*The theme for my A to Z is Childhood Stories. Some are real, some are embellished, some are downright fictional but are based on the kind of things I imagined when I was younger.*
Every child had a monster under the bed. Mine was a goblin. Although to be precise, I didn’t just have one monster — I had three.
The first was the one under the bed.
Getting into bed was a real challenge. You see, I couldn’t simply walk up to the bed and climb in — oh no. Then the goblin would have snatched my ankle and dragged me under the bed, which would have turned out not to have been under-the-bed at all, but whatever dank, nightmare world goblins come from.
To get into bed I had to get as close to it as I could while remaining far away enough to be beyond the goblin’s sight and grasp (this goblin was very short sighted). Then I jumped into bed — BUT landed as softly as I possibly could because if I did a big thump, the goblin would feel it and would know that I was in bed. This meant that most nights I leapt into bed much like a gazelle might (I suspect I was more graceful in my mind than in reality — but let’s face it, in the going to bed to avoid the goblin scenario, only imagination counts.)
Then once on the bed, I had to fax myself between the sheets, disturbing them as little as possible, and keeping myself as flat as possible. This was for goblin number two who lived in the tree outside my window. If I curled into a ball or made any kind of lump in the bed, he would see and open the window to come get me. So I would fax myself between the sheets and laid very straight, and very still so that the bed would seem empty (I know what you’re thinking, I would have been as visible as the nose in the middle of a face, but rationality really wasn’t playing a huge role at the time).
Once I’d evaded the first and second goblins, there was the third. He was the worst. He didn’t actually try to get me, oh no. Once he could see that I was in bed, he would crawl out from his hiding place and sidle over to the radiator by my door. My door was always open, letting in a puddle of yellow light from the corridor. He never went into the light though — goblins only exist in the shadows.
He would then squat next to the radiator. I knew he was there every time, even though I couldn’t see him if I looked at him. The third goblin could only be seen out of the corner of my eye, never by looking directly at him. If I did he would vanish into the shadows, only coming back out once I looked away.
The goblin would take out a tiny mallet, like the kind used with a xylophone, and he would bang against the radiator: clang-clang-clang-clang… It would get quicker and quicker, and then it would stop for a bit. Then it would pick up again, slow at first then quicker, quicker… There was no point to this, no aim, other than to scare me.
So every night I laid very light so that the goblin beneath my bed wouldn’t feel me, and very flat so that the goblin at the window wouldn’t see me, and I closed my eyes and made up stories so that the goblin at the radiator wouldn’t scare me.