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The Monkey

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As we all should be, I'm a skeptic. The things I'm about to say could just be suppressed memories and coincidence. Paranormal or not, it's really unnerved me. Forgive me. I'm not a writer, and this story has come to me in bits and pieces. Many of which I've been plucking from my family's memories.

When I was around eighteen I went to my friend Lee's house. I used to go to his a lot, but this night he had family round as well. I used to volunteer in a Special Educational Needs school, so Lee thought it would be a good idea to let me meet his young cousin who was getting tested to see if she had any mental problems. As many people do when your meeting someone for the first time, Lee decided to show off his cousin and announced her 'weird powers'. Apparently this little girl was never alone. She had a twin no one could see, who looked exactly like her but in reverse.

This girl was ten. And I remember after she told me her stories, I thought, 'This seems well rehearsed.' She must have told the same thing thousands of times. How her best friend wears a weird dirty dress with tomato ketchup up the front and no one else can see her. They met because her 'twin' pulled this girl out of the wall where she was locked in for a long time. The list of imaginary friends continued and I think I'd heard of every trope she mentioned. It really annoyed me that half the family just let the girl say these things while the other half encouraged it by actually believing her stories.

I don't agree with imaginary friends. I think it's bad for intelligence as you grow up. However Lee warned me not to say they weren't real. It really upset her (surprise, surprise). I remember feeling angry when I left his house. This poor girl being humored instead of corrected.

So that night I told my mom about my encounter with the girl who has imaginary friends who are in fact dead people, then preached my ethos on why you should not encourage children with imaginary friends. I remember my mom looking really awkward while I was telling her, but I put it down to her thinking 'why is it such a big deal to you?' I couldn't have expected her reply when I finished: '...Adam, do you remember the monkey?' I laughed. What monkey? But my mom just stared. The way she said 'The Monkey' still rings in my mind. I didn't realize how serious or frightened she was until she reminisced on the whole ordeal.

Apparently since I was very young, before my school years, I had an imaginary friend. It was a monkey. But I was very insistent that it should be called THE Monkey. And it lasted up until I was about six. As far as my parents could tell The Monkey couldn't talk, and acted in every way as a real monkey would. Monkeys were my favorite animal, so this didn't really bother or shock me. Why the hell would I forget something like this? My mother described certain experiences where The Monkey was really prominent. I remember some of the days vividly but I have no recollection of a monkey.

For example, when I went to the whacky warehouse for the first time. I remember so much about that day. I remember it was one of my first experiences of getting bullied. By this older kid who chased me and wouldn't leave me alone the whole time. I remember trying to be nice to him to no avail. Hell, I can even remember how he looked! His spikey hair and podgy, smirking face. But there's nothing in my mind about an imaginary monkey.

My mother's story was slightly different. She said we drove past the Whacky Warehouse because my parents were showing me where I was going for a treat on the weekend. As we drove past, I opened the window shouting 'Come back!' in hysterics. Apparently The Monkey had escaped from the car and wanted to live there instead of with me. They thought it was a cheap trick to go to the soft play that very moment, until I said I wanted to go to the Tesco opposite for a banana. That was a bit too elaborate just to go to the Whacky Warehouse. There was no other way I'd get The Monkey back because, as I explained at the time, I couldn't touch it so I couldn't grab it. As soon as they bought the banana, The Monkey had ran to me from over the road and I wanted to go home. I don't remember any of this.

My mother even brought up that bully from the day I actually went to the soft play. How they asked if he was giving me any bother and I told them I didn't mind too much because the monkey would sort him out later. What the hell I meant, we both don't know.

It was very fond of my uncle David. It liked his shoulder. He lived an hour's drive away and we didn't see him much. My mom told me how he loved seeing us but dreaded hearing about that monkey. He said the way I looked at it was too real. The way I could be so focused on something, then turn my head and suddenly laugh at what The Monkey was doing made him think there was more to it than just a kid's imagination. I asked him about it the next time I saw him. He avoided the subject, but he did say you can tell when a child is making up a joke or scheming. They haven't learnt to hide their emotions well enough. But reactions about The Monkey were too spontaneous. I remember him saying something like, '...usually a kid will tell you all about their imaginary friend and always know exactly where it is. There were times I'd get curious and question you about The Monkey or ask where he was, and it scared me how many times you said, "I don't know."'

I remember sitting at the table while my mother told me everything, a bit excited and curious as hell. This was about me, but I had no memory of it. It was exciting to find stuff out about myself. But she was so serious and rebuffed most of my questions or didn't know the answers. The whole time we spoke her eyes stared down at the table, until I asked, 'when did I stop believing in it?' There was almost a blankness in her eyes when she looked up at me. I can't believe how scared my parents get when I mention it. She just stared into my eyes and said, 'We had to get rid of it.'

I don't know much about how I stopped believing in The Monkey. My parents are extremely reluctant to talk about it. I know I woke my parents up one night when I was five or six, screaming. I was standing in their room covering my face shouting, 'Get it out,' over and over. There was nothing physically wrong with me apart from my eyes were extremely blood shot. They asked what was the matter, to which I repeatedly shouted in horror, 'The Monkey's in my eyes.'

So they managed to get rid of it. How, they won't tell me. My dad said they told it to go away and it did. For some reason I'm not buying that. I'm fairly certain my parents don't have a clue what was happening to me, but I've got such a big feeling that they're keeping something from me.

But from that next morning onwards I never mentioned The Monkey again. Whatever they did worked. My whole family questioned why I never brought The Monkey up, but no one said anything to me in case I started it all again. My uncle jokingly asked my parents where it went. He said my parents didn't find it funny at all. They explained I had a nightmare about it and now it was gone.

Why did I mention my friend's cousin so much earlier? A few days after that night I recalled something that girl said to me. She said there was someone she had never seen before in the room with us that night, sitting on top of a bookcase.

She said to me, 'It looks like a wrinkly gargoyle with a big smile, but it won't come near you. It's not allowed.'

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