Gumbrich – The Scariest Monster of All
A short story Paul Carden
Gumbrich lived in an old ruined tower on top of a hill overlooking the village of Spidgewell. He was employed by the Guild of Baddies to be the town monster but unfortunately he wasn’t very good at it. With pointy teeth, pointy ears and green skin he certainly looked the part, but when it came to scaring and terrorising the villagers he just wasn’t up to the job. Instead of frightening old ladies he would usually end up helping them home with their shopping, instead of scaring children he would usually end up playing in goal in their football games, and instead of causing people to be too afraid to venture out after dark he would go around lighting the street lamps for them as he was quite tall and could reach the lamps easier. Basically, Gumbrich was not very good at being bad.
The Guild of Baddies were not at all happy with his work and Gumbrich was regularly warned that if he didn’t shape up and start terrorising people they would find another monster to replace him. Gumbrich liked living in Spidgewell and the villagers liked him so he didn’t want to be replaced. After many years the Guild gave him a final warning, their executive committee would visit Spidgewell on Halloween, the scariest night of the year, and if they found the villagers were not as terrified as they should be then Gumbrich would be sacked.
Gumbrich was terribly worried. He wanted to stay in Spidgewell but didn’t want to have to scare his friends in the village. When he didn’t turn up to play in goal at the children’s football game they became worried and wondered if anything was wrong. A group of the children decided to go up to his tower to find out if he was okay. When they arrived they found that he was terribly worried about what would happen when the committee from the Guild of Baddies arrived for their inspection on Halloween. None of the children wanted Gumbrich to have to leave so they decided to hatch a plan to save him from being replaced.
The children assured Gumbrich that everything would be okay and went back to the village to tell their parents their plan. They would decorate their houses in such a way as to make the usually jolly and quaint village of Spidgewell look bleak and scary with fake cobwebs, jack o’ lanterns, rubber rats and all manner of spooky decorations. Also, instead of the usual smiling villagers, they would dress up as ghosts and monsters in order to fool the committee from the League of Baddies into thinking that all the villagers had been driven away because they were all too afraid of Gumbrich.
When the committee arrived they were overjoyed to see such a bleak, sinister place and when they saw it was now only inhabited by ghosts and beasties they congratulated Gumbrich on his excellent work. In fact they were so impressed that they apologised for ever doubting him.
After the committee had gone, the villagers told Gumbrich that they had all enjoyed dressing up and decorating their houses so much that they had decided to do it every year on Halloween, and at the next meeting of the Guild of Baddies the executive committee declared Gumbrich to be the scariest monster of all.