by Angela Kempe
David climbed out of bed and swung his door wide open, standing defiantly in the bright light of the hall in his cotton Pokemon pjs.
“Go back to bed!” his mother shouted from the living room.
David was sure his mommy had a superhero ability to see through walls. He turned apprehensively toward his room. His duvet was jumbled into a mess at the foot of the bed and the folds were casting menacing shadows resembling long monster faces. David had stuffed his dirty clothes and some toys under the bed in a mad rush to watch TV and some of their colors and edges were poking out of the darkness in unsettling shapes. It was hard to make out what they were, but he knew not to be afraid. So, he watched the shapes closely as he inched himself back into the dark.
Standing at his mattress, his thoughts drifted momentarily to drawing pictures on the floor, when suddenly he felt something grab at his foot. David screamed, falling back in horror.
“Mommy! Mommy!” he said, running to the living room.
Tears streamed down his red face.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
She wiped the wet hair away from his sweaty brow.
“There’s a monster under my bed!”
At that, she laughed and squeezed him tight.
“Don’t worry, baby! There’s no such thing as monsters.”
She picked his small body up and he tangled his arms around her neck as they walked back to his room. Then, she lay him in his bed and pulled the covers up snug to his neck.
“See,” she said, gazing into his glassy eyes. “Everything is safe.”
David wanted to tell her otherwise, but was lulled by the full tones of her voice and the soft touch of her fingers combing through his hair. He let her walk out the door, but not a minute later, remembered he was alone again in the dark. So, he shook away his sleepiness and kicked off the covers, sitting cross-legged on his mattress.
David peered over the edge of the bed. Everything was eerie quiet. A gentle moonlight cast a dim light across the room, but the floor lay in deep shadows. The space under his bed was hard to see from above. So, David jumped off and got down on his hands and knees, peering into the dark. He could see his ball and the edge of a dirty shirt. Maybe the monster was hiding. He pressed his cheek against the cold hard wood. He choked down his fear and stretched his hand under the bed.
When David could see through to the other side, he began feeling a little more at ease. Then, suddenly the ground shook. David screamed and pressed his body against the floor. He tried to grip as it shook, but he couldn’t get his small hands to stop himself and hit his back against the steel bed frame.
When the house stopped shaking, David began to sob. But, just as he was about to run to his mother, he was stopped by a strange movement above the mattress. He held his breath and squeezed his eyes shut. He listened to the door swing open once again. He listened to his heart pounding in his ears and held his breath until he felt faint. Then, he listened to the steps coming towards him.
David fought with himself until he decided to look. Decide that he was still alive. He opened his eyes and began to analyze the strange white toes, small and delicate, wiggling before him. Curious, he reached out to touch the small feet, brushing his hand across cotton Pokemon pajama bottoms.