I Killed The Monster Under My Bed

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

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Fiction Horror Urban Fantasy

This story contains themes or mentions of sexual violence.

My mind was drifting elsewhere while riding the bus to only God knows where. People inside the bus were wearing costumes for Halloween but I was too preoccupied to notice. They also didn’t notice the bloodstains which drenched my shirt. Or maybe they thought it was a costume. I could not shake the events earlier from my mind. I killed the monster lurking under my bed. I could still hear the sound as I stabbed him repeatedly with a knife as if it was recorded and playing in a loop to my ears. By the way, my name is Thea and I’ll tell you how it all started.  


Kate was crying and trembling as we passed each other in the hallway of our boarding house. Her hands were shaking as she clutches onto her luggage trolley and the sound of the wheels on the wooden floor echoed through my ears. The whispers of my board mates didn’t hide the eerie sound at all. I didn’t know Kate too well but we are classmates in two subjects at school. We are both freshmen college students and I remember the vibrant smile on her pretty face during our orientation program. It was as if she has turned into a completely different person now.  


Kate was the second student from our boarding house who left this semester. The reason remains a mystery because none of them talked before they left. I heard several rumors from my board mates. There was a story going around that our place is haunted because a student once died there when she hanged herself inside her room. She got pregnant and felt depressed about keeping a secret. She felt that she was such a disgrace to her family. They said that she and the child in her womb never made it to the hospital because, by the time they got her down the rope, her fingernails already turned purple. Sometimes, the sound of a chair hitting the floor could be heard in the hallways during the middle of the night. Other times, it could either be a baby’s cry or a weeping woman that brings a chill into the tenants’ spine.   


Another story was that our landlord, Kuya Jose is an aswang. One board mate claimed that she heard Kate scream “Aswang!!!” the other night. During one semestral break, Kuya Jose came home to the province to see his dying mother and it was rumored that the ability to be aswang was passed into him. According to Philippine folklore, no matter how old and tired an aswang gets, he could not die unless he passed the ability to someone, usually but not necessarily a relative. But for me, Kuya Jose is a good fellow. He talks to me whenever we see each other. He was always polite.


Speaking of aswangs, I remember my grandmother telling me stories about them when I was a child. They were evil shape-shifting monsters who ate human flesh. Those handsome vampires I have watched in films would sound like a joke compared to these childhood nightmares. They are fond of pregnant women and could suck the fetus out of their wombs. I remembered Kate telling us that she was pregnant but will keep attending school until the end of the semester. She was full of hope at that time and I swear everyone has seen it on her face. I felt goosebumps behind my neck after realizing that maybe an aswang was indeed after her. Who knows? Stories have been told that during the day, an aswang would appear as a regular human being stalking his next target. According to stories, they could also take the form of a large dog, a wild pig, a man-sized winged animal, or a black cat. They said that you could detect an aswang through a special oil made by a witch doctor which boils if there is an evil entity nearby. You could also know if the person you are talking to is an aswang if your reflection in his eyes is upside down. Aswangs are usually found in rural areas on top of roofs or under the elevated bamboo floorings where a pregnant woman dwells. My cousin and I would always return to our house before dark because we were so afraid of those stories. People would always hide bolo or knives under their beds because the aswangs were afraid of them. Some old folks say that a stingray’s tail and religious artifacts are also effective in warding off these scary monsters. 


There was a popular story that made it to the news headlines and shook the entire country when I was a child. A woman named Maria went abroad to help ease her family’s poor situation. There she met a fellow Filipino, an old woman who unfortunately has passed Maria the ability to be an aswang. She got sick and was sent home by her employer. One day, her husband went home and was eating dinner that his wife had served him. He asked Maria to look for their two children and join him for dinner. He knew later that Maria served him their two kids for dinner. The husband hunted Maria since then to avenge their children. Maria would escape from town after town leaving horrors to folks of all ages, thinking that one day Maria would visit their town. 


I spent the next days sleeping with my headset on and my playlist on shuffle mode. I was afraid that I might hear the tick-tick-ticking noise my grandmother talked about from the ceiling of my room. She said that it is the noise signaling that a nearby aswang is ready to eat its next flesh. To confuse its prey, the fainter the sound, the closer the aswang is. I imagined the aswang stretching its tongue as it reaches out for me. I always hid a knife under my pillow before I go to bed. It was a sharp butterfly knife or locally known as balisong that I bought from a shop near the university.


I forced myself not to believe in such things anymore. I’m even living in the city now and aswang is only popular in rural areas. A few months after the incident, the rumors subsided. My board mates returned to their usual norms but Kate never came back. Her room was occupied by a newcomer we knew as Lily. She was a year ahead of me. We are all girls and all of us have a room of our own but we share two separate bathrooms. Kuya Jose also manages a boarding house for boys near ours.


Halloween came and my board mates saw this as an opportunity to go home to their provinces. It is a three consecutive holiday in the Philippines starting October 31. Well at least for them, but not for me. The restaurant where I work part-time is usually packed with customers these days. While everyone was enjoying their vacation, I was working hard to help pay for my tuition. Most of my board mates are university scholars so they didn’t have to work during their university days. And of course, my rich schoolmates could afford those classy apartments with their parents’ wealthy pockets so they don’t usually hang out in a boarding house like ours. I hope someone would decide to stay in our boarding house instead of taking a vacation. It would make me feel less scared.


After a tiring evening, I went straight to the boarding house after my shift at around ten. The place was weirdly quiet, or I was just not used to it. The lights from the other rooms were off so I guess they all went home for vacation. Even Kuya Jose wasn’t around. It was weird because he would usually tell me if he will be away for a while. Maybe he just attended a Halloween event somewhere. I was starting to get goosebumps so I hurriedly went inside my room and locked the doors behind me. I broke the frightening silence with my usual playlist playing loudly on my Bluetooth speaker. I swear I felt that someone is watching me. I even imagined hearing the tick-tick-ticking noise that my grandmother told me about. Or perhaps, it was just the sound of my heartbeat. 


Suddenly I heard a noise under my bed. My palms went cold and I could feel that the hairs on the back of my neck are standing. I quickly reached out for the balisong under my pillow. My hands were trembling. I stepped out of the bed and distanced myself to safety. I leaned over to see what was hiding under the bed. I didn’t notice myself holding my breath. I was expecting to see Maria with a scar on her face that she got when her husband caught her once and gashed a bolo into her face. I'm ready to do the same to her with the blade in my hand. But it wasn’t Maria. It was a man. His eyes were bulging and his face looked oddly familiar. The man went out and I never felt so scared in my entire life. 


“Kuya Jose?” my voice was shaking. Are the rumors true? Did his dying mother really passed him the ability to be an aswang?


“Thea! What a surprise.” It sounded hoarse and was different from the cheerful voice I am used to. 


Kuya Jose’s eyes were almost monstrous. He moved his tongue across his lips as if he was about to devour his tasty meal. He was almost shaking like I was. He moved slowly towards me tiptoeing as if he was taunting me. I froze. I couldn’t even shout for help. I didn’t remember the details but when he came closer, I stabbed him out of instinct. He fell but I repeatedly stabbed him and I lost count. There was blood all over the floor and some on my shirt. I then hurriedly packed my things on my luggage trolley. I left the place trembling and sobbing just like Kate did. 


“Hey, this is the last stop!” the bus driver yelled. I looked around and saw that the other passengers had already left. It was almost midnight. I found myself on an empty street. There were only a few street lights unlike in the city. This place was already a rural area miles away from the city. If I was the scared person that I was these past few days trembling at the memories of my grandmother’s stories, I would have jumped back straight to the bus and back to the city.  


But I’m not afraid anymore. I realized that my grandmother’s stories aren’t real. The real aswangs dwell among us. They do not shapeshift but they do feast on human flesh. They are beyond evil out of lust. Just like Kuya Jose, hiding under an innocent woman’s bed. I’m glad I killed that monster. If time rewinds, I’d do it over again. I was enraged by those monsters. Monsters that would kill for flesh.  They are primal and perverse beings.


I suddenly realized why Kate was pregnant when I haven’t seen him around any boys on the campus. I wonder if the same thing happened to the girl who left before Kate. I also wondered if that story of the pregnant girl who committed suicide in our boarding house and was allegedly haunting the place had anything to do with Kuya Jose.


I gathered myself together and confidently greeted myself with a “Happy Halloween!” At least I got myself a vacation.  


October 26, 2022 09:57

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11:27 Oct 26, 2022

This is my second story. Thanks for being shortlisted on my first one. I'm from the Philippines and it might be a surprise to you that even these days people would go nuts when they hear about an alleged encounter with what we call an aswang. An aswang is an evil shapeshifting creature that eats human guts, a fetus in a womb, or human flesh. There was a family whose child died in a natural way but the family would not believe it so they refused to hold a burial. It was believed an aswang can replace the body of its victim with a doppelgange...

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