Worse Than Funnel Webs – Friday Fictioneers.

The cousins were done swinging from Grandma’s clothes line, and were heading under the house.

Of course, they weren’t allowed. “Funnel Web spiders”

“As if!” Jack mocked, picking the lock.

They put on their head torches and Tilly pulled out her iPad. Live streaming, Jack launched into his spiel: “Today, the Four Musketeers are at the haunted house.”

Will made ghost noises. Tilly screamed, before bursting into hysterics.

Fumbling in the dark, Indy flicked on a light.

Their screams launched an immediate Police response.

Grandma wasn’t joking. She really did grind up naughty children and sprinkle them on her Weetbix.

Rowena Curtin

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers where we write a 100 word or less response to a photo prompt. This week’s PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

This photo was taken inside the watermill at Sacrewell Farm near Peterborough.  Built in 1755, it remained a working mill until 1965

The inspiration behind my story comes from a family gathering held at my grandparents’ house after my cousin’s christening. The usual thing was for us kids was to be “not seen and not heard” and it was pretty easy for us put our hands out to chatting adults and raise enough money to hit the local milk bar at the top of the hill. They loved us but they also liked to get rid of us in the kindest possible way, of course!

However, at my cousin’s christening myself and about ten other cousins and second cousins all piled onto my grandmother’s clothes line (what we in Australia call a “Hill’s Hoist”.) Needless to say, with that many kids hanging off it, the trunk snapped and it became the “Leaning Clothesline of Lindfield” after that. I think it might have been held back together with rope.

My cousins and I frequently snuck under the house where there was a passageway through the sandstone foundations. My grandparents had lived there for over 35 years at this point and it seemed that anything old, broken, not in current use, ended up under the house. It was like Aladdin’s Cave. Of course, we weren’t allowed down there but now that I’m a parent myself, I can appreciate those golden moments of uninterrupted conversation, even if I do have to deal with the carnage later.

32 thoughts on “Worse Than Funnel Webs – Friday Fictioneers.

  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear Rowena,

    I had a cousin who, along with my older brother, loved to torture his little cousin, ie, me. Your story brought back memories. Nicely done.



  2. Joe Owens

    Older cousins love to prank the younger. I have seven nieces and nephews to go along with my two children, so between the nine of them they have lots of fun. I could see them trying this.

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    I once recorded ghostly sounds (wicked laughter) on a my cassette player and played it for a smaller cousin of mine in the basement of my grandparent’s big house. She is very happy to remind how awful I had been frightening her, and making her scared of that basement for years afterward.

  4. Minuscule Moments

    We use to try and scare our cousins when they come to visit, but usually ended up freaking ourselves out in the dark. At night we liked to play the game murder in the dark. Did you ever play it?
    Great story Rowena.

  5. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Michael. It’s a sort of modernizing of my memories, I guess. My kids are both into vlogging, which I initially thought was a spelling mistake but it goes to show what Mum knows. It doesn’t take much for you to become a fossil!
    I must say the kids are good for keeping me some what updated with new technology. I’m what you’d call a non-adapter.
    Thanks for reading and your thoughtful comments
    xx Rowena

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Kath. Have you thought about trying out Friday Fictioneers? I love the results and the prompts take me to places I’d never consider.
    Murder in the Dark rings a definite bell. Is that where someone is in and they’re looking for people with the torch?
    I’m feeling like I’m scraping the bottom of the memory bank to think of that. I remember playing that at school camps.
    Hope the holidays are going well. We’re about to head off to Tassie for three weeks. We’re driving down to Melbourne and putting the car on the ferry. I’ve madly been cleaning the oven and fridge for the houseminders as well as doing research for the trip. Geoff has an ancestor who was an inmate at Port Arthur and his wife was an Irish orphan bride so we’re particularly retracing their steps as well as seeing where Geoff grew up.
    How are the holidays going for you?
    Well, I hope.
    Best wishes,

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Randy. Grandparents are like that with al their stories and I remember not being quite sure what to believe.
    My grandfather was a fabulous story teller. This was one on the other side of the family. He grew up in the German village of Hahndorf in South Australia and and told one about a cockatoo leaning over and walking across the road “screeching drunk again! Drunk again!” I even have the providence of the story.
    xx Rowena

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Bjorn.
    Cousins are wonderful, aren’t they? Generally, siblings are somewhat close together but with cousins you get the older ones and the younger ones and the potential for loads of pranks.
    xx Rowena

  9. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Siobhan.
    Yes, I agree with you. Grandma might need a lawyer. Or, she might simply be grinding her own flour.
    I am interested to see where the readers take this story. There are great imaginations in the group.
    xx Rowena

  10. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Graham.
    I think my teenage son is consuming your share. He is going through a growth spurt and had 7 the other day.
    xx Rowena

  11. Rowena Post author

    I remember how poking around under someone else’s house used to have irresistible appeal as a kid. People didn’t throw things out back then like (well some people do) now. It was fun but not without it’s “surprises”.
    xx Ro

  12. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Rochelle. My Mum’s cousins now has 7 grandchildren aged under 5 so I can just imagine what all those cousins will be getting up to! TROUBLE!!

  13. Minuscule Moments

    Have a fantastic time. Tassie is on my list but hubs can never get more than a week off work and I think you need at least three weeks. I have no time for writing prompts trying to focus on art and illustrations at the moment. But that writing feeling is coming back to me a bit more since doing yoga, weights and walking, my mind is becoming clearer. We are off to the Blue Mountains this weekend for a week of mountain/Sydney experiences and catching up with family. It will be a challenge for Reed due to crowds and noise but he wants to go. All the best Rowena what a lovely trip to start your new year off right.

  14. Rowena Post author

    I hope you have a great time and Reed goes well. Does he have some ear plugs he could wear? That might help.
    I just posted about the Great Esky Wall my husband has set up in the car. We’re going to need it!
    xx Ro

  15. Minuscule Moments

    Love your Esky wall, very retro looking. Reed has earphones, ear plugs but is very sensitive. We have heard the crowds are huge for aquarium and centre point tower at the moment and so we have changed our itinerary. We found that the Australian Museum has an insect exhibition on, my kids love bugs, butterfly tent and spiders galore. Told them we will do other venues out of school holiday times. My sister said she could barely move in the Aquarium and her little girl could not see much due to crowds. We do what we have to to survive Rowena. Off to the Three sisters today, kids have never had the pleasure. Enjoy Tassie.

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