Right, back to Granny Battle and Ellis. Some of you might have read this bit before, but I’ve tweaked it a bit so that it follows on better from yesterday’s new bit… We left Ellis following Granny Battle into her house…
The old station building looked more like a small cottage than a station, except for the carved wooden decorations around the roof, and a sign on the wall that was so faded and peeling he couldn’t read it. Against the wall were a couple of benches and an old porter’s trolley, crammed with plantpots which seemed to contain nothing but dead twigs and weeds. The door stood open, and as Ellis stepped cautiously inside, a few things happened rather quickly.
First he noticed a smell, like a mixture of old, damp socks, smelly feet and soggy cabbage.
Next he heard the old lady shouting something that sounded like ‘Aaaaargyalittlebugger!’
Then a large frying pan flew over his head and clanged comically on the doorstep behind him.
Finally, the small orange dragon, which appeared to have somehow attached itself to the old lady’s head, suddenly shot off and landed skittishly on the floor in front of him, wheezing hard.
Ellis backed away and stepped in something that just felt… wrong.
‘Now then,’ said the old lady, patting her hair back into a slightly more respectable mess, ‘don’t move. You’ve just trodden in the Odour Eater I was making. Just hold still – once it works out that your feet don’t smell, it’ll loosen its grip. Er – your feet don’t smell, do they?’
Ellis shut his eyes tight and said ‘No!’ very quietly. Whatever he’d stepped in was slithering around his ankles, exploring inside his trainers and investigating between his toes. Suddenly it stopped slithering and started to quiver.
‘Oh dear,’ the old lady said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t have smelly feet?’
‘I don’t!’ squeaked Ellis. The quivering got faster and faster, then suddenly it stopped, and whatever it was slithered off his feet. Ellis opened his eyes and looked down. He was standing in the middle of a splat of gloopy brown goo. He looked up at the old lady in horror.
‘Come on, come on,’ she said, ‘You’re all right now, obviously just a borderline case. I’d do something about that though, before it gets any worse. Step off it, quick now!’
Ellis stepped out the splat as quickly as he could and ventured further into the kitchen, edging around the small orange dragon, which was now looking distinctly furry again and was licking its shoulder catishly.
The old lady put the frying pan down on the table, crossed her arms, and stared hard at him. ‘You’re the boy from number 23,’ she stated, ‘Ellis. You live with your mum, and you lost your dad when you were four-and-quarter. Close your mouth and nod.’
Ellis closed his mouth and nodded. ‘What was going on?!‘, he thought?
‘I’ll get to that,’ said the old lady dismissively. ‘I’m Granny Battle.’ She stuck her hand out suddenly and Ellis jumped. Then, as she seemed to expect him to shake it, he did, carefully.
‘I’m a slooth,’ said Granny Battle.
‘Don’t you mean a sleuth?’ asked Ellis, hearing the spelling mistake.
‘No,’ said Granny Battle, ‘Not a sleuth, a slooth. There’s a very big difference.’
To finish with, I’ve dug out a couple of links to previous Granny Battle-ish posts – one contains a picture of Granny Battle’s house (sort of!), and the other has a few old sketches from my tube-commuting days to Colindale back in the early/mid 1990s – as you can see, the idea for Granny Battle has been kicking around for quite some time!
That’s all for now – will there be more Granny Battle tomorrow? Hmmmm, we’ll just have to see where my head’s at…
Update: Here’s the next chapter…
Chapter 4 – Startled dragon wee…