Bright was the night that Brian Moore chose to hide up in a fisherman’s shed. A full moon so brilliant the stars lost their own luminescence, dimmed for one night only by luna glory. Looking straight at it brought water to Brian’s eyes.
Brian hopped over big walls into the gardens of houses belonging to the well-to-do of the little town. One garden to the next and then the next, in his attempt to steer clear of Sergent Hill. The punishment he had received, a few nights earlier, had been beyond cruel. Locked in an old Anderson shelter overnight with no light or water, he had messed his pants which only sent his mum into yet another rage. What did she expect? It was all her fault. She had got the policeman to punish him in the first place, and for what reason, because he didn’t like school?
What 12 year old did?
He would rather be out in the wild, than sitting in a boring classroom. He knew things about the land and the forest no teacher did. He knew the habits of badgers and birds. He could snare rabbits and skin ’em too. But no, his mum wanted him to be just like the others.
Bollocks to that.
Now she had set Sergent Hill after him again and he needed a safe place. Somewhere the fat pig wouldn’t think of looking. He made his way, in a round the houses fashion, down to the beach and climbed into an old shed. Turned the parafin heater on, and kipped down for the night in front of it.
Old Nick nudged the boy awake with the tip of his boot.
“Wake up young’un.” he said
The boy tried to dart away on his hands and knees, but Old Nick’s boot soon had him pinned to the floor.
“Sorry.” Brian yelped.
Old Nick having spent time in Japan from ’42 to ’46 recognised genuine fear when he saw it, and the pressure on the boy’s chest lessened.
“Yer not in trouble, boy. But ya owe me for breaking in and use o’ the gas.”
“I don’t have no money.”
“Best ya work yer debt off then. Help me gut some fish, and then we’ll think about mending the lock together. How about that then Moony?”
“I got to call ya something, int I” said Old Nick smiling and holding out his hand.
Brian waited a few seconds, then put his own hand forward, and they shook on it.