Inspired by the 'writing prompts' competition.
Picture captioned:-
"Much to the surprise of the onlookers and the drowning man, the young boy jumped into the river."


1. Rats


Fat and ‘orrible.

Plump as pies.

Hungry enough to nibble anything.

The food that fills your larder. Chewed-up leathers that’re leaving cobblers hobbled. Tales of tailors made into rag-merchants.

Rats are ravaging the town.


Local trade can’t rub two coins together and it’s fast becoming everyone’s problem. You can’t earn you can’t eat.

That and rats likely ate it anyway.

If y’ can’t tell a raisin from a choc-chip, who know’s what’s a rat drop?

Bakers sorry don’t mean much.

Meetin’s needed callin’.

Measures had to be taken.


Our stocks are spoiled and the quacks are getting flappy.

Bills can’t be paid and we’re all gettin’ sick.


The voms.

Arses aflow with nasty.


No way for a town to be runnin’.

No way at all.


So what are we doin’ about it? Says Terry

Mayor looks all sheepish. Scant on answers.


It’s a vermin’ infestation! Cries Paul.

He’s right enough. We all see plainly.

Still no words from ‘im.


It’s a difficult situation. ‘E says now.

Too right it is – all agreements

Tell us what’s to be done!


Now e’s not speaking any sense out.

Crowds aburble with froth.

Jitters and angry’s about everyone.


Arms are flingin’ up and out.

Shouts are outin’ allwhere.


Jimmy says somethin’ folk ‘ear.

And sudden the mobs astop.


I know a man. Says Jimmy.

‘Eared of one anyway.



He’s a piper. He says. Things follow ‘im.

Reckon he could lead a few rats.


That’s enough for us lots.

No more need be said.

He’s sent for in the quick of a whistle.


A daypass later he’s at us.


Man can do his job too.

He’ll pipe the rats off sure enough.


He’s able, if we’re willing.

And we are that.

Any price we’d agree to be rid!


He blows out his music.

It flows out his pipe.

And all of the ratlot are runnin’ behind.


They’re out of the houses, down through the streets.

Claws, fur and tails; all skitter and teeth.


A brown river slips down the town.

Churns into our old blue one.

Sloshes, squeals, squeaks. 

And bubbles. 


No more rats.


Now ought this flautist be coinpaid?

Courselike he should.

Few feels otherways.


But have we coins or means?

Fingers we rub empty.

Palms we spread.

Only dead promises to pay you today sir.


No means?

He has ‘em now.

-We give ‘em ‘im.


He’s got means aplenty.


Hothead and scaldtongue.

Cuss and scathe.

Makes his own dead promise.


Back he’ll be for payment.         


Sweet melody of morning.

Lullsong fills the air.


Childstep fills the streets.


Now panic!


He’s leading ‘em!

They’re after him!

The kiddies are at the water!


The townmob close behind.


The song is stopped.


The man’s in hand.

In many man’s hands.

Then in the water.


The drowning man.


One splosh flops.


A boy’s in after.

Swimmin to ‘im ‘in the water.


‘im and us are astound.

A few ‘ave turned round.


And every child is at the rivers edge.


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