I’ve been in two minds about whether to write this down, just in case anyone else reads it. War has sworn me to total secrecy, and although he’s a big softie deep down, he’s threatened to amputate my legs if I so much as breathe a word of it to anyone else. He had that look in his eye at the time, too. The one that says “I’m going to amputate your legs”. So I’m inclined to believe him.
That said, I feel like I’ll burst if I don’t get it out in some way, so hopefully writing it down on your pages will stop me telling Famine. Or announcing it loudly at this year’s Easter Party like I did in 2004 when I discovered he had a crush on newsreader Moira Stewart. Bless him, he was so embarassed. I almost don’t blame him for punching me through that wall.
So anyway, the night before last War announced he was heading out to feed the horses. I was expecting this, though, and the moment he was out of the shed I was off after him. Famine was ears deep in a bowl of Angel Delight, so he probably didn’t even notice us go. I followed War through the garden, and had left a little stepladder hidden in the grass that afternoon so I could get over the back wall without too much difficulty.
I thought he’d spotted me at the end of the road, but I hid behind a post box and held my breath, and he turned and kept on walking.
Eventually, I followed him all the way to the retirement home just down from the swimming baths, and watched him climb in through a window around the side. I didn’t know what to think – was he killing pensioners? Unlikely, but nine thousand years in a shed can do funny things to a man, as evidenced by the last nine Deaths (although technically they weren’t actually men). I had to find out what he was up to.
I crept up to the window, keeping low to stay out of sight. The last thing I needed was some old codger spotting me and calling the police. Once at the window I very carefully peeped inside. I almost screamed – War was sitting in an armchair directly in front of me, dunking a biscuit into a cup of tea. I was gobsmacked. I’ve never seen him eat a biscuit before, let alone dunk one in his tea. Mind you, Famine’d probably have his hand off before he got the chance.
I couldn’t really hear what was being said, but he seemed to be listening to two old fellas who were sitting either side of him. He wasn’t really saying anything himself, just nodding and smiling and dunking his biscuit. Every so often he’d ask a question. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but his body language told me it was a question he was asking. I’m good with body language like that, me. I can read people like a book. Even more so if they’re dancing at the time.
Then the unexpected happened. Right out of the blue a small dog appeared and started snuffling around my crotch. He took me completely by surprise and I had no option but to stand up and scream. Well, there may have been other options, but that was the only one that occured to me at the time.
The dog yelped and ran away. I looked up and met War’s gaze. He stopped dunking his biscuit. He set down his cup. And I turned and legged it back towards the shed.
He caught up with me about twenty yards from the retirement home and just plucked me off the ground. Literally lifted me up by the back of my jacket and held me there dangling in mid-air. He did his usual full on interrogation, asking why I was there, what I had seen, all that stuff and then – and this was unexpected – he explained what he was up to.
Apparently he’s been visiting old war veterans in the home and listening to their stories. And that’s it! Just turning up, having a cup of tea, and listening to them for an hour or so. I asked him what he was doing that for and he said, “Because who else is going to?” and he looked dead sad then.
I told him it was a very noble thing to do, and said I was very proud of him. He looked a bit embarassed, then said I was welcome to come along in future, to which I replied, “God, no!”.
I mean come on. There’s no saying what I’d catch in a place like that.
Enjoying Pestilence’s Diary of the Apocalypse? Continue his adventures in The 13th Horseman.