There's Something Under the Bed

Submitted into Contest #169 in response to: Write about someone finding a monster under their bed.... view prompt


Horror Funny Speculative

There’s Something Under the Bed

It’s early, --a little past two in the morning.  Here I am, a forty-year-old mother in my pink “GOT SLEEP?” pajamas.  My butt in the air, on her hands and knees, as I peer under the foot of my kid’s bed, asking myself, “What is it?” Under other circumstances, I would run or scream from this horror. But the tables are about to turn and this thing is going regret its decision as it meets Sleepless Mommy.

 The monster is stretched out on its side with a clawed hand supporting its head. It yawns. It’s around a foot in length and covered in purple scales that iridesce in the room’s nightlight. Its eyes are round and remind me of my over-sized, obsidian earrings. When I don’t scream and run away, it tilts its head to the side for a moment and blinks. Once…twice.  I hear something like a little laugh as it leans toward me and reveals its fangs in slow motion.


I exhale and close my eyes, trying to find the humor in this situation. And succeed.

What do you get if Spike, the Gremlin and your pet lizard have a baby? This thing.

This is the fourth night in a row Sara has awakened, calling for me in the middle of the night. I rush to her room, heart beating fast. I never see anything, but hear something skittering over the wood floors. I search everywhere. I search the closets and through the wasteland of toys on the floor. Nothing. But tonight, I find it waiting for me. 

Bad luck for you, Buddy.

When I was a kid, I had some problems with something in my closet, but when you figure I watched horror films and read horror stories like they were Lays potato chips, I knew that I was just scaring myself. To tell the truth, I thought some of the monsters were cool. As I grew up and traded in my imagination for the real world, my fears disappeared. And did I really believe those scary childhood stories? Not really. My friends and I figured it was all a grown-up, parent conspiracy to bring us under their thumbs. I mean, what parent didn’t use those stories?

“Think you’re bad, kid? Wait till the boogey man comes for a visit.”

If monsters are real, I needed hard proof…


Kind of like this. 

Monsters really are real! Who knew? I squint my eyes and consider what to do.

    I’d x-ed out the usual screaming and running in fear. Instead, I would kick its bad-acting butt, make it very sorry for daring to show its ugly face, and resume my life and sleep.

Yeah, sounds like a plan.

I stare at it and know that this would be a war of wills. But I have the upper hand having survived the terrible twos and twin teenagers. I nodded my head and asked it, “You really want to do this? I have work tomorrow.”

  It answered with that slow, drawn-out, fangy smile. Before, I was angry. Now I'm pissed. I’m not going to let my kid or myself go through another sleepless night.

"We are not going to do this," I mumble through gritted teeth.

I reach out and grab it by the neck. It starts to make loud, farting noises. "Quiet down," I whisper, while holding my nose, "or my voice will be the last sound you hear."

It stops moving and dangles in my hand. For a moment, I wonder if I pressed its neck too hard and too long.

Maybe yes, maybe no. I remember the merry chase it sent me on these last few nights. This thing was not to be trusted.

I throw it into a pull string bag that’s on the floor and tie it up so it can’t get out. Raising my head, I see my little girl with her back firmly pressed against the headboard. Her body is trembling beneath the blanket that’s pulled up to her neck.

"Did you see it? The monster under my bed? Did you see it, Mommy?"

I make sure to smile while I stretch my free arm to grab the nearest toy on the floor. I glance down pleased to see that it’s her sister’s old mangled baby doll. I hold it up for Sara to see.

"No," I say. "See, it’s just Talking Maggie. She flinches at the one-eyed, half-bald monstrosity.

“She can look kind of scary in the dark and sometimes she talks without you pulling her string, but it's just a toy."

My daughter crawls toward me and gives the doll a quick poke with her finger and then waits and watches with a furrowed brow. It doesn’t move.

“Thank you, Mommy.” She sucks her thumb and continues to stare at the doll. “Can you take Maggie with you?"

"I sure can. Good night, Sweety." I lean over and give her a longer than usual hug and kiss.

I close the door and walk to the hallway closet, find the hamster carrier, take it into the bathroom, and close the door. I place it on a small wooden table, turn the monster out into the cage and lock it. It sits up and rubs its head. Its eyes have a rim of red around them. After a few minutes of rolling on the floor of the cage and jumping up and down, it speaks with a bad impression of The Mafioso godfather.

"Lady, what's your problem? You're old enough to know the drill. There's always a monster under the kid's bed. It's part of growing up.”

 It grasps the wire mesh and with narrowed eyes and a low, tight voice rasps, “I should report you to—"

   “You threatening me?” I growl the words between lips that barely move. The monster moves to the other end of the cage, away from me.

My hands grab the sides of the cage. I pretend it’s a washing machine on the wash cycle. 

“Wait! Stop!”

It screams, as it becomes part of an ad for the world’s most powerful washer. But after a few seconds, I place the cage back on the table, with remorse. Now my arms and hands are going to be sore for a week. Inside the cage, the monster is still. So I get a Q-tip and poke him until he starts moving again. He moans and sits up.

I continue my rant. "Part of growing up, huh? Well, let's just add that to clowns, the Sandman, La Llorona, and the dozens of other ‘creepy creature’ rites of passage for kids around the world.”

“They’re not all bad. You have Santa and the Easter Bunny!” It argues.

“You probably threw those two in there so children won’t be traumatized as adults.”

I throw my hands up into the air. “Enough already.”

"Hey, calm down lady. Don't shoot the messenger. I'm just doing my job here. So your little girl’s scared. She’ll get over it. They all do.”

It studies me, purses its lips and shrugs. 

“Well, maybe not in your case, lady. Meanwhile, I don't do this,--”  It punctuates this with several hard taps to his chest, “I don't get paid and I got a family to feed."

"Hmmm.” I pause and stare at it. I move to a safe distance and lower my body until we’re eye-to-eye. “Maybe you don't ever go home. Maybe no one ever hears from you again." I can feel an evil grin fill my face.

It jumps up and grabs onto the latticework of the cage. "They know where I am. You'll never get away with it." 

Didn’t expect that answer. I always thought monsters worked alone. Never heard of a crossover story before like “Sandman Teams Up With Thing in the Closet.”

I take a minute to think. "They", whoever that is, probably will find out. For all I know, they have mini cell phones and it has to check in at the end of its shift. My shoulders slump as I exhale.

One corner of the monster’s mouth turns up and focuses its gaze on the claws of one hand. "Maybe they'll send ‘the monster in the closet’ or the ‘thing that goes bump in the night’ to your kid’s room.” It looks up at me and nods. “Then you'll be sorry."

I massage my temples, trying to avert the headache building up. If he’s real, then so are others. My hands drop to my sides in defeat.

But was I defeated? The battle was lost, but did that mean the war as well?

“I’ll pay you,” I say.

“What?” It asks.

"I said that I’ll pay you to stay hidden and when it's time for you to go, you just disappear. My daughter never sees you. What do you say?"

It raises an eyebrow while rubbing its hands together. "No scales off my skin. But we have to seal the deal. I don’t trust you.”

"You don’t trust me?" I swallow the outrage rising in my throat. “How much is this deal going to cost me in cold cash?

"Nothing,” it says, showing its needlepoint fangs. "All business deals are bartered in meaty parts.  I noticed you have a big, fat kitty downstairs. He'd be worth a few day's pay."

I shiver. “Forget it. No pets or other living things as bater. What other options are there?”

“One pound each of filet mignon, beef liver, and brains each week.” It crossed its arms across it chest.

“Agreed. When does this shift end? You need to go.”

“Wait. We still haven’t sealed the deal.” He points to my hand and opens his mouth. “Your thumb will do nicely.”  

 “Are you kidding me?”

The monster shrugs. “It’s this or…” He makes a bumping sound with his little fist on the floor of the cage.

I slump against the tub and think about all the monsters that could come with endless nights of no sleep. No thanks.

I unlock the opening and slip in my fist. I straighten one finger.

“Not the thumb. Take my pinky.”

October 21, 2022 20:16

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Jay Wayne
21:15 Nov 02, 2022

I love the dialogue here, as well as the attitude of the mom. It feels exactly like something my mother would have done when I was a kid if she found an actual monster under my bed. Well, maybe not offering up her pinky finger. That seems a bit extreme! I also like the descriptions and metaphors you use, whether it's the mom's younger self consuming monster media like potato chips or the mafioso voice of the thing under the bed. Very nicely written! Thank you for sharing.


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Renee Atherton
04:58 Oct 31, 2022

The dialogue in this is great! Very well done, good luck!!


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