He called out again, probably it hadn’t heard him. It made no noise or any movement. It stayed still in the darkness, eyes glowing. It had its back to the window but its eyes were still visible and the more Felix stared, the more they looked red.Read Melissa Head's Felix and the Creature
Hello, my name is Melissa Head and I am seventeen years old.
This idea originally progressed and transformed from another short story I drafted called “Ceil and the Creature”. It was about a little boy who had trouble finding and making friend, then one night a friend comes to him or a thing in the dark, a creature.
In his mind he didn’t know what he was looking for, all he had was an idea but this idea was not thoroughly thought out. Instead he found this “thing” in the dark, something in the dark he could not face, himself. At this point I built the story and idea to the happenings of sexual abuse in and around my community – a subject that is sensitive and kept behind closed doors.
So I wrote it in a child’s view. A child that young doesn’t understand what happened, in a almost sad sense he thinks it’s normal. But as the child grows older, he begins to understand.
He couldn’t tell if it was a trick of the eye, the glaring of moonlight that peeked through the small slit opening in his curtain playing with him. Even to this day, he wasn’t sure he had seen what he saw, something sitting in his room watching him as he watched back or if it was only a dream. He had been a small frail skinny boy then, who grew up too fast.
Ten year old Felix lies awake in his bed, heart pounding with fear and a layer of sweat on his forehead as he watched the eyes that stared back, unblinking. It moved, almost animal-like in the corner and Felix listened carefully as the thing breathed in slowly and calmly out.
What did it want? Why was it here? Felix only wished for his mother or father to come downstairs so it would go away. He prayed for it to leave, for it to disappear, so he could run away and jump into his parent’s bed. But he couldn’t because he knew it wouldn’t leave and also it wanted something, Felix knew in the back of his mind.
Its silhouette rose, raising its shoulders as it made a noise in the back of its throat. Felix thought for a second that it might come out from the shadows and speak, to say something to make it human or a speck of hope for a sign that it might not pounce and attack. It didn’t look human; it was too dark to see what it looked like actually – the moon being the only light, which hardly lit one part of the room – Felix thinking that it could just be an animal.
Had his father left the door open, leaving wildlife to come and wander in, curious at the smell of a human – curious at discovering something other than trees and other creatures? He looked at the door, remembering that he had firmly closed it, so maybe it was the window. He doesn’t remember opening it. It was a cold night so maybe he hadn’t or he would’ve been freezing.
He thought of many conclusions to why this thing, this animal, was standing in the dark corner of his room. He spoke out, asking why it was here, because just maybe it would somehow understand. Because in the mind of a ten year old, talking animals was still a belief – a sign that he was still an innocent little boy. He has a whole library of books of kings and their men fighting dragons and rescuing maidens and also his grandfather telling him stories of old legends – a big imagination for a boy so small.
He called out again, probably it hadn’t heard him. It made no noise or any movement. It stayed still in the darkness, eyes glowing. It had its back to the window but its eyes were still visible and the more Felix stared, the more they looked red. “I know what he did to me.” Felix whispered, feeling suddenly shy. “He did a bad thing.”
The creature then stirred, slowly moving closer to the bed. “Everyone calls him a bad man.” Felix sat up, pushing his blanket down feeling brave to talk to the creature. “I heard my mom and dad say I was not the only one. There were two more others.”
He told this story before, to his teacher, to his parents and then to the police. They told him not to mention it to any of his friends because, even if they were Felix’s age, they were too young to understand. “I don’t understand why he did it. I thought he was my friend.”
It made him feel cool to have an older friend. Every other big kid never bothered with younger kids like him and it made Felix feel special to have someone as old as him to hang out with. Felix was a legend in his grade to have an older friend like that that did big kid stuff and said big kid things. It had even been the first time he had heard a bad word, it sent him a thrill to have someone say it so casually in front of him. Felix thought he was part of the cool kids now but no one else but the big kid talked to him, the big kid seemed like he didn’t have much friends either but Felix liked it.
“He told me he had a cool collection of toy cars he wanted to show me but mom told me to come home right away after school. He said it would be quick and I went with him.” The last sentence slowly dying down into a whisper as his mind relived the memory. He didn’t want to remember anymore because it hurt. He wanted to cry but hasn’t since that day. “He said he was sorry after he did it. He said he was sick in the head and he had to go see adults because they helped. He said I was too young to understand but mom goes to things like that. She has for a long time now. She talks to other adults because she’s sick too. Dad says he can’t help her because she’s unhappy and I have to go see them as well because I’m unhappy like my mom too.”
Felix rubbed at his eye, yawning as he felt more and more tired as he explained this story again. He looked up, checking if the creature was still there. Felix didn’t jump when he saw its red eyes at the end of his bed, staring at him – never blinking. “They took him away. Mom says far away. She says he’s never going to do it to anyone again. I hope she’s right because he is a bad man.”
Felix stayed quiet for the longest time, looking down at his small hands. He yawned again and laid back down, listening to the creature move around the room. Felix felt like he said what needed to be said. “Maybe I’m sick too.” He added before closing his eyes
The next thing he knew was the sound of his mother’s voice telling him that breakfast was ready. He pushed the blanket off and sat up, reaching for his glasses. He slid them on and looked over to the corner where nothing stood but a toy box filled with toy cars.
He made his way up the stairs and into the kitchen where his father sat around the table, reading the paper and his mother sitting beside Felix’s father already nearly done with her food. They brightened up, faces breaking into a smile as Felix sat down. “Are you ready to go back to school, sweetie?” His mother asked, her hand resting on his shoulder.
Felix thought about the red eyes, wondering if he really talked to the creature or if it was only just a dream. “Yes.” Felix answered.
“This is fresh start, son.” His father added, looking from his wife to Felix. “Nothing here is going to hurt you, Felix you are safe now.”
Felix nodded and quickly finished his food before heading down to his room to get dressed. He ran up the stairs to the only washroom in the house and washed his face and brushed his teeth before heading back down to get his school bag in his room. Finally he was ready to go, he ran upstairs again and to the front entrance where his parents waited for him. “Are you ready to go?” Felix nodded in reply and admitted he felt excited for his first day back.
It was a cold winter morning and his father had forgotten to start the car beforehand so they waited until it warmed up. “You know what you did last night?” Felix’s mother asked, looking at her husband.
“What is it now?” A tired sigh coming from Felix’s father, also a smile in the corners of his mouth, as they pulled out of the driveway.
“You didn’t close the backdoor right; I found it wide open this morning. It was a good thing no pesky little animal broke in and ruined the new furniture. Those are nice chairs and I don’t want them ruined.” Felix listened in closely but what surprised him more was that he felt a sign of comfort from that.
The creature in the night.