The Creature Behind The Curtains

Memories of a childhood room can haunt you forever. The chapter ‘The Creature Behind the Curtains’, from my novel ‘Another Life’, describes fearful recollections from my pre-school years. On summer mornings before my parents and sisters woke, I would explore forbidden downstairs places. These included the front parlour, reserved for special occasions and visitors.

One such visitor was Great-Aunt Louie. She was well over eighty and wore dark glasses. I only once remember her removing them, revealing an eye affliction that terrified me, especially as I was expected to kiss her on arrival and departure.

She visited shortly after Christmas each year. I was instructed to chat politely about grown-up things. I had to remember to thank her for her small gifts of money, which my father promptly put into a savings account that I was not allowed to access.

My father seemed to regard her with devotion. Years later, I discovered he was her only living relation. He was using me to help ensure her inheritance went to him.

Another memory of the room was hearing, on several occasions, the sound of a creature behind the closed curtains. This built up to the morning when I was convinced I could see its shadow moving along the windowsill. Its shape resembled a garden gnome. Not the jolly kind familiar in twee gardens: this was a malevolent being that was coming to get me.

Read more of this tale in Another Life, published by Burton Mayers Books.