Cold. Lonely. Scared. The three words that sums up how I’m feeling right now. I’ve never really been so close to death as I was earlier on today, and hope I never do again. I only decided this morning to visit my deceased parents and brothers, not knowing that this visit to the graveyard would be any different to usual visits. I have always tried to visit the graveyard as much as possible, partly to see my parents and brothers but mostly to get away from my sister, Mrs Joe Gargery. Ever since I can remember my sister has cared for me, when she did decide to bring me up, she had only just married Joe, the town’s blacksmith. At first she took very good care of me but then things started to change. If I did the slightest of things to displease her, she would beat me. I try to stay out of her way now, at the graveyard, that way I can’t do anything wrong.
Today, my visit to the graveyard was normal, or so I though on my way there… It was for an autumn day, quite a bit darker than meant to be considering the time of day in which it was. I was making my way through the bleak overgrown patches of nettles that surrounded the stone cold path in which lay beneath my feet. Every so often I felt the ice cold water leak into my ancient boots. The coldness hit my body, it was unbearable, I wrapped myself in my damp jacket hoping the vigorous shaking of my body would stop. My holey trousers tried their best to keep the winds away from my skin but they were failing miserably. Once I got to the graveyard, I stood there at first staring at the tombstones in which my family lay under, when my knees could then no longer hold my body weight; I collapsed on the ground, still staring at the tombstones.
Although as per usual I shouted out to see if anyone was there I felt a sort of presents in the graveyard, I thought nothing of it until I heard a sort of grunt that came from behind the bushes. This grunt was followed by a threatening voice of which yelled “Hold your noise!” a terrifying man, in different shades of grey appeared from out of the marshes. I felt myself trying to run away but being too scared. He followed this order with a threat … “Keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!” He grabbed hold of me. No longer being able to touch the floor, I felt his large grubby hands grab hold of my cheeks squashing them against my teeth. I didn’t recognise the man from anywhere but then again he had no hat, broken shoes, and an old rag tied round his head. He looked like he had just finished a long hard journey through the countryside as he was soaked in water, smothered in mud, torn by briars and he was limping around shivering, glaring at me. His teeth were chattering. He was cold.
I thought there and then he was going to kill me, I pleaded best I could, but it was very difficult as my cheeks where being pressed against my teeth, which meant every time I tried to speak I ended up biting chunks out of my chubby cheeks. After my plea for dear life he asked me my name, I had to repeat it a number of times as my nerves were getting the better of my speech. He then asked me where I live, of which my reply was a point of my finger, I indicated where our village lay, on the flat in-shore among the alder-trees and pollards, a mile or more from where we were standing. I thought I misunderstood his question when he turned my upside down, but it turned out he wanted to see what I had in my pockets. As soon as he saw the stale piece of bread drop to the ground he clumsily placed me on a tombstone and attempted to scoff the whole piece in one mouthful. Still munching on the piece of bread he turned to me. A quick thought went through my mind … had I brought enough food for the starving man.
He grumbled “You young dog, what fat cheeks you ha’ got.” He followed this with a threatening shake of his head “Darn me if I couldn’t eat me, if I hadn’t half a mind to’t!” I gravely expressed my hope that he wouldn’t, and held tighter to the tombstone on which he had put me; partly, to keep myself upon it; partly, to keep myself from crying. He groaned at me asking me where my mother is … I pointed at the tombstone next to him, he must of thought she was standing there as he made a short run, stopped before looking over his shoulder. I timidly explained that my mother, father and five brothers were lying there in front of us, and that my sister Mrs Joe Gargery – wife of Joe Gargery, the blacksmith was the one who had been looking after me since I was little.
I was surprised at the expression he gave me after my explanation. He looked down his leg then back up at me he did this a couple of times before taking me by both arms, and tilting me back, as far as he could hold me. He must have been trying to terrify me because that is defiantly the effect I was getting. “Now lookee here,” he told me, “the question being whether you’re to be let to live. You know what a file is?” I replyed “Yes, sir.” “And you know what wittles is?” “Yes, sir.” After each question he tilted me further and further. He told me I had to get him a file and some wittles by morning or he will have my heart and liver, he then told me he was not alone…
He watched me at first, leaving the graveyard before making his way over the old stone wall. He was hugging his undersized body, clutching the rags of cloth, pressing them against himself. Still limping he made his way to the church wall; he fell down against it. That’s when he looked just as helpless, just as lonely as me.