A/N: Here’s another short story for you guys. I hope you enjoy it!
Her name was Lisa Davidson, she was eight years old, and there was a monster underneath her bed.
She knew this to be a fact in the same way that she knew that chocolate tasted good, and you should brush your teeth twice a day. It wasn’t like she’d ever seen it or anything, but it was quite awful at hiding.
For one thing then she could hear it breathe. Quite loudly as well. Actually it sounded like her monster might have a cold. She could also hear it move around under there. Claws were scratching the wooden floors, and she would swear that she once actually heard it sneeze.
Out of sheer habit she almost said bless you.
She’d tried to tell her dad of course. He was the strongest person she knew, and Lisa was sure he’d kick the monster out of their house. But when she’d whispered to him that there was a monster underneath her bed, he’d merely smiled at her and told her that there was no such things as monsters.
“But there is!” she insisted, completely forgetting to whisper.
He seemed more amused than worried for her safety, and frankly Lisa felt insulted. She lowered her voice to a whisper again.
“I can hear him underneath there,” she whispered to him.
Her dad smiled. “What makes you so sure the monster is a guy?” he asked.
Lisa rolled her eyes over her dad’s ignorance. “He’s hiding under the bed,” she told him. “Only male monsters do that. Tommy told me.”
“I see.” He was definitely amused, and if Lisa hadn’t still been able to hear the monster underneath her bed, she would have kicked him out. Now, however, she needed him.
“I even heard him sneeze once,” she told her dad.
“Sneeze?” He was definitely amused. “I’ll tell you what, darling. I’ll look under the bed, if you promise to go to sleep afterwards.”
With a last smile her dad went down on all fours and looked underneath the bed. Lisa waited with baited breath. Then…
“Nope,” her dad said. “Nothing there.”
“But I can hear him!”
“Darling, I promise there’s nothing underneath there. You’re just hearing the old house, that’s all. Now I kept my side of our deal. You be a big girl and keep yours too, okay?”
And with these words and a last kiss on her forehead he left her alone with a monster hiding underneath her.
For a long time Lisa lay in silence. Adults were blind, but to this day she hadn’t realised how little they truly saw. How could he not see something when he was staring straight at it? She certainly wasn’t going to sleep now. Was he insane? But still, she couldn’t stay up all night. She wondered what the monster would do to her if she fell asleep. She decided she’d ask it.
“Um, excuse me? Mr. Monster?” she asked out into the air.
She heard a bit more movement.
“Yeah?” A voice then sounded from underneath her.
“Are you going to eat me?” It seemed like the most logical question.
“Well, I’m actually supposed to, but to be honest I’d rather not. Little girls don’t taste very good.”
“Really?” she gave her arm an experimental lick. She didn’t think she tasted that bad, but it didn’t seem like a smart move to tell the monster that. “Does little boys taste better?” she asked. She hoped he wasn’t planning on eating her little brother. He was occasionally a pain in the ass, but Lisa supposed she still didn’t want him to be eaten.
“Goodness no! Even worse than little girls.”
“Oh.” Lisa thought over this for a little while. “What do you like to eat then?”
“Well, my favourite is butterscotch cookies.”
“I like those too! But I don’t think we have any,” she apologised. “There’s some chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen if you’d like?”
“That sounds good too.”
“And then you promise you won’t eat me or my brother?”
“Cross my hearts.”
“Very well,” she said, getting out of bed. “Now wait here. I’ll be right back.”
The trip to the kitchen was a short one, and one she’d taken dozens of times before in the dark, sneaking past the closed door to the living room. It was far from her first treasure hunt for a goodnight snack, but it was the first time she’d gotten one for a monster.
Though he did thank her politely when she returned to the bedroom. Clearly he also had a mother, who tried her best to teach him some manners.
Lisa made herself comfortable in the bed. The monster really wasn’t as scary as she’d first thought.
“What’s your name?” she asked it curiously, when the sound of something munching ceased.
“Yeah, Gary. What’s wrong with Gary?”
“Nothing. My cousin’s name is Gary. It’s just… well, it’s not a very monstrous name.”
Gary sighed. “I know. It’s not my real name, but you wouldn’t be able to pronounce that. Gary is the human name which comes closest to it though.”
Lisa thought over it for a few seconds. She supposed Gary was a fine name. Even for a monster.
“I’m Lisa,” she introduced herself.
“It’s nice to meet you Lisa.”
For a long time neither of them said anything. Then –
“Why do monsters hide under the bed anyway?”
“Well, where would you have hid? I’m kind of big, so the only options are really under here or in the closet, and well…”
“Well, the closet scares me. You have that freaky clown painted on it.”
“Hey! My dad painted that!”
“Still creepy. And I should know creepy.”
“Why do monsters scare children anyway? It’s stupid.”
Gary was silent for a long time. “Well, to be honest, I don’t really know.”
“You don’t know?”
“Well, no one has ever told me. I’m just supposed to. It’s the way it’s always been.”
“My mum said that if there’s anything you don’t understand, you should always ask.”
“Is that why you’re asking so many questions?”
“Yeah. So I’m getting smarter.”
“Oh.” Gary seemed to mull over it for a while. “Maybe I should ask more questions too. Perhaps I’ll become smarter as well.”
“I could ask why I’m supposed to be silent. I mean; isn’t it more scary when you can hear the monster there? And it’s really hard to keep quiet for that long.”
“You’re not very good at it.”
“Am not. I heard you sneeze and everything.”
Gary sighed. “It’s not my fault, though. It’s because of the flowers.”
“What flowers?” Lisa looked at her night stand, where her mother had put a vase of Easter lilies. “These flowers?”
“Yeah. I’m allergic.”
“I’m sorry about that,” Lisa said. “I have some tissue if you’d like.” She leaned over, opened her night stand and pulled out a box of Kleenex, which she then let fall on the floor.
“Here,” she said.
“Thank you,” Gary sniffled, before a clawed and furry red arm reached out from underneath the bed and grasped the tissues. “I hate my allergies. They’re the only thing than can make me cry. Well, that and Inside Out.”
“Inside Out? Haven’t you seen it? It’s a great movie!”
“No, I’ve seen it. My dad took me there. But I just didn’t expect you to cry over a cartoon.”
“It was really sad! And then that moment when she realised that all she had to do for some help and attention was to make people realise that she was sad?!”
Lisa giggled. “I can’t believe that you cried.”
“You just make fun!” He sounded mildly insulted. “But it’s a great movie, and the only ones who didn’t cry are people with no hearts.”
Lisa giggled again, louder this time. “Anything else there can make you cry?”
“No!” Pause. “Well, maybe when I’m leaving my puppy alone when I go to work, and it just looks at me like I’ve abandoned it or something. Or this book I’m reading, where a mother loses her son, and spends years searching for him. Oh! Or Titanic!”
Lisa barely contained her laughter. “You’re a wuss!”
“Am too!” She giggled. “But I like you anyway. You’re sweet.”
“Thank you.” He almost sounded shy. “You’re very nice too.”
“Have you really ever eaten a little girl?”
Gary hesitated. “No,” he then said. “I mean; I know that I’m supposed to and all, but they just don’t look appetizing at all! I’d much rather just have cookies. And maybe some milk.”
“You should change your career path. Work for Santa or something.”
“No, it’s okay. I’m a monster. I’m supposed to scare people. It’s what we do. It’s as simple as that.”
“That’s sad. My parents have told me I can be anything.”
“So what are you going to be?”
“I don’t know yet. I was thinking maybe like a doctor for animals.”
“That sounds nice. I like animals.”
“Me too. My favourite are wolves.”
“I like dogs. They’re always happy to see you. Not a lot of people are happy to see me.”
“Gary?” Lisa finally asked.
“Could you do me favour?”
“Sure thing. What?”
“Well, monsters kind of scare me. At least most monster. You don’t though. So could you, like, be my personal monster? So when I hear something moving around under the bed, I’ll know it’s just you?”
“Sure thing, kiddo.”
Lisa smiled in the darkness. “Thank you,” she said, before yawning. Gary was a great guy, she decided. Even if he was a monster. And now that she knew he wasn’t going to eat her, she suddenly felt how tired she was. She should probably keep her promise to her father just a little bit and go to sleep. She yawned again.
“Goodnight, Gary,” she whispered into the dark, before she closed her eyes and fell asleep with a monster underneath her bed.
And she wasn’t scared at all.