Bedtime Story

Believe me about the wolverines?

Bobby cocked his head, looking up, wanting to smile.

“Yes,” Bobby said, but the child did not know why.

Believe me that they’re real?

To this Bobby nodded, now thoroughly confused.

I hope you’re not afraid.

“Oh no,” said Bobby, because he was supposed to, “I’m not afraid. ‘Cuz I could punch them.” The boy swung his small fists in a weary demonstration but the pantomime made him feel slightly better.

Oh no you couldn’t do that, Bobby… The man moved closer to the boy, putting a hand on Bobby’s shoulder, steadying his arm. The wolverines would gobble your hands up. They’ve got jaws like bear traps and teeth like diamond knives. They’d eat your hands in a single bite. Tear your fingers right off.

Bobby, sobered, looked down at his hands with a sadness.

You can’t punch them, Bobby, so what would you do? If they came? If the wolverines came to get you?

Bobby’s face was blank as he searched. Then,“I would run away.”


Bobby, encouraged, leaned back on his hands. “Yeah, I’d run away.”

But the wolverines would catch you. They’ve got legs like eagle's wings and they’re faster than white lightning. They’d catch up to you and feast on your soft belly.

With that the man touched the boy’s round stomach. Bobby felt ill. He wanted to be someplace else, away from this man, away from the wolverines, away from this house. He almost walked out of the room but manners had taken root.

“What do I do then? About the wolverines?”

The man stood up from the bed and smiled a little.

Bobby looked up at him, waiting.

There is nothing that you can do.

The man flipped off the light switch and walked out, leaving Bobby in his bedroom all alone.


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