Stories for 10 to 11 year olds


The Snowmen.

"Get lost!" Three red faces flushed with anger but afraid.
"Make me," Jason leered nastily.
"Jus' leave us alone." The small boys stood at a distance. Eyes pleading. 
Jason leaned on one of the snowmen.
"Oh dear! Mr Snowman's lost his balance." Jason's eyes flashed as the ice monolith
crashed to the ground.
"And what about Mrs Snowman?" He aimed a fist at the black coal eyes and crazy
orange peel teeth. Snow exploded in all directions.
"Ha. Ha. Ha. Mrs Snowman's laughing her head off!"  
"Don't," said the smallest boy weakly. Jason scooped and shaped a piece of broken
head and threw it at him. It fell wide but had the desired effect.
"Clear off home to mummy!" he yelled at them. The boys fled. 
Jason pushed over the two remaining snowmen. Annoyed by their dumb faces staring
stupidly at him. A day's work reduced to crumbled ruin in seconds. He had watched
from his bedroom window the three kids carefully craft the figures. Four dumpy snow
people staring out over the lake. It had taken them a lot of effort to get the heads on
top. The largest snowman must have been only his height but that was tall for them.
  They were skinny kids, none of them older than seven. He hated puny kids and their
silly laughing. He hated any weakness. And he had such strength, big and muscular
over twice their age. Dad had said he'd be playing rugby for Wigan one day soon.
Now he had the house to himself for a few days. He could do what he liked with them
away. Only old Mrs Warburton to look in on him. It was that freedom that urged him
to slip out of the front door and across the park in front of the house to spoil the fun
knowing there would be no nagging complaining parents to ruin it. A display of
power with no repercussions.
   The sun was low in the sky. Its feeble light shimmering across the frozen water. He
looked down at the severed head of one of the snow people. Eyes just sunken sockets,
dark and faintly disturbing. It's teeth made from broken forks, glistened threateningly.
The sun went behind a cloud and Jason shuddered. There was something arrogant
about that face. He kicked it hard and walked quickly back to the house.
   Mrs Warburton came in at six to cook Jason's meal. Afterwards he slumped down in
front of the television.
"I'll be glad to get 'ome tonight," she said peering round the door. Jason remained
motionless. His eyes fixed on the television screen. "It's comin' on to snow again.
Cold for them snowmen in the park. Right. Ta da then!" Jason waved a hand vaguely
in her direction. He heard the front door close. What had she said about the
snowmen? Perhaps she had seen them earlier. Surely the kids hadn't come back and
rebuilt them. He went to the lounge windows. It was too dark to see properly and
snow was falling heavily again. Were there four ghostly shapes glowing faintly yellow
in the street lights against the darkness of the lake? He drew the curtains quickly and
turned up the television louder than his parents would have permitted.       

Jason was up early the next morning. Through the bedroom window a purple haze
promised a sunny dawn. Four watchers by the lake. Only silhouettes but somehow he
knew they were no longer looking out over the lake but were facing the house. Those
damn kids had come back. Annoyed by their defiance, he threw on some clothes and
marched out into last night's fresh snow. The sun had crept over the horizon. Filtered
through a mesh of trees at the edge of the park. The boys must have had help from
others to rebuild the snowmen.They were taller and fatter than the originals; two
metres high. But they had the same faces. The one he called Mrs Snowman was
laughing at him through her orange peel teeth. Glistening black coals drilling him. Mr
Snowman's floppy wide brimmed hat had been pulled down shadowing his piggy red
berry eyes. Stick eyebrows had slipped down to give an expression that would have
been a frown if he had been given a mouth.He leaned forwards at an odd angle as if to
squash someone with his piggy weight. Standing behind him were the other two. One
with spiky twig hair, green bottle top eyes and the mouth a cavernous hole. Hideously
out of proportion to the rest of the face. But the tallest and most fiercesome was Fork
Face. Deep sunken sockets. Malicious pronged teeth, sparkling in the early sunlight.
They were all sneering at him. The snowmen and those pathetic snotty nosed kids.
They had even made the snowmen closer to the house as if to challenge him. Well he
would teach them. He bulldozed Mr and Mrs Snowman with his weight but they were
difficult to shift. The compacted snow had been hardened by the cold night. When it
came to Fork Face he had to go back to the house for a spade. Every nugget of snow
was pulverised to powder. Panting heavily, he gloated over his victory.

It was late afternoon by the time Jason got back from the town. He met Mrs
Warburton as she was turning the corner into the park.
"Oh look! Them kids has built more snowmen. An' they're peerin' over your garden
hedge. You 'aven't bin upsettin' them kids 'ave you Jason? Your ma won't be pleased if
you 'ave."
Jason said nothing. His throat had gone suddenly dry. A mixture of anger tinged with
fear.
He drew the lounge curtains as soon as they got into the house. Avoiding the gaze of
the four hostile faces looming over the hedge.  He ate tea without tasting a mouthful.
"Can you wash up tonight? Only it's me bingo night an' I don't want to be late."
For once Jason saw her to the door.
"Ya got plenty o' videos to watch tonight?"
"Yeah."
"Don't stay up too late or watch anythin' too scary neither." She winked at him and
then turned to go "Brrr. It's cold tonight. An'  them snowmen gives me the creeps. I'll
see ya tomorrow mornin' luv." She rubbed her hands and left. Jason shut the front
door quickly. The lounge seemed a hostile place knowing that he was being watched.
Instead he stayed in the kitchen and made the effort to do some homework in between
fridge raids. He slept in the back bedroom that night.

The morning traffic woke him but it was already light.Without bothering to look out
of his front bedroom window, Jason went downstairs, through the house to the shed in
the back garden and grabbed the largest shovel. Still in his dressing gown he opened
the front gate and between gritted teeth, began to chip away at the snowmen. They
were much harder than before. They had thawed and refrozen giving them a coating
of ice. They glistened like white marble. Resisting each blow. Still mocking him even
when the last head fell and was smashed flat by his anger.
It was only then that he returned to the house, got dressed and had breakfast. Today
he would keep watch. No kids would get the better of him.
Mrs Warburton called at eleven. Her cheery whistle signalling her arrival.
"You alright?" she said, rosy smile broken for once.
Jason turned from his windowside position. For a fraction of a second she reminded
him of Mr Snowman's piggy face.
"Yeah. Fine," he said.
"Someone's smashed them snowmen. Such a shame. You can't trust no one these
days."
Jason chewed on his tongue. Mrs Warburton bounced around the house dabbling with
the dusting and hoovering. There was little for her to do but she had to make the
effort seeing as she was being paid. She prepared Jason's lunch and then left.
The hours stretched. He was bored. Eventually he left the house and strolled round
the park. There was no one about. Except a stray dog sniffing hopefully around an
empty bin. Certainly no other kids. Just a luminous white expanse. Like being in the
Antarctic. Frozen wastes. Grey frozen seas. The cans and Macdonald containers on
top of the lake ice shattered the illusion. But he suddenly felt vulnerable. He hurried
back to the house but stopped to pick up the broken forks, the coals, the berries, even
the orange peel. He emptied them into the kitchen bin. No more frightening faces to
scare him now.
"The bloomin' street light on the corner's gone off again." Mrs Warburton jiggled the
sausages in the pan. "You still lookin' out the window? You'll go bonkers doin' that all
day!" She laughed to herself. "Still. Your ma an' pa's comin'  'ome tomorrow. It's a
crime the way they left you on your own."
"I'm old enough," he said sourly, "I wanted to stay. I hate touring old houses."
"Yes but..." She trailed off. She didn't like arguments. Let the lad be. None of her
business really. 

   Jason kept the curtains open all evening. Moonlight bathed the garden giving him a
clear view. He watched television but kept one eye on the outside. No kids would out-
smart him just because it was dark. Finally, when he knew that all little kids would be
safely asleep he went to bed himself.
   Something woke him. The clock said half past two. He immediately leapt out of bed
and looked out over the front garden. The moon was high and full; the park stretched
beyond the garden like a vast blanket. There was a gentle tick tack of water drops.
The beginning of a thaw. But there were no snowmen beyond the hedge. He crept
downstairs to the kitchen for a drink but paused by the open lounge door. It seemed
unusually dark in there. As though something was blocking the light from the
window. It was then that he saw the four long shadows on the carpet. And the
mountainous black shapes pressed against the glass...

It was Mrs Warburton who called the police. On the way to the house she had seen
the broken ice at the edge of the lake. They didn't take long to arrive. Fearing the
worst the police sent for divers and began breaking up the rest of the ice. Long grey
faces at the water's edge. 
"We always get one or two of these every year when the lake freezes over, " said one
of the constables.
"An' the warnin' signs are so clear," she said, shaking her head, "Kids muckin' about,
darin' each other to go on the ice. I wonder if Jason saw anythin'?"
She walked up to the house but there was no sign of Jason. It was only when she
noticed the broken lounge window that she called the detective sergeant over from the
lakeside.
"I don't know where the boy is," she said to the officer in charge, "Probably popped
out for a walk. Though I wish he'd pick up his mess afore he went out!" She stooped
to pick up the orange peel and broken forks lying on the carpet.
"Sir. We've found something in the lake." Another officer's head appeared at the door.
"I'll be back shortly...." the detective sergeant said. 
Mrs Warburton found Jason in the understairs cupboard. He was shaking
uncontrollably. He wouldn't speak about what had happened.
The detective sergeant returned looking less strained.
"It was only a park bench. Probably youth from the pub last night. I suspect that they
were responsible for the broken window too. Poor lad must have had a nasty shock."
"I'll look after 'im till 'is parents gets back," she said," Frighnin' youngsters like that! I
don't know what the world's comin' to. Jason may be a big boy but he's very sensitive
underneath. Aren't you, Jason? "
Jason just looked pale and said nothing.