Bagbear - Chapter 3

The First Encounter

Bobby's eyes flickered open.  He looked at the clock on his bedside table. Yes, it was just the same as usual, 2.30 am and everybody was asleep. He crept to the window and looked out.

Just as he had expected, the dark shape of the Night Monster loomed high above the Blackberry bushes. If he was a little frightened, he didn't show it. He gathered his list of things together and put on his slippers and dressing gown.

Quietly, like a little mouse, he crept down stairs and opened the back door. Matilda, the cat, was the only one to see him and she dashed through the cat flap so that she was already sitting on the step outside when Bobby emerged. She watched him until he was half way down the garden path, then decided to follow.

Suddenly she stopped as she saw the huge dark shape in front of them.

Before Bobby could stop her, she let out a fearsome screech and bolted away.

It was too late, the creature had heard and started moving.

It didn't go in any direction but rather, it seemed to be sinking into the ground behind the bushes. Bobby dashed forwards, it was getting away. He could hear the rustle of the leaves as it brushed past them. He flung himself through the bushes and there before him was the back end of the monster itself.

Disappearing down a rabbit holeThe front end had already gone, having disappeared down-a rabbit hole.

Now the rest of the body was changing shape like a long thin balloon and was attempting to follow.

Bobby did a very brave thing. With no thought of danger, he caught hold of its tail and started to pull as hard as he could.
"No you don't," he shouted and walked in the other direction, dragging the tail over his shoulders.

He then realised what he was doing and dropped it for a second. Nothing happened. The tail just stayed there. Bobby bent down and picked up the stick which he had dropped. He held it high above his head, ready for anything. Still nothing happened.

"Come out," he shouted. "Come out at once!"

The tail began to tremble and, inch by inch, move backwards. Bobby stood with his stick raised high and his muscles tight.

Bit by bit it backed out of the rabbit hole and as it did, the long thin shape filled up like a balloon till it was half the size of a house again and standing right there in front of him.

Bobby backed away a little and then swished the stick through the air, backwards and forwards, side to side. "All right," he said "Now I'll show them!"

The monster's head was so very small, compared to the rest of his body, and it was hanging down sadly.  The big creature just stood there, hardly daring to look Bobby straight in the eye.

Bobby felt safe enough to put down his stick for a minute and get out the camera. He was just about to take a picture when he noticed something odd. Large drops of water were falling all over the place and it wasn't raining. He took the camera away from his eyes and held out his hand. A big wet splash of something dropped right on to it. He looked up and saw that the water was coming from the monster's eyes.

"Oh you poor thing," he said suddenly and put down his camera. The creature wiped his eyes with one of his brown furry paws and sniffed.

"I'm sorry," it said in a rather mellow voice.

"Who are you?" said Bobby kindly "and what are you doing in our garden?"

The monster stopped crying and looked down at Bobby.

"I'd love to tell you," it said and tried its best to smile. "I haven't spoken to anyone for ages. May I sit down?"

"Yes," said Bobby. He looked in wonder at the huge creature as it shuffled around.  Then it settled and sat quietly in front of Bobby.

"That's better," it said "May I let out some air now?"

"Ehmm", yes I suppose so," said Bobby, not wanting to upset it again. There was a soft whistling sound and the gigantic creature began to shrink. It seemed the most natural thing in the world to the animal. He shuffled around again when the shrinking had stopped and what was left was an animal which looked like a very, very large teddy bear with a tail like a kangaroo.

It sat upright, its paws-on its tummy and looked at him. It didn't Look at all frightening now but rather soft and cuddly. Two small brown ears and two large brown eyes were the only irregularities in the entire animal, he was so perfectly smooth and streamlined; no hint of a wrinkle or a fold after his shrinking session.

"Well," said Bobby "are you ready now?"

"Indeed I am . I am longing to share my story with someone. The rabbits have been angry with me because I used their burrow and even if I could-talk to them I doubt if they would be very interested."

"Well tell me, then," said Bobby impatiently "Who are you?"

"I'm a bagbear," said the creature "from Bannaboo."

"Where is that?" said Bobby "and what is a bagbear? I've never heard of them."

It would take too long to tell you everything. Can I show you? Words can be such a nuisance sometimes. How easy it-is for meaning to melt away as, they fly through the air from me to you. Don't you think?"

"I suppose so I've never really thought of it. But how else can you tell me?"

"Like this," said the bagbear. "You sit there, I sit here and we both close our eyes and then...."

"You're not going to trick me?" said Bobby.

"You will have to trust me, but please do, please let me show you, I really do want to talk to you; now that I have got over the fright of seeing you, I really would like to be your friend."

"All right then," said Bobby warily "There, I've closed my eyes. Now what?"

"Now I will tell you my story," said the bagbear.