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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Claws, the Christmas Monster


Claws was a big, ugly monster, covered with shaggy, light brown fur. He had long, sharp teeth. He loved Christmastime more than any other time of the year. When he tromped through the evergreen forest where he lived, he could see the colored lights on the peopleís houses. One night he looked down into the glen and saw a house flashing red, blue, green, yellow, and orange lights. He wanted to have a closer look, so he headed down to the neighborhood with all the houses in it. He arrived at the house and couldnít believe how beautiful it was. He loved all the colors, especially the red. He saw lights strung around the windows, on the trees, and on the porch railing.

While he was standing at the white picket fence that went all the way around the house, it began to snow very hard. Huge, fluffy, white snowflakes tumbled from the sky, landing on his fur, on his nose, on the grass, and on some of the glowing lights. Claws began to shiver. He felt a little bit cold. Heíd walked down the street through icy slush and his paws were wet. He stepped over the fence and walked up to the house. He peeked in a window and saw that nobody was home, so he pulled the window up and went inside. He had just gone into the living room when he saw a car pull up in the driveway. The family that lived in the house came pouring out of the car. They headed towards the front door.

Claws didnít know what to do. He was stuck inside the house. Hide! He had to hide somewhere quickly. He ran into a room and saw a bed with a cowboy blanket on it. He squeezed under the bed. He could barely fit. He lay very still. The family came into the house and hung up their coats. He could hear the mum tell her little boy, Graham, that it was time for bed. Claws lay very still as the lad changed into his pajamas. He picked up his books and threw them against the wall, scaring Claws. Graham went into the bathroom to brush his teeth and then climbed into bed. His mum came to kiss him goodnight and then turned off the lights and shut the door on her way out.

Claws lay there, wondering how he was going to be able to sneak out of Grahamís room. Was he asleep? Claws tried to slide out from under the bed, but his fur got caught on one of the bedís wheels. He yanked and tugged, but accidentally made some grunting noises. Graham sat up in his bed and shouted, "Mum! Come here, Mum!"

Claws quickly slid back under the bed again. Grahamís mum came running into the room. "Whatís the matter?" she asked her frightened son.

"Mum, thereís a monster under my bed. Itís making grunting noises and Iím scared," he told her.

"Come on now, Graham. Thereís no monster under your bed. You just had a bad dream, thatís all," she said, comfortingly.

Claws lay silently. How did the wee lad know that he was under his bed? "But Mum, there is a monster. I heard it. Please can I sleep with you and dad tonight?" Graham pleaded.

"Och, all right, but just for tonight. Tomorrow morning Iíll show you thereís nothing under the bed," she said, picking Graham up and carrying him out of the room.

Claws breathed a sigh of relief when the two of them left. He was glad they were gone. He slid out from under the bed and stood up, walked towards the door, opened it slowly and peeked around the corner. He didnít see anyone, so he made his way down the hallway. It was dark and Claws almost didnít see the toy fire engine lying on the floor near the kitchen. He almost tripped on it. Whew!

Claws slowly and carefully made his way into the family room. In the middle of the room stood a splendid Christmas tree. It was covered with colorful balls and twinkling lights. Claws couldnít resist. The lights were so pretty. He went up to the tree and touched the lights gently. They felt warm. He liked the red ones the best. He stood there watching them go on and off, on and off. A big smile lit his face. He looked at the tree. He noticed the colored balls and how shiny they were. Some were silver and some were gold. He put his face right up to one for a closer look and caught his reflection in the ball. He gasped and then let out a snort and then a grunt. His face was all distorted, looking huge and very odd. When he realized it was his face and not someone elseís, he smiled. His sharp teeth looked very curved and his lips looked huge and bulbous. Claws laughed.

He noticed, out of the corner of his eye, something red and white. He turned and looked. It was a long, skinny, hooked thing. He picked it off the tree and sniffed it. It smelled like peppermint. He licked it with his long, slimy tongue. Mmmmm. It was peppermint. He loved peppermint. He licked it and licked it and soon had a sticky mess all over his furry paws. Claws shoved the entire candy cane into his mouth and tried to wipe the sticky stuff off his paws, but he couldnít get it off. After he chomped the candy cane, he licked his paws clean.

He started to sniff some other things. He found a string of puffy popcorn and cranberries. He picked up the string and bit off a piece of popcorn. Mmmm. He liked it! It was nice and salty. He then bit into a cranberry. It was sour. He made a funny face and spit it out. Yuck! Claws ate all the popcorn off the string and left all the cranberries.

When heíd finished eating, he noticed some brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. He had no idea what they were, but start to play with the ribbon. It was soft and curly. He took a bow off a package and undid it. He sniffed it, but couldnít smell anything. He licked it but it didnít have a taste, so he threw it down on the ground and picked up the box. He pulled the paper off and tore it open. Inside was a tie. He put it around his neck and tied it into a bow. He went over to a silver ball, looked at himself, and grinned.

He spent the rest of the night opening the boxes to see what was inside them all. After he was fed up doing that, he climbed underneath the tree. He saw some water in a bowl. He slurped it up and began to feel rather tired. He wrapped his body around the tree and fell asleep. He woke up a few hours later. It was still dark outside. He stood up, stretched and yawned and then went into the kitchen to see what was there. There were a couple of mugs on the counter with some brown stuff inside them. He picked one up and sniffed it. It smelled like chocolate, so he poured some into his mouth. It tasted watery.. He drank all of it and what was left in the other mug too. There was a plate with plastic wrap and a red bow on top. Claws loved red. He pulled the bow off and then ripped the plastic off too. There were chunks of creamy chocolate and nuts, and some biscuits and popcorn balls. He didnít want the popcorn because heíd already eaten some off the tree already, but he ate the biscuits and the fudge. He loved fudge.

The sun began to rise. Claws heard movements in the other room. He knew he had to hide quickly. He stomped over to the closet and hid inside behind some coats. He listened as Graham and his mum and dad came into the kitchen. "Dear, did you come down in the middle of the night and have a snack?" Mum asked, seeing the empty plate of sweets and the plastic and red bow on the floor.

"Why no, dear. It wasnít me. I fell asleep and didnít move. Was it you, Graham?" Dad asked.

"No, Dad. It wasnít me. I slept in the bed with you and Mum, remember? There was a monster under my bed though. It grunted and snorted and I was scared. Maybe it was the monster that ate the fudge and biscuits."

Claws, hiding in the closet, wondered how the wee lad had known heíd eaten the sweets.

"Well, dear, I have to get to work," said Dad, opening the closet door. Claws didnít move at all. He stood stiff. The dad stuck his hand in and pulled his coat off the hanger. Luckily for Claws he didnít look inside or he would have seen him hiding there.

After heíd shut the door, Dad left for work. Graham and his mum left right after that to go shopping. Claws waited until he was sure theyíd all left, opened the door of the closet and came out. He ran out the back door. Heíd had enough of that. He started walking down the street, back towards the forest. Off in the distance he saw a few deer running through the bushes. He looked up into a tree that was bare of leaves and spotted a red cardinal. He thought it was such a beautiful shade of red. He then walked past a shop window and saw many toys. There were wooden soldiers, trains, dolls, and roller blades.

The sun was rising quickly. Claws knew he had to hurry back before all the people came out of their houses and saw him. He spent the day in the forest, looking down at the town. He watched the people carrying Christmas trees, packages, and plates full of sweets. He wondered if anyone had any of that delicious, creamy fudge. He sat there all day long until he was so tired that he couldnít keep his eyes open. He went to his cave and lay down. Soon he was sound asleep.

Some bells jingling awakened him in the middle of the night. He opened his eyes. There stood a man with a red and white suit on. He had a white beard and black boots. Claws stood up. The man smiled at him and then went outside. Claws followed him and watched as he climbed into a sleigh that was being pulled by a few deer. The man turned to Claws and said, "Merry Christmas, Claws." He then flew into the sky and disappeared.

Claws went back into his cave. He was delighted to find a small Christmas tree covered with red balls and red twinkling lights. On top of the tree was a yellow star, shining, lighting up the cave. Claws touched the tree. He noticed there was a plate sitting under it, so he picked it up. It was piled high with pieces of creamy, chocolate fudge. He sat down on the ground and ate some. It was delicious. He saw his reflection in one of the red balls. He grinned. "Merry Christmas," Claws mumbled in monster talk. "Merry Christmas."


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