Thunder rolled on the night air as I drifted in and out of a fitful sleep. Lightning flashed silently outside my window, followed by the crack of ionized air collapsing in the gap left by the white light of the storm. Rain pecked at the windows surrounding my room in a symphony of percussion, tapping out an apology for the disruption lulling me back to sleep only to cruelly rattle my home with thunder shaking me back to consciousness. The tapping apology turns to mocking laughter as it continues tapping between the claps of thunder that reminds me why the ancients quaked in fear of storms.
Desperate for a few hours more sleep I bury my head in pillows to muffle the storm outside. Lightning flashes again and again burning red through my closed eyelids demanding I view nature’s power this night. Eyes half open surrender to the assault of another lightning flash illuminating my room, revealing something hidden in the dark. A creature in the corner of my room sat hunched over, something clutched in its hands rocking back and forth like a child. Covered in short white bristling fur with features resembling a man, the creature twisted its head back and forth violently as it rocked on its crouched legs.
Darkness envelopes the creature as the burst of light lasted only a mere moment. My throat begins to close and I feel my heart begin to race, pumping liquid fear through my veins. I hold my breath counting with eyes closed tight hoping that with the next flash of light the creature would be gone and I’d wake from this nightmare. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 I count but fear that if I hold my breath too long I’ll gasp and alert the creature in the corner to my presence. Slowly I let the air out of my lungs past quivering lips, my pulse pounding in my ears subsides just long enough for me to hear the sound of teeth on bone, scraping and gnawing emanating from the darkened corner of my room as I lay paralyzed by fear.
Forcing my mouth into my pillow as I lay on my side, hoping to stifle the sound of my breathing I hear the scraping and grinding continue until a sudden snapping erupts through the room drawing a deep primal fear of what was occurring just feet away from me as I lay paralyzed in my bed. That’s when I heard the unmistakable sound of the grinding teeth stop, then the gulping sound of swallowing. I realize to my horror the creature was eating something.
Like a photographer capturing a moment in time, lightning flashed outside illuminating the image of a bristle covered creature turning its head towards the light, a sight that will last forever in my mind. The light from outside granted me a clear view of the human leg that now lay clasped in the razor sharp shark like teeth of this monsters mouth. Its face resembling a human from the prehistoric era looked out the window into the storm with hate and anger. Darkness fell again as a screeching sound of rage and bloodlust poured out around the limb gripped in the creatures’ mouth.
Blood coursed cold through my veins as my heart beat violently faster, thundering louder than the rolling storm outside. Like venom, terror and darkness filled my mind with poison as the scream permeated the very fiber of my being. Like a slideshow of horror in my mind, images flashed through the darkness of the creature gnawing and chewing away at a faceless human corpse. Memories of fearing the monsters under my bed as a child that seemed foolish as I grew older, now feel far too real and reasonable to dismiss. Forcing my eyes closed just like I had all those years ago, I pray silently to any god that might hear my plea for mercy.
As I beg for one more sunrise I feel the blankets covering me begin to slide away exposing my bare shoulder to the cool night air. The sounds of scraping teeth had stopped at some point I had not noticed, the blankets covering me were tugged again exposing more of my vulnerable flesh to the darkness. My bed shifted as a weight crawled from the floor onto the mattress. Slowly something crawled along the length of my bed until I could feel the weight of it at my back, I felt it shift and lay down beside me in the dark. I tremble as I felt the bristled fur and fetid breath of the monster in the dark at my back as I lay upon my side curled like a child in fear.
Lightning flashed outside the windows with a crashing boom louder than any thunder from the storm before sending a bolt of panic through my limbs. Throwing the remaining covers from my legs, I scramble away from the creature at my back falling to the floor twisting and grasping at the air attempting to separate myself from the creature and the bristles touching my bare skin. I stumble trying to rise flailing my arms as I struggle to my feet prepared to run for the door as another flash of lightning illuminates the room. My bed is empty the covers lay tussled and moist with sweat. My room lay just as it had when I had turned in for the night. No creature in the corner eating and gnawing on someone’s leg. My bed held no occupant of otherworldly nature. Light faded as I reached for my lamp on the night stand, incandescent light flares burning away the darkness. My room lay empty, I take a deep heavy breath inhaling the night air to steady myself then set about making my bed again.
Scolding myself for foolishly believing monsters existed, I finish adjusting the blankets tucking the corners in neat and tight. Picking my pillow up from the floor where it had fallen during my hasty escape I sigh in relief as I place it back on the bed. Just to reassure myself that I was safe I check the closet, out of childish fear my heart began to pound again but subsided when the light from the lamp revealed only my clothes and a gift for a friend’s party tomorrow night. I return to my bed pulling the covers up to my chest wrapping myself in their warmth then rest my head upon my pillow. As I lie in bed I wipe my face with my hands and feel the days stubble on my cheeks pass beneath my finger as I attempt to brush away the memories of the monster in the dark. I pull my hands from my face and open my eyes to see claw marks upon my bedroom ceiling illuminated by the lamp for just a fraction of a second before a thunderous clap explodes outside plunging the room once more into darkness. Terror fills me as a gnawing sound begins again and I realize to my horror that I didn’t check under the bed.