The Things That go Bump in the Night
What is the monster under the bed? Is it merely a common misconception of what children cannot see? Is it no more than a simple nightmare, superstition brought on by the things that go bump in the night? Or perhaps it’s something more, something there one moment, and the next it’s not. One can only imagine what goes on in the rooms of children and toddlers late at night, when shadows rule the world, and hide those lurking beneath them…
The night was eerily silent, save for the melodious chirping of crickets outside. The house on the end of the street was fast asleep, silent and still. On the 2nd floor, in a large room decorated by various toys and playthings, a crib sat. And in the crib, safely nestled between the wooden bars, was a sleeping baby. The little one sat sprawled on his back in a peaceful slumber, kept warm by his blue footie pajamas and soft blankets. The infant suckled away on his own fingers in his sleep, muttering soft snores as the baby monitor hung above him, listening to his every sound. The child was safe and sound in his room, with his slumbering parents just across the hall should anything go wrong. The baby was completely safe, no harm could come to him in sleep.
At least that’s what parents like to believe…
A gentle breeze wafted into the room from the cracked-open window, the cool night air softly caressing the walls of the baby’s room. On the opposite wall, there sat a two-doored closet. It was the standard closet, containing clothes, spare diapers, other baby things, and tonight, something else…
A gentle, slow creak accompanied the closet door carefully being pushed open a crack. Heavy, rancid breaths came out into the room, as something peered out the dark closet, its gaze resting on the bars of the crib. The door was carefully pushed open all the way, a shadowy claw leaving the door handle before its owner came free of the dark closet, slowly and methodically crawling across the carpeted floor towards the crib. The thing from the closet approached slowly and silently, its multitude of legs bringing it closer, and closer to the crib where the sleeping infant lay. When it reached the barred bed, the creature lifted its centipede-like body, extended a jagged, scorpion-like claw, and with the care and tenderness of a silent breeze, switched off the baby monitor.
Leaning over the bars of the crib, looming like the Grim Reaper, the closet monster stared down at the baby nestled in his crib. The creature snapped its huge, blade-like pincer teeth, its grinning jaws lined with slimy, jagged fangs. The monster from within the closet gazed into the crib with its four, glowing yellow eyes, leering lustfully at the defenseless baby in the crib. It’s gleaming jaws dripped with sickly pale saliva.
Beneath the shadowy underside of the crib, something stirred. A pair of dark, burning red eyes peered open, before a pale hand ending in razor-sharp claws reached out from under the bed.
The closet monster flickered it black, forked tongue, licking its chops as it slowly leaned into the crib, a pair of its numerous, clawed arms reaching down toward the helpless baby. Slowly, menacingly, the demonic horror lifted the pajama-clad tot out of his covers, drool cascading ravenously from its nightmarish jaws. Its eyes narrowing sadistically, the horrifying monster cracked open its mouth, revealing row upon row of gleaming fangs. The creature gave a soft, lustful hiss as it held its prey, when, out of nowhere, a much deeper, threatening growl silenced it. Slowly peering upwards, the closet monster spotted huge, zygodactyl talons gripping the head of the crib, leading to a pair of long, muscular legs. Fiery red eyes glowered down at the insect-like horror, a long, devil-like tail whipping furiously behind the tall, ashen-furred creature. A torn, black cloak hung from the demonic creature’s humanoid form, a mane of black, scruffy hair cascading past her shoulders. Webbed, fin-like ears adorned her head. The monster from under the bed bared her huge fangs in a furious snarl, her nightmarishly-long and sharp claws clenched in rage.
The closet monster hissed, clutching the sleeping baby in its claws as it backed away from the 9-foot tall horror standing atop the crib. Suddenly, the caped monster lunged at the insect and slammed into it, sending them both to the floor and throwing the baby into the air. With cat-like agility, the gray-haired monster leaped and swiftly caught the infant in her arms, landing elegantly atop the crib. The closet monster shrieked angrily, the bed monster snarling back as she held the baby protectively to her chest. The demon-like creature held the baby like a mother would, standing over him like guardian angel.
The closet monster reared up in a threatening stance, extending its multitude of blade-like claws and hissing at its enemy. The monster from under the bed hissed back, flicking her purple forked tongue tauntingly. The closet monster paced around the crib, slowly and surely, waiting for the exact right moment. Both monsters kept their eyes locked on one another, daring the other to move. Suddenly, the closet monster stopped, the spines along its back twitching as its body tensed for the attack.
In an instant, the closet monster pounced with a bloodthirsty shriek and claws outstretched. The bed monster, the baby safe in her arms, vaulted over the larger monster’s head and clung to the ceiling, digging in her claws. Her adversary circled below, snarling angrily. She growled back, a second pair of hairy, clawed arms appearing from behind her cloak. The lower pair of arms clutched the still-slumbering baby gently to the monster’s chest, freeing her main arms for the ensuing fight. With a hellish cry, the bed monster lunged from the ceiling at her foe, tackling him with every claw and muscle while still gripping the baby.
The closet monster twisted and snapped at his adversary, at every chance making a grab for the child, only to be met with ferocious opposition and exoskeleton-tearing claws. The closet monster lunged, the bed monster dodged and sunk her teeth into its neck. The closet monster screeched and tried to shake her off, but she sunk her monstrous fangs in deeper and slashed with her blood red talons, all while tenderly holding the baby as he still remained asleep, keeping any of the closet monster’s numerous claws from touching him. Finally the closet monster managed to break free, though not without a grave wound oozing purple blood courtesy of the bed monster’s chompers. Feebly nursing the injury, the closet monster glared at his foe, who stood across from him, her mouth and claws stained with his blood. The bed monster hissed, raising one of her blood-covered claws to her mouth. And then she licked it, slurping the closet monster’s sweet blood off her claws, slathering it over her teeth tauntingly. The baby in her second set of arms gave a soft whimper in his sleep, and in response she gently stroked the baby’s cheek, and he calmly rolled over in her arms and began sucking on his fingers again.
With an enraged, bloodthirsty screech, the closet monster charged and lunged at the bed monster, who stood unflinchingly before leaping at her foe and raking her claws across his face, lacerating two of his eyes horrifically. The closet monster fell thrashing to the floor, squealing in agony as lavender blood and eyeball fluid spurted from the ghastly wound. One of its yellow eyes was completely torn out, while the other dangled by its stalk uselessly. The bed monster, snarling, clutched the torn-out monster eye in her talons, before squeezing it into sickly yellow pulp. The closet monster squealed furiously, clutching its eye sockets. He narrowed his remaining eyes at his enemy, before the quills on his back flared up, and shot out at the bed monster. Holding the baby tight, she leapt and ducked with incredible speed, dodging every projectile, crouching to protect the baby in her arms. The last quill she caught in her hand inches from her face, snarling at the dirty trick.
The monsters were just about to return to their fight when, out of nowhere, the baby began to cry. Both monsters froze, terrified. A light suddenly shone from under the door to the baby’s room, signalling that the parents had awoken.
The monsters glanced at one another, before the closet monster bolted for the closet while the bed monster leaped onto the crib and delicately placed the baby back under its blankets, supporting its head before softly resting it on the mattress. She had only seconds to swing back under the crib before the door to the hallway opened, and the crying baby’s mother stepped in.
The infant’s mother gently picked him up and softly cooed to him, sitting down in a rocking chair adjacent the crib, between it and the closet. As the mother calmed her crying baby, she was mercifully unaware of everything that had just happened in the room. Hellish red eyes glared from under the baby’s crib, a vertical pair of glowing yellow eyes glaring back hatefully from the dark closet. Neither monster would dare reveal their presence while the mother was in the room.
Eventually, the little one ceased his crying and slipped back to sleep, at which point his mother gently placed him back into his crib and tucked him in, adorning his forehead with a soft kiss. Both the monster under the bed and the monster in the closet watched in silence as the young woman quietly strode toward the door and softly closed it, the light from the hall going out as she returned to slumber herself in her own room.
Moments after the baby’s mother left, the closet door swung open and the monster within pounced toward the crib with a voracious glare, when it was tackled mid-air by the monster from under the crib with a furious cry. Both monsters landed on the floor in a frenzy of claws, teeth, and whipping tails. The bed monster scratched and bit down with the ferocity of a tiger, ripping into her enemy with all six clawed limbs as he thrashed and flailed to throw her off. The closet monster kicked out and arched its back, tossing the bed monster into the wall before he made a rampant dash for the crib. The closet monster reared back and struck with a wild screech, but was yanked off the crib just before he reached the baby. The closet monster turned to see the bed monster as she gripped him by the tail, ripping him off the baby’s crib before slamming him into the floor and pouncing on him before he could get up, scratching and clawing at his face and mouth. Now that she wasn’t protecting a baby in her arms, she had no reason to hold back.
The monsters battled ferociously all night long, constantly grappling one another and letting loose all their fury on each other every chance they got, each equally, furiously determined; one to devour the helpless infant, the other to protect it.
When the night turned from black to the gray of early morning, the monsters still fought. The bed monster clung to her foe’s back, digging her talons into bleeding-purple wounds as the closet monster thrashed and bucked wildly, his claws having inflicted a number of black-bleeding scratches on his enemy. The closet monster snapped and flailed his jaws, trying to bite down on the bed monster, while she clawed at his face and whipped him with her sharp-pointed tail. Sensing the day approaching, the baby began to stir. Realizing she didn’t have much time, the bed monster let out a monstrous, defiant scream before pouncing onto the closet monster’s head, grappling her opponent’s snapping jaws with all four hands.
The closet monster shrieked and thrashed, rolling and hitting the floor to shake her off, but to no avail. With a valiant roar and a whip of her tail, the bed monster pinned her foe to the floor and dug in every claw, pulling his jaws apart until, with a sickening crack, she broke his jaw.
Gurgling and hacking up sickly purple blood, the closet monster whimpered pathetically as the bed monster let him go, snarling down at her defeated rival as he looked up at her meekly, his shattered jaw hanging limply. She hissed, flaring her ears and lashing her tail with a show of her violet-stained fangs and claws, eliciting a terrified and submissive yelp from the closet monster before he slithered back to the closet from whence he came, crawling away into the shadows like the coward he and his entire wretched race was.
Swishing her cloak, the bed monster, her face and claws stained with monster blood, returned to the crib. Before ducking back underneath, she paused to look at the little baby, who still remained asleep even now. She reached down to softly caress the little one’s cheek, and in his sleep he latched onto her furry hand, hugging it like a stuffed animal. For the briefest moment, a small smile crossed the monster’s mouth. Pulling her hand away, she leaned into the crib to give a soft kiss to the child’s forehead, before slipping back into the darkness under the baby’s bed, just before he awoke giggling and kicking his tiny feet. Just before the little one became aware of his surroundings fully, the monster reached up and carefully switched the monitor back on.
As morning arrived, the baby’s parents awoke and his mother came to bring him downstairs. As she lovingly held her laughing baby, the monster under the bed curled up and listened to her sweet whispers to her child, the child whose relentless guardian angel lay out of sight under his crib. As the young mother took her little one into the hall, the monster under the bed once more met gazes with the monster in the closet, her eternal rival.
In silent hatred, the two monsters glared at each other. Eternal enemies, they were, monsters of bed and closet. Demons of valor and malignancy, it was their place in existence to battle every night over the children as they laid in their beds, a twisted and evil closet monster to prey on them, and a strong and noble monster under the bed to watch over them and defend them. Any bed monster would give their lives if it meant saving the child, and never would they relinquish their place as guardians, nor would their demonic enemies ever relinquish their lust for the blood of children. The two monsters would fight again the following night, and the next, and the next after that, until the day the baby was at last safe from the closet monster, and the bed monster could finally rest for her efforts.
They both snarled, anticipating the coming battle that evening. Again the monster in the closet would try to snatch the infant as he slept, and again the monster from under the bed would stop at nothing to protect her child. Glowering, the eternal foes resolved to retire to their respective hiding places for the day to lick their wounds, both awaiting the bloody fight bedtime would bring...