Once upon a time there was a girl with a very vivid imagination. She imagined that she had an amazing husband (which was true), had a beautiful daughter (which was true as well) and also did more than her fair share of the nappy changing (which was not as true). More than anything the girl like to imagine scary monsters.
It is not that she particularly liked monsters, they were scary and she was scared of them, it was that her imagination was often out of control and she would get worried about them pretend attacking her. If someone told her that her shadow was a black hole and would swallow her up then she would spend her whole time shining a light at her foot to rid her of it.
Then one day The Girl went and saw a play about ghosts.
The Girl didn’t like ghost stories, they were scary and she was scared of them, but she went because her best friend was in the play. She asked her brave and fearless husband if he would accompany her, and he accepted the challenge. This was a wise move on his part because then he could see if there were likely to be any scenes that were going to cause him sleepless nights.
The amatuer mummer’s were doing a theatrical production called “The Exorcism” which wasn’t “The Exorcist”. There was no Mike Oldfield and zero compellings of Christ. In fact the scariest thing about it were the clothes (it was set in the 1970’s aka The Beige Decade).
In the absence of pea green vomit, it relied upon disturbing talk by two middle-class couples whose only interest seemed to be in talking and occasionally stopping because something happened. The Girl, being a playwright, was quite distraught at the characterisation of these proto-Russell-Brands while her trusty Husband was disturbed by the ratio of words-to-action (what with him being less cultured and all).
Ne’erless, as shows are wont to do it it played on. Climaxing with a possession, like The Exorcist but still not being The Exorcist, this is when The Girl started to shift in her seat (although it could have been because she needed the toilet). Even though she was of rational mind her hand did grip a little harder her fearless fella, for the possessed reeled off that am-dram trope of:
(It may be a well known fact that within the western world the infant mortality rate is incredibly low. Modern medicine and science have brought this number down, although it was much higher in the past. However in the world of plays the chances of a child reaching adulthood are around 50:50.)
Nothing was more likely to scare The Girl than talk of children dying, and despite the haunted pianos and strange noises it was this that was going to keep her awake at night. For this was a legitimate fear, and caused her great vexation.
So it was that night’s sleep was tawdry, she lay still to present a face to her dozing husband but it was not of good quality. When the sun rose to be hidden by the morning rain clouds, she sighed.
Morning has broken…
“What is wrong my love” should have been what her husband said, but being still early all he could manage was the grunt that meant “What”.
“It was the play, I was kept up all night thinking about it”.
“Hmmm” came the reply from face obscured by the bed covers.
“I mean, those children died because they starved to death. Why didn’t they go and seek help from the church or somewhere else. The mother could have found a job, then they wouldn’t have died.” she asked reasonably.
By reasonably I mean sensible, unreasonable in the sense then there would not have been any vengeful spirits and the basis of a play.
“I mean if something scares me, I don’t lie there worrying about it” she suggested after spending a while night lying in bed worrying about it.
With this she felt a sharp kick to the shins and a demand for a cup of tea.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a Time.”