27 March 2006

Monster

When I was a little girl, we had all the necessary monsters assigned to our homes. In charge, was the boogie-man, who waited outside both the front and side door, and under each and every downstairs window. Inside, were the under-the-bed monster, the behind-the-furnace monster, and the soap-scummed, tubular bathtub-drain monster. And just as I learned how to fold laundry, and set a proper table, I also learned how to thwart their efforts to do whatever it is they were going to do once their efforts were realized.

In addition to these regulation household monsters, was the specially assigned monster-with-the-big-red-hand, living in my bedroom closet. He was invisible in the light. But like florescent clay, his squinty monster eyes, and pudgy monster hand, would glow in the dark.

I knew that if I were ever to look into his eyes, I would go insane. So at bedtime, when my mom turned off the light, and shut the door, closing off any hope of rescue, I would hide under my covers. And to make certain that I didn’t forget myself, and accidentally look into the eyes of the monster-with-the-big-red-hand, I would carefully tuck my blanket under the back of my head.

Why didn’t you just shut the closet door? some of you may ask.

And I would answer that in the whole of my childhood, in all the many different places we lived, as my father was stationed from state to state, country to country…not once did any of my bedrooms have a properly-functioning closet door.

31 comments:

Tony Sarrecchia said...

Great story--striking illo.

HARDWAX said...

A scary little narrative you have here, the painting is perfect with it, goosbump time!

Christine Lim Simpson said...

Superb illo. Great job of the blue door. You have express the mood very well.

Janet said...

Great story and illo! I almost asked if you had closet doors that would stay closed now, but I realized someone who walks 7 blocks for chocolate at 2:30 in the morning, is no longer afraid of the closet monster! :0)

skees said...

Good job Cat. Amazing how all kids basically have the same boogey man thoughts. I remember everyone one of those monsters.

For me the basement door was like the gates of hell:) It had that dank smell down there, the noises and creaks, the space beneath the steps But.....from the things you already mentioned, the worst of all for me was the damn turn of the century furnace we had. Even if it wasn't running it sat there all-evil and stared menacingly at me. When it would happen to kick on while I was down there, it always kind of boomed - I would sprint up the stairs and shut the door, leaning on it for a second and then sprint out of the kitchen. Thanks for reminding me;) - Skee.

Caroline said...

THe scariest monster is the one we can't look at... too true...

Knitting Painter Woman said...

We all get terrorized as children, no? And why couldn't somebody have fixed at least ONE of your closet doors. I'm glad you can do chocolate at night, now!!

Jaimie said...

Great story and wonderful illustration!
spooky and creepy. I just love it.
When I was a kid I had cannibal devils living under my bed

Janet said...

Forgot to say...I like the new header..nice colors!

It's Meng said...

Man, from convoluted hallway walks (turn light on in hallway, walk to room, turn light on in room, walk back to hallway, turn hallway light off, walk to room) to complete blanket coverage I had my share of monster phobias. Thanks for sharing.

ValGalArt said...

love all the coloured mist and the glazing red eyes and hand! This is so great!!!

scribblesk said...

Really sinister! Great narrative! What a compendium of household monsters! Hmm, suspicious about the closet doors never working!

isay said...

simple and effective. i enjoyed your story, too.

"not once did any of my bedrooms have a properly-functioning closet door" you made me smile about this. a friend of mine had the same experience since their family was moving a lot since she was 3.

Tulipland said...

WOWWW ! great illo! really scary !

Ellen said...

Goosebumps for sure! Great job on the topic!!

Joy Eliz said...

ha-ha!!! love it.
Once you were under covers...did you try so hard not to move or breath loud that you began to sweat?
I always did.
I had a "purple, evil egyptian eye" that would stare at me when I looked at the digital alarm clock!

Borut said...

Great. Have some scarry ghost stories myself. Except that they're not from childhood, but are taking place now, in dreams in particular.I suppose I'm getting childish. Have learnt some magic formulas as a result. If you ever need any...

Amy Zaleski said...

Dark and creepy!! Wonderful job on the door and especially the crystal door knob.

albina said...

Oh, wow! Great story… I bet all your doors are working now. Love your chocolate shopping story!

TXArtcGal said...

Awesome illo!! LOVE the darkness...and, the mood is definitely creepy! Boo!

Ian T. said...

Really creepy - wonderfully simple and powerful! I enjoyed your story as well.

Liz Jones said...

Ooooh! Spooky!!! A closet door that won't stay closed. I think you've got a great story in there!!

Pragmatician said...

incredible story, I resently saw the movie boogieman and wow was that scary.
another simple solution would've been a nightlamp.

carla said...

There's defintely a story that could grow out of this! I know that we can all relate to the various monsters of childhood you describe...but the creepy thing is that the closet doors never closed! That must have been so scary! Your illustration totally captures that frightening idea of a monster whose only clear features are the red hand and the glowing eyes...I wonder what the rest of him looks like... It reminds me of a monster my younger sister was afraid of. She simpley called it "The Arm." Weird!

AscenderRisesAbove said...

Great story! I know that door. Sort of like out of Monsters Inc.

(I got a chuckle out of what Janet said - lol)

georg said...

You've made a brilliant illo. There's a story in here: a monster opens the door...many of us can continue the story based on one's own childhood, I certainly can. Really it's a simple image: a blue door, some red drops, black background, but welldrawn. Great artwork!

Don said...

"It's nothing personal... it's just their job." ;-)

Sandy said...

Oh my, well, that just about covers all of our childhood monsters.

That monster under my bed is the one that scared me the most. I just knew if I got to close to the edge of my bed that big big green hairy hand was going to grab my ankle and drag me under there and do who knows what.{{{shiver}}}

If I was a child your beautiful illo would scare the bejeesus outta me.
lol

Loved your story and can relate.

S

Queen Neetee said...

What a wonderfully written memory.

Gosh, I remember my own 'night fears' as a child.

I would hide under my covers. And to make certain that I didn’t forget myself, and accidentally open them into the eyes of the monster-with-the-big-red-hand, I would carefully tuck my blanket under the back of my head.
My hiding place was under the covers also and as secure, I might add. This definitedly brought it all back.
:)

I LOVE your blog page!

Rappaccini's Daughter said...

Oooooh. I can hear Nick Cave's BIG RED HAND as a creeping accompaniment.

catnapping said...

wow. when i read that, i had to go look. and sure enough, there's a song out there called, Right Red Hand.

I found the lyrics here.