It was the year 2004 and school was finished for the Christmas holidays, so the troops had a lot of spare time on their hands when they weren’t doing family things.

The troops consisted of Harry, Craigy, J, Ryan, Lewis and Paddy.

In their spare time they would play football through the day when the sun was out, wind each other up, and plan the evening festivities.

The festivities usually involved throwing eggs at some poor bastard’s house, or taking part in the town’s famous grand national.

The grand national involved jumping over homeowner’s hedges or bushes and making as much noise as possible while doing it. The slowest person taking part usually got stuck in the bush or was pushed and held to the ground until the homeowner ran out and chased them away.

The evening came and the troops agreed to meet at the usual spot for 18:00. The usual spot was round the corner from the local newsagents, and it was always an argument who would go in and buy the eggs.

“I went in last time, there is no fuckin’ chance I’m gawn in the night fur eggs”, moaned Harry.

“Fuck it, I’ll get them”, said Lewis.

Lewis strolled into the small corner shop with a swagger of confidence and went straight for the eggs and took two boxes to the till.

“And can I get two 20p mix-ups please?”, he asked the old cunt Bill.

Bill went over to the boxes of sweets, licked his fingers as if he was about to fire them up his awl wife, and picked out a random selection of sweets and put them into the wee white paper bags.

“What ye wantin’ eggs for?”, asked Bill.

Lewis as quick as ye like replied, “my maw is makin’ a quiche for her guests the mora, canny make quiche without eggs can ye?”.

Bill just stood there staring at the cheeky wee dick, “that’ll be £1.60”.

Lewis handed him over a crisp five pound note and fired the change into his top trackie pocket and left the shop.

The troops were standing around the corner waiting for Lewis. They seen him walk round with two boxes of eggs in the air as if he had just caught a prize-winning trout. All the boys were clapping and cheering because the night festivities were about to begin. Lewis handed Paddy the two 20p mix-ups and said, “enjoy son”.

The troops had thrown ten of their twelve large free-range eggs, and had no success with getting a chase from some random homeowner, then Ryan had a great idea that would surely piss someone off enough that they would leave their cosy warm house to chase a bunch of wee dicks around the town.

“How about when we do the grand national, we egg that mad cunt Pete’s hoose?”, suggested Ryan.

“Fuck mate, dae ye want tae see new year?”, said Craigy.

“Let’s dae it man, it will be some buzz”, said Harry.

J and Paddy agreed, that it is the only way they would get a chase worth their time.

The troops completed half of the grand national and so far, all they have had is someone standing at their doorstep hurling abuse at them, but then they got outside Pete’s house, the moment of truth.

Lewis picked out an egg, and Harry picked out an egg, each of their tongues were out with anticipation or concentration or constipation, who knows.

The troops crept into Pete’s garden and stood in an orderly line so they could all jump the hedge around the same time and make a run for it.

They sprinted towards the hedge shouting and screaming, when Lewis and Harry launched their eggs like a pair of experienced veterans, and their eggs smashed against the large front window.

They sprinted down the street looking back for the sign of a mad man chasing them, but nothing, Pete hadn’t even came to the door, a complete waste of time.

The boys got around the street when they spotted two police vans blocking their path to the main street, their only other option was to cross the bridge into Lanfine Estate, they had no choice, they crossed the bridge.

It was pitch black up Lanfine, the only light they had was from the full moon against the frost on the road and trees.

They walked in silence for five minutes so they could hear anyone that might be following them, when Harry pipes up,

“Huv any of ye heard the story about Stumpy who lives in the woods?”

The troops all look at him as if he just asked to see their knobs.

“Whit? A story about who?”, asks Craigy.

“Stumpy, the story of Stumpy, ye never heard it?”, Harry replies.

All the troops looked at each other and agreed they have never heard the tale.

“Right well, dae you want tae hear it? Because it’s quite a scary story”, asks Harry again.

“Just fuckin’ get on wae it man, it will likely be a load of pish”, says J.

The boys are still walking along the backroad around Lanfine Estate and it is pitch black, but the full moon was something else.

Harry starts the story of Stumpy and all the boys are paying him full attention, he was a good story teller.

“So it aw started back in war times, I don’t know whit war, I just know it was durin’ a war. These woods were home to a massive battle wae spitfires flyin’ overhead and dropping bombs and everythin’ on the soldiers below. They say that you can still find parts of soldiers in the woods if you walk through the trees on a night with a full moon, like tonight”, said Harry.

All the boys started to feel a bit edgy and a couple of them started rubbing their arms once they felt goosebumps on their bodies.

Harry continued, he was hunched over a bit to add to the effect of an edgy story,

“There was this one soldier on the ground, they say he was writing his final letter in the hope it would reach his wife before he died. He was writing the letter on the back of his dead friend, and some blood ended up on the letter. An enemy soldier opened fire and he managed to escape, but he dropped the letter he was writing for his wife. He crouched behind a fallen tree, took aim with his rifle and he shot the enemy soldier in the head, and he dropped dead. The soldier then ran back to find his letter, but he stood on a land-mine and it blew his legs off! He had to use his arms to claw his way to find the letter, but legend has it, he never found it.”

“What a load of shite mate”, said Craigy nervously.

“Wait, am no done yet”, said Harry, and he continued.

“The rumour is, that if you come up to these woods at night, when the moon is full and you find a piece of paper, any paper by the way, Stumpy will find his way to ye, they say he doesn’t even drag his body anymare, he can run on his arms as quick as anyone can run on legs. He’ll hunt ye cause he thinks you’ve goat his letter that he wrote for his wife. And that’s no the worst bit, he’s turned into a cannibal as well, so he’ll cut ye up, roast ye and eat ye like a leg of chicken”, finished Harry.

All the boys were silent, it was pitch black and it was a full moon. They all knew they were nearly out of Lanfine and back into town, which would bring street-lights and some residential life.

They were twenty-five yards away from the nearest street-light when a piece of paper landed in front of them. They all looked at it, and then each other, and sprinted towards the street-lights screaming and tearing at each other to get ahead.

The boys made it to the fourth set of street-lights before they knew it, all out of breathe and looking at each other in dis-belief that they all ran because of a scrap of paper, and they all burst out laughing saying things like, “you were shiting yersel”, “ya big poof” and “fuck Stumpy”, and waving their middle finger in the air.

They started making their way up to the main street, but not before J turned around to look at the entrance to Lanfine Estate, maybe out of nerves or curiosity, but he looked back.

J swears to this day that he made out a shape of a man with no legs standing upright on his hands staring in their direction.

Stumpy will return in part 2.