The Monster Under the Bed

by Amber Gillenwater

“Tommy, come on! Let’s get to bed,” Mother called. Tommy glanced up from his toys, a small frown pulling on his face.

“But Mother,” he whined.

“No buts. Off to bed.” Tommy sighed dramatically and got up, picking up his toy train and running to his room. It was a new room, a bigger one. It was almost exciting, in the way that little kids perceive everything as exciting, even if it wasn’t. He ran in the room and jumped on his bed. He was already in his footie pajamas, the blue pair, the one with the frogs on it- the very picture of innocence. He climbed in his bed, snuggling safely under the covers. Mother came in and kissed him on the forehead, tucking him in. “Goodnight, Tommy.”

“Goodnight, Mother,” he said happily. Mother smiled and turned off the light. She just barely closed the door behind her as she left and a thin sliver of light penetrated from the hallway. For a few minutes, all was quiet. And then, suddenly, there was a furry arm that had shot out from under the bed. Tommy didn’t even react. He was used to this. The arm belonged to Fuzzy McFuzzington, his monster. The arm waved around for a second, and Tommy grinned. “Hello, Fuz,” he said cheerfully.

There was a moment of silence, before a deep voice emanated from under the bed. “Hello, Tommy! Can you believe it, we’re in a new room!”

“I know. It’s very nice.”

“It’s so sizeable. And look, there’s even a closet!” There was a faint blur of shadow as Fuzzy raced across the dark bedroom and into the closet. Tommy giggled quietly at the antics of his friend. The door seemed to barely open, but there was still the faint creaak as the chipped white door harshly skidded across the splintered wooden floorboards. “Oh wow, this is nice!”

“Keep your voice down, Fuz! You’re gonna wake up Lily!” Lily was Tommy’s new baby sister. She was only a few months old, but he was already glad to put up with her. He thought she was annoying, and dirty, and really really weird (what kind of kid can’t talk and spits up all the time??), but she was pretty cute, so it was alright.

“Oh, sorry, Tommy,” Fuzzy said sheepishly. Tommy smiled very slightly.

“It’s okay, Fuz. We should try and get some sleep bef-”

“KEEP YOUR VOICES DOWN!” A voice deeper than anything either Tommy or Fuzzy had ever heard came from under the bed. They both jumped. What was that?

“Uh…. who are you?” Tommy asked, sounding both curious and afraid.

“I am your worst nightmare,, the scariest thing you’ve ever met,,, I am… Tazerface!”

Apparently, the other’s name was supposed to instill some sort of fear into their hearts and souls, but it didn’t. Instead, Tommy just looked confused and Fuzzy giggled. Tazerface looked offended. “I’m sorry,” Fuzzy finally chokes out. “I just– why did you think Tazerface was a good name??”

“I didn’t choose it,” the other reprimanded. “My parents did!”

“That’s even worse!”

“There’s no reason to be rude, just because of my name. Yours can’t be much better.”

“Fuzzy. Fuzzy McFuzzington.”

“Yeah, not much better.” Fuzzy opened his mouth to speak, but all of a sudden, a loud wailing erupted from the room next door- Tommy’s old room. There was an interested noise from the monster below. “Oh, hello. What’s that I hear? A baby?”

Tommy and Fuzzy shared a worried look. “Uh, no. A baby? Ridiculous. Why would we have a baby here?”

Tazerface looked at them for a moment. “How dumb do you think I am? I know what a baby sounds like. I’ve eaten many babies before.”

“You can’t eat my sister!” Tommy cried, alarmed.

“So you admit- there’s a baby in there?”

“Wait-”

“Hasta la vista, suckers!” Tazerface called. There was a flash of shadow and the door banged open. Tazerface was gone. Tommy sat upright in bed, looking at Fuzzy with something like fear. Fuzzy stared back, although his face was unreadable through all his thick, bright green hair and fangs. Tommy’s eyebrows knitted together nervously and he slid out of bed.

“Come on, Fuzzy. We have to go check on Lily!” he said nervously. His feet hit the ground with a soft thump and he softly padded over to his bedroom door. Never in his life had all those long shadows on the wall seemed so terrifying. And never had Tommy felt so small, shuffling softly out into the hall, in his blue footie pajamas, with the frogs on them. His tiny hand wrapped around the faux crystal doorknob and he slowly eased it open. The door to his old room often creaked when you opened it, and even at the tender age of six, Tommy knew how to open it without making a sound. The secret was to go slow. Lily had already stopped crying, and Tommy was very surprised that neither Mother or Father had come in the room yet.

The room was completely dark, and almost nothing could be seen. Tommy could make out the faint outline of baby Lily’s crib, but nothing else. Slowly, he made his way closer. He felt the familiar and comforting grip of Fuzzy’s hand on his shoulder. This made Tommy feel a whole lot better about facing Tazerface, because facing your enemies is always better when you have a friend with you. Tommy walked over to the crib and and leaned over the edge of it, scooping up his baby sister. She made some weird gurgling noises, but otherwise, looked completely happy. She made grabby hands at him, and he held her in his arms, like he had seen Mother do before. He sushed her quietly, nervously, gently bouncing her in his arms. “Tommy,” Fuzzy hissed quietly. “We should go back.”

It was a well known fact that only kids could see and hear monsters- adults didn’t have the ability. “Shhh, Lily, it’s okay,” Tommy whispered, still rocking her. Even if his parents couldn’t hear Fuzzy, they could certainly hear Lily and himself, therefore they had to be quiet. They made it to the door before they were blocked off. “Ah-” Tommy’s yelp was cut off by a furry hand slapping itself over his mouth. The noise was muffled, and he struggled slightly. Finally, as a last resort, he bit down on the hand. There was an unholy roar, and Lily started crying.

“Run, Tommy!” Fuzzy shouted.

Jeffersonville High School, 2016