Roger and the Room with the Black Door
One day Mom told Roger that she and Dad needed to go away for a few days on business and they'd asked Aunty Betty to look after him while they were away.
Roger hadn't seen Aunty Betty since he was a baby but he was very excited because she lived in the countryside.
Next day Roger packed a suitcase and his mother drove him to the station. He got on the train to Wibley and Mom told him to be good and have a nice time with Aunty Betty. She waved as the train pulled out of the station.
The train seemed to take forever making its way through the countryside. It stopped at lots of little country stations until Roger was the only one left in his compartment. Eventually the guard announced they had arrived at Wibley.
Roger took his bag and got off the train. An old lady with a jolly round face and a mass of curly white hair was waiting at the station door. It was Aunty Betty. "Haven't you got big," she said to Roger, "you were a little baby last time I saw you."
They got into Aunty Betty's old-fashioned car and they drove down one narrow winding country lane after another until they stopped at a pretty pink house in the middle of a wood. "Welcome to Rainbow Cottage," said Aunty Betty, opening the door for Roger.
Aunty Betty gave Roger a drink and a snack and showed him around the house. Every room had a different color door and was decorated in that color inside. Aunty Betty's room had a red door and Roger's room had a green door.
At the top of some more stairs was a room with a black door. Aunty Betty made Roger promise never to go in that room. When he asked why, Aunty Betty told him it was a very old storage room full of cobwebs and spiders and she didn't want them getting out into the rest of the house.
Aunty Betty didn't have a television so after supper of the most delicious eggs and bacon she told Roger some old country stories. Roger was almost falling asleep when Aunty Betty suggested they went to bed.
After his long and exciting day Roger quickly fell into a deep sleep. But he was awoken by the sound of footsteps going upstairs followed by the creaking of an opening door. Roger then heard what sounded like a low groaning sound. He was a little scared but quickly drifted back to sleep and had a strange dream he was being chased through the woods by a black shape.
He awoke next morning and went downstairs to find Aunty Betty had made a delicious breakfast of sausages and pancakes with fried tomatoes and homemade bread. He quickly forgot last night's dream.
Aunty Betty told him she was taking him into the village to get some shopping. They went in the grocer's, the butcher's and the greengrocer's. Everyone was very nice and they all treated Aunty Betty as an old friend. Aunty Betty told Roger she had lived in the same house all her life.
When they had finished shopping Aunty Betty took Roger to see the village church. She explained that she arranged the flowers for the service every Sunday morning. It was a wonderful old building full of incredibly beautiful statues.
Father Ruby was inside putting up some posters. Aunt Betty and Father Ruby greeted each other and the smiling priest welcomed Roger to the church. He pointed out some of the beautiful stained glass windows and woodcarvings and invited Roger to attend Sunday school followed by juice and cakes on the church lawn. Then Father Ruby said something strange to Aunty Betty.
"We think we might have a problem with a monster in the village. Mr Whitehead has lost some carrots from his garden, Mr Lighthouse lost some turnips, and Mr Redface lost his spinach."
Aunty Betty was a little annoyed at what the priest said. "Surely you can't believe such superstitious nonsense," she replied. "Everyone knows there's no such thing as monsters."
"Well," continued Father Ruby, "Dr Williams told me only yesterday he's been seeing lots of children complaining of bad nightmares. Monsters are supposed to cause children to have nightmares."
"Please," advised the priest, "for safety's sake, keep your doors and windows locked after dark".
Aunty Betty still didn't seem to believe him, but she agreed that she would lock her doors and windows at night. Aunty Betty told Father Ruby she'd be at the church by seven on Sunday to arrange the flowers.
Aunty Betty drove Roger home. They had ham sandwiches for lunch and spent the afternoon walking in the woods. Aunty Betty pointed out all the different animals, plants and birds to Roger. He thought she was very clever.
That night Roger awoke again in the middle of the night. He heard the sound of a window opening followed by what seemed to be the flapping of giant wings. Afraid but curious Roger climbed out of bed and walked over to the window. He was shocked to see the outline of a great big ugly monster flying away from the house.
Roger leapt back into bed and put his head under the sheets. He tried to sleep but couldn't. Eventually the light of the new day entered his room. He got up at 6:30 and went downstairs.
Aunty Betty was already up. "Roger," she said, "you look so pale. What's wrong?"
Roger told her about what he had seen and heard.
"I'll have words with that silly old priest for putting such nonsense in your head and giving you nightmares," said Aunty Betty.
Roger didn't eat anything for breakfast. Aunty Betty was worried and drove him to Wibley to see Dr Williams.
Roger told Dr Williams all about the past two nights. Dr Williams listened carefully.
He advised Roger to have a quiet day indoors and gave Aunty Betty some tablets for him to take before bedtime.
"These will give you a good night's sleep and tomorrow you'll be right as rain," Dr Williams reassured him.
Roger spent the day drawing and looking through Aunty Betty's old books and photo albums. He managed to eat a little supper and Aunty Betty gave him two of the tablets prescribed by Dr Williams.
"Tomorrow's Sunday," she reminded him, "so I have to go to the church early to arrange the flowers. I won't wake you, as you need a good night's sleep. If Dr Williams is right you'll feel much better tomorrow and I'll take you to Sunday school. It will be a good chance to meet some of the village children."
Roger said goodnight to Aunty Betty and quickly fell into a long deep sleep.
He awoke next morning to the sound of a knocking at the door. Looking at the clock he saw it was eight o'clock. Aunty Betty was already at the church. Roger climbed out of bed and went downstairs to open the door. He was surprised to find it was Dr Williams.
Roger explained that Aunty Betty was out.
"I know," said Dr Williams, "that's why I called."
The doctor explained that he wanted to take a look in Aunty Betty's upstairs storage room.
"But I promised I wouldn't go in there", said Roger.
"Don't worry," said Dr Williams, "I'll take the responsibility. And if I'm wrong Aunty Betty will never even know."
Together they climbed the stairs to the black door. Slowly Dr Williams opened the door. Inside they saw a great big ugly monster sleeping on the floor. Suddenly it lifted its horrible head and turned towards them and growled. Dr Williams quickly shut the door and they went back downstairs.
I thought there was a monster in the village after so many vegetables started going missing from people's gardens and lots of children came to me with bad nightmares. After you told me about your dreams I thought Aunty Betty might be involved and when I arrived I noticed how empty her garden is this year. She normally wins prizes for her vegetables.
Together they waited until Aunty Betty returned from church. She was surprised to find Dr Williams waiting with Roger. They told her what they had found in the upstairs room.
Aunty Betty started crying. She admitted that she was keeping a monster in her house. She told them she found it one day when she was walking in the woods. It had been flying in Monsterland when there had been a bad storm. It lost its way and crash landed in Wibley woods and hurt its leg. Aunty Betty had taken it home to look after until its leg got better.
While the monster was getting better it had become Aunty Betty's friend. She told it country stories and it told her all about Monsterland.
She knew it was wrong to keep it and that it soon had to go back to Monsterland but she didn't want to feel alone again.
Dr Williams told her the monster had to go back today.
They all went upstairs to the room with the black door. Aunty Betty went in while the others waited outside. After a while the door opened.
"I've told him he has to go back," said Aunty Betty.
They all went into the room and Aunty Betty opened the window. The monster climbed out and started to fly away as they all waved goodbye. Just before he flew out of view the monster turned and nodded his great ugly head.
Next The Meeting