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Ever since I was a child, my life has taken a... series of unfortunate events, if you will. I suppose the monster under my bed was just the cherry on top of my misfortune. I took to calling it the Sleepytime Monster, childish as it may sound. I can assure you, however, it is anything but.

I was born to a drug-addicted lowlife that abandoned me the second she could. I was sent off to foster care, and there I stayed, shuffling from home to home. However, misfortune seemed to follow me wherever I was present. My first foster parents' house had burned down, with them in it. I was naively unaware, just being two years old at the time. My second foster parents drowned in a freak boating accident. Of course, I survived that as well. The chain of events kept up. Just as I started to settle into my new life, another tragedy would occur, and I would be ripped away back into the foster system. After time, I learned to become desensitized to it, learning to never become attached to my new family. They always ended up the same as the rest, six feet down beneath a gravestone.

The first time it came, I was seven. My last foster family had died in a car accident that, of course, I survived in a cruel twist of fate. I was lying in bed, reading Oliver Twist, if I can recall, when I glanced up at the clock. Yawning, I saw that it was 11:59. I decided to call it a night, and pulled the woolen sheets over myself as I rested my head on the pillow. In the background, a loud tick indicated the arrival of midnight. As I drifted off however, I heard a loud scraping noise beneath my bed. I was... intrigued. God, I was so naively stupid...

I peeked beneath my bed, as any stupid child would have done, and it was at that moment my heart stopped. I yanked my head back and pulled the covers over my shaking body. A dark shadow fell across the inside of my blanket as the monster pulled itself from the depths of whatever nightmare it had come from and stood on my floor. I watched its frame through the covers, as it slowly stalked across my room and ever-so-slowly, switched off the lamp. I could feel it standing over me, and watched in disbelief as it raised its long, thin finger to its lips, and quietly slunk back beneath my bed.

Somehow, I fell asleep that night. And, as if it was a recurring nightmare, it kept coming back. Every night, at exactly midnight, it would crawl out from beneath the bed, turn out the light, and shush me before slinking back into its domain. It was during this I got a better view of its appearance. It was thin, emaciated even, with a face that showed empty, skeletal eyes sockets and a long, lip-less mouth. Its arms and legs were disproportionate, being far too long and tall for its torso. It scraped the ceiling when it stood fully.

Years passed of the same routine. I grew to accept the things presence in my life, although I had to alter my life because of it. No overnight trips, no slumber parties. I didn't know exactly what would happen if I wasn't in bed by midnight, but I suspected it wouldn't be good. I wasn't afraid of the creature anymore, no, too much time had passed. But I was wary and cautious of it. I knew, with every cell of my body, that it was unnatural.

That's... when the incident occurred. I was in high school now, with a solid group of friends and decent popularity. I had taken to partying, as a way to pass the time, but I was always careful. Not too many drinks, and always home and in bed before midnight. Not... not this night, however. Too many drinks had impaired my sense of time, and when I checked my watch, it was 11:51. I swore, drawing the attention of the party goers, but by the time they had managed a question I was already out the door and sprinting home. It had been only a 5 minute drive here, and so I held in my mind a naive hope that I might be able to make it home until midnight. I couldn't.

My watched ticked loudly as midnight arrived, and my heart sank as, from beneath an old bed left among a pile of abandoned furniture, a long, pale arm reached out and clutched a chair. I watched in horror as the creature slowly pulled its towering frame from beneath the bed, and screeched into the cool night air. I turned and ran as fast as I could, listening as the thing thumped along behind me. My heartbeat pounded in my ears and my lungs were on fire, but I didn't dare stop, even for a second. I looked over my shoulder, just as the thing slammed into me. Looming over my helpless form, it slammed its fist into my head.

When I woke up, I was resting in a hospital bed, several nurses chattering around me. I looked to my side, seeing an IV drip inserted into my arm. Trying to sit up, I fell back in pain. I realized my ribs were broken as I felt an aching pain in my sides, and suspected my ankle was broken as well. My head swam as I drifted back into unconsciousness, my last sight being the nurses rushing over.

In my unconsciousness, I dreamed. I dreamed that the Sleepytime Monster was standing over me, on that very same empty road where I had tried and failed to escape him. I dreamed that I was embedded in the asphalt, with only my face remaining unemerged. But instead of attacking me, of killing me, the monster spoke to me. Its lipless, thin mouth opened and spoke in a way I am unable to describe. It spoke words I did not know, yet I did. It made sounds I could not decipher, yet I could. It told me:

Somnum aeternam

And then I awoke.

Eternal Sleep. That's what it said. I've grown up since then. I've moved into my own apartment, after graduating with a Bachelors Degree from a prestigious college. I work a well-paying, stress-free job. All in all, I'm doing much better than most other people.

And yet it never left.

It still crawls out from beneath my bed every night, turning out the light and sending me into the abyss of sleep. It still prevents me from staying up after midnight. It still forces me to sleep.

Lately, its been becoming more agitated, more... aggressive. Instead of its normal, silent slither over to the light, it stomps loudly. It stands over me now, silently screaming, before crawling back beneath the bed. Its tried going to either side, looking as if its trying to find a weak spot. Its skeletal eye sockets somehow brim with cold fury.

This thing wants to kill me, and it is close to figuring out how. It wants me to sleep eternally, to die, just as it told me on that fateful night. It has to be bound by some unseen rules that keep it from smiting me in my bed, otherwise I would certainly be dead.At least, that's the conclusion I've come to. As to why I am still alive today? The scariest part of this is... I don't know. I don't know why it spared me once, why it left the scar shaped like three Zs on my hand, why it branded its words into my memory. Maybe it was part of its rules. Maybe it was toying with me, finding pleasure in my torment. Maybe it was simply forgiving.

All I know is that it is impatient for my death, and it wants to do the honors.

All it needs is an excuse.