By Lisa HC
Location: South Street, Openshaw, 1951
I saw her from a distance. Well, as distant as the length of a row of rundown terraces with outside plumbing can get. She was running at me, head down, hand holding her taped bottle bottom glasses to her face, brown bowl cut slicked down with grease and the remains of the morning rain. Bruised knees knocking at the fallen hemline of the pinafore-style dress we all wore.
Her eyes were panicked. She reached me and screamed ‘Run!’, and something about her compelled me to comply. Heart pounding, legs wobbling, I ran next to her, down one alley, into another and round the gable end.
‘Why are we running?’ I gasped, through gritted teeth, lungs burning.
‘Windah cleenah! Gunna… kill… me!’ My poor eight-year-old heart nearly failed. A man was going to kill her! We were not just running now, but running for our very lives! From somewhere I managed to pull out even more power – we call it adrenalin now – and ran even quicker than before, over the road and into the park. I headed for the bowling green, with its big well-kept hedges that might provide some cover. I tried to speak, each word punctuated with gasp after gasp of laboured breathing, a stitch starting in my side.
‘Why… is… he… gunna… kill… yer?’
We ran to the far end of the hedge, where it was thickest and she stopped, crouching, pulling me down with her.
‘I shat in his bucket.’
Lisa HC is a writer, traveller, teacher and artist. Not always in that order. Born in Manchester, her love/hate relationship with the city tends to send her running from and returning to it at irregular intervals. http://www.blankmediacollective.org/portfolios/rocketmanhc/Stats: