Scaly Feet By Kerry Buchanan

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Grandmother rocked gently in front of the fire, humming under her breath as she knitted, deft fingers clicking and clacking as they did on every other night – but this time it was different. This time, her long skirt had twisted itself around her legs, bunching up to reveal her feet.

She never left her rocking chair to walk about, not that he’d ever seen. She just sat there by the range, where she could reach out and lift the blackened kettle off to make a pot of tea.

The clacking of needles stopped, Grandmother’s eyes boring into him. It wasn’t a nice stare. Not the sort of stare that said, There are biscuits in the tin on the shelf and you can have one for being my favourite grandson.

No. This stare said, You’d better run, boy, or I’ll reach out with my clawed talons and rip the liver from your body.

The kitchen door slammed shut just as Padraig reached it, hitting him on the nose. Tears swam in his eyes and the door turned into a brown blur, writhing and squirming as if it could reach out and suck him into its fabric.

“Did you think you’d escape that easily?” growled his grandmother. “Don’t think I haven’t felt the way you look at me.” Padraig must have shaken his head in denial, because she went on. “I can read your thoughts, you know. Your nasty little-boy thoughts. I know every slice of cake you’ve stolen, every bottle of milk you’ve drained.”

What? Even the ones I washed up and put back on the step? His mother had just assumed she’d miscounted and ordered more for the next week.

“Yes, boy. Even those.”

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