Friday, October 28, 2011

The Book at the Foot of My Bed

by Lupe Fernandez
Edited by S. Berger and K. Kahrs

Dracula and The Wolf-Man lurked in the ceiling rafters of the garage at my family home. 

At least, when I was a kid, I thought so. 

At night, my father would send me into the garage to flick off the light switch. I knew that I had mere seconds, after the lights when out, to run the length of the garage to the safety of house, before Dracula and the Wolf-Man pounced on me.

At night, when my father would send me into the backyard to throw out the trash, I had to cross the dark grass and cement patio to make it to the aluminum trash cans. Horrid fiends hid among the trash cans, waiting for kill me.

At night, between my street corner and my front porch, laid a dimly lid stretch of sidewalk, two houses in length. That flat strip of cement with its water-meter cover and linear grooves acted like flypaper for slow-moving kids - a trap set by hungry monsters. In those few yards, I sprinted for my life.

Active imagination, you say? 
I had lots of help.

My older brothers introduced me to The Thing at the Foot of the Bed, written by Maria Leach and illustrated by Kurth Werth, © 1959. I would check this book out from the Hayward Public Library and I would reread my favorite ghost stories and stare at the lurid illustrations to scare myself.

The Thing at the Foot of the Bed taught me important lessons: If I ever see glowing eyes at the foot of my bed, I’ll think twice before I shoot it with a shotgun. I never pick up hitchhikers; they might be dead. I never dig in a garden; I never know what or who is buried under the dirt.

Out of the six categories in the book, these are my favorite stories.

“The Thing at the Foot of the Bed”
A man shoots evil glowing eyes at the foot of his bed. The glowing eyes were his big toe nails reflecting moonlight.


"The Dare”
A boy sticks a knife in a grave and dies of fright.

“As Long as This?”
A drifter encounters a series of frightening men with giant smiles. 

“Milk Bottles”
A mother will do anything to feed her baby – even if she’s dead.

“The Lovelorn Pig”
After Duncan jilts his sweetheart – she dies of a broken heart - a pig follows him everywhere. Tired of the pig, he whips it and the pig cries out in the voice of his dead sweetheart. “Oh, Duncan, how could you?”

“The Gangster in the Back Seat”
A dead gangster appears in the rear view mirror of a used car. 

“The Devil in the Dishes”
I’ve never played and never will.

“Singing Bone”
A beheaded girl sings for revenge against her wicked mother who buried her in the potato patch.

For those of you on the lookout for ghosts, Leach provides some tips.

  • “If you are walking along a road at night and hear a stick break, that was a ghost.”
  • “A little tiny whirlwind of dust on the ground is the sign of a ghost’s passing.”
  • “If you have to pass by a haunted place at night, turn your pockets inside out and the ghost won’t hurt you.”
  • “…look steadily from between a dog’s ears, in the direction the dog is looking, you will see the same ghost he sees.”
  • “Don’t laugh at ghosts. They are no joke.”
  • “If ever you come upon an old hat or a piece of clothing on the ground with a stick across it, don’t pick it up. The stick is a sign that it belongs to a ghost. Don’t touch it.”
  • If you ever see "something white lying in the road," don't kick it. It may "swell up as big as a cow." Got it? Never, Never, Never, Never…


Amazon it will cost you whatever.
(Can be bought it for 1 cent plus 3.99 shipping.)

The Pen And Ink Blogspot assumes no responsibility for nightmares, day-mares, hauntings or stale Halloween candy.

Ice Plant the way, everybody knows ice plants are really monster fingers ready to drag little kids underground.


  1. Drat! I didn't know about ice plants.That's scary.
    After reading this post I went to Amazon and bought the book.

  2. Ice plants....brrrr....scary.
    Leaping Lizards

  3. Sounds like you had a rough childhood!

  4. I tell ya, my childhood was so rough...
    How rough was it, you ask?
    It was so rough, the fire hydrant on my street was surrounded by barbed wire.

    Prickly Pear

  5. Here's what critics are saying:

    "I remember all those stories. I also remember a few years ago waking up in the middle of the night and something blinking at me from the foot of the bed. I was afraid to move. It looked very much like the picture in the library book. I remember thinking this is it I'm losing it! My heart was beating hard. I finally remembered that I had painted my toes with 'glo-in-dark nail polish!'"

    Written by Anonymous

  6. Thanks for the helpful Do's and Don'ts - but what if you're wearing clothes without any pockets?

    Wardrobe challenged

  7. Dear Wardrobe Challenged,
    Perhaps you should turn your clothes inside out. Though a bit embarrassing, would you rather be menaced by a ghost?
    Spectral Fashionista

  8. Dear Catherine,
    You mean a bone shriveling, tooth rattling and femur oozing read.
    The Ghost of Posting Past


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