The Gracie and Bella War Added£0.99
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(A short story of 1895 words)

The Gracie and Bella War


by Sandra Horn

Nobody knew exactly when or why the war started. Some people thought it was Fred's earrings, but it went back a long way before that.

They’re having one of them scarecrow festivals round the village. That’s a new thing, but it didn’t half take me back – more than forty years, if the truth be told, to old Joby. He had the fanciest scarecrow you’ve ever seen, bar none, and all because of the feud between Gracie Phelps and Bella Baxter.

Some people thought Fred’s earrings had started it, but Joby reckoned it had been simmering away for years before that. They’d been like chalk and cheese since they were at school: Gracie was as neat as nine-pence and always won the prize for needlework; Bella looked like something out of the ragbag even then, but she could run and jump and climb like nobody’s business, and she always had a crowd of boys round her, torn stockings or not. But things really kicked off the night they both turned up to the Carnival Queen dance in near enough the same frock. They did no more than glare at each other and turn their backs at first, but then old Fred, who’d been courting Bella, mistook which was which from the back. ’Course, he’d had a few. He did no more than go up and give Gracie a cuddle. Bella, she slapped him and then her and went off home in a black stew. Poor old Fred, wouldn’t say boo to a goose, didn’t know what hit him. Gracie clung onto him after that, and she had him to the altar before he knew what day it was. Bella kept her reputation for being a bit lively until Bert Baxter married her. That’d be enough to dampen anyone’s spirits, that would. They might have settled down as young married women after a while, but of course they ended up on opposite sides of Bitter Hill, and that didn’t help...

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