I was going to explain how Wednesday kicked my butt, between the sinus headache, one or both of the cats peeing on the clean laundry, and the discovery that I was vastly more tired than I'd heretofore believed. It would have been a wonderfully depressing and self-indulgent post. However, as a small service to humanity in general and my readers in particular, I'm instead going to post a bit of fiction. Or a piece of a bit of fiction, anyway. I have no idea if this is shaping up into an actual story; it was something that I came up with at bedtime on Tuesday, when Firstborn was suggesting that we should stay in his room and tell stories, instead of reading quietly and falling asleep. That may have shaped the course of the narrative somewhat...
Once upon a time there was a prince named Caijar. Caijar was having a very bad day. In morning cavalry practice he fell off his horse. Then at lunch, the Jester slipped while juggling fifteen wooden balls, and one of the balls landed right in Caijar's soup. Soup splattered everywhere, but mostly on Caijar.
The servants brought towels, of course, but there were still bits of soup dripping from Caijar's hair as he opened the door to his room.
His valet should have been standing ready with fresh clothes for the prince. Instead, the room was empty. Caijar sighed and stepped into his room, then pulled the door closed behind him.
That was when the grabby-monster grabbed him.
Prince Caijar started to laugh. That was the worst part about being attacked by a grabby-monster: it didn't hurt, it tickled. Grabby-monsters made you laugh, so everybody would think you were having fun, and nobody would think you were being attacked.
The second-worst part was how it grabbed you. Grabby-monsters looked like big, flat snakes or worms, but they had rows of tentacles on both sides of their bodies. They wrapped all around you, and tried to pull you into a little ball so that you couldn't get away or call for help.
Caijar kept his arms out and grabbed for the tentacles, trying to pull the monster off him. When that didn't work, he used one hand to reach back and hit its head. When that didn't work, he used his other hand to push the tentacles away from his ribs and belly, trying to stop the tickling so he could breath. His ribs ached from laughing, his face hurt from smiling, and despite the laughter he was furious. So when that didn't work either, he turned around and slammed himself backward into the corner of a table. It would have really hurt, but there was a monster on his back, so it hurt the monster instead.
The grabby-monster grabbed tighter, but it stopped tickling him. Caijar could have called for help, but he was too angry. He slammed his back into the wall, then into a desk. Finally he threw himself back into a chair, trying to squish the grabby-monster.
It struggled, and this time he was able to tear the tentacles loose from one arm. He held them tightly with both hands. He pulled on the tentacles until the monster slipped forward and he could reach its head. Then he grabbed its head, and used its head to pull it off his back. It tried to escape, but he stuffed it in a chest and closed the latch.
Then, finally, he could get enough of his breath back to call for help.