“But, Mama, I don’t want to go to bed! The monster is there!” Mom pulled Katy into a close hug, smoothing her hand down the back of the little one’s head.
“Katy, you know there isn’t a real monster in your room. We’ve looked all over, and never found anything.” Katy shook her head against her mother’s chest.
“As soon as you leave, I hear it. Up there.” She pulled on hand out from her mother’s embrace to point one finger straight up. Mom pushed her away to smile.
“That’s just the house,” Mom said. “It’s old and it creaks. Now, it is time for bed.” Mom’s voice was firm and Katy knew she was going to have to go to her bedroom. She turned her cheek up so Mom could give her a good night kiss. Mom smiled again and patted her head.
“Good night, sweetie,” Mom said. “Sweet dreams.” Katy mumbled a quick “Good night” and turned away. She crept as quietly as she could under the low ceiling to her bed. She burrowed under the fuzzy, grey covers. She stared up at the ceiling, waiting.
It was dark. There was a soft light coming from outside, but it didn’t reach all the way to Katy’s room. She watched shadows from the trees outside dance on the floor. Creak! Katy jumped. There it was! The monster was up there. Another creak, louder this time. Katy buried her head under the cover. It was a big monster, and Katy felt really small. The creaking stopped. Maybe it was gone? She peeked out from under the cover. She didn’t see anything. She huddled in her bed for a minute or two, but didn’t hear anything else. She tossed off the cover and stood up. She was going to find out if Mom was right. Maybe it was just the house creaking. She crept to the wooden spiral leading to the upper part of the house. No one really went up there. Katy looked up. The wooden path curved out of sight as it rose in the dark. She stepped onto the lowest level, all her senses tuned to any sound from above. She crept up cautiously, peeking over the edge to the upper level. It was soft, covered in a thick rug. Katy lifted her head higher.
There it was! The monster. She knew it was real. And it was huge, much bigger than she was. Most of its body was covered in short, yellow fur, but it had a mane of dark hair on its head. It appeared to be sleeping. Katy could see the slow rise and fall of its breath under the yellow fur. She climbed up onto the thick flooring, and took a step closer. The monster didn’t move. She took another step, and another. She was standing right next to it. She reached out and touched its hair. It was soft, and the light from the window reflected silver where it hit the hair. Katy was fascinated. She’d never been this close to the monster before. She moved closer and put a hand on its yellow fur. The monster rolled over, eyes wide open. It sat up without warning and the yellow fur fell off its body, leaving it mottled in an odd pink and white pattern. The monster raised its hands, and opened its mouth. Katy saw the big white teeth, and heard the awful sound it made. She clattered her own teeth, and the spikes across the top of her head stood straight up. She turned and ran back to where she’d climbed up. She could feel the monster’s hands waving behind her and it kept roaring. Katy threw her arms around the spiral and jumped. She bumped and bounced to the bottom, and dived back into her dark, safe room. She pulled her gray, fuzzy blanket up over her head and tried to lie completely still. The monster kept roaring and the ceiling above her shook and rattled. Katy was too terrified to even call for Mom. The roaring continued.
“MOM!! MOM!! There’s a monster under my bed!!”