Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Mr. Hardcastle’s Accidental Revolution By Scott Aaron Tait

Whistling, with the aggravated grievance of a steam train, the kettle billowed a thin jet of steamy vapour. Lifting the kettle off the hob the room was once again filled with the gentle melody of a piano concerto from the old wireless. Mr. Hardcastle plodded about the kitchen; pulling a mug out the cupboard before spooning a heaped teaspoon of coffee into the pot before pouring in water. Stirring the obsidian liquid, he inhaled its opulent aroma.

A knock at the door distracted him from his peace. Mumbling obscenities under his breath old Harry Hardcastle shuffled to the door. His loose brown slippers flopping with each movement. Harry was a contemptable old grump, patiently waiting for his one-way ticket to the pearly gates. He hadn’t the time for anyone or anything. Opening the door, he peered out at the harsh summer light. He hated summer.

‘Mr. Hardcastle?’ enquired a plump grinning man

‘Yes. Wha’ you want?’ Hardcastle grumbled as the man handed him a sheet of paper. ‘Wha’s this?’

‘Notice. The land under your property has been acquired for drilling. You have a month to vacate the premises’

Harry’s marble eyes bulged from behind his round spectacles with rage; blood pulsating in his temples. Looking from the notice to the man he spat out the rudest phrases that don’t warrant repeating. Droplets of salvia hit the plump man right in the eye. Infuriated at the decision Harry slammed the door. A man of his age had nowhere else to go bar a nursing home and he’d sooner dig his own grave he thought.

‘They’ll not tear my house down’ he bellowed ‘I’ll go down fighting if I have to’. Turning away from the door Harry went straight to the phonebook.

Dialling the council, he gave them a right good rollicking but they didn’t seem to care. Next he rang the papers but much to his surprise it was old news. Next and with some trepidation he called the village busybody, Mrs. Clark. As the dial tone echoed in his ears he felt a pang of regret for hiding away all these years. Perhaps no one would want to help a contemptable old fool like him. The receiver clicked and he heard the woman’s nasal voice on the line. The news quickly did the rounds before evening and much to his amazement the whole village arrived on his doorstep the next day brandishing placards declaring ‘frack off’.

Where once there had been only the gentle melody from the wireless there was now laughter and chatter filling the house. Harry poured more tea and dished out more biscuits as their protest continued until the early hours. Something in him had changed, he was no longer anxious or angry nor did he feel anymore contempt towards others. Without trying old Mr. Hardcastle had let go of his pride, embraced change and soon his accidental revolution would make the news; inspiring others to stand up against fracking.

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