One too many times Benny had cried at night. Like every 8 year old would do, sleeping was a damn scary mission as a young child. Benny however, felt that he had a reason to cry when the time came for bedibos. A damn scary reason.
Howard the Cowhead
Cowhead is Benny's deepest fear. He always had a strange hatred for Cows. The way they 'moo' reminded him of a Zombie or flesh-eating animal as such. Benny's young mind would create a monster he simply calls 'Cowhead'. At night, if he heard any kind of natural sound that may happen in the silence, he thought if he didn't open his eyes to look where the sound came from - then this monster would be there, creeping slowly towards him ready to feast.
That was how it began, just a figment of Benny's imagination. A little fear that genuinely bothered him as a growing kid. Most nights he would have to disturb his sleep around 20 times a night from opening his eyes and looking around the room. This happened constantly until around his 10th birthday.
Benny's Mother spent so many years telling him to grow up that it eventually sunk in. He was 10 now, double figures! It was especially the time to grow up and move on. Sleep in darkness, comfort, relaxing and enjoying bed time like parents do. Parents always value sleep thought Benny, but he just never knew 'how' to do that. It is scary at night afterall. Benny spent 2 weeks after this transitional thought sleeping alone without any problems, he was gobsmacked and would wake up feeling better than ever! Until he got a little too-aware of it..Cowhead would creep back into his mind again and his old routine of disrupting sleep was back. This time, Benny didn't want to mention it to his parents. He was grown up now, right?
It was a Thursday night. Friday tomorrow, and the last day of School for a 2 week holiday. Before the joys of scoffing down treats and watching cartoons everyday came Thursday night. As told by an 18 years of age Benny himself...
"I remember it, yeah. It was just before the two week holiday. I remember that because I spent the whole damn time in a Hospital bed, recovering. I had a problem as a kid with sleeping I mean I HATED sleeping on my own, I could never grasp doing it easily. I'd make up this weird character in my head, it was a man - I think, he had the head of a Cow but he did have male genatalia. He wore underwear and socks only and held this small bottle. I don't know why a bottle bit it looked like my one I used as a baby. Anyway, I heard a good few knocks and taps as usual and I'd always look up to check what it was but it was always nothing. Still, I got that feeling of somebody looking at me? Watching me..I could just feel it. That night was different. After the last disruption I managed to ignore and continue trying to fall asleep. I even remember what I was thinking about at the time, a little made up scenario of walking home the next day and feeling the fun of finishing school for two weeks! I was walking past my school gates, right? Currently in a half-to-half dream state when this crazy seagull flapped down and squarked in my face! In this dream I couldn't move my arms, I could just feel the wings of the bird and the sound of it flapping and panicking. I suddenly woke up and my arms slammed down near my legs as I sat up in an instant sweat. Without a second glance I saw him. I saw Cowhead (photo*). He was just stood there. I'd never seen it so real before it's usually muffled out by other images and thoughts in my head. I sat there as still as a statue, fear blanketed me heavily and I felt very sick. I was still half panicked by the seagull that attacked me in my dream - but this was something else. This was real. Cowhead stood still breathing calmly, he raised his arm that had the bottle in and held it outwards as if to pass it to me. He then stepped closer, one step, two step..I noticed the bottle contained Milk. This was my bottle as a baby that my Mother used for breastmilk. I also noticed his large Cow's mouth had a thick rope of saliva dangling side to side. My hands were now clenching the duvet so tight that my knuckles were plastered bone-white. Cowhead then mounted my bed at the end. He hobbled on knees and hands as he was bounced slightly by the mattress. He slopped to the side and sat down casually. I felt like I couldn't breathe and my throat just wanted to scream for Mommy..The now huge Cow face was sat next to me, it was sideways and looking towards the door. I was watching the Cowhead eyes blink a few times and the rope of saliva had now connected under and around the mouth. He then gradually turns to me, a big looming Cows head slowly meets my eyes. The mouth was hoffing and weezing at me, I could feel warm and damp breath thwacking my face. It stank of wet-dog in all honesty. It was about 15 seconds of eye contact when he spoke to me. He said, 'I'm Howard the Cowhead. You are my Coward' and then a huge wedge of tongue dropped from his mouth. It was pale and gritted with plaque and grime. This stank strongly of wet-dog and proceeded to raise like a large finger, licking my face. I was soaked and so scared...This was Cowhead and his lick infected me for the next two weeks. I am now blind in one eye and my Mother has always held regret for not listening to me at night. But hey, that was a long time ago and I live alone now - not had any problems with Howard the Cowhead ever since. I am still haunted by that night but I'm always sleeping with my girlfriend these days. She's actually staying at her parents house tonight.....