Ruy woke us up last night saying he could hear Mateo calling for help. It was one of those nerve-racking moments when the whole body goes on alert, adrenalin starts pumping and options are assessed... but without contact lenses and still half-asleep, I could only manage to kick FR out of bed to go and see what the problem was.
Mateo has always had a tendency to wake us in the night with his nightmares. From a very early age, he had them. I remember using lots of sign language with Mateo because he was slow to talk but obviously very bright and imaginative. If he woke in the night in fear, I would put my hand to my head and then to his head and do a spiral shape coming out - to indicate that the thing he thought he'd seen was in his head - and then would waft it all away to show that it had gone. He soon understood what this meant and that his fear came from a dream not anything in his room. It didn't stop the dreams but he calmed down very quickly once he realised what had happened.
His nightmares have continued on and off all his life - though there is something much more scary about hearing a grown-up voice shouting in the middle of the night, rather than a child's - but they are quite rare now and he doesn't usually shout out for help, rather wakes himself up and then goes back to sleep. I don't know if he does the waving-thing with his arms...must ask.
FR dutifully went downstairs and there were some muttered conversations before the lights went out and everyone settled down again. But only moments later, Mateo came upstairs and said he thought there was something in his bed. Being wide awake by this time, I bravely went down to his room to investigate with him. He said he thought it was something inside his duvet cover. As we knelt on his bed and carefully undid the duvet cover buttons, he told me that he'd had the sensation that something was scrabbling about on his bed and he'd thought it was Darwin. He'd told him to get down whilst half-asleep and then realised that Darwin wasn't there but the sensation was so strong that he thought he must be dreaming and so called out - waking Ruy. At this point, we had the cover off - nothing to be seen - so we picked up the duvet itself and gave it a shake. I managed not to scream but an ENORMOUS evil-looking centipede fell out and scuttled under the bed before either of us had chance to thwack it.
Mateo was strangely relieved to discover a real-life reason for the scrabbling in his sheets - better, in his opinon, than a figment of his imagination. However, he came upstairs and slept the rest of the night on the beanbag in the kid's den.
Me? I didn't sleep again and lay awake with all types of bitter memories unaccountably stirred by this poor but creepy creature. I wrestled with a few of my own hidden monsters in the early hours of the morning and whilst they're not completely destroyed, perhaps when Mateo gets home from school and we hunt out the centipede, getting rid of it will be cathartic for me too.
This isn't ours, but it's a good likeness if you want to share the fear with us! Don't look if you don't!