Rat, Saw and Limb


I could be at a party with Stephen Hawking right now, I thought. But, oh no, I'm the one with the ancestral problems…


I ran past a row of firing cannons to the carpenter’s office. Slowing down, I sneakily crept into the room where I saw the most gruesome sight since I saw the Archbishop of Canterbury’s brains on a sword; a man sawing off another man’s arm. A child, a bit older than me, watched in horror, as the man snapped off the arm (or what was left of it) before his patient ran screaming out the door. I hid behind a barrel and tried not to throw up.


“Now me lad,” the man began to say, “If you want to be a surgeon, you’ll need to practice.”

The boy backed away slowly.

“Not with real people of course.”

The boy (he was more of a teenager really) looked relieved.

“No, they’re too hard when they’re new. Get some from that barrel over there. Nice and rotten, they are.”

He pointed towards my hiding spot, and I felt woozy again. As I rested against the barrel a single finger fell out and onto the floor in front of me. I kicked it away and many things happened at once.


First, the boy’s jaw dropped.

Second, a rat poked its head out of a hole and saw the finger.

Third, the boy’s saw dropped.

Fourth, the rat ran out to get the finger.

Fifth, the saw handle got caught around the rat.

Sixth, the rat ran into a jutty-out bit of the floor and the saw clattered to the ground in front of the door.

And, seventh, a shout came from outside the door, “Nelson’s been shot!”


The boy ran towards the door and in his path was the uneven piece of floor followed by the saw that, due to poor hygiene, would probably give you blood poisoning.

“Well,” I said, pulling a piece of paper from my pocket. “That’s another one. Let’s see who’s next on my ancestor list… Oh, come on! Not him!”


by Josh A, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School



This wonderfully gruesome story was Highly Commended in our "What Year is It?" competition for Write On Issue 55: Time Travel.


If only we had enough funds and space in the magazine for a third/ fourth or fifth place! NB: Josh gave permission for some minor editing.


Copyright: Josh A and Write On 2020