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This is the second installment of the story of Harry and Emily. It was harder to write as I had to decide where to go next and what part of their lives I wanted to show you. I hope I have entertained and planted some seeds along the way!

windowsill painting 

My Monster’s Name is Harry

II

It’s sunny today, so Harry and I sit at the window and spy. There are lots of things going on; all it takes is a little bit of watching. Where we live is a cul-de-sac with all the houses in a circle like the fat end of a thermometer. In the old tree outside robins are building a nest. They’ve been at it for days and it never seems to get any bigger. Mainly because the bigger one always throws out what the other one brings, leaving a puddle of stones and plastic at the bottom of the tree. Then when the smaller one discovers this, it rips at the nest undoing all the work of the bigger one. After that they shriek and dance around each other until they both get worn out, and have to start all over again the next day. I get tired just watching them.

Then there’s Mr. Matterface who shuffles everywhere as if his feet are stuck to the ground. He has wild eyebrows that grow out in hairy hooks that make umbrellas over his eyes. Every morning, even when it’s raining, he waters his garden by standing in the middle and turning in a very slow circle. In the evenings he sits on a wooden chair and reads beneath a lamp that dangles over him like a giant flower. What he reads I don’t know, because for the past few Christmases I’ve asked for binoculars and got none.

“I draw the line at helping you invade people’s privacy Emily,” dad said after I’d asked for the third time. When I said all people need to do is draw their curtains, he told me to stop being such a smart arse.

Harry doesn’t like the sun, so he’s wearing a pair of heart shaped sunglasses. Plus as all the black fur makes him get hot, he’s waving a magazine I’ve folded into a fan in front of his face. He’s puffing and moulting all over the place.

“You look stupid.”

Harry stops fanning. “Well they’re your stupid things.”

“Well excuse me for not having stuff meant for a monster at the beach.”

“Or for the rain, or snow or even going outside.”

“What does that mean?”

With a hrmph he turns away from me and bites at his lips.

We’ve been arguing a lot lately. About the noises Harry makes when he sleeps that keep me awake. About when he leaves the window open that makes the room freezing. About when he stands behind me in the mirror and makes horrible faces. I turn back to the window and try not to cry.

A vroom vroom breaks our silence. It’s Conor from next door on his bike. He’s loud and annoying and twelve and the only boy I’ve kissed. He’s wearing a cowboy hat and zooming around in circles. At the end of each circle he sticks out his legs and leaves the pedals to turn on their own in a strange clickety clack. I get dizzy as I watch him, each circle getting wider until he’s on the pavement. With a huge vroom vroom he goes wider again, this time into front gardens, flattening grass and ripping the petals off flowers. Harry and I grasp hands, the argument forgotten. It’s the most excitement we’ve had in forever.

Another circle and the wheels go so fast, the spokes twinkle in the sun. Out of the shadows of his over-fed trees, Mr. Matterface appears. Conor cycles, hat wiggling and legs peddling. His shouts get louder with each whirl of the wheel. Harry and I lean forward, our muscles tight. With a big whoosh Conor is thrown off the bike. He lands on the concrete, his clothes dark with damp patches. The bike topples to its side, the pedals still spinning. Conor screams, a loud howl that brings his mother running out of the house. Mr. Matterface and his hose disappear into the shadows.

Harry laughs first, in spits that hit the window and dribble down the glass. His fur shakes, the fan drop and he falls from the windowsill onto the carpet. My giggles turn to roars and I roll off after him. We lie beside each other, me screeching, Harry hooting. I wheeze and cry and creak and feel like a person again.

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