Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Babysitter and the Beast - written by Tex from Underneath the Juniper Tree

I was immediately suspicious of our new babysitter, the one with the big baleful eyes shadowed in what looked like chimney soot. Her inky black hair and crazed smile did nothing to calm my nerves. Her pale skin reeked of death. I tried in vain to hold tightly to Mother’s arm as she smiled at our new babysitter and left with Papa for the night. When the door clicked shut, I slowly turned to look at the strange girl…
Okay. Yes, she was rather kind and dreadfully charming. Instantly, she served us Sweet Lavender tea with more sugar cubes than our mother ever let us have!
But still...
And yes, she regaled us with fairy tales of distant worlds and beatific creatures. She taught us silly nursery rhymes we’d never heard before. Her bird, Dr. Reginald, squawked and danced as she sang off-tune nonsensical lyrics that had us cheering and laughing!
But still...
I must admit that sister and I had more than a little fun as we galloped around the cottage, following our babysitter in and out of each room, dancing and singing and laughing! We popped sugar cubes in our mouth as our babysitter pretended to give us a disappointed look, then we all giggled till we fell on the ground.
In time, little sister and I were quite worn out after our night of tippy-toe dancing, bellyache laughing, and hand clapping on beat to the strange girl’s fantastical poetry. The Sweet Lavender tea was doing its job in making us quite sleepy and we were hitting the expected lull from all the sugar cubes.
I snuggled with little sister on the rug near the fire in a tired daze, listening to our babysitter’s stories; stories that went from sweet fairy tales to something considerably different. As she spoke, her tone grew darker and each story became increasingly more ghastly. I wanted to stop her…ask her to sing us silly songs again. But I was so comfortable in my half-sleep state.
She told us stories of wolves, ghouls, and poisoned apples. Witches and evil stepmothers. She told us about parents leaving their children in the woods, and evil cannibalistic women. She told us of beast and man, fighting until beast won. Her words tumbled around in my sleepy mind: sinister queens, angry little men, ravens, tall dark castles, falling into eternal deep sleep.
My suspicions resurfaced... 
Through vision, fuzzy from sleep, I noticed her big eyes look out the window. I followed her line of sight but couldn’t comprehend what I saw. I was sleepy. I was imagining things. Surly I was. I started to fall asleep again, little sister already blissfully there, until I remembered her words, eternal deep sleep.
Something was off...
Something was terribly wrong. And as I unwittingly drifted off to an anxious sleep, my worst suspicions were confirmed. The last thing I saw was our new babysitter staring down at us with her big baleful eyes, Dr. Reginald perched on one arm whilst she held the hand of a gigantic beast with stinging red eyes. The one I thought I saw out the window.
And he was licking his lips... 
Babysitter and the Beast
Written by Tex
Illustrated by Evan Heasman

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