“Lucy walked around the house.”
“Inside the house everything was quiet. Her mother was putting homemade jam into jars.”
“Lucy heard noises. The noises were coming from inside the walls.
They were hustling noises and bustling noises.
They were crinkling noises and crackling noises.
They were sneaking, creeping, crumpling noises.”
“Lucy knew what kinds of things make noises like that in the walls of big old house, and she went and told her mother.
‘There are wolves in the walls,’ Lucy said to her mother.
‘Lean hear them.'”
“‘No,’ said her mother ‘There are no wolves in the walls. You must be hearing mice, I suppose.'”
‘”‘Wolves,’ said Lucy. ‘I’m sure it’s not wolves,’ said her mother.”
“‘For you know what they say….'”
“‘If the wolves come out of the walls, then it’s all over.'”
“‘What’s all over?’ asked Lucy.”
“‘It,’ said her mother. ‘Everybody knows that.'”
“Lucy picked up her pig-puppet doll, which she’d had since she was little, little, baby.
“‘I don’t think it sounds like mice,’ she said to her pig-puppet.
“In the middle of the night when everything was still, she heard clawing and gnawing, nibbling and squabbling.
She could hear the wolves in the walls, plotting their wolfish plots, hatching their wolfish schemes.”
“In the day, Lucy felt eyes upon her, watching her from the cracks and from the holes in the walls. They peeped through the eyes in the paintings. She went to talk to her father.
“‘There are wolves in the walls,'” she told him.
“‘I don’t think there are, poppet,’ he told her. ‘You have an overactive imagination. Perhaps the noises you heard come from rats. Sometimes you get rats in big old houses like this.’
“‘It’s wolves,’ said Lucy. ‘I can feel them in my tummy. And pig-puppet thinks its wolves as well.’
“‘Well, you can tell your puppet…..Why am I asking you to tell her anything? She’s just a puppet.’
“Lucy patted her pig-puppet’s head so he wouldn’t be offended.”
“‘Anyway, you know what they say about wolves,’ said her father ‘If the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.’
“‘Who says that?’ asked Lucy.
“People. Everybody. You know,’ said her father, and he went back to practicing his tuba.”
“She was drawing a picture when she heard the noises again, a scrambling, rambling, rustling in the walls. ‘There are wolves in the walls,’ she told her brother.”
“‘Bats,’ he said.”
Lucy heard noises. The noises were coming from inside the walls. They were hustling noises and bustling noises.
“‘You think it’s bats?’ she asked. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I think you are!’
“And he laughed for a long time at his own joke, although it had not been a particularly good one.
“‘I am not bats,’ said Lucy. ‘I am telling you there are wolves in the walls.’
“‘Firstly, there are no wolves in this part of the world,’ he told her.
“‘Secondly, wolves don/t live in walls, only mice and rats and bats and things.
“‘Thirdly, if the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.'”
“‘Who says?’ asked Lucy
“‘Mister Wilson at my school,’ said her brother. ‘He teaches s about wolves and things.’
“‘And how does he know?’ asked Lucy.
“‘ Everybody nows,’ said her brother’ and he went back to doing his homework.”
“The next day the noises were louder. ‘We have to do something about those mice,’ said her mother.
“Pesky rats!’ said her father. ‘I’ll call someone up about them in the morning.'”
“lIt’s bats, I know it is!’ said her brother, happily. ‘I shall ensure that I sleep with my neck exposed tonight, in case one of the is a vampire bat. Then, if it bites me I shall be able to fly and sleep in a coffin, and never have to go to school in the daytime again.'”
“But Ludy did not think it was mice or rats or bats. She shook her head at this sad display of ignorance. Then she cleaned her teeth, and she kissed her mother and father, and she took herself off to her bed.
“The old house made no noises that night. ‘I don’t like it’