The playground was no place for kids. Screams!!! 2/5/2020.
| Play Time
Marty always led the way. Even if he took it slowly, any younger kids that might still be around would scatter at his approach. If he went in stomping and hollering and waving his arms, they'd not be able to flee fast enough.
If I'm honest, I hated the way we instilled fear and took over the playground. I didn't dare speak up though. Not only would I be cast out of the group, but I'd be banished in what would surely be a humiliating way.
Brynn was the last to have spoken up, and boy, Marty gave him such a beating before tossing him into the river. He'd been my mate up until then, and I'd managed to hang back long enough to make sure that Brynn made it out of the river okay. He's not spoken to me since and I can't blame him.
Marty pulls the packet of cigarettes from his pocket and lights one up. Gabby and Phil are soon copying him, and Frankie is reaching for his inside pocket. Did he get it? He'd kind of promised, so for his sake I hoped he'd not let Marty down. Yes! An almost full bottle of whiskey that he'd stolen from his Dad.
Marty held out his hand. As self-elected leader, he'd be entitled to the first of anything and no one was going to say differently. He took a long swig from the bottle before handing it back. Frankie took a swig then handed the bottle around. The level of the liquid was going down fast but that was okay. I had, in my own pocket, another bottle that was still half full. I just hoped my Dad didn't notice that it was gone.
Feeling the alcohol kick in, I watched for a while as Marty climbed up to sit on top of the swing frame, kicking out as Gabby swung higher and higher. He'd not get a chance of reaching her and really, he was the one more likely to get hurt. I chuckled then turned my attention towards the others.
Becca and Frankie climbed onto the roundabout. I grabbed hold of one of the bars and ran, setting the whole thing spinning as fast as I could. As I was catching my breath, I caught sight of them; what looked like a couple of kids that couldn't be any older than nine or ten. There could be no doubt about it; they were heading straight towards the playground.
Marty was facing the other way. He wouldn't have seen them yet. I toyed with the idea of warning them somehow, getting them to turn back before it was too late. That was until I heard Phil call out, and then I knew I was too late.
"Looky, looky! What have we got here?"
Marty did a pretty impressive somersault that took him down to the ground. I could see the gleam in his eyes. He was drunk enough, crazy enough, to take things way too far. His posture was deceptively relaxed as he watched and, when they were near enough to see, beckoned them forwards.
"Well, hello children." Marty's words slurred slightly. "What do you think you are doing?" Suddenly he dashed forward, raced around them, removing their option to turn and run back the way they had come. "You're too late; the park is ours now."
We gathered together, waiting for our instructions. We didn't dare to do anything else, but there was something off about the entire scene. These kids, they should have been cowering, trying to get away by now. Instead they stood side-by-side, with no sign of being put off.
They turned, and slowly, deliberately, headed towards the see-saw. Marty nodded at Phil, who ran and leaped up onto the center fulcrum. "Uh uh," he said before he appeared to be lifted up into the air and thrown a good six feet from the playground apparatus.
Becca and Frankie closed in on the kids who, I saw, seemed quite untroubled by the accident. Phil was up on his feet, brushing himself down. I could sense his anger, directed at the see-sawing children, yet I knew that neither of them had laid a hand on him.
Phil strutted forwards, his hands clenched into fists. He pushed past both Becca and Frankie and towered above the kids who had climbed from the see-saw to stand and watch. He thumped out with a fist. I was about to call out; watching them pick on kids our own age was one thing, but these were a good six years younger. Before I had made so much as a sound I saw his arm freeze then draw back and twist.
I could hear the bone crack from where I stood. Phil yelped in pain, dropped to his knees, his good arm clutching his injured one. Frankie and Marty rushed from both sides. One of the kids turned, so that each faced an opponent. Both of my mates seemed to freeze mid-stride.
Becca kept on going until she suddenly grasped her head with both of her hands. Her face twisted into a grimace of pain as she dropped to the ground, first onto her knees and then on her side.
What was I seeing? It made no sense to me.
One of the kids walked right by me, leading Frankie behind as though he were on an invisible leash. I could see him struggling not to take a seat on the swing but whatever was controlling him was too strong for him to resist. His back arched and I watched in open-mouthed horror as his stomach seemed to split apart, his intestines spilling out and wrapping themselves around the chains that held up the seat.
I bent forward and vomited onto the ground. As I straightened up, my eyes were caught by the roundabout that was now turning slowly. Marty was laying on top of it, his arms stretched out and held in place by some kind of wire. Where it had come from I didn't know, but it was slicing its way through his wrists and blood was spurting everywhere.
Call me a coward if you like, but I turned and ran, pretending to myself that I did not hear Gabby's screams coming from behind me. I just hoped the kids would have enough to keep them amused without them dragging me into playing their 'games' too.