As a very special, spooky Halloween treat, I’ve invited Beck from Toad and Frog are Still Friends (Profile: I’m a stay-at-home mom who likes to write! I know! I’m a delicate, unique snowflake!) to guest blog for me today. She has a gift, you see. A gift for taking beloved children’s stories and making them scary. I was really hard pressed to choose just one, but having suffered through countless episodes of Max and Ruby with my daughter, this one is sort of my sentimental favorite.
But enough about me, here’s Beck with her take on Max and Ruby:
Once there had been a mother.
He remembered her, a bit – her breath that smelled like communion grape juice and cigarettes, her harsh laugh and her sudden rages, the way he was frightened and small and hiding underneath his bed, in his tent, under the slide at the playground, hiding from her giant hitting hands and her loud voice.
Ruby made her go away.
He didn’t remember much of that night – nothing much more than Ruby giving him warm funny tasting milk at bedtime and then his sleepy awareness of raised yelling female voices and a sudden loud noise and then silence. Then he woke up the next morning to Ruby bright and extra cheerful and the kitchen extra clean and a new vegetable garden in the backyard.
He likes working in the garden. He likes putting his hands in the dirt, likes watering the fat jolly vegetables. Ruby smiles and brings him lemonade and they have picnics for lunch and sometimes he sits on the swing even though the swing is getting smaller and smaller all the time.
He keeps forgetting to ask Ruby about the shrinking swing. He forgets sometimes that Grandma went away a long time ago and finds himself standing in front of her house where strangers live now. He forgets that Mom went away, too, and hides under the piano bench, hides under the front steps, until Ruby lures him out with gummy worms and trips to the ice cream store.
“Ruby,” says their neighbour Mrs. Huffington over the fence. “You’re doing a wonderful job looking after him, but your whole life is passing you by.”
He remembers that sometimes, the way he remembers the surprising bits of red in the kitchen, the loud sound, his mother’s sharp breath and giant hurting hands. But then it’s time for a picnic and the sun is bright and it’s time to work in the garden again, their special garden where the vegetables come up so big and ripe.
For more children’s stories turned spooky including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur, Winnie the Pooh, Pippi Longstocking, Scooby Doo, Franklin, Berenstein Bears and Goodnight Moon, check them out HERE.