to record it," he sniffed. "We were going to buy me some shoes as well, 'cos I start at big school in September and I can't go in trainers." His voice was a wail. "And Daddy's going to be very angry 'cos I ran off when he told me not to. And if I don't get home, Jamie will be big enough to eat my sweets soon." With that, he burst into tears and buried his face in the something that was holding his hand.

The something knelt down beside the boy and peered closely at him. The child's grief and longing for home ripped through it like a blade and, as it released him, it curled itself into a foetal ball and moaned pathetically as it gently rocked to and fro.

Tiny arms wrapped round it and a snuffly voice sobbed, "Don't cry, please. I'm sorry."

Andrew curled up next to his 'bear', trying to comfort it. Before long, he was asleep and peacefully calm. Uncurling, the creature stared at the child. Unmoving, deep in thought. Then, bending down, it scooped him up and began a hesitant walk towards the distant lights of the town.


Ghostwalker: Chapter Two