This week it’s story time. Check out this free short story for kids, Sewer Poachers. So, sit down get a nice cup of coco and enjoy this mini adventure full of twists and turns. It’s story time for you and your kids, enjoy!
By Barry S. Brunswick
“Now just shimmy down this,” said Grizzle, holding the string in his hand.
The four rats, equipped with backpacks and their legendary cunning, gently climbed the down the string into the dark sewer.
Their toes softly touched the cold slimy concrete. They were surrounded by smells that would make you or I shudder to the soul, but this was their world. Where others would perish, these creatures survive and thrive.
The four warriors stood, ears pricked, eyes alert and noses twitching. The hunt was on.
Grizzle, Hibert, Dana and Sneak were charged with feeding the tribe. They were the hunters, the ones the little rats looked up to and aspired to be. Yes, there was always plenty of rubbish for their kind to gorge on, but at times, they needed meat, and one type of meat was the most prized of all, cockroach meat!
“Right, grab the harpoon,” Grizzle whispered in his rasp.
You see, the cockroach can hear a whisper through the dark from a mile away, so they had to be quiet.
Sneak grabbed the harpoon gun, and away they went, scurrying silently in shadows. Sharp senses alive and hearts skipping with the thrill of the hunt.
Deep in the darkness…
What was that? I heard a whisper from far away, as always, I panicked and scurried on. I wished the fear wouldn’t always control me. I wished the urge to hide didn’t haunt me all the time, but alas, it did. So many times, I have questioned myself, my nerve always on the edge of breaking. I stayed low in the shadows, tucked in the corners for protection. I had a terrible feeling that I tried to shake away, the feeling something was hunting me, but these feelings, I have had often and were not proven to be true.
Come on Francesca you can do this!
“Shhh.” Grizzle put his finger to his lips, wiping filthy sewer slime all over his face. He neither noticed, nor cared.
“I got me a scent boss.” Hibert, who was the tracker, rushed over. He pointed towards it and stared the hundred-yard stare, the lust for blood boiling within him, and equally, within them all.
Without speaking, they moved further on expertly blending in, silent and deadly, slinking in the darkness.
“I can hear one,” said Sneaky at the bottom of her voice. There was a clear scratchy scurrying type of noise ahead.
They ran towards their unsuspecting target.
Oh my word! I heard some more whispers. They’re chasing me! I heard them coming, and I was filled with panic. What could they want with an innocent cockroach? So long have we hidden in the shadows. I must stay low; I must stay out of sight. That is what is drilled into us when we are young. That is the path we are forced to take. So often our brothers and sisters fall; so often we are prey. My duty is to survive, for I am a special one, for I am a gleaming cockroach with a shell hard and black.
It was time to go, I really had to get out of there. They were coming!
“I senses her, I does. She a hundred jilks ahead,” Dana whispered. She bristled in anticipation as she started moving, followed by the others. It was clear they were on to the scent of their prey. Onwards they marched bravely, never a fear, even in the darkest of places. They were in the shadowy places which most would fear to tread, but this was their home. They were one-minded in their goal and one minded in their mission. They didn’t need thought for they had instinct to guide them and guide them well it did.
The four rat-shaped shadows melted like smoke into the background, relentless, hairs on end, the excitement growing. The end of the deadly harpoon poised and gleaming occasionally in the light that made it down there. Any cockroach faced with such a deadly weapon, so small and weak, would have no chance. Before they could even breathe, it would all be over.
They tore ever on, their determination never wavered. Turning down every tunnel they passed, each brought hope they would find what they sought, only to find nothing again. Their senses felt the cockroach was nearby, but still it eluded them. It seemed these rats, were facing a very wily and elusive foe indeed.
They turned down one more tunnel, the stench of cockroach was clear to them, even above the stench of sewage. They went to the end, scanned every corner but still they found nothing.
Grizzle’s frustration was growing. “Still nothing? This doesn’t make sense.” He was louder than he should have been, but his emotions betrayed him.
They were left with little choice but to leave the tunnel and carry on searching. Never before had they returned to the nest empty handed and they certainly were not going to this time either.
They didn’t see me. I looked down as they scurried below. My legs stretched as I desperately cling to the ceiling of the tunnel, lost like a ghost in the inky blackness. I could see them leaving. I was filled with relief. I might just get out of this alive. I listened to the footsteps leaving the tunnel and waited a moment longer. Only then did I dare move from my hiding place. I scurried down the wall and back into the filth that lined the tunnel floor. On edge, I nervously scuttled forward. The opening at the end was in view.
The four rats waited by the tunnel’s entrance huddled, hidden from sight, and waited. A moment passed and the black shell of a cockroach became clear. In an instant, Sneak pulled the trigger of the harpoon gun. With a whoosh the deadly spike went forward. The string unwound as the weapon found its helpless target. There was a squeal of pain as it pierced the cockroach’s shell. The insect struggled but knew it was helpless. The four rats grabbed the line and started to reel in their stricken prey.
Oh no, Simon! My friend was taken before my eyes. I was exposed, out in the open; I needed to get out of there. I scurried like the wind, for all I was worth.
“Hey guys, there’s one there!” Grizzle yelled. “Looks like a big’en too,”
“Did you get a good look at it?” Hibert asked.
“No, just a glimpse of the shadow passing. It headed down that tunnel.” He pointed a paw towards it.
They quickly restrained the cockroach they had already. They expertly taped up its legs and stuffed it into a bag. Dana slung it on her back, and Sneak reloaded the harpoon. On they went, ready to claim another bigger prize.
I ran with all I had; I could hear footsteps coming. They were close and the shadows wrapped ‘round me and closed in further as the tunnel reached an end. There was nowhere to go; it was a dead end!
“Come here, roachy roachy roachy,” Grizzle’s gruff voice called out menacingly. They edged further and further down the tunnel, the harpoon ready, poised to strike. They stood side by side so nothing could get by them unnoticed or unchallenged.
They were coming and I was trapped. I had nowhere left to go! There was no choice. I couldn’t run; I couldn’t hide, so I needed to fight!
The rats moved ever closer, piercing the black with their gaze. Out of the darkness like a flash sprung a cockroach, huge and hissing. It clamped its solid jaws around Hibert’s neck, and with a snap, his head came off his body, and he fell down dead.
Grizzle looked up, eyes wide in fear. The mutant cockroach was far huger than any rat.
Sneaky fired the harpoon, but it was useless, as it bounced off Francesca’s solid armour. The rats turned tail and ran. How quickly the hunters had become the hunted. The cockroach scurried up the wall, over took them and then dropped down in front of them. In moments, they were torn apart and consumed, and just like that, Francesca the mutated cockroach, melted like a ninja, back into the dark.
For more free tales for the next story time, checkout my jelly fish flash fiction story.
Barry S. Brunswick is an author. You can buy his books on Amazon:
Dreamland Part 1 – The Fabric of Dreams
Dreamland Part 2 – The Masters of Light
The War of The Turnips
Barry Brunswick’s Tall Tales – A Short Story Collection
Inner Outer – A Poetry Collection