Pieces

I was born back in the ’60s, they say it was a pivotal time in history, but I was just a kid. Love, kind words, and sunny days were what I craved.

I frequently wet my bed and had nightmares that would scare the life out of me. That’s how I discovered I wasn’t normal.

My mother would give me hell for pissing the bed, and told me that nightmares were a problem that shouldn’t be shared as she needed her sleep. So, I kept them to myself.

Holding nightmares in when you’re a kid changes your shape. It makes your head bigger and your hair curl, and it really makes it hard to walk as normal people do. One night when I was sitting up with my dad while he was drinking, he told me how ugly I was, people really notice when your shape changes. Pissing the bed is a bit like nightmares, yet instead of changing your shape it makes you stink, but just like nightmares, it makes you afraid to go to sleep.

I have no idea what it was that lived under my bed, waiting to grab my feet. It moved in not long after my mum told me how disgusting it was to continually wet my bed. She was right, it was terrible, it made the bed cold and smelly, and filled me with shame. Some nights I hid under my sheets, trying my hardest not to go to sleep, but it never worked.

When your shape is changed you can’t force it back to the way it should be. I have been trying to do that for a long time now. It just doesn’t work, at least not for me.

But I didn’t know that when I was a kid.

When I started school, I tried my hardest to hide my shape from the other kids and teachers. I had one teacher who pretended not to notice. Her name was Miss Little. She smiled when she read to us and even put her hand on my shoulder sometimes. It felt like magic was coming out of her and perhaps my shape was normal like the other kids. Funny how you can trick yourself like that.

Miss Little once told us a story about two farmers who lived in a cottage that was surrounded by a dark forest. They had a small dog that loved them very much. One-night goblins stole into the little clearing that they had made for themselves. The goblins wanted to steal the couple away so they could eat them. The dog barked and barked, scaring the goblins away and waking the farmers. This annoyed them so they threatened the dog and told him if he woke them again they would cut his tail off and put it in a sack. Next night the goblins came back and the little dog barked, scaring the goblins away. True to their word the farmers cut off the dog’s tail and put it in a sack. The next night it was his legs, then his ears and finally his head. After that, the goblins were able to steal the farmers away and eat them. A neighbor found the sack and put the dog back together and he and the dog became firm friends. Even though I was only 5 I knew the story wasn’t true.

You can’t put dogs back together no matter how hard you try.

 

Dog puzzle with 2 pieces not completed

author
Bryan has written several non fiction articles for various magazines (beekeeping, Country living & hunting) and this is one of his first attempts at fiction (though the setting is factual). He and and his wife Sue live and work in the back country of New Zealand.
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