Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Kid Chompers - The World in Miniature

by Hollister Ann Grant

The Kid Chompers

“The woman next door to us has claws,” Cassidy said when her father
came home. “I saw them under her coat.”

Her father put his briefcase down. “Oh, big fingernails?”

“I didn’t say big fingernails. She has claws on her feet.”

“She can’t have claws, sweetheart,” he said.

“She does so! Big, thick claws like some kind of a horrible animal.”

“She had on a costume then,” he said and moved to the kitchen.

Cassidy followed him. “You’re not listening to me, Dad. She has claws
on her feet.”

“It’s Halloween weekend.” Her father opened the refrigerator and took
out a Heineken. “Everybody at work was in costume today. The secretary
was dressed up like a pirate, and I saw a Frankenstein in the library.
The woman bought her claws at some shopping mall.”

“Oh,” Cassidy said. Hot tears of relief welled up in her eyes. “I
thought they were real. They were just awful.”

He laughed and ruffled her hair. “She was going to a party, Cass, or
she just left one. I know everything’s been hard on you lately, losing
your mother, the move, dealing with all these boxes.”

“I’m okay, Dad. Really.”

He put his arm around her shoulders. “I’m going to tell you a story.
You’ll like this one. When I was ten years old, just like you, the
roof of the house next door was right outside my bedroom window, and
my granddad told me that the Kid Chompers lived in the chimney.”

She smirked. “The Kid Chompers.”

“He said the Kid Chompers would come out at night -- not every night,
just when the moon was out. The Kid Chompers were like genies in a
bottle, and they’d get bigger and bigger and look in the windows for
kids. That’s why kids should never crawl out a window because the Kid
Chompers will chomp down on them. They control the kids who climb out
on the rooftops. They eat ‘em up and nobody ever sees ‘em again.” He
laughed. “I was so scared I slept with the blanket over my head.”

“You’re making fun of me,” she said, smiling in spite of herself.

“No, you’re my best girl. You’re my all-time favorite.”

“You’re my favorite, too, Dad.”

Cassidy woke up in the middle of the night. The windows didn’t have
curtains yet and mysterious tree shadows swayed across the bare wood

She’d been dreaming about Kid Chompers, but the dream began to fade
the more she tried to remember what it had been about. Something about
Kid Chompers scratching at the window, trying to get inside.

The cat lay on the end of the bed. Everything seemed to be fine.

Just in case, though, she crept to the window. And sure enough, their
neighbor was out there on the roof of the porch. I knew she was out there. I knew it. She ducked down and then dared another peek.

“And she’s still wearing her party claws,” she whispered.


Reesha said...

:D Nice. I like this one.

IanBontems said...

Great story, and poor Cassie. I already feel sorry for her.

The father's tale of the Kid Chompers sounds like the kind of bedtime story Stephen King would make up for his kids!

Love that last line. The 'still wearing her party claws' made me chuckle. Excellent.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Love it! And hooray for kidlit. :) What is it about Dads, that they feel compelled to make up stories that scare the socks off the kids??

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

We Dads don't do that, do we? Nah, no way. Surely not.

Anonymous said...

I like this story very much. It made me think of Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are. I love it when kids are right and parents just don't get it! Well done!

HGrant said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Reesha, Ian, Susan, and JM. Bryan, you have a really fun site. These miniature stories remind me of little Twilight Zone tales.

Wanu said...

That was so charming! I love this li'l story. The tone is lovely, making a potentially sinister theme arrive like a delightful twist of lemon on a really good beer.

Dads can be naughty, huh? There's a video on YouTube where a guy goes into his kids' room really early. The kids've watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre the night before, and all three of them are in one bed like a li'l pack of puppies sleeping tight for warmth.

Of course, the dad at this point is wearing a mask and holding a massive chainsaw which he rips into action, waking the kids up with terrified screams!

Oh yes, dads can be naughty. I'll tell ya what tho - it was mum holding the camera! She's the one who explains the situation while both parents creep into the kids' bedroom.

Matthew Rush said...

How did I miss this? It never showed up in my reader.

Oh well. Good thing I stopped by to see what was up because this is such a fun story!

Nate Wilson said...

What a wonderful story, particularly how well it all comes together in those last few lines. And hooray for party claws!

Anonymous said...

Great, scary story. I love Dad's casual dismissal of the neighbor's claws while at the same time educating her on the probable nature of the beast.