Episode 2: The Wicked Witch of the Pitch
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KINNIKUNIVERSE PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS:

A story by Kinnikuniverse

"THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ELEANOR"

Episode 2: “The Wicked Witch of the Pitch"

Heavy rain poured down on the pitch inside the stadium. The grass, carefully cut and smoothened, drowned in thick water, mixing with the ground to form mud. A sell-out crowd filled every seats in the stands, singing chants and shouting obscenities at each other, their undying support for their favorite teams filling their hearts with passion.

It was under this enormous amount of pressure that Trevor found himself standing still in front of a line of kids forming a wall in front of the box. The rain poured down from his red mane, wetting his shirt. Pure concentration took over his freckled visage as he looked at the round white leather ball tainted with sludge in front of him.

A minute ago, His legs were clipped hard just in front of the penalty box by his brother, The Treacherous Gabriel, who was standing in front of him as part of the wall. Behind it was the legendary goalkeeper, Leo, all high and mighty, standing stout on his feet, shouting orders to his defensive players.

After a minute or two of scouting, Trevor located an unprotected spot on the top right corner of the net.

He locked on to that spot…

Took a deep breath…

Stepped up to the ball, lifted his right leg…

"JUMP!!" Shouted Gabriel to his teammates as the wall leaped high…

The ball was struck beautifully, drawing a crescent slice to the right as Leo plunged with his arms stretched out, looking to deviate the ball.

The defense looked on hopelessly as Trevor began smiling, sure that he was about to score…

"PONG!!"

Trevor's confident smile made way for pure horror as the ball hit the fence, rebounding towards Gabriel, who kicked it out over the fence to the left side for a throw in.

"What?? B-but i struck it perfectly!" Said a stunned Trevor out loud as he stomped the mud beneath him in frustration.

"You can't get it on target for shite!" Gabriel taunted his brother, sticking his tongue out...suddenly, the world turned pitch black for the little red-haired boy as a large shadow loomed over him. Hesitantly, he slowly turned around, pulling his tongue back in once he saw the imposing figure of his sister, Eleanor, standing above him.

"Gabriel, what did i told you about trash talking?" The blonde teenager asked her youngest brother, hands on her hips.

"Pff, what, you're gonna ground me or something?" Gabriel said, arms crossed confidently.

Then, Eleanor reached into her cleavage. All shade of confidence on Gabriel disappeared as his eyes went wide open in fear.

"Oh no…"

Something yellow came out of his sister's cleavage.

"No no no no no, please!" Gabriel pleaded repeatedly, putting his hands together in a praying fashion.

Eleanor didn't want none of Her sibling's pity, and lifted her arm in the air, the rays of the sun reflecting on the rectangular yellow card she had in hand.

"Aw, come on! You're my sister! You can't do this to me!" Gabriel moaned.

"Rules are meant to be respected, Gabriel!" Eleanor reiterated.

"Pff, look who's talking, Ms. Thief!" The little redhead replied.

"Are you gonna keep on moaning? 'Cause that card can turn red real quick!" The blonde teenager warned her little brother.

Gabriel finally yielded and returned to the pitch begrudgingly, rejoining the other kids.

Watching them kicking the ball around, dirtying their feet and pants and attempting silly tricks made Eleanor nostalgic. She used to play football all the time when she was their age. She was one of the boys, and she wasn't afraid of imposing her will on the pitch.

Eleanor suddenly snapped out of her thoughts upon hearing the children's voices suddenly turn into loud shouts and angry Complaints. Swiftly, Eleanor marched towards the angry mob of infants.

"Calm down, lads, please!" Eleanor ordered in a calm, but firm tone, the children obeying immediately. "Now what's the commotion about?"

"It's Gabriel, sis!" Trevor pointed at his younger brother. "He was offside by a mile!"

"I wasn't!" Gabriel rebuked. "Francis didn't raise the flag when i scored!"

"That's cause he can't see shite without his glasses!" The Salty Leo said, prompting a more aggressive raising of voice from everyone. 

"Alright, stop it!" Eleanor ordered, every lad keeping quiet. "First off, stay polite, and watch your language, Leo! Second, if you can't play without causing a commotion, then no more Sunday football, understand?"

"No , please, ma'am!" The kids pleaded for Eleanor to revoke her decision. "What can we do?"

"Well, first off, you apologise to both Gabriel and Francis, now!" Eleanor suggested, which the kids did without question. " now, Francis, why didn't you bring your glasses today?

"I-I-I damaged them." Francis answered. "A-and daddy was mad. It’s currently being repaired by the glass guy."

Eleanor sympathised with him. Due to the villagers's financial situations, Services like the optometrist are a costly endeavour.

"Alright, Francis, you did well." She said, hugging him. "Now, go out and play, I’ll take care of refereeing, okay?"

The children expressed their joy at continuing to play football...all except Leo.

"What does a lass knows about football?" He uttered under his breath.

Gabriel and Trevor immediately looked at him in terror, shaking their heads and telling him to cut it out. Unfortunately, Their warnings came too late, as Eleanor  turned to look at the fat kid.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Come on, you really gonna make me believe that a girl knows football?" He said assertively. Eleanor's brothers facepalmed in response. Safe to say, Eleanor did not like that. however, instead of getting mad, her mouth formed a sly smile.

"Hmm, and what do you know about football, Darling?" She asked.

"D-don't call me that!" Said a blushing Leo, to the giggles of the other kids. "I am the best goalkeeper in the village, and i single-handedly won the game against the kids from Dumbledon! I stopped a penalty, even! So i definitely know more about Football than some...some girl!"

Eleanor only smiled in return. Her brothers knew that, when their sister smiled like that, it meant trouble. Then, the blonde teenager picked up the dirty ball.

"O-Oi, where are ya going with this?"

Eleanor then put the ball down on the spot in front of the left entrance of the backyard.

"You said you stopped penalties? Then come on, let's test that claim, shall we, darling?"

An audible "oooooohh" flew out of the kids mouth. Leo, mad at the embarrassing nickname Eleanor called her, stepped up to the entrance.

"You'll see! No ball gets through me!" He boasted.

"I would shut up, if i were you." Trevor suggested.

"Yeah, sis is, like, super good at football!" Gabriel added

"Leo really is the best keeper among us, though..." Francis interjected.

Every kid formed a line behind Eleanor, the tension becoming palpable. Even some adults cave in to their curiosity and approached the backyard to see what was going on. Leo, meanwhile, was pumped up and ready to go.

"I'm ready for ya. Come on, lassie!"

However, Eleanor was bending and stretching her limbs at a deliberately slow pace. Leo and the kids were getting impatient.

"Oi, what's taking you so long?" Leo asked the blonde teenager.

"Patience, darling." Eleanor answered as she stretched her arms, the fat lad in front of the net growing impatient. "Good things come to those who waits!"

"Pff, look who's talking!" An elderly woman said. "The young girl who runs back and forth between here and Gravenbirch everyday to help us all!"

"Ay, she's like me dog everytime a stagecoach comes by: she never stops!" A cap-wearing blonde man added.

Leo looked around him. All the kids were watching, and what appeared like the entire village were looking at them, as if some sort of extraordinary event was happening. The formerly confident leo was now beginning to sweat from all the attention. And there, in front of him, stood Eleanor, all cool and collected.

"So tell me, darling..." she spoke, looking like a nefarious demoness in Leo’s eyes. "...have you ever heard of the wicked witch of the pitch?"

"N...no." he hesitantly gave his honest answer.

"She was a poor girl, raised in a wooden shack, just like this one..." she pointed at her house. "...and she had zero confidence in herself, getting regularly picked on by the boys, especially those who played football in the fields. One day, for her birthday, she received a book. Not just any book, but a book about none other than Boudicca."

"T-The Celtic queen?"

"Yes!" Eleanor was glad that Leo was attentive to the history lessons that she occasionally teaches at the school. "Tales of Boudicca leading armies into battle, fighting just as fiercely and intensely, if not more, than the male Celts, inspired her to gain confidence in herself, helping her family in any way possible as well as learning how to play Football from her dear uncle. All for the sole purpose of beating those bullies at their favorite game."

"D...did she?"

"At first, when she entered the pitch, everyone underestimated her, telling her that no lass has ever beaten them in Football...That was, until they played against her! Through hard work and determination, the girl became a better dribbler than them, made better passes than them, shot farther and more precise than them, Did tricks better than them and tackled harder than even the hardest playing boys on the team! They were so intimidated by her that they dubbed her "The wicked Witch of the Pitch!"

"Pff, I ain't afeared of no Witch!" Said Leo as he positioned himself on the goal line.

The tension was at its peak, the wind was blowing westward, the crows were flying by, the kids and adults were waiting in anticipation for the penalty.

Eleanor took a deep breath.

Sweat was dripping down on leo's forehead.

She took a step...

Leo flinched his knees...

...she lifted her left leg...

...Leo plunged to the right...

Suddenly, Eleanor chipped the ball slightly to the center, Leo falling flat on the dirt as he desperately tried to turn left, but it was too late, the ball floated past the fence's gate as the all the other kids roared to life and the adults applauding Eleanor's brilliant Panenka.

"Cheeky, cheeky girl!" The capped man exclaimed as he applauded.

As the applauds continued and the kids hugged her in celebration, Eleanor noticed the now dirty and beaten Leo on his knees, looking down on the ground. After telling the kids to play a little bit, she walked towards the fat kid.

"Are you alright, Leo?"

Leo didn't answer. The defeated look on his face said it all. Eleanor felt bad for him.

"...I’m sorry, Leo. Maybe i should have went easy on y-"

"What...sorcery...was this?!?" Leo exclaimed, lookingilike he just witnessed the Flying Dutchman. "How did you know i was going to the right?"

Eleanor didn't knew what to answer. She was surprised that he took such a humiliating experience for a goalkeeper so...well.

"On second thought, don't tell me!" Leo followed up. "It must have been my foot work! I must keep working on it!"

"It's ok, Leo, it's only a game." Eleanor assured him. 

"Football's not a game, it's a way of life!" Leo exclaimed, prompting giggles from her. Seeing such determination and passion in his eyes for a children's game made her giggle.

"How 'bout we Keep playing, darling?"

"Oh, it's on!" Leo answered, psyched up by that embarrassing nickname again.

Eleanor smiled, then brought the ball back to the middle of the pitch for kickoff. She blew the whistle to start the game.

The children played football all morning long until lunch, dirtying themselves with little care in the world. Seeing these children having a good time brought the villagers moods up, especially the elders, who were flooded with their own nostalgic memories of their childhood days playing this silly game, and the workers, who glances at the games and the lads so as to not lose sight of what was important: Working for a better life, a better tomorrow, for them, their children and the community.

Indeed, The town of Gravenbirch and its surroundings were ok places to live.

THE END

 

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