Barry’s Water Pistols

Barry crawled up the hill, stomach pressed close to the cool damp grass, careful to keep his head down below the summit lest someone catch sight of him and guess at what he was up to. On the other side there was a low table covered in a white cloth. Many small cake stands adorned with yummy nibblies were stationed around the table for the six young girls in their pretty summer dresses with ribbons in their hair.

He drew in a deep breath to steady himself and then turned to look back down the hill behind him. Below a line of boys copied his movements. He motioned them forwards and they wiggled on their elbows up the slope like little fish. Barry sighed in frustration, wishing he had better troops to work with. This was important business! He heaved himself up to survey the scene below.

One girl in particular, with a plastic pink tiara pinned to her curly blond hair, held her arms above her head twirling around and around while the other girls watched. The wide fairy wings strapped to her back rippled this way and that and her skirt billowed out. This was it. This was his moment.

Barry leapt to his feet, brandishing his pistol and letting out an almighty war cry as he ran down the hill to the unsuspecting girls. A few heartbeats later the other boys followed suit, yelling as loudly as they could before reaching the party site.

“Fire!” Barry cried, squeezing the trigger of his pistol and letting a jet of water spray all over the twirling princess. The boys were having a blast despite the girls’ devastated screams. Her wings were destroyed instantly; the painstakingly applied makeup turned to ink as tears mixed with pistol residue and redecorated her face.

The princess dissolved into weeping mess of a girl, crying so many tears Barry feared a flood would strike. His trigger finger went limp and the pistol drooped, falling to his side and then hitting the sodden grass with a “plop”. His troops ceased fire, looking to their commander in bewilderment. This was not the fun they had imagined.

Barry rush to his sister’s side, taking hold of her shoulders and squeezing gently.

“Don’t cry, Nessy,” he pleaded. “It’s ok. We can get you dry. It’s only a bit of water.”

Nessy only howled louder. The sound functioned like a car alarm. Barry knew its effects: bringing their parents at a run as though Nessy were a homing beacon to them. He dreaded their arrival, realising his punishment would arrive alongside Nessy’s comfort, and tried once again to quiet his sister.

“Stop crying! Stop it! You’ll get me in trouble!”

“You—” hiccough “—deserve it.”

Barry pulled at the itchy sleeves of his woollen coat. The costume was ridiculous.

“More tea, mademoiselle?” He bowed, offering a tray with a teapot, sugar and milk.

Vanessa waved her magic wand in the air and sniffed. “No thank you, Baxter. Go away.”


Prompt: write a story based on a newspaper heading


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