Bedtime Story

Fan Content

Written on 2018-03-26 by Laurent Duhamel

*I hunger.

I hunger for tears and fears. I was born out of the darkness to feed. In this tight space I call home, in this portal through nightmares, I whisper to the child above me about my hunger, and in return he gives me all the terror I require.

And in the cold, dark night, I grow. Slowly, I expand. Soon, the parents will come to fear me too. In time, I will return to my full being. Then, even the brightest light of summer will not keep me from this world. This half-state of self will end.

And I will be free. At last, I will be free. Maybe. Maybe…

“Do you really have to switch to pyjamas?” I whisper as I hear my companion squeak and groan on the backseat, trying to change quickly in that restrained space before I park the car.

“I know you like my undies better, my favorite pervert! Manage the monster, I manage the child, okay? It’s going to help, I promise! Plus it’s suuuuuuuuuper comfy!!!” Lisette doesn’t like when I question her methods. She’s a Pooka so I’m bound to at the very least have some form of doubt about what she does, right? Oh, I’d never dare doubt her intentions though. That little mouse is fiercely loyal, and I’d rather have her watching my back than a dozen oathbound trolls. A dozen oathbound trolls wouldn’t be as funny. Or as sexy. Or as important to me. Never.

We finally pull up and park in the driveway just as Lisette’s done zipping her bright green onesie. Just looking at that place… feels like trouble already. It’s too… average.

It’s a suburban house that looks like a thousand other ones in a thousand other neighborhoods in North America. Christmas decorations are still up and will probably remain until just before Easter. A Changeling lives here and it’s obvious, that’s for damn sure. All the signs are here. Plus, I mean… who’d try to milk out as much glamour from a dumb holiday as much as possible, y’know?

Christmas is dumb. Yule’s alright. But Christmas? Gimme a break.

“Alright… let’s do this.”

I have heard a voice, two nights past. A woman’s voice that isn’t the mother. The mother’s smaller, wants to please everyone all the time, not this much larger person I sense, no… this one is a warrior. Much like the mother, she is also full of glamour, she is of THAT kind. Much like the mother she wants to protect the child. Unlike the mother, this one actually might be able to. I saw it in her eyes when she looked under the bed.

But she can never destroy me. She doesn’t know how. She can fight me. She can hurt me. Chase me away for a while. However, she doesn’t have the means to obliterate me.

But maybe she’s figured that out already. Maybe. Maybe…

I hear their words through the creaks on the floor, through the air moved by doors and curtains and feet. “Can you do something? Please Cassandra, for my Bobby”. Ah… doubt. Tasty, salty doubt. And a tang that can only be anger. Shame she isn’t in the room, sitting on the bed. What an appetizer that would be.

“I cannot. But I know some people who might. Give me two days. I’ll get them here. Have Bobby sleep in your bed and make sure he has a lot of fun during the day. He needs to either sleep so deeply that he can’t dream or dream the best dreams.”

I can sense an agreement. The mother calculates. She does that fairly well. And worry. Oh, she worries so deliciously. In two or three days the father will be gone. He’s not of the same kind. He’s like the child but far less palatable. He’s a side dish. I don’t have time for side dishes.

Silly girl. Delaying the inevitable. Yes… yes bring more of your kind in this place. More fear. More anger. I might not need this little boy for long, after all.

Maybe I will be whole sooner than I thought. Maybe. Maybe…

A towering figure opens the door just before Lisette could ring the bell and attempt a melody with it. The pooka pouts as we enter. Yup. Looks just as average on the inside. Plus those canary yellow walls. Ugh.

“Evenin’ Cass.”

“Bee. Liz.” Cassandra nods at us in turn. Lisette gives the tall red Troll the secret handshake. I do too. It’s been a while. I’ve missed the gal.

“This is Francine, and this is her house.” She points to a short, plump chestnut blonde Boggan woman who nods at us nervously while scratching her left thumb. She’s at the end of her rope. Lisette waves at her with a big, almost exaggerated smile. I nod back with a small grin. My teeth don’t reassure people. Best make sure the locals think us somewhat a non-threatening presence, after all.

“Her husband is on a business trip, so we figured this would be the best time to act.” She continues.

“Oooouuuuuhhhh… Business trip. Must be shady business.” Lisette squeaks while wiggling her fingers in a creepy gesture.

I don’t have to ask. I can tell the hubby’s a non-enchanted human. See that’s trouble. Right there. That balancing act rarely, if ever, works out in the long run. Scenario like this has “hiring a private eye in the near future to check on my wife because I know she’s hiding things from me” written all over it. Because yeah, she is hiding things from you, suburban dad. She’s hiding a whole other world from you.

“Alright Cass, what do we have here, same as that time in Maine or…”

“Worse.” She’s avoiding eye contact. She’s tense. Girl ain’t kidding. This is gonna be serious.

“It’s not Bartok’s long lost and much, much hotter twin brother, is it?” Lisette recoils in overdramatic simulated terror.

Cassandra smiles cynically. At least the Pooka’s shenanigans got her relaxed a tiny bit. “If only. It’s feeding on the boy. And it’s growing. It’s coming through slowly.”

“Coming through?” I don’t like that. I don’t like that one damn bit. That’s bad news. We can’t fail at this now.

The Troll nods while looking towards the stairs. I know that look. She’s worried. Not scared. Cassandra would never be scared. But worried… that’s sort of what she does. And she does it very, very well.

Look. I’m a Redcap. In theory I’m the stuff of nightmares. Nightmares happen. They’re not a bad thing. They give you clues about what you’re afraid of, what you should be careful about, that sort of thing. You just have to learn how to experience them. Like a David Lynch movie.

“Alright. Let’s get this show on the road.” I say as I take off my jacket and make for the stairs. The Boggan leads me up slowly. Poor woman’s hanging by a thread.

“It’s pyjama time!” Lisette poses like a superhero and then follows.

“Is the kid in his bed?” I ask Francine while going up the stairs just one step behind her

“Y-yes. I put Bobby to sleep about two hours ago.” Cassandra probably had to convince her over a long discussion. Kid’s not only the victim here… he’s the bait. Without him in his bed and dreaming, the creature’s not gonna show.

“Ok then. We won’t have to wait too long.” I take a deep breath.

One, two, three, four. I can hear them through the door.

One, two, three, four. Their feet make creaks on the floor.

One, two, three, four. They draw near, and I want more.

The mother’s everywhere in her mind but here. I need to bring her back to here and now if she’s going to be at least out of our way while we do this. As we reach the top of the stairs and stand in front of the boy’s bedroom, I know we have to somehow get her on board.

Time to turn on the charm. Gods I wish I still had my voice.

“Listen… I know how this looks like. I know you know who we are, and what having us here means for you on a number of levels. I also know Cassandra loves your family very, very much. She’s been a friend of mine for a long time, and we’re here because she’d do the same for us if we needed it. We’re going to take good care of your boy, he’s going to go through this like a champ. I promise.”

She looks away and takes a deep breath, then nods a few times and takes my hand for a little while, shaking it gently. She’s going to be ok. Now let’s just hope Lisette has this kid situation all figured out.

The child sleeps. The child dreams. The child is mine.

Come in, why don’t you, and let me feast on your anger, your fear, your frustration, your despair.

Oh, sweet sugary despair. It’s been so long. Yes. Oh… yes. Please. Please, despair for me, changelings.

The boy starts to turn in his bed, his brow is sweaty already. He makes a sound, like a moan and a groan, but if he were awake he’d probably wince in pain.

It has begun.

Francine instinctively moves forward, the mother in her wanting to intervene immediately, to stop the fear and the pain right away. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, that. But in the circumstances… one false move and we’ll have to start all over again. And the creature will only get stronger.

Lisette puts her hand on the Boggan’s shoulder and smiles softly at her, reassuring her and preventing her from getting in there too soon.

Cassandra walks in first and stands in the middle of the room, eyes on the edge of the bed, and the darkness under it. I follow her, take off my hat, which I hand in turn to Francine who’s come to stand right next to the troll.

Lisette climbs unto the bed and starts humming a wordless tune close to the child, who seems to settle for a little while.

This is it. This is the moment. The monster will realize what’s going on. At that specific moment, we’ll have to catch it…

And I’ll have to eat it before it eats me.

Fortunately, I didn’t eat since yesterday in preparation for this. But it doesn’t know that.

Show time.

What is this. WHAT IS THIS. A MOUSE?



The boy wakes up. He sees Lisette, who simply smiles at him and continues to hum softly. He nestles close to her and she puts her arm around him protectively. She gives me a nod.

And I dive head first under the bed.


Hello, ugly.




The bed bumps left and right, up and down. Bobby holds on to Lisette, terrified. The Pooka takes his face in between her hands and looks him in the eye, the child faced with Lisette’s childlike smile and big bright eyes. “Don’t be afraid, we’re not going to be afraid. We’re going to play a game instead, ok?”.

Cassandra has drawn her sword, ready for anything and everything. Francine has taken a chair out of the corner of the room and is ready to fight like only a mother defending her child can.

What is probably going on for less than three minutes seems to last for hours. The bed shakes violently, the Troll and the Boggan stay tense and alert, shifting slightly, trying to be as ready as possible for whatever might happen next. From under the bed, screams of agony, a high-pitched monstrous sound that goes up and down like a rollercoaster of panic and pain, matched in cacophony by grunts and a litany of crude obscenities as the Redcap wrestles the monster into submission and eventually, if all goes according to plan, into digestion.

But finally. All stops. There are no sounds in the room. The bed has stopped moving.

A pair of booted feet slowly emerge from under it.

Cassandra pulls me out from under the bed. My face hurts. I can barely feel my mouth. I feel like my teeth have been pulled at for days on end. I can’t see a damn thing.

But my stomach is full, and I’m bloated so hard I could break bricks with my belly.

It’s over.

Redcaps get a bad rep. Rightfully so. We have to pull double duty in order to just slightly appear presentable in polite society, common or noble. Most of us don’t make it that far. At best we’re the loud neighbor that you don’t have the guts to ask to quiet down. At worst… well. You don’t want to imagine the worst. Trust me.

Cassandra stood guard in the bedroom while Lisette slept in the boy’s bed. Francine had her son stay with her for the rest of the night, making sure he wouldn’t remember anything of the freakish events.

I slept on the couch in the living room, downstairs.

We leave after breakfast. I didn’t eat. It’s a beautiful day to be on the road. Sun’s shining in a pale sky. It’s going to be spring soon.

As we pull up to a gas station to fill up the tank before getting on the interstate, I turn to Lisette on the passenger seat and I give her a large, toothy grin. She looks at me and smiles back.

And then suddenly gets excited when she realizes what I’m about to do. It’s a sort of victory celebration for her.

“MONSTER BURP!!!!” She yells in a high-pitch squeak like only she can.

I belch like a beast for a solid twenty seconds while Lisette laughs and dances in her seat.

It’s gonna be a good day.

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