[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]
The calypsos of the birds outside were muffled by the curtains of the Edward twins’ bedroom, as Rupert Edward pushed aside his bedcovers and ascended towards his brother’s bed mischievously. He was up to no good as usual, attempting to scare his brother out of bed, and by blurting out a single name, succeeded in his boisterous plan.
“Wha happen, Robert, wha mek you so jumpy?” he asked, snickering devilishly.
“You have plenty nerves!” Roger said out of breath, trying to conceal his tears. “You well know that me ‘fraid a de bogyman!”
“Me! Is not me mek him come here a night time,” Rupert reveled.
“Mama Estha!” Robert cried out, tears flowing. In no time their grandmother entered their bedroom door to be greeted by a tearful Robert.
“Wha eh be this time, Rupert, wha trouble-making you up to?” she said as she held Robert, trying to calm him.
Esther Edward was the only living person who could distinguish between her identical grandsons. Mama Estha, as her grandsons called her, was a round woman and a strong believer in God. She had been helping their ever-so-busy father, Ron Edward to raise them ever since their mother, Victoria, died, shortly after giving birth to her mirror twins. Mama Estha loved and treated her only grandchildren as though she had birthed them. Their father was always too busy to raise them himself and usually traveled abroad on business trips. Esther could tell them apart anywhere; back, front, even before they spoke. She truly knew her boys well, even when one had been sad or the other naughty.
“Me ain’t do the fraidy cat nothing, Mama Estha.”
“He lie!” yelled Robert.
“All right, enought a that from de two a you! Rupert, go in me room and read de whole a chapta six in Ephesians.”\
“Me don talk!” she ordered, still comforting Robert as the other brother stormed to his grandmother’s room.
Radiance of a few rays from the sun seeped trough the bedroom windows and danced on the walls. The abundance of sunlight had been occluded by the abundance of lofty trees, which shielded the barely seen house in the vast countryside.
“He call out de bogyman name when me still a sleep and me wake up,” Robert said, still sobbing. “Last night me hear eh by de window.”
“Hush with you nonsense now; ain’t no such thing as de bogyman. I don’t know wha mek you always mek you brother get the best of you.”
“But Mama Estha me hear eh mek noise outside by de window.”
“You listen to me, see. Maybe a de branches pan de tree by you window when de wind a blow or de fruit bats a fly a night,” she suggested and smiled at him.
“Bats!” he shivered with open eyes. “ That a wha Rupert say de bogyman tun into a night.”
“Nothing tall go so. De fruit bats harmless; de only thing them bite a fruit, not arwe,” she said, assuring him.
He agreed with a nod, but, in his mind, his brother’s exaggerated tales were still lurking.
Since school was closed for the summer, the twins spent the course of their days on their own activities. Rupert being bolder, both far more mischievous and more adventuresome, usually went about his day as a nuisance, while Robert, the more responsible one for an eight year old, helped his grandmother do most of the tasks in and around the house.
As the summer sounds droned on that day, Robert assisted his grandmother in tending to her garden along with a few other chores. Rupert’s schedule consisted of torturing a neighbor’s cat, dismembering a bird’s nest and other terrible duties.
Later in the night, when the boys finished praying and retired to bed, their grandmother slightly opened the window’s shutters to allow some of the night’s cool atmosphere into the room. The nocturnal creatures blossomed to the quartered moon that shined through the windows, investing every thing in the rooms with a calm unnatural luminosity. A pair of short, broad wings extended to take flight, as a grayish-brown figure fluttered along with squeaks of navigation towards an array of fruit trees.
Unaware of a stalking owl, the solitary bat almost became prey to the clutching claws of the night bird. Instead it got injured and found sanctuary by a nearby window ledge at the twins’ bedroom. There was a soft thud on the floor, with an alarming squeak, which startled and woke both boys. Rupert jumped out of bed, then turned on the light without hesitation, and found, to their surprise, a wounded bat, active on their bedroom floor.
Fear came after both boys like a shadow, as they bellowed for their grandmother. To her amazement, when she hastily entered their room both boys were crying and nestled on one bed, pointing to where the uproar began. She then glanced in the direction of the wide-eyed bat.
“All a this racket over a little bat?” she asked, soothingly, as she approached her grandsons with opened arms. “It ain’t no jumby or de bogyman, and it more scared a you than you is a it.”
“No, it a come from eating…somebody, that a way…de blood from!” Rupert stammered.
“No, baby, it look like it hurt.”
“Is not the bogyman?” Robert asked with some relief.
“No, is not no fable a de bogyman. Maybe a this same bat da a you window de otha night.”
Rupert reflected on how ridiculously he had reacted and apologized for teasing his brother about always being scared easily. They both learned a valuable lesson that night and shared an inseparable bond from then on.
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