Monday, 6 February 2012

A Short Story

A Beast in the Night
            When I first awaken I swing my legs out of bed and plant them on the floor giving myself a couple of minutes to come round stretching, yawning and rubbing my eyes. There is nothing unusual in that I hear you say and there isn’t on a normal morning but this was far from normal. For one thing it was still dark outside conveyed by the lack of the pale light of dawn seeping under the thick tan coloured curtains. I don’t usually wake up in the night. The other piece of evidence was on the soft, green carpet just to the left of my foot. I discerned what appeared to be three or four small black shapes, indistinct but undeniably there, that were at the moment stationary but from their arrangement and individual oval appearance could be heading towards me. My movement had caused them to stop in their advance or so it seemed.
Very slowly I moved my right hand towards the switch on the bedside lamp not taking my eyes off the creatures for fear that they may continue their advance. There was not a sound either from inside the room, the apartment or even outside in the street. The air was cold and full of the night’s chill that set my skin prickling with a mixture of fear and anticipation. C’mon pull yourself together they are tiny – I admonished myself. The hairs on my arms were standing up to trap air and insulate my chilled body but my face felt hot as if with embarrassment the skin on my forehead tight and burning. The progress towards the light switch had halted and I resumed the action but wait - had I just seen some movement?
The beasts were still now and I didn’t want to hunt for them if they scattered when I turned on the light. What should I do? What could I do? The wailing of a tom cat outside distracted me once again and I glanced away from my potential assailants only to turn my eyes back to them more slowly dreading what I might see. They seemed to be still. I decided on a different strategy and began to lift my feet very slowly and swing them off the floor and back under the warm safety of the duvet while at the same time reaching for ‘The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes’ a weighty tome and suitable weapon to fettle the little creatures that had disturbed my peaceful slumber.
I turned on to my stomach, without taking my eyes from the creatures, holding the heavy book in two hands and shuffling round so that I could have a good swing at these things on my floor when my foot touched something slightly warm and furry under the duvet. I froze where I was. The creatures had launched an assault on two fronts perhaps? I pushed hard with my right foot and the furry beast under my covers launched itself away from me and landed on the floor with a splashy thump.
I started laughing uncontrollably, had I been injected with some kind of maddening venom? No! I had remembered that due to the cold weather I had furnished myself with a hot water bottle covered in a brown furry coat that seemed to be moulting!