THE PHANTOM BOGLE by Anna V. Palmer
DID YOU SEE SOMETHING VERY STRANGE as a child? Something odd, that you could not understand - that grown-ups dismissed?
My initial weird experience at the age of seven left me petrified. With the sudden appearance of such a strange entity at the top of our stairs, I stopped half way up, dumbfounded. The powerful eyes glaring at me from the presence on the landing seemed to bore right through me. I could sense menace and began to quiver with fright. Unable to tear my eyes away from his, I stared up at the entity. Ghost-like, he glowered down at me through the wooden banisters, slowly bobbing up and down like a balloon floating over the landing carpet. Horrified, I turned right round and ran back downstairs again.
Where this thing had sprung from, I had no idea. He had suddenly arrived one morning. Yet, no one in the household believed me when I told them about him. Why? They just could not see him.
Over the next few days, whenever I tried to go up the stairs, he would appear, thrusting his moon-shaped face through a gap in the guardrails; his pasty, pod-like mitts gripping the banister rails whilst he sneered at me. Mentally overpowering me, his tiny lips would suddenly twist then seem to stretch out in a wide slit from ear to ear. Squat, a misty-biscuit colour, he was bald, with bulging eyes, his head much bigger in proportion to the rest of him, his body tapering off into a misty nothingness. Bigger than I was at my tender age, I found him terrifying.
But something extraordinary was about to happen late one September afternoon that turned the tables on him…
“The Ogle Pogle”, as I called him, the “bogeyman”, had obviously taken up residence on our landing and took absolute delight in harassing me. Did he go down in the cellar under the house in the bomb shelter, I wondered? We often spent nights down there whilst World War II was on, tucked away under the house, safe from the bombs from the warplanes and fires that raged above; unless there was a direct hit, of course. But I had only seen him on our landing and in my dreams - his target - me. Why? Was it because I could ‘see’ or some other reason of which I was totally unaware?
Whenever I ran up the stairs he would appear, scuttling along the carpet, jumping up and down with excitement. He would bar my way, a menacing glint in his bulbous eyes. I would stop in my tracks. Humiliated, frightened, I would turn right around and go back downstairs again, shaking at the knees.
At night he found a way to harass me by hounding me in my dreams, staring at me with his ogre-like eyes. He would push his nose right up against mine. I, in response, would wake up screaming, thrashing out, fighting him off screaming out to my mother about the phantom about to get me.
Anyway, on this particular day, I had been playing quietly with my farmyard animals and now felt inclined to draw with my pastel crayons. But the question was, dare I go and fetch them? They were upstairs.
Such was my fear-filled dread as to whether or not to risk it, that I hung about in the hallway next to the cupboard under the staircase. That’s where an earthenware jar of pickled eggs was kept; food being short in those days, along with ration books, clothes coupons and milk delivered each day except Sundays. Vaguely aware of the clinking coloured glass central light shade caught in the breeze coming in through the front door, I was momentarily dazzled by a shimmering shaft of light that shot through the lead-light windows of the mullioned front door and caught my eyes. That’s when an idea came to me.
Oppression and bullying had to be stopped somehow I had heard my extended family say whilst gathered together for a family get-together when they talked about war. You have to stand up for yourself, confront your enemies, they concluded. If you don’t, then things can get far worse. But would the idea work, I wondered. to be continued.....
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