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Jean Woest, 22 Oct '12


The moon was bright. The hiss of cricket song rose in swells and crescendos from the savanna plains. The crush of eucalyptus breathed in through the gentle silk hanging over the window.

He lay on his bed. Not a sound to disturb him. Mother and Father were already gone. Sister also was asleep. The sandman had visited them all except for Young Alexander. He lay on his bed and counted the stars that peaked through the window and the soft sussurring silk.


He heard a sound in the dark. His glance fell across the interior of his bedroom.


The sound again. Most assuredly inside, not out. Young Alexander looked about the room. The crate of toys with an ominous crack of darkness peeking through it. The rocking chair in the corner. Had it creaked?

No rocking chairs did not go SNIP

They creaked and wobbled. Young Alexander looked across the room. The tension was palatable. The fear raised his heartbeat like a crescendo of an orchestra. His lips felt dry.


This one was closer. For a moment he contemplated calling for his mother and father. But he knew their room was too far away. He would have to go to them.


And he was most certain this time that it came from beneath the bed. Young Alexander held his breath. Would he dare to jump to the floor and run down the dark hallway to his parents’ room. The ominous SNIPPING SNIPPING SNIPPING sound behind him all the way. Coming from each and every shadow.


He waited. He waited and waited. The creak of his own heart and the ratatat of his breath the only sounds in the room. Young Alexander knew that the sound would come, but only once his feet touched the floor. He pulled them closer to his body. Hugged his knees to his chest. No. He would not run down the dark hallway with the SNIPPITY SNIP SNIP right on his heels.

SNIP came the soft sound right from beneath the floorboard by his head.

Young Alexander threw the blanket over his head. Clutched it tightly down. Not a gap, not a single gap. No place for a finger or a long, reaching blade to come through and SNIP him.

He breathed raggedly and then held his breath.

SNIP came the sound again.

Young Alexander felt hot and clammy. He knew he was using up his air. And when it ran out he would die, there in his bed. Hiding from the SNIPPING sound. He knew the second he threw his blanket off, the SNIPPING would be there, waiting for him. Waiting in the dark of the room.

Young Alexander knew he had one choice. He could throw the blanket off. Jump out of his bed. And run as fast as his small legs could carry him until he reached his parents room. With the SNIPPING at his heels, going for his toes.
Or he could stay there. Under the blanket slowly suffocating to death. Judging from the warm, uncomfortable cloyingness he knew he wouldn’t have much more time to consider his options.

Finally, in one act of brave desperation. He threw the blanket away. Up, up, up towards the dark ceiling above him. Certain that the SNIPPING was waiting there for him. Certain that the blanket would arrest it, even for just a small moment.

And then he ran. Padded feet of footy pajamas tapping away, as he ran. His small legs aching, his heart beating, his lungs screaming, his voice crying,

“Mother! Father! Help! Help! Murder!”

When he returned to his bedroom, clutching to his father’s robe, the light was lit. And the room was not so scary anymore.

“There now, Alexander, be a good boy and go back to sleep. There’s nothing here.” His father said.

Young Alexander got back beneath his covers. Said goodnight to his mother and father. And then slowly let his eyes fall shut. And in that last moment, before he crossed from our world into the Sandman’s lands. He heard it one more time.


Comments · 3

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  • Jean Woest said...

    So I have an audio form of the story and I'll try to upload it but it's in mp4 formate right now and it doesn't seem to want to convert to mp3. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. In the meantime, here is the written format.

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Andy Blackshaw said...

    Really liked this and would like to hear a spoken version, if you'd still like to post the audio format but haven't found a suitable conversion tool, please email the mp4 version to, and we'd be happy to have a go at converting to mp3 for you.

    • Posted 10 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Hi Jean, I've converted the file for you and uploaded it against the Burst. We definitely need to improve our support for audio files against bursts - it's on the list!

    I really enjoyed your burst and I've added it to the narrated tales competition (

    • Posted 10 years ago