The Angel's Head: Chapter 7 -- Provocation

The next meeting was due to be held the week after their conquest of the Cemetery. That’s the word that The Eldest had started using. He had been sure they would need to meet sooner. That the war would start and that he would get a chance to really take command.

But nothing happened. He met up with Mouse and Sparrow every day and saw the rest of them around as usual. Now that the Angel was safe, they had all relaxed a bit but there was a sense of nervous excitement as they waited to see what the Crescent would do next.

'Do you think they're scared?' Purr-man had asked. It was the fourth morning and the Elders had been joined on the back wall by Purr-man and Noj.

'Maybe but I don't think so.' Sparrow said. 'Even if they were, they are so mouthy that we'd definitely have heard something. They would have at least said something, you know? Threaten someone.'

'They've all been in the shop,' Noj said, 'but none of them have said owt.' Not about the Angel anyway.'

'They still picking on you?'

'Well, they're trying. Just the usual.'

The Eldest stood up and brushed himself down.

'About time we had another meeting,' he said. Mouse and Sparrow nodded.

'Usual place?'

'After tea.'

we've been too clever for our own good. Those thickos haven't even noticed

One by one, the gang arrived. Noj was the last. He had to help wash up or do some other chore before his Mum and Dad let him go out in the evening. On school nights he had to do homework too, so some nights he didn't turn up on the Avenue at all.

'Okay then, it seems that we've been too clever for our own good. Those thickos haven't even noticed.' The Eldest spoke, then laughed and some of the others joined in. 'I've been thinking about this, and I reckon we ought to do something else. A way of following up that will get things going.'

'Like what?'

'Something more obvious, something that even those Crescent morons can't miss.' The Eldest looked around as everyone nodded and yeah-ed.

'Any ideas?'

'Well,' Mouse paused to let the Eldest pass him the meeting stick. 'I did have one idea.'

'Let's have it then.'

'It's probably better if I show you all,' he said, trying to stop a grin. Then he picked up the blue plastic sports bag that he had arrived with and unzipped it.

'I thought that if they hadn't noticed that the head was missing, then maybe they would notice if we, er, replaced it.' Then he reached into the bag and pulled out what looked like an old football. When he held it up for everyone to see there were gasps, then bursts of laughter as each of them realised what it was that he was holding.

The ball had been painted to look like a face. It had ruddy cheeks, prominent freckles and a stupid leering grin that was definitely a bit lopsided. Wonky teeth were carefully drawn in too. What really brought the head to “life” though, were the wild tufts of bright red stuck around the top to look like hair.

Mouse smiled at the reaction. He was particularly pleased with the hair. He had spent ages unpicking about four of his Mum's scouring pads. Usually they were green, but those orange ones were perfect.

'Oh that's bloody brilliant! Maybe we should put a little message on the back too?'

'Then, I thought we could attach a speech bubble...' He rummaged in his bag again. 'Something like…' He pulled out a large round piece of cardboard and on it written in big black letters was:

“Oh Ma!

Oi've lost me head!”

There was more laughing. Noj was howling.

After he had patted Mouse on the back, the Eldest wiped his eyes.

'Oh that's bloody brilliant! Maybe we should put a little message on the back too?'

'You mean something like this?' Mouse revolved the sign slowly and it read:

“Love from the Avenue, having fun in your playground.”

There was more laughter. The Eldest nodded. He wouldn't say it out loud, but everyone knew that Mouse was the brains of the gang. The Eldest didn't mind though, not so long as Mouse was happy to stay second in command and just come up with these amazing ideas. This one was just inspired.

'It seems that the Angel has got a new head.' He said after the laughter had died down.

'A really ugly one too.' Sparrow added. 'Shame.'

'Okay then. This is a job for Jimbo and the Youngest I think.'

'Why them?' Purr-man asked.

''’Cos they can sneak in and out easiest. And they can hide if any of the Crescent are there.' The Eldest said with a snap.

'Yeh, no problem,' said Jimbo.

'Easy.' The Youngest added even though it felt his heart was rattling his ribcage.

'We'll do it now. Can we borrow your bag Mouse?'

'Sure. Make sure to hang the sign the right way 'round. Put the sign on first then stuff the ball on the neck stump afterwards. I've torn a hole that should fit ok.'

'We should all go.' Rabbit said. 'This is going to be funny.'

'No,' said the Eldest. 'I want this to be a surprise. If we all go together then they're much more likely to spot us. Then they'll know that something is going on.'

'What if someone's walking their dog or something, and moves it before the Crescent see it?'

'Then we'll make another one. Go on lads. We'll meet you at the Citadel in half an hour, eh?'

'Right.' Jimbo slung the bag on his shoulder and headed for the back gate. The Youngest followed. As he went through, he looked back and grinned. He looked nervous and everyone held their thumb up to encourage him. Then the gate clicked shut and they were gone.

More about the author

About the author

Russell McAlpine abandoned his polymath ambitions to concentrate on writing and living a quiet life on the South Coast.

The Angel’s Head is his second novel.

He is also working on the screen play of a low budget zombie movie for children and writes poetry that will go to grave with him.

He spends the rest of his spare time watching the horizon.

Follow Russell on Twitter.

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