“Get up, Mummy! There’s a monster in the lounge room,” said Charlotte, tugging on her mother’s hand. “His roaring woke me up.”
Emily surfaced from deepless dreams and automatically went into getting-Charlotte-back-to-bed mode. Then she heard it. The noise. From the lounge room.
“I told you,” said Charlotte in what she thought was a whisper, “I looked. It’s got big furry feet and ears that stick out both sides of Grandad’s special chair.”
Comprehension dawned and Emily said, “Charlotte, I’ll grab the torch and show you something, but you have to be quieter than a mouse. Can you do that?”
“Yes!” The little girl nodded her head vigorously.
The torch held level with her head, Emily led her daughter into the lounge room. The light spilled down to gently illuminate the room. They could see the chair back, tall, hard and grey with a soft brown point sticking out at each side. Charlotte gripped her mother’s hand harder as Emily led her around the side of the chair to see what was sitting in it. There was another roar and Charlotte almost fled.
Emily pushed on and suddenly Charlotte could see that seated in the chair was her grandfather, Emily’s father, dressed in his fuzzy slippers, dressing gown and two sleeping caps, asleep and snoring. Her eyes widened in surprise and they hurried softly back to Charlotte’s bedroom.
“Why’s Grandad sleeping in a chair, Mummy?”
“He has chest trouble and sometimes he can’t breathe lying down.” Emily eased Charlotte back into her bed.
“Why does he snore like that?”
“Keeping the cave bears away, that’s what your Grandma used to say.”
“That’s silly,” Charlotte giggled. “There’s no cave bears around here.”
“Your Grandma said that proved it worked, ’cause it kept them hundreds and hundreds of miles away.”