Emmett's night with monsters.
Emmett went to bed that night full of excitement and candy. It had been a wonderful Halloween and his foray into the night had produced a fine haul of enticing treats. His mother had taken extra care over his costume and all of the families he’d visited were delighted with the miniature Frankenstein monster demanding its “trick or treat.”
He had been allowed a few selections from the resultant pile of goodies he’d amassed and now, as he lay there in the dark, he wondered whether he’d eaten a few too many. His stomach grumbled as it decided whether it should allow him to sleep.
Tiredness became the overriding factor, however, and Emmett’s eyelids closed and he slipped into a dream world of sharp, crisp, night populated by little monsters and creatures of fairy tales. He slept.
And then, suddenly, he was awake. Something was not right and Emmett lay there in the gloom, waiting for it to show itself. He kept as still as possible, afraid that any movement might spur the “something” to action.
The great, black shape of the wardrobe against the opposite wall seemed different now. It loomed upwards as though it had somehow grown in the night and there was a strange shadow at its head. Emmett’s eyes struggled to make sense of the shape as it leaned towards him. Was it like a gargoyle? It seemed to echo those ugly carvings he had seen pictures of in books.
But why would a gargoyle be in his room? As far as he knew, they were only ever seen high up on the eaves of old churches. And they were always made of stone. There was no way this shadow could have climbed down from its perch to find a way into his bedroom. It was something else that now peered at him from the top of the wardrobe.
Emmett wondered whether he should make a run for his parents’ bedroom. But the thing was right above the path he would have to take. It would be so easy for it to drop down on to him as he passed. He stayed motionless, eyes aching with the strain to see in the darkness.
And then he remembered throwing his coat up to the roof of the wardrobe. Anywhere to avoid having to hang it neatly as instructed. The lumpen shadow now shrank into a familiar object, his own coat mimicking a monster on the prowl this Halloween night.
He sighed with relief and relaxed under the blankets.
From under his bed came a secret, quiet crackling noise. Like someone screwing up a wrapper from a candy illicitly obtained but not for sharing.
Emmett froze again.
There was something moving under his bed, he was sure of it. He listened for another noise. The room seemed to darken, as though the moon had passed behind a cloud. Now there was no chance of making a dash for it. Whatever was under the bed could grab him as soon as he set foot to floor.
The sound repeated itself, louder this time and more like a plastic bag being surreptitiously opened.
This was worse than the Thing on the wardrobe. Since there was no way Emmett could see even the vague shape of it, his imagination could run riot with all sorts of creatures of dread and terror. He lay unmoving as all types of monster he had ever read about passed through his mind.
Once more the sound came but, this time, there was something very familiar about it. Emmett had heard this before somewhere. He listened intently for it to happen again.
When it did, Emmett knew immediately why it was so familiar. It was the sound of a cat trying to get inside a plastic bag. He had seen Bouncer, the family cat, playing in this way so many times.
Certain now that he had identified the culprit, Emmett leaped out of bed and ran to the light switch. No monster grabbed at his legs as his feet touched the floor, no ogre stood suddenly, sending his bed crashing to the side, no sharp and cruel teeth grasped his ankle as he rushed across the floor. As light flooded the room, a tawny, little head peeked out from under the bed.
Emmett reached down and pulled the cat into the light.
“Oh, Bouncer, you gave me such a fright,” he said. “I thought you were a monster come to eat me up.”
Bouncer looked up at him with huge, dark eyes. Emmett released him and opened his bedroom door, And Bouncer, being a cat, had to go through it. No cat can resist a recently opened door.
Word count: 783
For Not So Scary Halloween Contest, Oct/Nov 2022. Winner.
Write something not too scary for children at Halloween.