Charlotte was an only child. She was solitary, but bright and intelligent, and although you couldn’t say she was manipulative, she did know how to get the most attention from the adults around her.
One night, she ran screaming down the hallway to her parents’ room. She had been awoken by a strange sound coming either from under the bed or in the closet, she wasn’t sure which.
“Mummy! Daddy!” she screamed.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” said her Dad, scooping her up onto his knee.
“I heard a monster” she sobbed.
Immediately, her Mum and Dad jumped up and raced to her bedroom. Once there, they checked under the bed, opened the closet, threw back the bedsheets, made sure the window was firmly locked. They inspected and searched every inch of the room. Naturally, they found nothing and tucked their little girl back up in her bed.
The next night, the same thing happened. Charlotte heard a noise and ran crying to her parents, who immediately began a thorough search of the room. Nothing was ever found, but that didn’t stop Charlotte liking the attention, nor did it stop her liking how seriously her parents took her cries. Eventually, she began running to them whether she had heard a noise or not, and would hide her smile behind her tears as night after night, she would wake her parents and watch as they raced to her room and performed their thorough search.
On one such night, her Dad fell over while inspecting the top of the curtain rail, and Charlotte was unable to hide her laughter. As if a monster could fit up there anyway, she thought.
“What’s so funny?” her Dad asked.
“I’m sorry, Daddy, but I’ve been making it up. The first night I did hear something, but after that, I just kept making it up. I kept expecting you not to believe me but you always did.”
Strangely, her Dad wasn’t angry. He just looked at her Mum with an overwhelming sense of remorse filling his eyes and then said, “And we’ll always believe you, sweetie. You see, once … just once … we didn’t believe your brother.”
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