by Dan Boyce
From Max's closet come dark secrets.
|Max’s mother kissed him goodnight and left the room. She paused at the door and a warm smile crept across her face.
“Sleep well dear.”
Max could feel the warm of her smile spread around the room. With mum here nothing can hurt me, he thought.
It had been a very full and late night. Colourful costume ran up and down the street either begging or threatening for sweets. Ghosts knocked on doors, followed by bunny rabbits, followed by pirates and ninjas. Each child gathered sweets for a gluttonous feast.
Max had been careful though. Not too much candy for bad dreams, not too many sweets for a sick stomach. Just enough to be happy. Even since his father had left them he had learnt to be careful. His mother sometime cried at the smallest of things. Max could never figure it out, but that was parents for you.
The pull of sleep dragged Max down. His eyes closed.
Something moved near the end of his bed. Max opened his eyes wide. His heart thumping a thousand times a minute. Was it real? His ears strained for a noise, a hint of what it might be. Was that a scratching near the door he heard? The door moved ever so slightly but Max saw it. He knew about the things in the closet. Dark twisted things that crept into room and stole bad boys and girls. But Max was a good boy. He never got in trouble, always did well in school. Why were they here? Something hard and sharp hit the door closing it, cutting the room off the protective light from the hall.
Max’s body became stiff with fear. It ignored all his orders to get up and run out the room, too call his mother for help. The thing crept towards him. Max could hear the click-click of its talons striking the hardwood floor, the twittering of it mandibles ready for a taste of tender boy meat. The thing tried to crawl up, but the blanket slipped off leaving Max with only a thin space rocket sheet for protection. The thing spoke in a small guttural voice. It’s words coming out too quick for Max to under stand them. Another voice from the darkness inside the closest answered. More things came out from it.
Max slowly lifted his head, both wanting and fearing to see what poured forth. What little light drifted under the door reflected off a shiny brown carapace moving too fast to see completely. The covered thing wrestled with the fallen blanket and threw it off. It again spoke in its fast clicking language. The other thing answered from the other side of the bed. Both started the climb upwards. Max’s sheet stretched as it was pulled in two directions at once. Long spindly legs rose over the mattress horizon. On each side of the bed came an over sized ant like creature. Slowly each crawled its’ way up the sheet towards Max.
The bedroom door opened and the torrent of bright light dispersed the creatures in whirlwind of dust.
“Are you okay dear?” Max’s mother saved the night again. “Please don’t close the door, okay.”