The Green Children and other Tales
The young girl stared up at the wrinkled old man as he leaned back in his chair.
'Wow.' The boy leant forward. 'Tell us another story. Please.'
The old man nodded, 'But, first. A drink. Take the tea from the shelf, my lovely.'
The girl stretched and took out a bag from a small tin.
'I think I can tell you another tale as we wait for the water to boil.' The storyteller stretched his tired legs out before the fire. The children sat and waited.
'There are many creatures that we know little about. Ghouls, goblins, elves and faeries. There is one such strange animal that takes delight in scaring. It goes by several names; imp, boggart, bogeyman and...'
To exist for fun. That was the BullBeggars life. Scare, frighten, entertain only itself. But never harm. Don't harm anyone. That is to break the rules.
But an old proverb says that rules are made to be broken. And the BullBeggar was the kind of creature clumsy enough to break anything and everything.
The BullBeggar was out hunting. For the stories sake this BullBeggar had a name. His name was Frokto. Frokto did everything by the law. He would scare as often and as regularly as he could. Mostly children, sometimes adults. In fact it was often the adults he gained more satisfaction from. It was their faces when he frightened them. Something in the expression told him that they were terrified that something they thought didn't exist - was real. And he was a monster. Proud of being a monster.
When Frokto scared the children it was more of a thrill for them, not so much a scare. He gained satisfaction that he made them happy in a strange sort of way. A way of rebellion for them. They were told that he wasn't real. 'Bogeymen don't exist.' He'd heard that a few times.
When he did scare the kids it was like he was doing them a favour, and himself. He could hear their thoughts.
Monsters are real!
And then there was the satisfaction that he would give them nightmares for weeks.
This night, Frokto was out looking for a scare. He'd missed a chance with a priest, riding his bike back home from late night mass. He'd growled and made the man peddle harder. That brought a smile to Frokto's ugly lips.
He stalked the graveyard, looking for the fake vampires. The young who dressed in black and painted their faces. But there was no-one. A cat caught the wrong end of his impatience, losing several of its nine lives as he bared his fangs and grew somewhat in size. That was Frokto's way of scaring. He was a little monster if you caught him off guard. Perhaps three or four feet tall. Small and fat. He was not pretty, but better looking than a goblin. However, he had a trick. He would attract interest to himself by sending out signals. A warm light that people couldn't resist. Then, when they were close enough he would grow to at least three times his size, bare his fangs, and roar. His roar was the type of sound that is made when fingernails are pulled down a blackboard, except louder, much louder. This frightened people. He would do it at bedroom windows especially. His light would be like that of a wishing star, something that children couldn't resist. Then he would scare.
And the cat knew it.
Frokto travelled into town. He passed by a few houses with their lights on. He let himself into some of the homes through the cat-flap and ate what he could find in the fridge. He was pretty fussy about what he ate. He hated vegetables and milk. If he found soft drinks he would let out a short squeal of delight. And this night he did. In the morning a few households found the level of drink in their fridge much lower than they had left it at dinner the night before. Frokto even found some leftover fried chicken. He took this with him as he searched for a scare. It would have been between one o'clock and two o'clock in the morning when he found some likely looking victims.
The youngsters were drunk, they still had bottles in their hands. Frokto stalked them for a while, making small sounds here and there. One of the youths started as Frokto kicked over a garbage can.
'Something's following us, man.' He urged his companions on.
'Don't be stupid, it's only a cat.' But the others did look a little scared.
This was Frokto's chance. He leapt from behind them, onto a roof, then waited in a hedge for them to pass by. He waited ten minutes and still they didn't walk past. Frokto slid from his hiding place and looked around the corner. The group had gone.
A light turned on in a nearby house and suddenly some music crashed on. Frokto put his paws to his long ears to drown out the noise. They'd given him the slip! He growled to himself, grabbed a nearby snail and crunched on it hungrily. If he didn't find a scare tonight he would not be very happy.
He forced himself down a side street in the city looking for one of the homeless. Then he heard the click of high heels on the pavement. He
prayed to one of his gods, thanking them for sending a scare. He waited, sending out his warm light. The click-clack of footsteps slowed, then stopped. He could hear the low murmur of conversation. Then nothing, except a faint sound. He peered around the corner and saw his victim had been stolen by another creature of the night. The vampire turned and hissed at him. Frokto held up his hands in a mimed 'sorry', then ran off down the road. Surely a scare must be somewhere! He only had a few hours of light left before the morning. And he hated trying to scare during the day. He could do it, it was just so much easier at night.
He spent nearly an hour, literally running all over town. Other than making a few dogs bark and sending a horse over a fence as he went by, there was nothing. Frokto was beginning to give up when he saw his chance. A large man was coming down the street in a small van. Delivering milk. And Frokto hated milk. He snuck up to the van as it stopped outside a house and crept on board. He hid himself amongst the cartons of the disgusting white liquid. There was custard as well!! The man got on board and the car crept down the street a little farther. The milkman leant into the back to grab some more milk and Frokto took his cue. He grew as large as he could in the confines of the van and screeched. The man stared at the monster in his milk-van, then staggered backwards into the street. He was clutching at his chest and breathing heavily. Frokto didn't like the look of this. He wasn't supposed to hurt people, let alone give them heart attacks.
Frokto started to get scared. The man had collapsed onto the road and lay still. Frokto didn't know what to do. He leapt down from the van and came close to the man. In emergencies like these there was only one thing to do. He put his paws to the mans mouth and prised the milkman's jaws open. Frokto knelt closer and blew foul breath into the mans throat. He then pushed down on the large chest. He did this for what seemed an age until the man started to breathe on his own. Frokto decided this was good enough and hurriedly left. He had no desire of being caught. What a night for a BullBeggar!
Frokto only wanted a scare. It seems he got one.
Next Week: It's Got 8 legs