The Burglar

There is a monster who comes to Annie’s house sometimes. He is called The Burglar.

He looks a little like Daddy, except that he has a hood.

He walks with his arms up, elbows bent, his fingers wiggling in front of him as if to grab an unsuspecting little girl. He doesn’t say very much. Sometimes he says, “Burgle burgle burgle!” He is absolutely terrifying.

He came to visit the first time a few weeks ago, one evening when Annie was failing to get ready for bed. To everyone else in the family, the Burglar looked just like Daddy, with a hood up. But Annie recognized a monster when she saw one. She knew instantly that he was a Burglar, and that he was probably coming to get her. She was filled with terror and she shrieked and ran to her mommy. She clung to Mommy and tried to climb up Mommy’s body, crying, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Help me! Help! Help!”

Mommy saw the Burglar and immediately told Annie that the Burglar could not get her if she was getting ready for bed the way she was supposed to. If she dawdled, and went off and played with her toys, or lay on the floor on her back staring at the ceiling, or if she chose to put a skirt on her head instead of getting on her pajamas, that was when she was in danger. No one was quite sure what the Burglar would do to Annie. She just knew that it would be bad.

The Burglar has made a couple of appearances since his initial visit. He always comes in the evening, after dinner. Mommy has generally been the one who sees him coming. As soon as Annie catches sight of him – or hears Mommy mention him – she lets out an ear-piercing shriek that is so loud and for so long that the rest of the family has to run away or cover their ears. She will cling to Mommy, weeping and screaming, until she is dragged to the bathroom to get ready for bed. She gets ready for bed very quickly, but there is general suffering in the rest of the family, so Mommy has not noticed the Burglar coming to visit for awhile now.

Annie is the one who repeatedly brings up the Burglar now. She often mentions him in the evening, breathless with fear. Mommy reassures her that the Burglar isn’t coming, because she is being good and getting her pajamas on and her teeth brushed just the way she is supposed to. She often feels just a tiny bit disappointed by this, although she wouldn’t admit it. After Mommy reassures her, she goes out to find Daddy just to make sure he hasn’t transformed again. And he hasn’t, and Annie feels a little crestfallen as she goes to bed. The Burglar is totally terrifying. But deep in her heart, she wants him to come back.

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