An Early Childhood Chapter 24 Part 1


Continued from Chapter 23 Part 3

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock surreal autobiography, narrated by a fictional Irish war hero, champion bodhran player, and television presenter. Its first chapter is here. It parodies misery memoirs (such as Angela’s Ashes by the late great Frank McCourt), as well as time travel adventure, pop culture, and literature of various kinds.

                After a day of travel, in the far distance, there were dark, dark clouds, lightning and thunder for long periods – in the direction we were headed.

                And continuing downstream, we noticed the cub scout troop on an island in the stream. The whole lot of them were naked from the waist up, scurrying around the island like savages. They were whooping and blowing on their conch shells. It wasn't like a regular scout troop at all at all.

                One of their number and one of the eldest was Eugene Sheedy. He sat cross-legged on the shore, the only one still in his full Scout uniform, tears streaming down his face.
                “What the hell happened?” I shouted at Eugene Sheedy, the pack leader.
                “We were only after being attacked a few days ago, Paddy! And our raft shtolen, and the evil weatherlock cast a spell to turn us all feral!” He got up and pointed downriver. “He’s in hiding down there, so he is, at the watherfall, at the place where the banks become clifftops!”
                We went further downstream, and the bodies floated past in the water. Irishmen and Englishmen both, in their dozens if not their hundreds, an ominous sign if any there was one. The river picked up speed but we paddled to the shore and hopped off the raft after docking.
                “Why are we stopping here?” Deepak asked.
                “The scout told me that Floudh Rak is just a little further up the way,” I said. On the bank were two bodies – one of them was Colonel Sir Edward Gold Bollocks Tiptoft, the other Colonel Coote Decker, the Earl of Mountwrath. They both had charred holes in their chests, as if struck by lightning.
                “He’s killing off his own henchmen,” I whispered. “We seem to have missed out on the fighting altogether.”
                We began to follow the river on foot, through the forest. The river dipped down into a steep valley, with cliffs on either side. Ahead of us, the Hae’Penny Rope Bridge spanned across the river, which gushed a hundred feet below if it was a day. Above the roar of the river there were gunshots, and just ahead, as we saw, was a gunfight between some Irish volunteers and the English on the other side.
                I saw Floudh Rak on the other side of the rope bridge too, in his cape, with his vile, vampiric face and fangs, chewing on a human arm which he frivolously cast into the river. The arm was clothed in the green and gold of a bishop’s vestments – and I had no doubt it was his one-time ally Bishop O’Brien that he was after eathing.
                “Floudh Rak!” I roared at him, and he looked up.
                The gunfire ceased.
                “Ahhh, Paddy Flanagan!” he said. “Welcome…to die!” He disappeared into the foliage behind him. The English soldiers continued the fight, and I picked up a rifle to squeeze off a shot at the weatherlock, but he was already gone. We won out in the end, the added firepower of our rocket launchers and machine cannon – brought with us from the Madlin Stow of weapons, tearing shreds out of the Englanders.
                I ran across the rope bridge accompanied by five of the soldiers. The bridge started to creak, and suddenly collapsed, and we fell, all the half dozen of us, into the river

Continued in Chapter 24 Part 2.