Many years ago, in my younger days, a skittering mouse made me fearful. That creature chasing his shadow across the moon lit section of my bedroom floor was unnerving. How dare he interrupt my sleepy-time? Boyhood thoughts cowered under the covers fearful he would chew me up. Yet, I was fascinated by his boldness.
As an official member of the Knights of the Round Table, slaying three dragons brought on a special need for evening rest. Why be anxious about a mere mouse? Tomorrow I had duties to fulfill on behalf of King Arthur. Thankfully, my trusty wooden sword remained by my side under the covers, though splinters threatened to pierce my thigh.
I leaned over the edge of bed catching every movement. And the wee creature was daring enough to pause and check to see if he had an audience. Yes, brave, fearless me, watching from above. Four scrabbling feet continued to rush back and forth chasing dust balls. I had to peek at his hideout.
Leaning further over the bed's edge proved my fearlessness, until I began a slide to the floor, as a collapsing bank of snow. Except in this case it was a skinny eight year old with cold feet.
Desperately I clutched my blankets trying to prevent any further descent. I easily envisaged my well-designed face getting mashed. Perhaps ending up looking like a flat-mugged Pekinese dog, then being nibbled by that four-footed rodent. Perish the thought of rubbing away the shine or having blood spilled on mom's newly waxed floor. What a relief when a boy's scared-cat journey to extinction was halted.
Yet, I still faced a significant threat to my growth in life, thinking of the gloomy darkness lurking under my bed. There was no light to distinguish friend or foe, leftover clothes and a pair of sneakers being classified as friends. Perhaps the real monster in my dreams resided there, often growling its presence during the night.
We had an unspoken treaty. I would remain above and not tread on his territory. However, my face was now mere inches from the floor. Hopefully those glowing eyes did not belong to anything more than that pesky mouse.
Did that trickster lure me into the bogeyman's den? I was terror-stricken and decided to leap out of bed. My bare feet hit the floor in a race to find mom and dad before some thing began chewing on my bones. Forgotten were my magic sword, and the boldness of a young knight. Escape was on my mind. Just to be away from that awful silhouette of foredoom which must by now be mere inches from my left heel.
"MOM! DAD!" I screamed.
Years later I am obliged to reveal the sequel to that thumping-heart escape. It begins each morning after I arise and prepare to shave. My breath quickens as I face another creature, this time from the mirror. It's me!
(c) Richard L. Provencher 2010
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