The Colouring Book

bun 2

Thank you very much, Aunt Patricia, it’s lovely,” the little girl repeated dutifully.

She stared down at the book that lay on her knee, the pretty flowered wrapping paper slipping to the floor. The book was called “Magical Animals” and the little girl ran her fingers across the plain white cover.

It had a pleasing gloss to it and the words “Magical Animals” were imprinted in gold. Her aunt – well, her mother’s friend from University, actually – winked slyly at her.

Wait till you’re by yourself and then try it.”

The little girl smiled politely, never quite sure what to make of this large lady, with her flowing scarves and velvet dresses, rather dashing high heels and striking makeup.

The party took over and it wasn’t until several days later that the little girl remembered the book. She retreated to her bedroom and shut the door, reaching for her better quality colouring pencils… somehow she felt that this mysterious book would be contemptuous of her supermarket pencils.

She opened the book to select a picture and was at once swept away by the possibilities as the wonderfully detailed line drawings flooded her vision, just waiting for her to bring life and warmth with her pencils…

A unicorn! That would just have to be silver and pink – a little frog, she had several shades of green that would work for him… The animals got larger and more menacing as she turned the pages – a tiger, ready to spring from the book alive in orange and pitch black … an alligator, swamp green and brown; and then a creature she didn’t recognise, with deceptively soft drawn fur and claws like knives…

There was a little paragraph of writing underneath the drawing:

All animals, no matter how soft or tame they seem, have hidden wildness. Your pet cat can be a tiger, your dog, a wolf. This drawing is to show this wildness in every beast, to remind us to treat our animals, Mother Earth’s children with respect or -”

The little girl slammed the book shut, unnerved by the way the crouching, snarling monster had seemed to loom out of the pages towards her.

She opened the book again, careful to stay in the foremost pages and selected a picture of a rabbit. She worked hard on her colouring, wanting to bring warmth and a sense of life, of “fluffiness” to the picture – she’d had a pet rabbit when she was a very little girl and remembered with pleasure the soft warm fur.

She used a russet and a chestnut brown, colouring carefully the curved back, shading gently over the delicate ears and choosing a lighter brown for the large, round eyes. She sat back, and looked, pleased with her colouring, vivid and detailed, the little rabbit really seemed –

She laughed delightedly as he shook himself awake from the paper and leapt from her desk to the floor. He shook coloured pencil dust from his fur and sat back on his haunches as if to greet the little girl.

Shocked yet thoroughly pleased, she reached out a hand and gently touched the rabbit on the head, feeling soft warm fur and a living warmth. The rabbit hopped carefully around her bedroom, pausing every so often to examine a book, a discarded shoe.

Darling? Are you busy? Dinner’s ready!”

Her mother’s voice startled both her and the rabbit and quick as a flash he bounded from the floor to her chair to the desk and straight back into the pages of the colouring book.

Coming, Mummy!” the little girl called back, stopping momentarily to check the pages of her book. Yes, the rabbit was there again, captured in paper, the colouring exactly as she remembered doing … She touched the book wonderingly and smiled, a secret smile to herself, as she left her bedroom.

That night, before she went to sleep, she slipped the magical book under her pillow.

Tomorrow,” she thought, “tomorrow, I could try the unicorn!”

With images of wonderful silver horses dancing in her imagination, the little girl fell asleep, smiling to herself …

Only to awaken, later, heart thudding in fright and panic.

She could hear footsteps. They didn’t belong. These weren’t the careful, light steps of her mother, or the firm tread of her father … these were… creeping. She felt a wriggle from under her pillow and remembered her book. She pulled it out and dropped it frightened, to the floor, as the creeping footsteps crept and paused. Outside her door.

The pages of her colouring book stirred … and her coloured rabbit sprang from the pages of the book, followed by something much wilder and darker that slipped through the edges between reality and dreamtime … and between the hinges of her bedroom door and onto the landing.

A startled gasp – and then a scream of pain, followed by pounding footsteps that fled downstairs with her father’s voice roaring in anger…

Later, much later, after her mother had comforted her, and explained that a bad man had got into the house, but it wouldn’t happen again because he – well, it just wouldn’t happen again … the little girl looked for her colouring book.

She turned, cautiously to the page where she knew the rabbit lived. Yes! He was still there! But what was that trace of red on his whiskers and about his claws? The slight dark shadow behind…

Thoughtfully, she closed the book and laid it carefully back on her desk.

She hasn’t used it again – yet.

EPSON MFP image

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101 thoughts on “The Colouring Book

    1. Ha ha yes! I was thinking sort of “Twilight Zone”-y /”Tales of the Unexpected” thoughts when I wrote this…also a seasonally appropriate story and reminder that bunnies don’t just take care of Easter eggs..
      Thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was lucky with my rabbits – they were the cuddly ones, but my sister had a big black rabbit and one day it was out and it just ran up behind her and sank its teeth into her Achilles tendon… Dad re-homed that one somewhere else!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oooh, the Dark side has seduced you Samantha (picture Montgomery Burns rubbing his hands together) “Excellent!” NaNo 2017 looking inevitable now then too 🙂 Lovely tale and, I’ve always had my suspicions about rabbits ever since a white one got Alice into all sorts of shenanigans !! Very well done 🙂

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    1. Perhaps the Darkness was always there..it’s just been shaken into wakefulness to make the occasional foray into light and nefarious activity..!
      2017-totally!! And rabbits…deceptively sweet but capable of dark deeds…
      Thank you very much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe so and with a little nuture it’s now blossoming…or maybe it was the nefarious activities on second thoughts. Lot of witches on here don’t you know! I know re rabbits, I saw that Wallace and Grommit documentary on a were-rabbit…shocking really 😜

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      2. You’re sounding rather like my Necromancer scrying between worlds and dragging souls into another world to be reborn…😱 Mind you, myopia sure explains why they all seem to proper squint into said balls!

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      3. hmm then you might like my first book because that’s got all sorts of chronomancy going on !! are you on FB?? there’s a Twitter social share going on now and its a great way to hook up with bloggers

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      4. Lol…I spent a year on Twitter and am now into my second…the FB group already has folk you know by the way….eg Marje…. All you do is drop a blog link or Twitter feed or post for throwback Thursday and people readily share, follow and stuff. It’s the best blogging group I’ve found. As for shy…er…that’s me too 😱

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      5. Take a polished shield just in case 😊 Bit of a solutions not problems moment ! I will counter your word-wielding comment with a requirement for professional validation…plenty of people seem to like my writing, but it all sits on some random person I’ve never met making a snap decision…terrible state of affairs and mental angst lol

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      6. Ha ha..would have to be a freshly washed roasting tin.. might not have quite the same effect.
        I can appreciate how you are feeling ( I think I’m doing really well then I look at what I wrote and start to cry and rip it up…)but have confidence in yourself.Plenty of other people do…including me…bit of Annie Wilkes coming on…*speaks in creepy voice* “I’m your Number One Fan..!”

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      7. Possibly not, but tossing out the actual roast might create a diversion enabling swift escape! Ah yes, the sitting back of the evening thinking that was really good, awaking next morning for a quick re-read and a case of WTF is that all about! Me have confidence in me?? Seriously… My new phrase… Cognitive dissonance at play. As for number one fan…I’ll take that, creepy or not, any day of the week lol

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      8. ha ha, yes and stop procrastinating and get submitting more!! Still, I’m honing in on the to do list priorities. I think I’ve settled on a new theme Dara; what do you think of it? If you have time can you have a quick look at that theme for me x

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      9. Very true….one can’t expect miracles until the pain of rejection has been faced numerous times lol…and thank you re looking too. It’s going to take me a few days to get it sorted and running properly I suspect so could really do with picking the right theme 😱

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      10. I emailed you a more detailed opinion, let me know if you get it, but in brief I think Dara is a good choice…are you going to have an Opening Party?
        As you say, it’s all about raising your profile and widening your fanbase-bit of a step away from the idyllic days of strolling into your local publisher with a brown paper parcel under your arm…

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      11. Yes, I got it and will give considered reply in the morning after dusting down the workstation and vacuuming the PC lol. I never considered an opening or reveal day….shoot….I’ve got to work out how to get it functioning right first. This, err sideline, came about because they ask for your social media profiles 😱

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      12. Still not going on FB yet…I think a reveal day across all platforms would be a good idea-we could have cake-no but really, these jolts of attention might bring something up ( not cake ) it’s all about putting the intention out there and positivity…and not procrastinating..:)x

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      13. am I detecting what used to pass off as Twitter resilience lol. I’m thinking of putting up a post saying I’m about to change themes because I am certain things will look odd until I am versed in it. I also know when I id trial it briefly it picked up dead pages that I don’t use (and don’t appear) on my current theme. Its kind of exciting really…I see it as a good way to set up a learning curve…and a reveal too is definitely a good idea too 🙂 As for procrastinating…does clearing the work space and dusting count lol

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      14. Hmm, there is a 20 minute limit on dusting and clearing before it slides over into the realms of procrastinating…!
        I think doing an announcement post would be useful-another way to garner feedback and opinions. Have you seen anyone else use this theme? Don’t think I have…

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      15. Not to mention the organising; Although part of that is necessary this time round…especially in my writing folders, which up until a month ago were most chaotic. Can’t say I have see that theme about much; but as I said it was January 2017 and I guess you need to do a specific search to find it??

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      16. Yeah, I had to Google it, but that was ok because I could view it on the laptop while checking your points on my phone. Which reminds me- have you looked at it on a phone? I thought it seemed fine-just as accessible, it’s just some I’ve seen don’t show properly on phones…

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      17. Good point! I haven’t. Although the fact it’s a 2017 release made me assume it works fine across devices and I think it says as much on the demo page. It’s fine on my iPad so tablets are OK….but phone…must check that one out 😱

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      18. Checked it on my iPhone last night and it seemed (well the demo at least) to function properly! I shall do a farewell post this weekend and start the move on Monday…unless some ironing needs doing lol

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      19. You can colour me slightly green with envy…you have an Iphone!! Do they live up to their hype? I was looking at phones today…the HTC stuck in my mind because Robert Downey Junior advertised it…don’t want an exploding Samsung…Alex likes the Huaehey (whatever) but I looked at the Iphone 7… hideously expensive but very lovely 🙂
        I will keep an eye out for your post-definitely Dara? I think it’ll look good 🙂 and ironing? Well, if you’re offering…!!

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      20. I do; had a Galaxy before but since I use an iPad then an iPhone (not the latest) seemed the better option. I actually was sceptical at first, but now I think its really good…might be down to knowing the operating system already though! Yes definitely Dara; decision made there so many thanks for the feedback. Very much appreciated 🙂

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      21. Mines an iPhone 6. They dropped in price once the new one came out. It’s also phone sized rather than a semi-tablet which doesn’t fit in any pockets. Perfect really for everyday mcming about and syncing with the iPad!

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      22. Hmm.Might have to have a look at that model…although Alex is going to definitely get his Hooey (whatever) next week so I might see how he gets on with that…and the HTC is quite pretty too…but I do like the android phones..But it does have to be phone sized rather than Dom Joly-esque…

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      23. There we go…step into the light chylde…no…that’s not right…do out of genre, well chylde works…the light bits a shade tricky to cope with…unless it’s spring sun, in which case it’s OK…savvy???

        Liked by 1 person

      24. It burns, it bites, it freezes…well, so said Gollum. I know, I actually didn’t need a jumper on the school run today…what gives?

        Like

      25. Good lord, that is a very old proverb indeed. Clearly I can cheat though. My car has aircon so that replaces needs for multiple clothing options…suffuce to say I had the window down !

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      26. Ah, so technically a car could be considered an item of clothing then…I need to get some of those screen things for the upstairs windows actually for summer..prevent the cats from hurling themselves out of the windows…

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      27. A techno dressing gown maybe? Although my clothe clothes can’t play Planet Rock via DAB radio! Summer…so near and yet so far away…although Easter looms imminent and who’d have thought that on January 1st? Time is fleeting….

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      28. I know. It’s like life is speeding past and I seem to be stuck in some mud. Blink and another weeks whooshed past. Really must start tackling the stuff behind ironing !!

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      29. No idea…mind are the same , but don’t actually know the laundry basket is there for a reason either…day after tomorrow is hump day according to my radio DJ and it’s downhill to the next weekend…terrible to blink and it’s the same point in the next week…

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      30. A very good question! I have a bloggers book cover to release on the 10th so writing that post is task one now. I toyed with a thexit post, much to the dismay of the themainers which are clearly demonstrating by ensuring procrastinating lives long and prospers! But..wait….you have nefarious scenes too! Many you would like Rose after all 🤔

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      31. Oh my no, Rose is all despair and procrastination until the mind she’s subdued gets a shade ticked off. Watch it or I may send it to you for beta reading purposes lol.

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      32. It’s highly addictive once you start. My latest one is based on green energy. If my PC isn’t even on then how much electric am I saving? Planet first and all that. I can do all the non-writing stuff right here on my iPad…marvellous 😁

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      33. I was thinking if you know what you’re trying to avoid doing and fix that from happening, then all the other boring avoidance stuff can also planet save and, given its warming up, one can sit in the garden with tea and digestives instead 🤗

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  2. Well, that settles it. Rabbits are killers.
    I always wonder how you manage to write stories that are thrilling and slightly unsettling and then go on to write something warm and funny. A woman of many moods you are, Samantha 😉 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased I have convinced you…Rottweiler or rabbit? I’ll take the dog any day lol!
      Often, the creative writing bits and pieces I do start as a particular phrase or mental image and surprise me by taking a very different route!
      Thank you 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funnily enough, all Rottweilers I’ve met were lovely but I have a huge scar on my thigh after the one and only close encounter with a rabbit. Well, I do respect their personal space now 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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