Gladys had sent him to the shops later than usual and by the time he got
there and started to head back, with all the hiding stops and all, the sun was
going down. Frank was scared of most things but the dark, well, the dark is
scary to most people at some point in their lives but to Frank, the dark was
almost crippling. He got so scared of the dark sometimes that moving around
in it would make his thin feeble bones creek and crack and his jaw ache from
his heavily clenched teeth. Sometimes it was so bad that the tension would
freeze him dead still.
Frank knew that one of the first signs of approaching darkness was long
shadows. As the sun went down it made all the shadows get bigger and
bigger until they spread all over the land and darkness came. Dark hours,
“the horror time” as his Mum called it, which didn’t make him feel any better
about the whole thing in the slightest.
On his way back from the shops the shadows had started to get very long
indeed. He struggled up the hill with the sun glaring in his face, which made
him squint his huge bulging. He hadn’t looked back and so had failed to see
the darkness creep up on him like a villain. As he approached his first hiding
spot he glanced over his shoulder to make sure no monsters had decided to
come out before nightfall and there, on the pavement, stretching back five
meters, was a terrifying dark moving shape. It had huge long gangly arms
and legs and a positively gigantic head.
Panic gripped him, he lost all control of his reason and started squealing
uncontrollably. He ran and ran in random directions. If you can imagine a
huge rubber bouncy ball being fired out of a canon, ricocheting off the walls of
a long narrow corridor, then you’d probably get a good idea of what Frank
looked like. He boinged and bounced off walls, went spinning off lamp posts,
fired off gates and fences until, out of the corner of his panicking and massive
worried eye, he saw a bush and hurled himself headlong into it.
Most people when throwing themselves into a spiky bush would do everything
they could to get out of it and normally Frank would too but today Frank felt
differently. For him the bush and its prickly nastiness was a relief from the
blind terror he’d felt just seconds earlier. He’d much rather be prickled and