SHADOWS • by Scott M. Sandridge

There’s a monster under my bed. I know. I saw it once when I peeked. And two green eyes looked back at me and blinked. I don’t know what it looks like; it’s never there when the lights are on.

Sometimes I hear it growl, other times it purrs like a kitten. But it’s the moments of silence that scare me most because that’s when I know it’s thinking, thinking about me. And it’s silent now.

Daddy said I just have bad dreams. But I know that’s not true because I don’t dream, and it always happens before I go to sleep. When I tried to tell him that, he just shouted, “William, go to bed!”

When Daddy doesn’t call me Billy I know he’s mad at me.

There’s a shadow in the corner. It only appears when the lights go off, when the voices come. It stands there and stares at me with red eyes. It touched me once, reached inside me and grabbed my heart. I froze and couldn’t move. Daddy turning on the light saved me that day.

I never felt so cold, not even when there’s snow. I wonder if death is cold.

It laughs, and it’s not a nice laugh. It’s all hollow and echoes in my ears and inside my head.

Mommy said I have a vivid imagination.

But then the shadows took her and Daddy away. I never heard them scream like that. Seeing the shadow was better than hearing the screams.

The shadow now leaves the corner, coming closer.

And the monster?

The monster is not under the bed anymore. It’s now on my chest, purring, mouth open, ready for its meal.

I want to get up and run, but I can’t. There’s a buzzing in my brain, and everything is numb. The voices are now everywhere, but I can’t hear what they’re saying.

The shadow reaches into me one last time.

Scott M. Sandridge is a writer, reviewer, columnist and editor. But in truth his cat, Loki, does all the work. Scott just takes the credit.

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Every Day Fiction