Sadly, Southernfrau is no longer with us. Her stories are archived here for her friends to remember her by. Enjoy her legacy to Lancer.
Word Count 4,185
Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue, the Lancers belong to them, so I do this free for you.
Warnings: None…it’s not scary.
Author’s Note: It was time for Scott to get in trouble at the request of Janet, Rita and Wendy.
Author’s Note 2: In the Lancer Brat Pack Timeline this story would occur just before Johnny’s third birthday.
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Scott Lancer grumbled to himself as he raked the old hay he had thrown out of the nesting boxes onto the floor of the chicken coop. Life wasn’t fair or he wouldn’t be standing here in a smelly old henhouse covered in hay, feathers and the stench of chicken droppings and with blisters on his hands from the wooden handle of the rake.
Johnny was never made to do chores for punishment and as far as Scott was concerned the trouble Johnny got into was a lot worse than what he did. Johnny was disciplined by getting his behind popped, or put in the corner or most of the time put in his bed. BED! That’s why he was in all this trouble, and again this was Johnny’s fault and that stupid Dan Cassidy!
Silent tears ran down Scott’s face as he inspected the two raised red areas dotting his hands. Deciding his pouting was getting him nowhere, a glint of determination glowed in his gray-blue eyes, his stubborn jaw locked in place and he squared his shoulders holding his back ram-rod straight. Sniffing loudly and wiping the moisture from his cheeks, he finally accepted the consequences of his actions, just like Papa told him; no one held a gun to his head and made him do the things he did. As he got back to work his analytical mind reviewed the events that brought him to this point. He needed to learn from his mistakes so that he would be in a position to make a better choice next time. The rake scritched and scratched in the sandy soil of the henhouse in a steady rhythm as he concentrated on examining the details of the events.
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“You’re lying, Dan Cassidy, there’s no such thing as monsters that hide under the bed!” Jed exclaimed as he towered over his seated friend.
Jumping up from the log he had been sitting on, his body stiff yet trembling with rage, his face tinged an angry red, Dan grasped Jed by the shoulders and shook him. “I’m telling you the truth, you fool! Why would I make this up? I’m just trying to help all of you come up with a workable escape plan. And we need to do it before Halloween, that’s the one night when the monsters are actually able to get out from under the bed and roam with the other ghosts and spirits! That’s why they call it All Hallow’s Eve. The one night the dead can come back…and monsters under the bed are people who didn’t like kids when they were alive…that’s why they only hide under the beds of children. And if they get out from under your bed on Halloween they can stay forever!”
Scott watched the two older boys fighting from his hiding spot behind the oak tree. At five years older than him, Dan was one of the smartest boys in the school and if he said there were monsters under the bed, well then, Scott was inclined to believe him. Their presence would certainly explain all those noises that roused him in the night, causing his heart to race and sending him to seek safety in his papa’s bed.
“All right smarty pants, suppose there are monsters under the bed…and I ain’t saying for sure there is,” Jed exclaimed, poking the smaller boy sharply in the chest with quick jabs of his finger, “What do they look like and how do you get rid of them?”
Deciding he needed to hear this important information that Dan was getting ready to share with Jed, Scott crouched and quickly scooted closer, hiding behind the horse trough. From his vantage point he could see and hear the boys better.
“Jed, they are the most gruesome things you’ve ever seen. Their eyes glow yellow and they like it dark because the rest of their body is like a shadow, so they can hide anywhere there isn’t much light. They have claws like razors, rows of sharp pointed teeth and their tongues drip blood instead of spit. They don’t have hair; they have snakes growing out of their heads. They can’t talk; the only sounds they can make are moans and groans.”
Jed squirmed nervously, using the toe of his boot to dig at a rock embedded in the dirt, as he considered Dan’s words. Crossing his arms defensively across his chest, he huffed out a heavy sigh. “All right, tell me what I need to do if one of these monsters should show up under my bed on Halloween.”
“Well my cousin told me a couple of years ago the best way to get rid of one was to put a Bible on the bed, monsters are minions of the devil and they don’t like Holy things and don’t like to cross them. You can put crosses, rosaries and anything else religious on the bed too. You need to have as much light in your room as you can. They don’t like the light because they are shadowy and hide in the dark corners.”
Snorting sarcastically, Jed shook his head, “So we’re supposed to do this every night from now on? Sounds plain stupid to me!”
“No, you don’t have to do it every night. If you can keep the monster under the bed all of Halloween night, then that means he failed his mission for the devil and he will melt into the floor as Lucifer pulls him back into hell. The most important thing is though; you can’t tell adults about this, if they find out they will just stop you.”
From his hiding spot behind the horse trough, Scott nervously picked at the buttons on his shirt as he considered all he had heard. A look of sheer determination etched his face as he began to mentally make plans for a battle with evil. He had no intentions of being captured by a monster. He had all the information he needed to escape that fate. Tomorrow was Saturday, Halloween; he would have all afternoon when he got home today to plan, and then the next day to set up. The only place the monster under his bed was going to go was straight back to hell. The bell rang for the children to come in and gather their things as school was dismissing for the weekend, as he ran for the door Scott spied his father approaching with the wagon.
The ride home was quiet and as soon as he finished his afternoon snack Scott announced he was going to his room to work on a special project. Papa and Ha assumed it was for school. They didn’t bother the little boy because at eight years of age and with his mature demeanor, they trusted Scott to come to them if he needed help; he rarely got into mischief. The rest of the evening Scott worked on his plan. He made list of the items he would need. He wrote detailed procedures for all the scenarios that might arise in his battle with the monster.
Scott awoke bright and early Saturday morning, eager to do his chores and eat his breakfast so he could begin to employ his strategy. He had to get everything done before the family left for the Halloween festival in town.
During breakfast Scott was too preoccupied with the thoughts of getting his plan ready to go to pay attention to the rest of his family. Papa and Ha were busy trying to contain Johnny who was hyped up on the sugar skulls and individual chocolate cakes he had found cooling and proceeded to eat. By the time they had caught him, the toddler had been coated in a sticky residue from head to toe from the sugar and the thick chocolate sauce the cake was dipped in. He was so dirty he had to be bathed and now he couldn’t sit still from all the sugar. He was twitching and fidgeting like bacon strips frying in a pan.
Scooping his last forkful of eggs into his mouth, chewing and swallowing swiftly, and then grabbing his milk and gulping down the last bit, Scott turned to his father, “May I be excused, Papa?”
“What has you in such a rush, son? You’ve been racing around since you got up this morning.”
“I want to work on my special project some more before we go to town for the festival.”
“Do you need some help?”
“No, I have it all planned, all I have to do is gather up my supplies to finish it.”
Papa and Ha’s eyes met and they smiled. Both were proud of the way Scott always took a logical and analytical approach to his schoolwork. The child was seldom impulsive and he always endeavored to have a strategy.
Attention was diverted back to Johnny as the toddler’s hyper movements caused him to turn over his cup of milk and swipe his plate from the table. While Papa and Ha were busy tending to the ensuing mess, Scott slipped away from the table and headed to the Great room. Johnny’s accident was giving him the opportunity to borrow the big family Bible without having to explain why he needed it. He rushed to his room and placed it in the middle of his bed.
Luck seemed to be on Scott’s side for the next hour because Papa and Ha had taken Johnny out to the play yard to run off all his sugar energy. This gave Scott the chance to gather more ‘holy’ items to be placed with the Bible. He scavenged the entire house borrowing more Bibles, rosaries, crosses, his and Johnny’s christening cups and gowns, Ha’s Book of Seraphims and finally he took the painting of Jesus, praying on the big rock, off the wall in the hallway and added it to the collection. He spread the items out over his bed, and then quickly pulled his quilt over them to keep them hidden because he could hear Johnny running in the hall.
“What Squat doing?” Johnny inquired as he skidded to a halt next to his brother.
“I’m working on my project. Why don’t you go play?”
“Johnny want to watch,” Johnny stated as he scrambled up on Scott’s bed, and then stood and bounced to the middle. He landed with an ominous ripping sound.
Scott’s mouth dropped open and the sound of flesh hitting flesh vibrated in the room as he slapped his hands over his face and groaned, “Oh no!”
“Hey, Squat, something is unner the covers,” Johnny complained as he rubbed his temple that had connected with a hard object hidden by the quilt. He jumped from the bed and pulled back the cover. His eyes widened as he spied all of the things Scott had collected from around the house. “OOOOhhhhh, Johnny gonna tell. This not Squat’s stuff. Squat gonna be in trouble.”
“NO! WAIT! If you tell on me Papa’s gonna see the picture of Jesus that you tore just now jumping on the bed,” Scott warned as he threw the quilt back over the purloined items, if Johnny told on him he wouldn’t be able to finish, and then he would be stuck with a monster under his bed until next Halloween when he could try again. That just wasn’t the option Scott wanted to go with so he reluctantly explained to Johnny about monsters under the bed being evil minions of the devil and how he was planning to get rid of them.
“Is there a monster unner Johnny’s bed?” questioned the toddler. “Johnny gonna get a gun and shoot them,” Johnny exclaimed as he nervously inched away from Scott’s bed and crossed his arms over his torso, hugging himself.
“You can’t have a monster under your bed, Johnny, because your bed is in Papa’s room and they won’t go where adults are,” Scott declared.
“Oh,” Johnny whispered, and then his face brightened, “Why don’t Squat put his bed in Papa’s room too.”
“Because I’m too old to sleep in Papa’s room all the time, besides I like having my own room.”
“Squat could get Papa to shoot the monsters,” Johnny suggested.
“Grownups can’t see them because the monsters know they can’t scare them. Besides I have a plan to keep the monster under the bed so the devil pulls him back to hell.”
GASP! “Squat said a bad word!” Johnny righteously pointed out.
“No, I didn’t I was talking about a real place,” Scott declared with exasperation. If he wanted to finish this without worrying about Johnny running to Papa he would have to let him think he could help. “Johnny, can you be brave and stand here and watch my bed while I go get some candles? The monsters like it dark so they can hide, they don’t like to come out in the light.”
Johnny blinked and his eyes widened, he wasn’t too sure he wanted to be in here by himself. “Won’t the monsters get Johnny?”
“No, they don’t come out until dark,” Scott advised sagely as he grabbed his pillowcase to use as a sack. “I’ll be back as soon as I find enough candles.”
While Scott was out searching the house for candles, Johnny wandered about his brother’s room touching stuff he knew he wasn’t supposed to bother. Opening the drawer on the bedside table he chortled in delight when he found Scott’s bag of marbles. He loosened the drawstring and pulled the bag open. Cupping his hand he tried to tip a few marbles into his palm but the slick glass spheres tumbled swiftly from the velvet sack bounced off his tiny hand, pinged down onto the hard floor and rolled under the bed.
Dropping to his knees, Johnny peered nervously under the bed, he breathed a sigh of relief when all he saw was marbles, the little bit of light under the bed twinkled off their glass surface. As far as he could see there were no ‘devil onions’ hiding under the bed. Johnny scooted on his belly across the floor to reach a marble, his little body completely disappearing from view. He crawled from one end to the other making sure he found all the marbles, trying to hold them in his hands. He became frustrated when his movements would cause him to lose his grip and a marble would roll free again. Finally he decided to put the marbles in his pockets. He grunted and groaned as he lifted up enough to work his hands into his pockets. Raising his head too high, as he wiggled his hand into his pocket with the last little sphere, he cracked his head on a bed slat causing him to cry out, jerk, and then drop his face to the floor where upon he sniffed a dust bunny up his nose, sneezed mightily and groaned.
Scott returned to his room clutching his pillowcase filled with candles he had collected from various rooms in the house. He stepped towards his bed and froze in horror. There were noises coming from under his bed. He distinctly heard something say ouch, thumps and bumps, a sneeze, and then mournful moans.
Johnny lifted up and tried to crawl out from under the bed now that his task was done, but his shirt became snagged on a wooden slat and he couldn’t wiggle loose. He began to worry that maybe a monster had hold of him and he cried out, “Help Squat! The devil’s onion gots Johnny!”
Johnny’s cry for help over-rode any fears Scott might have entertained about monsters under his bed. He flew into protective big brother mode. Quick as a flash he threw the pillowcase down, and then he dropped to the floor and pushed his way under the bed. He grabbed Johnny’s hands and yanked, he met with resistance at first but then a loud ripping sound filled his ears and Johnny tore loose and they were able to scoot backwards to safety.
Sitting up Johnny lurched forward and tightly hugged his brother. “Thanks, Squat. Johnny was stuck!”
Checking his brother over, Scott announced, “You ripped your shirt. I think it was caught on a bed slat. There’s not enough room under there for you to get up on your knees to crawl.”
“Then how the monsters get unner there, Squat? Are they little like Johnny?”
“They can get under there because they are flat like shadows. So there’s enough room for a lot of them to fit.”
Tilting his head back and forth Johnny studied the bed, and then in a moment of three year old wisdom announced, “Put the bed on the floor so they can’t, Squat.”
Snorting, Scott was about to announce how stupid that was; until he realized Johnny had a good point. His eye brows rose up into his fall of ash blond bangs and a slow smile inched over his lips. “That’s a good idea Johnny, but how do I get the bed to sit closer to the floor?”
“Take the legs off,” Johnny replied.
The wheels began to turn in Scott’s mind as he thought the problem over. He studied his legs, and then Johnny’s. “When legs are short things are closer to the ground. I don’t need to take the legs off, Johnny. I just need for them to be shorter. But how can I make them shorter,” Scott pondered aloud.
“Cut them,” Johnny suggested.
Scott giggled, “Johnny, for a baby you can come up with some really good ideas. Wait right here, I’m going to go get a hack saw from the tool shed.”
Scott rushed downstairs and out the French doors, as Papa and Ha were rising from their patio chairs, preparing to enter the house.
“Where are you going, Scott?” questioned Papa
Skidding to a stop, Scott replied, “I need something from the tool shed for my project.”
“Have you seen, Johnny? He said he was going to find you and see what you were doing,” Ha stated.
“He’s in my room waiting for me. He gave me a good idea so I’m going to let him help me finish my project.”
If Murdoch and Harlan had not been so intent on retrieving the paperwork they wanted to review, they might have questioned Scott about this idea of Johnny’s, but alas they never considered Scott would take the advice of a three year old. Papa and Ha were so absorbed in the papers they were studying they didn’t even acknowledge Scott when he traveled back through the room with the hack saw in his hands, held closely to his chest.
Racing breathlessly back into his room, Scott triumphantly held the saw aloft. “I got it, now all we have to do is saw off enough of the leg to make the bed sit all the way down on the floor.”
Moving over to the bed, Scott knelt down and lifted the dust ruffle. He studied the bed legs and decided he should cut right below where the bed leg met the side rail. “Hold the dust ruffle up, Johnny, while I saw.”
Johnny moved beside Scott and pushed the cloth up out of the way. Scott began to cut, moving his arm back and forth, but his elbow kept bumping Johnny.
“This isn’t working, Johnny. You’re in the way sitting there.” Scott sat back and examined the problem. He smiled as his nimble mind worked out a solution. “Get up on the bed, Johnny, and pull the ruffle up out the way.
Johnny crawled on top of the bed and did as Scott directed. Scott worked the hack saw diligently, his tongue protruding from the corner of his mouth as he concentrated on the task. His dedication was rewarded when a few minutes later he cut through the slender bed leg. The end of the bed tipped precariously towards the floor. The wooden frame creaked and groaned as it lost part of its support.
Scott grinned at the successful action. He would be done in no time. “All right, Johnny, move to the other side now and hold up the dust ruffle for me.”
Johnny rolled from one side of the mattress to the other. Peering over the edge he grabbed the cloth and pulled it up out of the way. Scott positioned the hack saw and got to work. Back and forth he pulled the blade, keeping a fairly even rhythm until it finally sliced through the wood and severed the leg from the frame. The end of the bed dropped to the floor with a loud thud, startling Scott and causing him to jump back. Johnny squealed in surprise.
Downstairs, Pa and Ha looked up briefly at the thump they heard upstairs. In unison they announced, “We better go see what that is about.” They headed for the stairs.
Scott was moving to the head of the bed when the unexpected happened. With the legs cut from the footboard all the weight of the bed was stressing the legs on the headboard, the strain on them caused the wood to creak, and then it began to splinter. When Johnny stood and walked up the mattress to get into place to hold the dust ruffle the pressure increased. When he plopped down on the top corner of the bed it was just enough added weight to compromise the weakened frame, the two remaining legs cracked and popped out of place. The bed crashed down with enough force to shake the floor. Scott and Johnny shrieked in surprise. Johnny was thrown from the bed, pulling the quilt with him as he clutched on to it trying to stop his fall.
The sounds of destruction and terror emanating from Scott’s room had Papa and Ha running the last few feet to the room. They arrived to find Scott’s bed resting flat upon the floor. Scott was standing over Johnny with a hack saw in his hands. Johnny was sprawled at Scott’s feet with marbles cascading from his pockets. The bed was covered in items that didn’t belong in the room.
“WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON IN HERE?” Papa bellowed, as he took in the total chaos.
Ha just looked around shaking his head in resignation, life with his grandsons was never dull.
Johnny struggled to his feet, only to lose his footing because of the marbles. He fell into Scott and tipped him off balance causing the hack saw to fly back and knock the lamp off the bedside table. It shattered as it hit the oak floor and the oil spread out into a large puddle. Scott was so stunned he couldn’t find his voice to explain so Johnny piped in.
“Squat was making sure no devil onions or monsters could get unner his bed tonight,” Johnny informed them eagerly.
“Ha would you please take Johnny and give him a bath and change his clothes. He has lamp oil all over him. Scott and I are going to return all these items he has borrowed without asking and discuss just what he was doing.”
While Johnny was cleaned up, Scott and Murdoch restored order in the little boy’s room. As they worked Scott explained what he had overheard Dan and Jed talking about. To his chagrin Papa informed him there was no such thing as monsters under a bed, that obviously Dan had been deluded by fevered dreams. The worst part of the ordeal was Papa making him choose his punishment, either extra chores or he could forgo the Halloween festival.
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Scott was startled from his thoughts, physically jumping and twirling when he heard his father’s voice behind him.
“You’ve done an excellent job cleaning the chicken coop, Scott. I hope you learned a lesson from all of this.”
Swiping at the sweat on his brow, the action inadvertently leaving a small white feather plastered to his damp brow, Scott looked at his father, and then huffed out a tired breath. “Yes sir, I learned not to listen to any of Johnny or Dan Cassidy’s ideas because if I do I’ll just end up in trouble.” Spying his father’s displeased expression Scott quickly added, “And that I shouldn’t take things without asking or sneak around to do things.”
Murdoch chuckled as he folded his tired son into his strong arms embracing him gently. He picked up the rake and carried it and his exhausted son from the chicken yard. “I hope you also learned you can come to me with any problem, anytime…even if it’s devil onions.”
Scott giggled at Papa’s use of Johnny’s word, as he snuggled against his father’s chest; he was too fatigued to complain that he was too old to be carried. He was sound asleep by the time they made it back to the house. He didn’t rouse at all as he was stripped, washed up, his nightshirt put on and placed in his brand new bed.
The Brat Pack Series AU
Author’s note on the Brat Pack here
My Brother, The Brat
Another Day in the Life
Breakfast: A Proper Way to Start the Day
Taking the Town by Storm
Home Again Home Again
Itching to Break Out
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Gifts of Love
The Easter Bunny Cometh
Just a Victim of Circus’Stance!
Ask and You Shall Receive
The Gospel According to Johnny
Serving Up Trouble
No More Monsters Under the Bed
Wrinkled Potatoes and Old Tomatoes
O Come Let Us Adore Him
Carving Out Fun
Look Before You Eat
Cover Up (written with Kit)
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