Home » Flash fiction » Short story: “Bedtime stories”

Short story: “Bedtime stories”

A story, or a scene from a longer story that was born from the idea of ghost stories and childish beliefs. Featuring some of my characters I’ve used before, including my take on mythological Loki.

***

 

“My mummy says that you don’t exist”, the boy said, removing his thumb from his mouth with a wet pop.

“Hate to break it to you like this, kid, but I’m pretty sure I exist”, Melanie said as she hovered slightly above the boy’s bed. She had always enjoyed a higher vantage point, ever since she figured out that most people pretended they couldn’t see her. Present company exempted.

“Nu-uh”, the boy said, nodding vigorously. “Mummy says that ghosts and things are just make-believe.”

“Oh, I wish Melanie was just an annoying figment of my imagination”, Stephan said, perched daintily on the boy’s bed, one leg crossed over the other and twitching slightly as the vampire shot the ghost a challenging look.

“You’re funny! Mummy never said vamp’rs could be funny”, the boy beamed at Stephan before he put his thumb back in his mouth, surveying the strange gathering in his bedroom.

“Are you sure the babysitter is properly occupied?” Charles said anxiously, pacing back and forth by the door.

The shadows behind the dresser rippled and Ombra poked her head out.

“Lord Loki seems to have captivated the gaze and the mind of the young woman”, she said, nodding. “The woman is presently on top of Lord Loki and that must be very exhausting because she…”

“Okay, stop it right there”, Melanie cut in, lowering herself closer to the ground. “We don’t want to completely traumatize the kid.”

“Feh, whatever Loki is doing I could have done it just as well”, Stephan huffed and crossed his arms. The boy in the bed was amusing himself by copying the vampire’s every move, though Stephan seemed not to notice.

“Well, I don’t wuite trust you to not take a sample from the girl”, Charles said, as one eyebrow rose in challenge. “We wanted to keep a low profile here.”

“And how is it keeping a low profile to have Loki f-Holy Mary mother of God!” Stephan shrieked as Melanie shoved herself clean through Stephan, slowly pulling her transparent body through his.

The vampire angrily grabbed for the ghost as she resumed her elevated position up on the ceiling, tittering slightly. The boy’s childish laughter mixed with hers, causing the fretful Charles to hush them both.

“I think someone is coming!” he hissed.

The door flew open and in the doorway stood Loki, red hair tousled and his clothes in obvious disarray.

“Well, that will be one babysitter with no memory of what took place tonight”, he said, grin plastered over his face. “I did leave her with the idea that after she had nodded off, she had had a very, very intimate dream with one of her favorite movie performers.”

“Loki…” Charles said, with a warning look. “I asked you to be careful with your magic.”

“And I was”, Loki said, straightening his cuffs. “There will be nothing that can be traced to me, unless they just happen to be a god as well.”

“Yer not a god”, the boy said solemnly from the bed. “Mummy says there is only one God and he is up in heaven with Gamma Josie and Spot and Mittens.”

Loki quirked an eyebrow at the child and snorted. “Did your mother also tell you not to believe in tales and make-believe?”

The boy nodded vigorously in response.

“Mummy says all of thems aren’t real, so they canna be here”, the boy told Loki. “Tho I dunno what you are, mister.”

Loki crossed his arms and frowned at the boy, who seemed completely unconcerned by the fact that he was starting to annoy an Old Norse deity. Charles had noticed the slight shift in mood however.

“Just leave the boy alone, Loki”, he said, then turned his attention to the child. “Loki here is like me, he can change into animals, just like how I’m a werewolf and turn into-”

“A doggy!” the boy cried.

“Right…” Charles said and sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose lightly.

There was some silence and then the boy spoke up again.

“I wanna see what he turns into”, he said, sitting up straight in bed, his eyes focused on Loki.

“I thought you said we were all make-believe and didn’t exist”, Stephan said with an amused look on his face.

The boy frowned and poked at the ratty teddy bear by his side. “I still wanna see it.”

Loki got that dangerous look in his eyes which told Charles that something very bad was about to happen.

“Loki, you don’t really have to listen to the kid”, the werewolf said. “You heard him, he thinks we’re all pretend and no one will pay any real attention when he blabbers about us tomorrow.”

Loki appeared to have shut his divine ears to Charles’ pleading though.

“Pay close attention now, child, I wouldn’t want you to miss anything”, he purred and then he began to shift.

Melanie barely had time to shout a warning before the room was filled with over a thousand pounds of horse, dappled grey with a dark mane and tail. Stephan found himself crushed against the rear wall by a horse rump and Charles was pressed up against the bedroom door.

“Whoah, tha’s a really big horse!” the boy gaped, apparently uncaring that there was a large barnyard animal standing in front of him, front hooves perched on top of the bed.  Loki the horse tossed his head to the side and looked much too pleased with himself, which was an unsettling expression to see on a horse.

At that point Charles decided it was high time they made a hasty retreat, though for the rest of the night Loki annoyingly refused to shift out of his horse form.

It had been hell getting him out of the house.

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