She had thought he was lying or exaggerating. Night after night the screams would interrupt the dark slumber of the entire household. He has a vivid imagination. Sure, vivid enough to make her see his monsters, crawling - At least it's not touching him yet.
She took a step forward, then hesitated. The tentacle squirmed into a new curl. Its tip lifted slightly. She stared.
It's not there. It cannot be there.
There were hairy things at the tip of the tentacle. They waved slightly, like miniature reeds.
This is your mind. Playing tricks. You're a grown woman, not a five-year-old.
It didn't help. You cannot unsee a thing like that. And she only wanted to help him. Getting to this point was difficult enough. Oh, the so-called experts who had not believed her. All children have nightmares. If she had a dollar for everytime she was told that. The first person to come up with a deal solution was an ancient Indian woman, who was a hundred if she was a day.
Add these herbs to his cereal and to yours also. Spend the night by his bed. If it is something more than the usual, then you will see it.
The herbs had the fragrant aroma of cinnamon and were surprisingly easy to digest.
Weren't all medicines supposed to taste foul.
The tentacle groped a fold of the duvet, briefly pinching Spiderman's arm. The mother took a deep breath. She was supposed to intervene, but how?
OMG. It's oozing onto the duvet. I better wash it first thing in the morning.
The boy trembled, but did not wake. The mother wished it was all a dream. As the tentacle reached for his shoulder, she jerked involutarily. The tentacle withdrew and curled slightly, like a caterpillar that had been prodded.
It heard me. It knows I'm here.
The monster repositioned itself. Of course. The mother shivered. Had she really believed she could handle this? Then she steeled herself. This was her baby. She would die for him.
"Why?" she whispered, hardly daring to speak. "Why do you terrorize my son night after night?"
The monster grinned through row upon row of serrated teeth. "Your son? Oh, the boy. what makes you think I'm after your son?"
The mother took a deep breath. Was it even possible to reason with a creature such as this? Hope surfaced. Yes. Maybe it was.
"Well," she said, all business. "What do you want?"
The monster smiled. Very simple. Only one thing draws us to little boys and girls. The prospect of dining on angelflesh. Little children are always watched over by angels. If that were not the case, we would leave them be.
"Really?" the mother asked. "If there was no angel, you would not come?"
By the very hairs on my tentacles I swear this.
The mother had much food for thought throughout the next day, but because she had slept poorly, it was not very clear thought. So the angels were to blame. Interesting.
Midway through the morning, she was back at the Indian woman's decrepid stall. She was very excited about this. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said to the Indian woman. "You were the only person to help and now I have a plan. I need just one more thing. Do you have a magical herb for seeing the guardian angel of my little boy. I must have a word with him. Or her."
A hungry look entered the old woman's eyes. Perhaps she thought of other forms of bartering that were less sure, but more rewarding. "Indeed I do," she replied.
Again the mother had to sprinkle some herbs over the breakfasts of both her and her son, but the ingredient for seeing angels was pungent and a little more bitter, as if the taste alone already carried a caveat.
That night a second vigil commenced and the mother did not have to wait long before a beautiful golden glow surrounded the bed of her son. He smiled in his sleep, a lovely innocent smile and the mother hesitated for a moment. Then she remembered the monster of the night before and her resolve hardened.
"Hey you," she said. She was becoming used to communication with supernatural beings.
The angel turned and smiled also. "Well, good evening," she said. "This is a surprise. I wasn't expecting company."
"I was," said the mother. "I am here to ask a favor. As a concerned parent, I have been noticing that my child seems to have more than his fair share of monsters around. I looked into the matter..."
"I am always vigi..." the angel began..
"No interruptions, please" said the mother sternly. "Like I said, I looked into the matter and it was brought to my attention that the real and true cause of the problem is YOU!"
"Me?" the angel asked, perplexed.
"Yes, you. This is why I must ask, no beg, a favor of you. Leave my boy alone. Don't come near him. He won't be needing no guardian angels in the future. without the likes of you around, there will be no... "
The mother collapsed before she had a chance to finish her sentence. She fell gently, almost as if something cushioned her descent.
"My thanks," said the boy's guardian angel. "The problem with the adults is that they no longer recognize the shape of monsters. That one had its bulk curled all the way around her reason and it was squeezing the life out of her good sense, but she couldn't even see it. I don't know what I would have done."
"It's nothing," said the mother's guardian angel, "I was here all along. I've got it sorted."
"Good luck on the job."
"And you also. Looks like you're going to need it." The mother's guardian angel kicked something invisible. "And you, old flea-bitten, blunt-scaled excuse for a nightmare? Still haven't given up after all these years? You're not pulling that one on me again." There was a sigh that could have been the bed creaking or a window frame cracking under a sudden gust of wind. No one human heard it.
(Okay, it's a bit long for a #fridayflash, but this is where the 'not quite' would apply... I'm not sure if this is a children's story or an adult story... maybe a children's story for adults ... and it is anonymously dedicated to someone's mother)