The Chicken Pox Monster
Adam was sick. He lay in bed with the duvet pulled up over his head feeling very sorry for himself. Adam had chicken pox. That was bad enough, but to make matters worse, he’d started scratching on the way to his Aunt Amy’s house. There was nothing wrong with Aunty Amy. Aunty Amy was really nice, but where she lived wasn’t. She lived in the middle of nowhere. There was no mobile signal, the broadband was rubbish and she only had one TV.
They were only supposed to be staying for one night, but on sight of the first chickenpox spot his mum had put the whole family in quarantine for three days! His sister had had a massive hissy fit: ‘But mummmmm, no-one will know where I am!! I might as well be dead!!!’ Mum had made her go and stand in the garden until she pulled herself together. It was pouring down outside though, so it didn’t take her long!
He couldn’t see what she had to complain about, they had the whole house and garden to wander about in, and they had the TV! He was confined to his room. He’d been lying in bed for two days now, (it felt more like two weeks) itching like crazy and crackling with chamomile lotion.
He was bored out of his mind. He had no games on his phone, couldn’t access anything on line and couldn’t talk to any of his friends.
There were some books in his room, but they were all boring horror stuff or murder mysteries, and he’d listened to the handful of tracks he had on his phone at least 10 times.
He’d got so bored he’d even picked up the hippy colouring book Aunt Amy had given him. That had been the high point of his day so far. Trapped in a girls bedroom, skin sticking to a yellow and pink flowery duvet, colouring in pictures of rainbows and fairies.
He tried to go to sleep again but it was impossible. Every time he closed his eyes a part of his body started to itch so intensely, the only way to resist it was by holding his breath, and bouncing his head up and down on the pillow until it passed. Often his fingers took no notice of his brain and they scratched anyway. That really hurt.
He scrabbled around in his bed for a bit. Bored, bored, bored! For an active nine-year-old boy there was nothing worse than being made to stay in bed like a big girl. His sister was a girl and she stayed in bed all the time, even when she wasn’t ill. Mum said that’s because she was 16 and her brain was changing or something, though what that had to do with it he didn’t know. She was just lazy.
He closed his eyes and sighed like an old man. Almost immediately his left leg started to itch, and he reached down to scratch it without thinking. The moment his fingers touched his skin there came a BANG! so loud it made him jump. His hand jerked down his calf, ripping tops off spots in the process. ‘Fudgin’ Hell!!’ he shouted, bouncing off the bed and hopping up and down on his right leg. He gripped his left calf hard in a desperate effort to stop it from throbbing.
‘FUDGE!’ He didn’t swear. His mum did NOT play nice with swearing.
Bang! He hopped round in a circle, heart beating a little bit faster.
It was coming from the chest of drawers under the window. Letting go of his leg he stepped over, head cocked, listening hard.
There was something in the top drawer. Palms suddenly sweaty he reached out to grab the drawer handle.
BANG! It flew open, pants and socks tumbling everywhere. Then something hard and red flung itself at Adam’s chest, knocking him on his back.
‘AAhhhrgghhh’ shouted Adam.
‘AAhhhrgghhh’ shouted the revolting blob now squatting on his pyjama top.
Adam jumped up, grabbing hold of it with both hands. He threw it back towards the drawers and dived onto the bed, dragging the duvet up over his head.
Nothing happened. When he finally plucked up the courage and poked his head out, the red blob was sitting at the bottom of his bed, scratching it’s spots and oozing. ‘Stop it will you!’ Adam shouted, ‘you’re messing up the duvet!’ The blob stared at him and with great deliberation pulled the top off a huge scab on its belly and put it in its mouth, chewing slowly.
‘That’s just disgusting! What are you?’ Adam choked.
‘Well what do you think?’ said the red blob. ‘I’ll give you clue shall I? I’m not the bleedin’ tooth fairy!’ It stood up. ‘Enough talking. Come on.’ ‘What?’ said Adam. ‘Come on wh…ohhhh, I get it, I’m asleep aren’t I? I’ve got a fever and you’re some sort of….dream monster, yeah, that’s it. You’re some sort of dream monster representing chicken pox, or… something like that. We did Dreams, Nightmares and Fevers at school with Mr Wren.’ He folded his arms confidently. ‘You’re not real, and in a minute, I’m going to wake up.’ ‘If you say so,’ said the red blob grinning nastily. And suddenly its gnarly feet were on his chest and both his hands were grabbed hard. It had a grip like an iron band.
‘COME ON!‘ it growled, ‘time to go!’
His arms jerked upwards, body following reluctantly as he was dragged face first across the room, straight towards the window. Adam screamed and tried to pull himself free. No chance. All he could do was close his eyes, waiting for the glass to slash into his face…and…nothing.
He opened his eyes. Sky. There was sky. EVERYWHERE. And he was flying. Yes, he was flying. Arms up like Superman, flying high and fast. The blood was pounding in his ears so hard he thought he was going to faint.
‘You awake yet?’ snarked the monster, who was sitting on his back. Adam tried to look over his shoulder, but the wind burned his eyes. If that thing was on his back, who was pulling them along? He tried to move his arms, but the iron grip remained.
‘How are you doing this?’ he shouted.
‘Who cares?‘ said the monster, ‘if none of this is real it doesn’t matter does it?’
That’s probably true thought Adam, but he was worried. The cold air was chapping his cheeks and his eyes were streaming. His arms were numb in places and aching in others, and he couldn’t feel his hands. ‘I don’t know if it matters,’ he said, ‘but my arms are killing me. Where are we going?’ The chicken-pox monster gave a hideous grin, the scabs on its lips splitting. ‘Oh, you’ll find out soon enough.’ Adam didn’t like the sound of that at all. A minute later the monster stomped hard on his back shouting in a sing-song voice ‘Hey! Adam! Are you ready for a surprise?’ And with a laugh like a rattling cough it leapt from his shoulder.
Within seconds it had vanished. Adam flew on for a couple of heartbeats, and then he fell from the sky. Down, down he fell, faster and faster, tears whipping from his eyes as the ground rushed up to meet him.
‘Help me! I don’t want to die!!’
‘HELP ME!!!’ The chicken pox monster reappeared with a flash right underneath him. It was laughing. ‘You scared yet?’
‘YES!’ yelled Adam, as he tumbled over and over. He could imagine all too clearly his ankle bones snapping when he hit the ground, not to mention the rest of him.
‘YES I’M SCAAAAAAAREDD! We’re going to die!!’
‘Oh, stop making such a fuss!’ shouted the monster, and disappeared. Again.
Adam squeezed his eyes shut, covered his head with his arms and waited for the end.
Long seconds passed and nothing smashed or broke. He moved his arms apart and peered through the gap. He was floating on his front, face down, about a meter above the ground. The monster appeared right by his head.
‘Surprise!’ it bellowed, and he fell to the ground in a heap. ‘That hurt’ he snapped, ‘And you scared me to death!’
‘Oh, stop moaning’, said the monster, ‘that was a brilliant surprise,‘ and it capered about on its spindly little legs, doing twirls and leaps and looking so pleased with itself that Adam couldn’t help laughing.
‘The monster clapped its hands together in glee.
‘Wait here!’ it said and disappeared.
Adam jumped up so fast his feet got tangled and he stumbled sideways into a rock.
‘Flippin heck’ he shouted, rubbing his shoulder, ‘Where’ve you gone NOW?‘ He started looking around, but the monster was nowhere to be seen.
All that could be seen was dark red earth, dark red rocks, sickly looking yellow bushes and blood red trees. Not bright blood like when you cut your finger, dark blood like on the movies his sister watched. Black blood.
Nothing moved. No birds, no insects, nothing.
He shouted for the monster until his throat hurt. Still nothing.
He sat down and waited for the monster to come back. Five minutes went past, then ten. Adam wished he was awake. This dream was the worst he’d ever had. If it was a dream. It had to be though, didn’t it?
Eventually he decided he’d be better off looking for the nasty little blob. He set his sights on a large clump of trees and bushes up ahead and set off. But he’d only taken a couple of steps when he heard a strange noise behind him. It sounded a bit like thunder, but thunder from a long way away. He turned a full circle on his heel, head up to the sky. There, by a craggy mountain range, a large cloud was forming. He stood very still, staring hard. The cloud was moving his way, and fast. As it came closer the noise got louder and louder. It began to go dark. A cold wind started to blow and the ground under his feet began to shake.
This was bad.
Adam started to run. He ran away from the cloud as fast as he could. His chest hurt. He was bellowing like a bull. The sky was dark, the noise behind him deafening. The wind was howling around him, trying to trip him. He ran and ran and ran, eyes streaming until he stumbled, tripping, onto his hands and knees, slipping, earth tumbling… right into an enormous hole in the ground.
‘AARGHHHHHHH,’ he screamed as once again he fell through the air. Spinning like a top he caught a glimpse of the monster standing at the top of the hole. Twenty times bigger than it had been before it capered about and hurled scabs down at him. ‘I bet you’re not bored now are you?’ it shouted.
‘No I’m not!’ Adam tried to say, ‘Now GET ME OUT OF HERE!‘ but it came out more like ‘Nnnaaarrghhhoooooeeeerrreeee!!‘
The monster laughed.‘No chance’ it shouted. ‘You’re far too tasty!!’
Adam shuddered as he stared wildly about. Above him was starting to look a lot like a mouth, teeth grinding, lips frothing. Down below him a huge tongue reared and slithered.
Eyes closed, thinking as hard as he could ‘walk up, wake up, wake up.’ he tumbled on into the darkness.
Adam jumped awake. Something warm and heavy was covering him from head to foot and pinning him down. Then he remembered. The chicken pox monster had swallowed him up! He was being eaten alive!! In a wild panic he flailed his arms and legs as hard as he could, pushing with all his might against what held him.
‘Help me!’ he yelled, as the duvet rocketed across the room, colouring pencils and tissues bouncing hither and thither.
‘What?’ Adam stared around him in shock, breathing hard. He was back in bed. Had it all really just been a dream? He let out a deep breath, checking under the covers to make sure he was all there, and that there wasn’t anything else in bed with him.
An oozing, red, scabby blob for instance.
That had been a terrifying dream!
Relieved he wasn’t being eaten by the chicken pox monster after all, Adam reached down and pulled the duvet back over himself.
It was all over. Just a dream after all.
He was reaching for his phone to check the time when:
Bang! Bang! Adam stared in horror at the slightly open top drawer. He swallowed, throat dry, pulse pounding.
‘Who’s there?’ His voice wavered. ‘It’s only me,’ said his sister as she opened the bedroom door. ‘Mum said I was to knock in case you were being sick or something.’ She walked across the room closing the open drawer as she went past. ‘D’you wanna put some clothes on? Mum said you can come out now.’ She looked around at the pants, socks and pencils strewn all-round the room. ‘You must have been REALLY bored!’ she said, ‘What a mess!’ Adam looked at the chest of drawers and laughed. ‘No,’ he said, ‘I wasn’t bored, just a bad dream that’s all!’ The chicken pox monster stopped what it was doing to a pair of his socks, grinned and scratched itself, leaving some nasty flakes behind for Adam to find later. In a shimmer of ghastly yellow light, it returned to its original form. A pale grey, almost featureless blob of stuff was all that remained of the nasty red monster. It really enjoyed visiting young boys. They had such vivid imaginations. Already this week it had been a three-headed dog, an ambulance that ran on blood and the chicken pox monster. It couldn’t wait for the next one!
The air shimmered, and it was gone.
Sometime later, in a house on a hill, miles and miles away from Adam, an 8-year-old boy was sitting in his bedroom, sick with the flu and bored, bored, bored. Deep in the back of his wardrobe the air shimmered, and something made out of pointy teeth and staring eyes popped into existence. It raised its bony hands to rap on the door and grinned.
This one was going to be a LOT of fun!
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