This is an interactive session I ran at Hillcrest for a bit of fun at the ‘Round the Campfire’ Gothic Horror Halloween event in 2011. First the audience was split into three groups, and I gave each group a creature name and asked them to demonstrate the noises that the creatures make:
Owl: Twit twoo
Bat: Creak and flap wings
I asked them each time the animal name was heard to do their thing – and we tried it: owl (pause), pig (pause), bat (pause) (where it says pause, I paused to let them practise, and they did!) Then I started to read the story:
There once was a lad who lived in Wood Cottage, which was surrounded by a wood in an area called Crow’s Nest.
He was a swineherd, he tended pigs (pause), there were several being fattened for market and they were getting big; their tempers got no better with age and though he feared them, they feared him more, he kicked them and poked them with a stick if they got too close. The owls (pause) and bats (pause) watched and waited. The pigs (pause) fixed him with piercing evil eyes that shone red in the moonlight and charged him when he went to the pen, even with his stick he was getting shoved and butted more and more often. He was stoic, he had his stick, they had to be fed and today he’d been told to feed them in the night; they must be ready for market soon.
In the black of night, he lay under thin grey blankets, shivering with cold and listening to owls (pause), bats (pause) and the pigs (pause) who never seemed to stop snorting and squealing bad-temperedly. He’d heard tales of pigs (pause) disposing of bodies; unresolved murders covered by snuffling, squealing, snorting pigs (pause). (Aside) They’ll eat anything y’know – some will remember the Kempsey case where it was alleged he feed the wife to the pigs.
The bats (pause) fluttered and squeaked, the owls (pause) hooted, it was time for the night feed.
This night the pigs (pause) were louder and scarier than ever, the bats (pause) flapped, the owls (pause) hooted and the lad trembled. He gathered his courage and his stick and went to slop pigswill into the troughs.
And the owls (pause) flew down at him, the bats (pause) creaked their wings about him until he fell down and dropped his stick. The pigs (pause)… ate him.
Polly Robinson © 2012