Sometimes the monster isn't under the bed.
|He woke with a start, cold sweat running down his face and chest. He lay still, barely breathing, listening carefully for the slithering sound again. He was alone in the house and there shouldn't be anyone moving around at this hour. The sound seemed so close, as though it came from right inside his bedroom.
Memories of when he was a little boy came flooding back. He'd lived in fear of monsters hiding under the bed. He was convinced there was a door that opened into a world of horrible creatures, lurking in the dark, eager to devour him as he slept. Creatures that were waiting for just the right time to snatch him away. He had many nightmares that would cause him to wake screaming in terror.
His frightened father would come running, alarmed by his son's terrified screams. His father would listen to his story at first, showing the concern a parent should. His father would check all the places monsters could hide, especially under his bed. Despite his usual patience, there were times his father lost his temper. Often, his father would get angry and would give him a spanking, warning him not to call him again no matter how many "monsters" he saw. After the warning he would be left alone, even more frightened.
The feelings of terror came rushing back that night. He was sure the noise came from under his bed. He felt ridiculous. He was a grown man! He knew monsters weren't real, but... that didn't make him feel any better. He tried to dismiss the fear yet, despite all his logic and reasoning, he couldn't get back to sleep if he didn't check. What if it wasn't his imagination?
He got up and walked around the room. He checked the closets and the hall outside. The house was still, as it should be. He sat on the edge of his bed as a shudder of fear shook his body. There were no such things as monsters or creatures under the bed! How foolish was the thought? No matter, in spite of knowing it wasn't possible, he had to be sure. He got down on his knees and lifted the covers, peering into the darkness beneath the bed
He looked at the long plastic storage container hidden in the shadows. He reached in and pulled it out. It was the only place he hadn't checked. He knew he wouldn't get any sleep until he did. Slowly, fearfully, he raised the lid. A breath of sheepish relief escaped his lungs as he peered inside the container. He was right. There was no monster under the bed!
Whatever he thought he heard, it wasn't coming from under his bed. The dismembered body of his wife was lying still and motionless inside the container, just as he'd left it. She was as dead as the proverbial door-nail when he put her there, she still was. Even so, he'd be sure to get rid of the body in the morning. He didn't need to suffer another night like this.
Finally, satisfied he was safe, the monster climbed back into bed.