Monster Under The Bed

Monster Under The Bed

Emma stands with her back against her closed bedroom door, staring across the dimly-lit room at her bed. It is a simple, happy room, and the bed is inviting. But Emma doesn’t climb under her candy-pink sheets like she’s supposed to. Instead she curls her toes, massaging the carpet floors, stalling. She doesn’t want to go. She is afraid.

There is a monster under Emma’s bed. She knows it.

But this monster isn’t like all the other monsters that plague young childrn. Every time Emma runs to her mother, talking of the monster that terrorizes her night, Mother believes it’s just a childish fantasy conjured by fear and imagination. “Go to sleep,” Mother says, time and again. “It’s your imagination. You read too many stories before bedtime.” Mother tries her best to quiet Emma’s fears. She leaves the light on in the hallway to chase away the darkness. She lifts Emma’s covers up and shines a flashlight underneath her bed to reveal there is nothing making its home in the shadows beneath her comforter. Mother doesn’t understand

When Emma tells her friend Sophie about the monster, Sophie squeaks in fright. “Me too!” She shrieks in earnest. “There’s a monster under my bed with big claws and big fangs and he growls all night long!” Sophie talks of plans to get rid of the monster. She says monsters don’t like broccoli, and Emma’s monster is sure to leave if she brings any to her room. Sophie says monsters don’t like that smelly cleany spray used to clean up the kitchen. But Sophie thinks the monster is a beast, with wide beady eyes, long talons, strings of saliva hanging from his mouth, and a roar more frightening and foreboding than a lion’s. Sophie doesn’t understand.

Emma’s monster isn’t a figment of her imagination, conjured up by a nonsensical belief in the supernatural that every child harbors. It doesn’t have sharp, threatening spikes, matted bloody fur, a coat of thick armor, slithery slimy tentacles, or a beastly roar. But it does yearn to devour her.

Emma stays against the door, fear preventing her legs from moving and her mind from relaxing as she remembers the horrors of the monster that comes at night.

Invisible and undetectable, the monster attacks every night as she tries to drift off, poisoning her mind and filling her with loneliness and missing. Even before she falls deep into the vicious nightmares, fear and sadness consume her as she lies in bed and her mind spirals off into dark places. During the day, there is always something to do, something happening, someone there to chase away the demons. But at nighttime when Emma lies in the darkness, alone with her thoughts, the monster attacks.

The monster fills Emma’s mind’s eye with images of things – and, more often than not, of people – that are lost forever. The monster highlights every negative feeling and pushes them out of the tangle of emotions to the surface. It crawls onto her pillow and whispers wicked and sad things into her ear. It wraps its hand around her neck and suffocates her, and jabs at her heart until she can’t take it anymore. She wants to leave her bed, and run far away from the devil that hides in her bed, but it never lets her go, smothering her.

The worst part is, it never leaves. It’s always waiting for her at night. It can’t be caged by animal control, beaten with a broom, set aflame, or crushed by any amount of weight. Some monsters can’t be killed.