Y Bwytawyr (475 words)

As I tuck my daughter into bed and wish her goodnight, she looks lovingly up at me and asks for a story. I tell her to move over so I can cutch in beside her and indulge her desires.

Once upon a time, in a land not too far from here, there was a small village called Gan-Y-Nant.

The village itself was unremarkable; it was simply somewhere that needed to exist as the gap between the neighbouring towns was too great and there needed to be something in the middle. The villagers were simple folk, your normal collection of farm hands, a baker, a butcher and Leslie who owned the Inn.

By day they led a quiet, god fearing life, but come nightfall things changed dramatically.

The richer, luckier villagers locked their children in the cellars at night. Safe and sound away from them, the Bwytawyr.

The less lucky had to rely on their wits. They told their children to lie still, close their eyes and not open them until the sun rose.

The Bwytawyr only came out at night. They lived in the shadows of the woods and as the sun sank lower and the shadows grew longer, they grew braver and crept closer and closer.

Few people ever saw them; fewer still ever lived to tell the tale. Legend had it they were small and sleek like a furless cat but walked on their hind legs. Their naked pale skin the reason they hid from the sun.

They would sneak and creep from house to house in the still of the night looking for children who were still awake. Into these unlucky houses they would slide and feast upon the open eyes of the child.

They never meant to kill at first, that wasn't really their game, they only came to feed but when they tried to silence the screams, stifle them away with their paws and claws, death was just an unfortunate by-product. Soon they learnt to kill first eat later, and then the blood lust took hold and they would kill all they found like a fox in a hen house.

The escape was found by accident, a child saw a shadow at her window, closed her eyes tight and lay perfectly still. The Bwytawyr  sensed she wasn't asleep and snuck in, what it found in her bed confused it, it sniffed at the child with its insistent snout, gently pawed at the closed eyes and slunk disappointedly out and into the night again.

They aren't a clever race, the Bwytawyr, they are driven by hunger and thrive on fear.

So if you lay still and shut your eyes you'll be safe my child.

She closes her eyes tight and wriggles down into the blankets for further protection; I kiss her on the forehead and whisper

"cysgu yn dda fy mhlentyn"

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