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July 27, 2014 | by  | in Features Homepage |
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The Monster in the Dark

I wait until I hear the sound of her snoring. I get out bed and give both Mr Bearington and Barney (not the real one, my one) a kiss. They’re under my blankets pretending to be me. I’m sure it’s fun. Normally they don’t have the whole bed to themselves, since I’m stuck in between them, making sure they’re not getting into any fights.

Mummy left the door open for me after she kissed me goodnight, because the dark is scary. I slither like a snake through the gap in the door; hiss, hiss, hiss. I do this quietly though since now I’m out of my room. I hold my breath, my heart is beating too loud and I’m sure that mum will hear it. There are lots of shadows in the hallway, I try and stay away from them as I tiptoe past mum and dad’s room. I’m super-fast like a ninja.

Mummy had said that daddy would be home late. So I’m staying up late so he can kiss me good night, and make sure the monster under my bed isn’t there before I go to sleep. Mummy said that she’d do it for him, but she doesn’t know how to do it properly. She only looked once, and you’re meant to look two times, and then come back and look again to trick him. The monster is still under my bed, and I can’t go back in there, or he’ll grab my feet and gobble me right up.

I go to sit down in the kitchen and my tummy grumbles. Dinner was ages ago. I open the pantry door, and even though I’m not allowed to, I open a packet of chips, which is ‘school lunch food’. I try to eat them quietly, but each bite goes crunch, crunch, crunch. I wonder if it’ll be quieter if I eat it all in one bite. (I don’t want to wake mummy up, she’ll be mad.) I shove a chip straight into my mouth and go to bite it, but it’s too big it gets caught in my throat.

Ow it hurts. It’s sharp, what if it cuts my throat open and I’ll never be able to eat and drink again, because it’ll all fall out. I cough, chomping my jaw. It goes down. Water. I need water. I start to cry. I want mummy to help. But if she comes down I have to go back to bed. I drag the chair to the bench, and climb on top of it. I turn the tap on, and shove my head under, I know I’m not supposed to do that, but I want to stop the hole from being made.

Snot runs down my face and onto my Superman pyjamas, but he’s not worried, nothing bothers Superman. Not even having green streaks in his hair. I sit down on the chair. Maybe that’s why school lunch food is only for school, it’s too dangerous to eat at home.

The chair is too hard. I decide to sit in the lounge and surprise daddy from there instead. I like the couch, it’s black and leather, it feels cool. Like cool people would have it in their house, like a rock star. When I’m older I’ll be a rock star, I’m learning how to play the recorder at school, I’m the best in my class. Sometimes I get to play the triangle too.

I pull the blanket from the arm of the couch and go to put it on top of me as I lie down. I hear a creak of the floorboards and freeze. I throw the blanket over my head. The monster is coming. The monster is coming!

I pull the blanket close to my eyes, I can see through the little holes. Oh it was just Patches, silly old thing. Patches starts to meow, I tell him to shh, it’s very rude to make noise when people are trying to sleep, and especially when they’re trying to wait for someone.

I go to hug Alan the Alien to my chest, but he’s not here. He’s still back in my room. That means I have to go back past mum and dad’s room again. I can’t not have him with me though. Dad gave him to me, he’s very special. He’s green of course, all aliens are. And he’s the size of my hands, so normally he sits in my pocket, dad brought him home one day while we were waiting outside the supermarket. There was a machine with a claw, I forget what they’re called, and I had been trying to get Alan. But the machine kept eating all of my money and I couldn’t save him from being trapped. Dad had been getting angry I had already had three goes, and he told me that I shouldn’t cry over it, that’s something that girls do. But I had wanted Alan so badly, dad ended up getting him for me. He’s very strong. All he had to do was shake the machine because it was misbehaving, and Alan was free.

I get up off the couch and Patches follows me, and meows, like he’s telling me off. I give him a little nudge with my foot, like what dad does to him, and he leaves me alone. I can move to my room quicker now, my eyes can see better in the dark because I’ve eaten lots of carrots.

Alan the Alien is lying on the floor by my bed. He must have been trying to follow me! He can only move very slowly. I pick him up and hold him tightly in my hand so I don’t forget him again. The shadows are bigger in the hallway now. I have to run quickly because the monster moves easier when it’s dark.

When we’re on the couch, I try and not laugh. Alan the Alien and me are being so naughty, and we haven’t gotten caught. We’re just like spies! Alan likes the blanket; it’s all bumpy and reminds him of his home planet. He likes Earth now, but can’t help but miss Neptune, everything’s blue there.

We jump over the mountains that the blanket creates. We are explorers exploring. It is a long and dangerous journey. It has to do a lot of jumps and twists, sometimes going back in the other direction because it’s not safe. Next we’re in a cave, and it’s filled with buried treasure, but you can’t touch anything because then you’re greedy, just like in Aladdin. The only thing I want is for daddy to come home, but I don’t find it here.

I wonder what time he’ll finish work. I’ve been waiting ages.

Maybe this time he’ll bring me a present! I haven’t stayed up late for him before, I’m sure it’ll be a nice surprise. I would normally listen to mummy, but dad hasn’t been home since last Monday, that’s eight whole days. The last time he went away for this long I got a present. That’s when I got Barney. It wasn’t even my birthday or anything. He gave it to me when I fell over and got stiches. Three right above my eye. It happened because I got in the way and wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was naughty. Dad said not to tell mum, that it would be our little secret. Just the two of us. He even pinkie promised it, and you can’t break those. But I think that he told mum and to punish me he had to leave a while before he came back.

I yawn and stretch out my arms and legs making sure that they’re still under the blanket because that’s how I stay safe from the monster.

Tick tock, tick tock.

I wonder if our clock has a mouse in it. Like in that nursery rhyme mum used to sing. That would be cool.

I try to read on the clock but I get confused, about which hand says which.

I must have fallen asleep. My mouth is dry and I crunch up my nose, it smells bad. I want to cry. I haven’t wet the bed for ages mum and dad will be so mad. And now my favourite pyjama pants are all wet. Alan the Alien can’t do anything to help, he never ever wet his bed when he was growing up. Everyone’s going to be so angry at me.

There’s a bang, and a crash, and a thud. A key’s at the door.

Dad’s home?

I run to the door to open it. It looks like dad, kinda he’s all dark because there’s not much light. He smells like he normally does, he’s had lots of his special drinks. I know this because he has to lean against the doorframe. He comes inside but walks funny.

“Daddy!” I yell holding my hands up.

“Christ’pher? What are ya doin’ up?”

“To surprise you silly.”

He doesn’t pick me up. I put my hands down.

“Alan the Alien stayed up to see you too.”

“Tha’s great Chrisss- wha’s that smell?”

I look at Alan and we look at the ground.

“Christ’pher?” He grabs onto my pyjama shirt, I think that he wants to wear it too, but it’s too small to fit the both of us.

“Did ya wet the bed again?”

“No! Alan did.”

But he already knows that Alan the Alien didn’t.

He puts his face next to mine. It looks different. His eyes are all dark and his lips are red, like mummy does to hers when she goes out. His hair is long too and he’s wearing tall shoes. I don’t know why though, he’s already taller than me and mummy.

I reach out and touch his hair it’s all dry and hard, I wonder how it got it to grow so fast. He falls backwards and takes his hair off, now it’s back to normal and he has the same cut as mine. Clipped nicely beneath the ears and at the bottom of the neck, that’s how I have to have it for school otherwise I could get into trouble.

“Go to yer room Chrissst’pher.”

Dad goes to stand and puts his hand on the table by the door and knocks over the vase filled with pretty flowers that mum picked from the garden. It falls with a loud crash, and Patches runs away, I cover my laugh with my hand. Dad’s hand is bleeding and I walk towards him. Ow, ow, ow. Something has gotten into my foot but I don’t want dad to get blood on my present, he hasn’t given it to me yet, he must be hiding it behind his back.

“Where is it daddy?”

Daddy says a bad word and holds his hand. If we were at Michael’s house he would have to put a dollar into the swear jar. If we had a swear jar it would be full with lots of dollars.

“Where’s wha’?”

“My present!” I stand in front of him giggling; he’s made it a game.

I chase his hands that he puts behind his back so I can’t see what he’s gotten me. The lights turn on and the floor is covered with glass, it looks like diamonds, and daddy has blood all along his hand and his arm and some is on his face.

Mummy comes to the kitchen, she lifts me up underneath my armpits where it hurts the most and brings me back to the couch. But as she does I notice that daddy’s wearing a dress! Like a girl does, I didn’t know that men could wear dresses and paint their faces too.

They start screaming and I cover my ears because I start screaming too. Alan doesn’t scream though he doesn’t like the noise.

Mummy comes into the lounge and grabs me by the arm, but it hurts she pulled too hard and now there are dots of red on my skin. She takes me to the bathroom, puts me in the bath, and turns the shower on.

“But I’m wearing my clothes!” I scream.

Mummy doesn’t listen the water turns yellow and red from the blood on my foot. There’s a loud banging and voices, mum shuts the bathroom door and puts the laundry basket in front of it.

“I want Alan!”

“Shhh Christopher darling. Please be good for mummy. You were very naughty staying up late for daddy.”

I shut my mouth, a giant lump is stuck in my throat, and I sniff.

“That’s a good boy.” She runs shampoo through my hair, but it’s not my one it’s hers and it smells like flowers. I don’t want to smell like flowers.

The banging happens on our door. Mum jumps as the door looks like it will pop out of its place in the wall. Dad’s calling her name, the one she had before she become mummy. He never calls her that when I’m around.

Mum doesn’t say anything, climbs into the bath with me, and turns off the water. She pulls me close to her chest and starts shaking. I didn’t know that adults could cry, especially mums.

After a while dad stops knocking and yelling and making any sound so we get out of the bath. Mum gives me a towel, one of her nice soft ones that I’m not normally allowed to use. I wrap it around me like a mummy, the ones inside tombs in Egypt, I go to walk like a mummy too all slow with my arms out, but the real mummy (mum) stops me.

She has her ear to the door and is acting like a spy like I was before. Oh no, is the monster out there? He doesn’t normally come out when the lights are on or when people are awake. I hold onto mummy, I will protect her.

We leave the bathroom and then that’s when you guys come. Big men at the end of the hallway, dressed in blue. Mum goes all stiff, like she’s being a mummy too. She’s being strange. But you say hello to me and smile and have nice hats and one of you is holding a clipboard.

“Do you want to meet Alan the Alien?” I ask.

“Of course.” You all say.

I tell them how I got him and they seem very interested and write it down. They ask me lots and lots of questions and give me cookies and milk. They ask about tonight and give me a plaster for my foot. So I tell them my adventure and start from the beginning.

“I wait until I hear the sound of her snoring. I get out of bed and. . .”

 

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