Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are
One full-moonish night, the Griswolds moved into the attic apartment.
My circadian rhymes had flipped again, so night was day. Griswolds seemed to keep a similar schedule.
I guessed there were three Griswolds: Mrs. G., Mr. G, and a younger Griswold.
They spoke an unusual guttural language with lots of growly-grumbles and a few grunts.
Their shuffle-thump dancing, accompanied by a humming, whirring rhythm, the rumble of drum and the squeal of bagpipes, shook the walls of my apartment.
I could live with noise (I had noise-cancelling headphones, and a computer loaded with music), but it was Mrs. G.’s cooking I had trouble with.
I swear the odor slunk down the stairs and under my door. It was a miasma of every foul scent you could think of: rotten banana peels, mayonnaise left in the sun, out of date milk and yogurt, a freezer after the power has been out for days, flattened road kill, and apples.
The over-grown garden, reached by a barely recognizable path, was my refuge. I rocked in the old rusty garden swing, with night sounds and the leftover scent of daytime as my blanket.
One full-moonish night, I crept down the stairs, avoiding the 3 steps that squeaked. The front door always groaned, as if opening and closing was just too much for it’s arthritic hinges. Outside, fireflies danced, katydids called to each other, and the night air smelled of lilies, pine trees, and sweet grasses.
I wasn’t the only one outside enjoying the moon. We stared at each other.
“Melita?” it growly-grumbled at me.
I shook my head yes. “Griswold?” seemed the appropriate response.
The little creature jumped up and down, it’s splayed toed feet dust-puffing.
Eyes were flashing, a grin with jaggley teeth, and a tail swaying back and forth.
I hoped this was a “glad to meet you, not glad to eat you” response.
Griswold stuck out his hand with very long talons, in a hand-shake sort of way.
I carefully placed my hand inside his. I feel clamminess and sharp, bristly hairs.
Griswold’s shake nearly lifted me off the ground.
A gaggly-jumbly noise emerged from his pointed ears. Laughter, I hoped.
Roar, thump. Mrs. G. towered over me, and she was not happy.
But, her attention was on Griswold. She shook her finger while taking his hand.
She scolded Griswold in a rumbly-grumbly voice, “I told you to never play with humans.”
Griswold waved and winked as his mother swung him up on her shoulder.
On full-moonish nights, Griswold would sneak out to the garden where I waited. I’d oiled the hinges on the front door. We played games: tag; catch and eat; find the treasure. A gaggly-jumbly laughing noise came out of Griswold’s ears. I felt young again; Griswold felt the thrill of disobeying his parents.
As the trees changed colour, and we could see our breath was white puffs, I explained Halloween to Griswold. He jumped up and down, his tail swishing the fallen leaves. All we needed was a trick or treat bag; Griswold was already in costume.
Mrs. G.’s cooking continued to be noxious and I hoped not toxic to humans. I never asked Griswold what was on the menu.
Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver Prompt 5: Mythical Creatures
@ phylor 2015