The Lie

The flashing lights wiped the smile off my face as soon as I saw them. I stood riveted to the spot not daring to advance an inch. A cold sense of foreboding came over me. My conscience?

The moment the two policemen come out of our house leading my Auntie Gill between them, I took off as fast as my little legs would carry me. Cars rushed past as I raced down the side of the old Empire cinema, slaloming my way between the crowds of shoppers in the High Street. The jukebox in Tony’s cafĂ© blared out the familiar strains of Cliff’s Summer Holiday. But not even my heartthrob could comfort me now as I pressed on: no time to stop; too afraid to face up to my deed. I shivered at the familiar faces of our soccer heroes staring accusingly down at me from the hoardings. I turned away, hurried up the uneven steps and slipped through the gap in the railings into the schoolyard. It was holiday time: I could hide here as long as I wanted. I made straight for the gap behind the bike sheds where my cousin, Ron, used to go to hold hands with his girlfriend far from the prying eyes of spoilsport adults and young sniggerers like me. Here, I’d be safe.

I sat there in a daze, trying with all my might not to think those thoughts that kept forcing themselves into my mind. What were the policemen saying to Auntie Gill? Were they kind, or did they keep shouting like Uncle Brian next door? Now, the tears started to flow. It was like Noah’s flood all over again..

What had I done? My aunt had been taken away by the police. They were going to put her in prison, all because of my lie. My mind went back to that fateful day when Auntie Gill came to wish my Mammy a Happy Birthday. She’d brought a huge cake with her and some crazy party hats we’d all put on. We hadn’t laughed so much in ages. That was when I asked:

“Auntie Gill, do you think England will win the World Cup?” It was 1966. The World Cup Finals were being played in England and the whole country was caught up in its fever.

“Well, if they don’t, we’ll just have to steal it, won’t we? We’ll never let it leave England again.”

More laughter.

Two weeks later the Cup was stolen. I was stunned. I never really believed that my aunt had stolen it but for days I agonised over the possibility. My aunt, a thief!Tt A few days later I told Julie that it was my aunt who had stolen the trophy. I was bragging, of course. It made me seem important to have a thief in the family. Never did I imagine that Julie would tell the police. And now Auntie Gill was in prison because I had told a lie. The tears still flowing, I lay my head on a patch of soft grass, trying to forget.

I awoke to the touch of a warm, loving hand on my brow. Opening my eyes I saw mother’s tender, yet worried smile settling on me.

“What happened?” said a weak voice from somewhere within me.

“Ron and Maria found you lying behind the bicycle sheds behind the school. What on earth were you doing there?”

In a flash, it all came back to me. The flashing lights, the policemen, Auntie Gill, the flight… I tried to get out of bed.

“I have to go and see Auntie Gill. I have to go and tell her everything. It’s all my fault. I need to explain.”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Mother was holding me back. “Now listen, young lady! I want you to stay here and rest. You’ve obviously had a bad shock and you’re still very weak. So, you get some sleep while I go and help Gill make some dinner. Afterwards, you can tell me all about it. Now promise me, you’ll stay quiet!”

“But Auntie Gill is in prison. I saw the policemen come to take her away. I have to go and explain everything.”

“Auntie Gill is here at home. The policemen took her away because her boss had been cheating at the office. They wanted to see what Gill knew about it. But since she’d done nothing wrong, they let her go again. She’s here now, and she’ll stay with us until her new house is ready in the summer.”

I stared wide-eyed at my mother. What was she saying? I hadn’t sent Auntie Gill to prison. Auntie Gill wasn’t even in prison. Julie hadn’t told the police, she’d stolen the World Cup. There was no holding me now. I jumped up on my bed and started bouncing around on my mattress like a champion gymnast.

Just hours later the news broke. Pickles, became a hero overnight. His photo was in all the newspapers the next morning. Whilst out with his master he was ferreting under some bushes and emerged with an object wrapped in newspaper. To his master’s astonishment it turned out to be the missing World Cup. Pickles had saved the day, not only for his country but also for me. Snuggled up between Mammy and Auntie Gill watching the story unfold on T.V., I told them all about what had happened. Auntie Gill nearly died laughing.


This post is my entry to the short story contest going on at Write Stuff. Do go over and join in. The more the merrier. And there'll be lots of good reading there too. And after all the work comes the fun part, you get to vote for the winner.


You are really a great writer Paul. This is wonderful.

2 September 2007 at 05:33  

damn it man... i cannot believe after all this time i just today got you put in my reader... i swear i have meant to do it a thousand times... you are an artist... a true artist... i loved this....

2 September 2007 at 05:40  

I like how told the story from the perspective of the girl and how children often see events happening as a direct result of their actions.



2 September 2007 at 14:02  

You really got into the mindset of a child in this one. Great story, with a good twist at the end!

2 September 2007 at 17:20  

Thank you for visiting my site and your encouraging comments about my emrging short stores . Your story told from the perspective of a young girl is wonderful.
I like your style.
I'll be back!

3 September 2007 at 08:15  

Hi Paul!

I counted 833 words in your story. Good work! Good luck in the contest and thanks for entering!


7 September 2007 at 02:49  

Wonderfully told. Kids are sometimes so innocent but are covered with self-inflected shame.

7 September 2007 at 16:50  

I enjoyed this; it drew me in.....

7 September 2007 at 21:11  

Thank you for your commment paul.
I loved your story. It was refreshing. I loved the last lines in particular. If only every problem would fleet off like this..

7 September 2007 at 22:35  

You captured the girl's voice and confusion wonderfully--really well done.

8 September 2007 at 05:45  

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