Pedro M. Lourenço
The story maker
Francis had a big problem. There was a monster living in his bedroom! Often he would wake up during the night and there it was, lurking in the shadows of the darkened room. Francis would then start screaming in panic, but when his parents came rushing to help him they would turn on the lights and the monster would be nowhere to be found.
Francis’ parents felt very tired as they would wake up almost every night because of the screaming. They sometimes scolded Francis when he told them there was a monster in his room. Couldn’t he see that there was no monster when they showed him each and every corner of the room with the lights on? But the next night, if Francis woke up, there was the monster again on the darkest corner of his room.
Eventually, the parents took Francis to a doctor, who also didn’t believe in monsters. The doctor prescribed him medicines that would make him sleep a strange sleep without dreams, making him weary throughout the day as if he hadn’t slept at all. Despite the medicine, Francis would still wake up screaming some nights, which made his parents increasingly angry and Francis increasingly sad.
One night, as Francis lied in his bed waiting for sleep to find him, he started thinking about this monster. His parents, the doctor, essentially every grown up he knew told him that there were no such things as monsters. Still, he had seen the monster in his room many times so it must be real. However, even though he had seen the monster many, many times, it had never hurt him in any way so maybe that meant that this was a friendly monster.
That night Francis made a decision. The next time he would see the monster, he would not scream for help. Later that same night, Francis woke up and saw the monster in the usual corner of the room. It took as much courage as he could muster, but Francis was able to remain quiet, carefully observing the monster. He noticed that the monster was shaking. After a few moments, the monster stopped shaking and started to move very slowly towards the bed. Despite feeling is heart jumping on his chest, Francis managed to stop himself from screaming.
Francis took a very deep breath and asked: “Who are you?” Surprised, the monster stopped his slow advance and asked back another question: “Are you going to scream tonight?” Please don’t call the monster that turns on the lights.” “But – replied Francis – that is not a monster. That is my father.” The monster wouldn’t hear any of that and just emphasized: “Whoever it is, please don’t call him and do not turn the lights on.”
“But who are you?” – Insisted Francis. As the monster came a bit closer, Francis could see him a little better. It was fuzzy, almost like a huge stuffed animal, and his body had a weird shape that somewhat resembled a heart. It had two big lumps over its wide head, but the body funnelled down to a single big foot. In the dark it was hard to discern any colour, but the monster might have been purple.
The monster only answered when it reached the side of the bed: “I am a story maker.” “A story maker? And what are you doing in my room late at night?” – Asked Francis. The next answer provided by the story maker surprised Francis even further: “Where would you expect me to be? All story makers live in bedrooms near people.”
Francis was now feeling very curious and completely forgot about the fear that had gripped him before. He started bombarding the story maker with more questions: “But why can’t I see you when the lights are on? Do all bedrooms have story makers? And why have I never heard of any story makers before?” The story maker’s lips formed a small smile and he replied thoughtfully: “Clearly I made a good choice with this bedroom. Curiosity and creativity usually walk hand in hand.”
Before Francis could resume his incessant questioning, the story maker finally started to explain everything: “In truth there aren’t that many story makers out there. The few that do exist choose the bedroom of a promising person and live there pursuing their goal of creating new stories. We feed on the dreams of the person and spend the night making up stories that we later whisper in his or her ear while they sleep.”
“But we only abide at night – the story maker continued – because light makes us vanish. In fact, that is my problem. Every time you scream your dad comes in and turns on the lights making me disappear. With so many interruptions I can hardly work at all. To be honest, I haven’t made a single story for many months now.”
“I’m sorry. You scared me.” – Explained Francis. “But from today onwards I promise I will never be scared of you again and I won’t scream any more.” A big, happy smile lit up the story maker’s strange face: “Really? That will make me so happy. I am also sorry. I never meant to scare you. Actually, very few people are able to see me. Only very special persons, like you, are able to see story makers.
“I am special?” – Asked a very amazed Francis. The story maker quickly elaborated: “Everyone is special for some reason. In your case, you are special because you are highly sensitive and creative. I believe you will become a writer when you grow up. That was the main reason I chose to live in your room."
From that day onward, Francis never woke up screaming again. In fact, he started dreaming all night long. Well fed and with plenty of time to work, the story maker created an endless flow of wonderful stories that he later whispered in Francis’ ear while he slept. When he grew up, Francis became a writer and penned many, many books full of the creations of the story maker. As for the story maker, he couldn’t be any happier for he had found what every story maker dreamed of: a human capable of sharing with others the stories that he spent his nights creating.
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