Behind the Bedroom Door

If it’s there, it waits behind the bedroom door until the house is dark.  Mom thinks I’m asleep as she tiptoes into her room to sleep alone, so she turns out the hall light.  Electricity costs money and money doesn’t grow on trees, she says.   I wish it did so that we could leave the lights on all night.   It hates the light, it’s told me so, the way it talks to me in my head while I’m lying there watching it.   The lights are out, Billy, and here I am.   I hate the light, and if you reach for that switch, I’ll  rip off your arm.   It could, I know.   Even though it shimmers faintly in the darkness behind the door, I can see its mouth and its long, sharp teeth.   And I’ve smelled its breath.

Once, Mom took me to the zoo, and as we stood in front of the lion’s cage, the lion stared back at us, only a few feet away behind the bars.   I pretended to roar, and he roared back, so loud I could feel his hot breath.   The stink was awful.   I asked Mom why his breath smelled so bad, and she said it’s because he’s a carnivore.   Mom says that means he eats meat and that a carnivore’s breath always smells like death.   That’s how the breath of the thing behind the door smells, so I know it’s not kidding about my arm.    I’m a pretty fast kid, and the switch is right at the foot of my bed, but I’m not going to risk my arm, not when I know that if I can just scream, it will vanish like smoke.

That’s the problem.   Every night it moves closer, daring me to scream while it makes horrible faces.   My mouth opens but no sound comes out.   It grins when that happens, and slides a cold, gooey tentacle over the edge of the bed.   Each night, it takes longer for me to work up a scream and the longer I take to scream, the farther along my body the tentacle slides.   Last week, it was tapping lightly on my chest when I finally yelled for Mom.  Its my throat it wants.

Tonight, it’s teasing as it tickles my earlobe with a slimy tentacle tip.   You’re not even a decent snack, Billy, and your Mom’s nice and plump.   It’s her I really want, but the rules say children first.   Even monsters have rules, and my Mom would pound me if I ate your Mom first.   The tentacle begins to wrap around my neck and I try to yell one more time.   Mom echoes through the house, louder than ever before, and she runs into the room with her eyes wide, gasping for breath as she hugs me.

Billy, what is it?   Are you dreaming again?

It was there again, Mom, and it said it wants to eat you.  It wants you ’cause you’re plump, Mom, maybe you should lose some weight.   It’s only a kid monster, and it has to eat me first because its Mom says children first.   Mom …

Mom gently places her hand over my mouth and says, Billy, you were dreaming again.   Look.   She walks over to the door and closes it so that I can see there’s nothing there, as if I need to be shown.   I’ve told her that it hates the dark and vanishes when I scream.   Grown-ups don’t listen very well.   She hugs me again, kisses me on the cheek, and says, I’ve got to get some sleep, Honey.   I’m beat.   I love you, you know?

I tell her, I love you, too, Mom. I’m OK, and let her go, even though I’m not through being scared.   She’s always tired since she started working two jobs.

I’ll leave the hall light on just for tonight, OK?   It won’t be back, she says through a yawn as she leaves.

She’s right, it won’t be back tonight but the next time she turns out all the lights and leaves me alone in the dark, it will be waiting, and maybe I won’t scream in time.   Why can’t she understand and just leave the lights on?   Dad used to say It’s only money, but Mom says we had more money with Dad around.   There weren’t any monsters behind the door then, either.  I wish Dad was still here.
Behind the Bedroom Door was a writing exercise: Tell about a nightmare from a child’s point of view.

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4 Comments on “Behind the Bedroom Door”

  1. granny1947 Says:

    Excellent Bud…hair raising stuff!

  2. Reblogged this on filmcamera999 and commented:
    yikes….i hate the dark too! ever since my mother told us stories about a coat taht comes out of a wardrobe..and starts walking around (the coat, not the wardrobe!)…all on its own…!

  3. OMYWORD! I was on the edge of my seat reading this. Fabulous job, Bud!

  4. territerri Says:

    This makes me remember the terror I felt as a kid when I had a nightmare. Very creepy!

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