I see my closet door out of the corner of my eye . . . open. Mom always checks my closet and then shuts the door when she tucks me in. Did she forget, or did she close it and now something else has opened it?
It has been waiting for me, waiting for its chance.
There is sudden movement across my window. A fleeting shadow, but I saw it.
My throat is too dry to cry out, and even if I did, my parents are too far down the hall to help me. They would never get here in time.
The room is cold but I am sweating. My heart is beating so fast it hurts my chest. My stomach is rolling and I need to go to the bathroom.
Light . . . I need light. Everyone knows monsters are afraid of the light. If I jump out of bed very quickly, I might make it to the light switch before it gets me. No, I cannot take that chance.
Oh, my god! It is under my bed. I can hear it breathing in short, raspy, hungry breaths.
I can smell it now, like rotten eggs, and it burns my nose and eyes. I know in any second that I will see its claws and then its snarling face slowly rising above the foot of my bed.
“Please” I whimper, as I close my eyes, praying for it to go away.
I feel a tug on the quilt, just a little. Warm urine soaks my underwear and runs down between my legs.
I am going to die.
Sobbing now, I repeat over and over, “There is no such thing as ghosts or monsters.”
I know it is useless. Soon, very soon, I will feel the vise-like grip of its claw around my ankle, and then I will be dragged out and then under my bed, and way down to a place from which children never return.
“There is no such thing as ghosts or monsters. There is no such thing as . . .