A little girl's imagination
The dreams of a child may be innocent and sweet, with replayed revelry of their daily joys. Vivid scenes of laughter, rope jumping, and bubble blowing may consume the thoughts of little girl at rest. Her mind may choose to remember instead the fun of a family outing or the kindliness of the teacher that helps her learn. The imagination of a sleeping child, like an open field of butterflies and flowers, waits for happy tunes and playful dreams to occupy the empty space. But even a child's mind can be littered with the stressors of life, such as the first day of school or the subconscious fears of the parent. Worry, rampant in an innocent psyche, can easily turn to nights of terror where boogey men lurk and evil clowns torment
"Marty, I cannot get that child to bed. It's your turn. She keeps talking about all of the monsters under her bed. I can't convince her they aren't real," Lana said, as she flopped on the couch, exasperated from her time spent with her stubborn six-year old.
"She does have an overactive imagination. The boys were never this crazy at night. I'll give it a whirl," Marty said, as he ran through possible scenarios to comfort the child in his mind.
"You know we wouldn't have this problem if you wouldn't let her watch those scary stories with you. And her stubborn streak definitely comes from your side of the family."
"Hey, Gremlins and Goonies are classics. Besides, we've watched them over a hundred times, that can't be it. And have you met your mother? Stubborn, doesn't begin to define her bulldog temperament."
"Go talk to your daughter and leave my mother out of it! Good luck, I think you'll need it! She is all revved up."
Marty straightened his posture and inhaled deeply preparing himself for a long battle of wills. He couldn't help but look back longingly at his evacuated seat on the couch that his wife now occupied. He glanced at the clock mentally calculating the time until his favorite show was scheduled to run. He hoped to complete his fatherly duty before it kicked off but knew the chances were slim. Disappointment caused him to sigh as he walked down the hall to the little girl's room.
"What's up princess? Your mom says you're having trouble sleeping."
"Daddy, there are monsters in my closet and under my bed. Big and furry... and very scary monsters!" Sally said with her eyes wide and all the seriousness the child could muster.
"Monsters...oh my," Marty said trying to illicit a laugh from the child/
"DADDY, I'm serious. They have big teeth like werewolves and their eyes glow like fire," she said trembling beneath the safety of her pretty pink quilt on the bed.
"Sally, you know monsters aren't real. And your mother's never going to let us watch movies again."
"Daddy, I heard them they are in the closet and under the bed. They growl. It's so scary," she said with a frown on her face and her bottom lip stuck out far.
"Fine, let's check it out," he said as he grabbed a flashlight off the night stand. He couldn't help but smile as the mini version of his wife scowled at him. It was a look he had seen often.
"I don't think that's a good idea. What if they jump out at us? Be careful!"
Marty slid the wooden closet door to the right and then to the left, letting the child take notice of his dramatic pause with the highlighted items in the closet. He climbed to the edge of the bed, shining his light under it.
"See no monsters. Just way too many toys and lots of dust bunnies," he announced.
"What are dust bunnies?"
"Proof that it has been awhile since you cleaned your room. Gobs of fur and dust stuck together. It needs a good vacuuming!"
"Okay, let's do it."
"It is eight-thirty at night and you are supposed to be in bed."
"I'll get the vacuum. As soon as we're done, it is bedtime for Bonzo! Got it?"
"I'm going with you. Can you lay with me for just a little while...till I fall asleep?"
Marty carried the child on his back to retrieve the vacuum. He placed her safely back on the bed when they returned. He cleaned the closet first and turned his attention to the bed. He sucked up every dust bunny to be found. Sally got a little bored and began jumping on the bed while he worked. She distracted Marty with her jumping. She managed to make him miss a dust bunny or two, but he called the job complete. Pushing the vacuum to the hall, he turned and flicked the bedroom light off.
"Bed time, child of mine. I will lay with you for ten minutes."
Sally kissed her dad on the cheek and threw her arm around his neck. She pushed her pillow over towards him to share. They snuggled close with plans of sleeping. Soon Marty was snoring, but the girl's eyes were wide, as her new worry of dust bunnies festered in her mind.
A child's imagination is not fenced by the conventional knowledge and experience of an adult. Their fears have free range to terrorize the psyche. Or who's to say that a child's dreams are not the reality from which we've been excluded. Horrifying the vulnerable is a much more enjoyable game for monsters of the dark.
The slow rhythmic sound of her father sleeping didn't stop her from hearing the growl emanating from under her bed. Sally covered her head with the blanket hoping to block out both of the sounds. As the growling grew louder, her fear intensified. Her imagination drew pictures in her mind of insatiable, angry dust bunnies. Shaped like rabbits made of dirt with fangs and eyes that glowed a shade of demon red the images taunted her. She tried to scream but only a small blast of air flew from her lips. The elbowing of her father went unheeded. Sally laid there too afraid to move until she heard the voices.
"Hello, little girl. You made them get rid of our friends! We don't like that!"
Sally could feel something tugging at the blanket. She felt her body being pulled down.
"Daddy, the dust bunnies are getting me!" she screamed just as she hit the floor.
Word count 1078