CHEESE • by Angel Zapata

Anthony Creel had tried everything he could think of to keep the boogeyman away.

His mother had assured him that no monster lived in the house. She grabbed his hand and led him on a tour through each room. Closets and cabinets were opened, area rugs were lifted up, and the shower curtain was pulled back to expose only mildewed tile and soap scum.

“Nothing,” she announced. “Now can we go back to sleep?”

“What about under the bed?” he pleaded, pointing toward his room. “That’s the last place I saw him.”

“Jesus, Anthony,” his mother sighed. She took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She looked down at her seven-year-old son’s pitiful brown eyes and smiled. “Okay,” she said, forming an imaginary gun in the shape of her fingers. She approached his bedroom door, and bravely kicked it open.

“We got you surrounded, Mr. Boogeyman!” she yelled. “Now come out with your hands up!”

Anthony giggled. Sometimes his mother could be so funny.

She stepped into the room, and motioned with her head for Anthony to follow. He threw his hands around her legs, and tilted his small head out from behind her left hip.

Prying him loose, she got down on all fours, and crawling, stopped in the center of the room. When she touched the navy blue bed skirt, Anthony shivered and let out a tiny gasp.

“Showtime,” his mother whispered, pulling back the fabric. She thrust her hand under the bed and screamed, “Bang! You’re dead!”

Anthony almost collapsed.

His mother just shook her head. “See, darling,” she turned to him. “There are only dirty shoes down here. But far more disturbing,” she frowned, “way too many dust bunnies.”

Anthony used his mother’s back as a springboard, and dove into the bed.

He had his body tucked under the bedding and his head pressed into the pillow before his mother had a chance to stand up.

“Everything okay now?” She was still seated on the floor, resting her elbows on the edge of his bed.

“It will be,” Anthony admitted, closing his eyes.

Preparing to stand, his mother caught the faint odor of something foul.

“Whew,” she said. “You smell that, honey?”

“Yes, mommy,” Anthony said. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry?” She repeated quizzically. “Sorry for what?”

“I was supposed to bring you back here,” he confessed, sitting up. The odor was stronger now, and he was feeling slightly nauseous. “He told me that if you want to catch a mouse, you have to use cheese.”

“What are you talking about? Who told you that?” She asked, looking around the room frantically. “And where’s that smell coming from?”

From the dark, imperceptible chasm beneath the bed, the boogeyman slowly stretched out his cold, gray hand.


Angel Zapata was born in NYC, but currently resides just outside of Augusta, Georgia. His flash fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Microhorror.com, ShadeWorks, AlienSkin, and Anotherealm. He is husband to his lovely wife of two years and is also father of four hyperkinetic boys obsessed with all things ninja.


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Every Day Fiction

  • Gerard Demayne

    Perhaps if Anthony’s mommy had tried cleaning the house once in a while it wouldn’t have gotten infected with monsters. It’s the mildew and dust bunnies that draws them in.

    Really liked that.

  • Cameli

    good horror! liked it

  • Avis HG

    Very Bradbury. Zero Hour.

  • Paul Freeman

    Great ending – didn’t see that one coming!

  • Loved it!

  • Heh, heh, heh, funny! 🙂

  • Great ending 🙂

  • Oh and Angel…

    Dorsals
    Angel Zapata–Unscrambling Love–Winner
    over at Doorknobs and Body Paint Issue 53 – coming up end of Feb folks!

    Am I the first to congratulate you? I do hope so 🙂

  • Great story I thought. . . wait a minute! I’ll be right back. I have to go and check under the bed.

  • I dread to imagine what happened next! Fab horror!

  • Roberta SchulbergGoro

    Overindulgent mother naively catering to demands of a child collaborating with a monster and keeping his mother from her needed normal night’s rest. A capsule summary might make it seem an interesting idea, but it’s written in a so much of a “surfacy” manner without any character development or enlivening detail that the reader is left cold and uncaring despite the unanswered questions which usually impel continued interest.

  • Jen

    Vey cute. I knew there was going to be a real monster in the end, but it was still a good reas.

  • Margie Lott Chapman

    OOOOOOh! I got a lovely shiver on the back of my neck with that one. ;~)

  • I liked that.
    Good voice and flow…and a monster, too!

    –dj

  • Excellent! Five stars here.

    This story is twisted, and I like it. I kept waiting around for the monster, but that’s not quite what I expected. I also kept waiting around to figure out what the title was about, and it was well worth it in the end.

    Thank you for a wonderful piece of flash fiction, Angel.

  • Thank you everyone for your kind words (and a critique here and there). I really enjoyed writing this piece. Although I did have to sacrifice my mother to a monster…oh, the price we pay for glory.

    And Oonah…

    You are the first to congratulate me. In fact, this is the first I’ve heard of it. What a great day!

  • TW

    Very nice. Congrats!

  • Sharon

    This is very well done indeed–kept my interest till the end. One question, though: Why didn’t the mother see anything when she looked under the bed? Was the creature camouflaged? Those must have been some monster dust bunnies.

  • Loved it – thought the ending was wonderfully scary and didn’t see it coming…

  • DA Brown

    Nice. Great twist.

  • Staci

    I have to say, I liked the story but I wasn’t crazy about it. HOWEVER, I read it to my twin 10 year old boys and they loved it. That was yesterday. In the car today, they asked me to read it to them again. I told them that I didn’t have a copy of it with me, not to mention that I was driving….but they bugged the heck outta me until I “recited” it to them all over again 🙂 It’s always nice to hear constructive criticism of one’s work; but I think it’s equally important to occasionally hear how great something we’ve written is for the reader, too….and I just wanted to pass along that fact that you now have to huge fans of “Cheese”!

  • Aneisha Shetty

    Whoa!!

    Loved it……great ending….

  • sn wright

    Nicely done. Like a roller coaster – you know the drop is coming – but it’s still fun when you fall.

  • A traditional theme, very nicely done. (And the comment where kids wanted to hear it again – the ultimate praise!)

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