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  • Writer's pictureTom Batt

The Tockywomp

Lizzie first learnt of the Tockywomp from her father when she refused to go to sleep one night. She was sat up in bed wide eyed, her father approaching from the doorway.

‘If you don’t go to sleep soon,’ he warned. ‘Then the Tockywomp will get you.’

‘What’s the Tockywomp?’ she asked curiously.

‘The Tockywomp is a creature that comes out every night after 9 o’clock, but he doesn’t like to be seen,’ he replied as he sat down on the side of the bed. ‘If he sees you’re awake he’ll take you away,’ he continued tucking in the duvet.

A wave of fear came over Lizzie. She lay down quickly and squeezed her eyes shut. Her father smiled and switched off the bedside lamp.

‘Good night,’ he said as he left the room. Lizzie remained silent hoping she would fall asleep soon.

One night Lizzie was curious as to what the Tockywomp looked like. She pretended to her father that she was going to sleep, but stayed awake keeping her eye on the alarm clock. She watched as the digital reading displayed “21:01”. She waited for something to happen and then just as she was about to peer over her shoulder to see if it was there, she heard a rustling and immediately pulled the covers over her heard and forced herself to sleep. She knew then that the Tockywomp was real and she would never stay awake past 9 o’clock again.

It had been an incredibly warm summers day and Lizzie’s mother told her to drink water throughout in order to stay hydrated. Lizzie took this advice to heart and kept filling her glass every time it was empty. Ever since her father’s warning about the Tockywomp she had listened to her parents and behaved accordingly. With so much water in her system there was an extended visit to the toilet before bed, but it didn’t prove to be enough and she woke in the middle of the night needing to go again.

As soon as her eyes opened she was worried, would the Tockywomp know she had awoken? She knew she could hold her bladder, but the pressure was making it difficult to relax in order to get back to sleep. She didn’t know what to do. The longer she was awake the more at risk she was to the Tockywomp, but if she didn’t go to the toilet she was never going to sleep.

She listened intently, but couldn’t hear any noise. Maybe she could get to the toilet and back before the Tockywomp saw her. She looked around her room in the darkness but could see no sign of movement. She gently pulled back the covers and slipped out of bed creeping across the soft carpet on her tiptoes.

Lizzie quietly opened her bedroom door and stuck her head out. She still couldn’t hear anything and so cautiously stepped out and sneaked across the hallway and into the bathroom.

She felt relief as her bladder emptied and already she was beginning to relax. In fact she was starting to think the Tockywomp wasn’t real at all and her father had just made it up in order to get her to sleep. After all wouldn’t it have seen her by now? She felt gullible for believing him so easily.

Lizzie returned to her bedroom with a slight spring in her step, now convinced the Tockywomp didn’t exist and she could sleep peacefully. Except when she reached the bedroom door she heard a noise inside. She pushed the door and it creaked open. When she saw what was inside all she could do was scream.

Upon hearing the bloodcurdling cry, Lizzie’s father came bursting out of his bedroom and rushed over to her room to find it silent and no sign of his daughter inside.

‘Lizzie?’ he called out.

Lizzie’s mother appeared behind him putting on a dressing gown.

‘What is it?’ she asked.

‘It’s happened again,’ he replied deflated.

‘But I thought you warned her about the Tockywomp,’ Lizzie’s mother cried in distress.

‘I did,’ he said wrapping an arm around his wife and embracing her tightly as the tears began to well up.

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