I hadn't thought about it in years. I don't know what made me remember it today.
I must have been about four, maybe five at the most. One day my father brought home a box with holes all around it. He set it on the table and opened it and stood there smiling and looking down at its contents. After what seemed like forever, long little fingers came up over the edge of the box and a little head soon appeared. The creature had very large eyes which were squinting against the light. It looked like I feel when I first wake up. I remember being terrified as I stared at the little primate as it sat there in it's box looking at me.
My father said it was a noctoid and it's name was Nixie. As it's enormous eyes grew more accustomed to the light I could see that they were not the eyes the creature was born with.
"What does he do?" I asked, sure that I would be told that the creature dismembered children while they slept.
"Mostly he sleeps," my father said. "He sleeps during the day and he's awake at night. But what he really likes to do is fix things. See his little hands? He likes to climb around the familyspace at night when everyone's asleep and take things apart and put them back together better than they were before."
"What kind of things?" I asked suspiciously.
"All kinds of things: mentalstats, your read-to-me, the mealomatic, even the toilet. Anything with parts."
I didn't sleep for months. I'd lie awake listening to the creature as it climbed around the familyspace doing whatever it did. Once I woke up and saw its faintly glowing eyes staring at me from a shelf across the room. I was too terrified to cry out. I just stared back. Eventually it slowly and deliberately climbed down and left the room. When I was sure it was gone I got out of bed, closed the door, and sat there propping it shut with my body till dawn.
I don't think we had the thing more than two or three months when a Courtesy Ranger came to the door. My father spoke with the ranger for a few minutes and then he went and fetched the noctoid from the box it slept in. He gave it to the ranger who put it in a cage with a handle on it and took it away. After the ranger left my father explained that all the noctoids had been recalled. Something about them wasn't right but they would be fixed and then we would get Nixie back again. He told me not to be sad.