I was lying alone in my room when I heard the voice, deep and crackly, coming from beneath my bed.
“Hey,” the voice called out.
I told myself I was just imagining it.
“Hey kid,” the voice repeated.
I drew my knees up to my chest and ducked my head under the blanket, trying to shut out the voice and the cold wind that drifted in through the window, ruffling the curtains.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I’m the monster underneath your bed,” the voice replied.
“You mean you’re real?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” the monster said. “Of course I’m real.”
“Do you have a name?” I asked.
“Of course I have a name.”
“Oh... well what is it?”
“Yeah,” the monster said. “Is there something wrong with that?”
“No. I mean, I don’t know,” I said. “It’s just not very monster-ly.”
“Well my parents didn’t want me to be a monster.”
“Really? What did they want you to be?”
“That’s funny,” I said. I could feel myself beginning to smile.
“What do your parents want you to be?” it asked.
“I don’t know.... Hey Frank?”
“Aren’t you gonna... like... scare me or something?”
“What? Why would I do that?”
“Well, you’re a monster, aren’t you?”
“Well, yeah, of course I am, but that doesn’t mean that I scare little kids.”
“But I thought that was your job.”
“It is my job to scare people,” he replied. “But only bad people.”
“Am I a bad person?” I asked.
“No,” he said, “but you’re not the one I’m here to scare.”
“Who are you here to scare?” I asked.
“The man inside your closet.”
The skin on my arms goosefleshed up. I wanted to ask him what he meant, but I fell silent as I heard a rustling coming from the closet. The door creaked open, and I could hear soft footsteps padding towards me across the bedroom floor. I didn’t dare peek out of the blanket. The footsteps stopped, and I could hear heavy breathing next to me. I squeezed my eyes tight.
The warm sanctuary of the blanket disappeared as it was yanked off me.
I hugged my arms around my knees and prepared for the worst. A scream shattered the night air, followed by the sound of breaking glass. I opened my eyes a crack to see a knife lying on the carpet next to my bed, blade glinting in the moonlight.
My parents rushed into the room and asked me what had happened, but I didn’t know what to say, only that someone had been hiding in my closet and they’d jumped out the window.
My parents called 9-1-1, and the police came right away. They picked up a man called Gary Thompson sprinting through the streets a couple blocks away. He was covered in blood and broken glass. They found Gary’s car abandoned on our property, and inside they found duct tape, knives, barbiturates and a video camera.
From what I heard, Gary’s lawyer employed an insanity defense, and Gary is currently incarcerated in a state mental facility for the criminally insane.
I never heard from Frank the monster again, but the officer who arrested Gary told me that he sleeps on the floor of the facility.
He tells the doctors that he’s terrified of Frank, the monster under his bed.