Upton Close And Personal - Part One of Five
This is part one of a serialised short story, and I will release a part every Friday. Each part focuses on different characters in the same setting; a suburban street called Upton Close.
I wrote this for a short story module at university. Though I haven't had the grades back yet, I think it'll do moderately well.
Without further ado, here is part one!
Upton Meadow - Len Richies and Holly Haynes
“Bertie! C’mon Bertie! Come back here, you naughty dog!”
“We’ve got to get him to give back Teddy!”
Len leaned on his walking stick and exhaled sharply, before raising a hand to his forehead and scanning the field for the troublesome creature who had stolen his granddaughter’s teddy bear. He was nowhere to be seen; vanished from the patch of greenery that sat at the end of the suburban street like nature’s last stronghold.
“Don’t worry Hol.” He said. “He’s only got little legs; he can’t have taken Teddy too far.”
Holly kicked at the browning grass beneath her feet with the toe of her sandal.
“Maybe he wants to play fetch with my Teddy.”
“I think he’d rather play with a stick.” Len replied. “You’ll still play with him, won’t you? You’re good at fetch with Bertie.”
“Bertie jumps up, Grandad. He pushes me down with his paws.”
Len squinted into the distance, at a cluster of scrubby little bushes on the horizon. They were moving strangely. Was Bertie hiding inside?
“That’s what the training classes are for, Hol. Fat lot of good that they’ve done. Next time, I won’t stop until he knows what ‘drop it’ and ‘stay still’ mean.”
Suddenly, Len saw a little black shape emerge from the bushes and dash across the field. Bertie was on the move, and he no longer had Teddy between his jaws.
“Bertie!” He called, breaking into a jog.
Holly sprinted on ahead. “Granddad! He doesn’t have Teddy anymore! Where is Teddy?”
“Don’t… Don’t worry about that right now.” Len panted, his breath ragged. “Let’s just get his lead back on first.”
Holly stopped, stomping her foot. “But Granddad!”
Len turned to look at her, throwing his balance off-kilter. He reached out with his walking stick to steady himself, but it was too little too late, and he tumbled forwards. There was an awful, sickly crunch. His knee buckled. He bit his lip to keep from crying out in pain.
“Grandad! No!” Holly cried, running to his side.
“I’m ok, Hol” He assured, but his face was twisted into a grimace. “Just give me a minute, I’ll get up.”
“Your leg is all broken!”
Len pulled his arms out from under him, trying desperately to heave himself up onto his feet. But it was no good. His leg could not take even the slightest bit of weight.
“Yeah, Hol.” He said grimly. “I think you’re right.”
Bertie bounded up to them, having sensed the fun was over. He yipped softly and tugged at Len’s sleeve, but the old man didn’t budge. Len fumbled in his pocket for a moment, producing a lead and his mobile phone.
“There.” He said, passing the lead to Holly. “Clip that to his collar, and whatever you do, don’t let him go.”
Holly fumbled as she fixed the lead in place.
“What now, Grandad?” She said, her lower lip trembling.
Len took a deep, stabilising breath. “I’m going to call the emergency number.” He said, holding out his phone so she could see. “You’ve got to remember this. Whenever you’re in trouble, you dial nine-nine-nine and nice people will come and help you.”
“Nice people are going to come and help your leg?”
“Yes.” He forced a kindly smile. “They’ll come in a big car called an ambulance. It might be a bit scary, but you’ve got to be brave for me, okay?”
Holly sniffed, rubbing the starts of tears from the corner of her eye. “Okay Grandad.”
“And I won’t be able to walk Bertie until my leg is better.” He added. “But you’ll play with him, won’t you? You’re a good friend to Bertie.”