I’ve never been afraid of the monster under my bed. I can’t recall ever asking my parents to leave the door ajar and I never wanted a night light.
I found comfort in the silence, even when all I could hear was my steady heartbeat, the creaks on the wooden floor and sometimes, the sound of its claws dragging.
But I was never scared. Sometimes when the silence was so deafening and I couldn’t fall asleep no matter how hard I’d try, I’d talk to it.
It was just incoherent whispers at first, I was talking to myself more than I was talking to the monster. But the first night I spoke to it, the monster stopped scratching the wood underneath my bed.
As a child, insomnia haunted me more than my monster did. So as I lay awake, trying to fall asleep I would ramble on and on about anything and everything. About the cartoons I’d seen and the books I’d read and what homework I hadn’t turned in.
It never spoke back. At least not in the way you would expect. It would gently tap the wood when it wanted to hear more and scratch it if it didn’t particularly like the subject.
I would leave chocolate and drawings and gifts for it at the foot of my bed and I noticed small favors in return. My room would clean itself up with magic, my parents began to let me be more independent, the girl who constantly tried to steal every spotlight from me began suffering from night terrors.
I befriended the monster under my bed and no one believed me. But that was alright, because I knew it was real.
By the time I was in high school I still had never seen the monster, I had the sense it didn’t want me to look at it and that it would ruin everything. I tried giving it another name, but it only ever responded to creature and monster.
The creature took to drawing. I was often at an art shop, buying supplies for my monster, canvas and sketchbooks and pencils and charcoal that it would burn through.
And anyone who dared oppose me or try to hurt me would be dealt with. One way or another.
When I got to collage I had a reputation in our small town, no one knew how or why, but anytime someone tried doing anything to me, they would either suffer the most hideous night terrors one could imagine or they would simply… disappear.
I tried to get it under control, and my monster listened for the most part. Having run out of new ways of making stories of my life sound interesting, I spun tales for my creature. I told tales of castles and dragons. Of aliens and other planets. Of true love and hopeless endings. Of killers and thrillers.
I was always careful to tell my monster not only stories with clear villains, who were pure evil, but also of gray characters, in the hopes that it would understand how complex humans are.
And how a boy didn’t deserve to disappear for saying my pimple looked like a third eye.
It seemed to work for some time. Some of the missing people returned with no memories of what had happened, the only residue of their time away being night terrors.
I didn’t thank my monster, but I did make sure to get it new painting supplies after that.
I befriended the monster under my bed when I was a child. When I didn’t quite know what I was doing and what power it would give me to be friends with the creature. Now I’m almost twenty years old, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I asked my monster to kill someone for me it would do it without hesitation.
That is a frightening amount of power to have. But it is not one I would ever give up, for I love my monster. For all the misunderstandings that it has caused and the drastic measures it has taken to protect me, my monster was there when no one else was.
Every sad, lonely night was made tolerable thanks to my monster, who, when I wept for the loss of my mother, carefully placed chocolates next to my pillow with its long ocean blue claws and made sure my room was tidy.
It was my monster who pinched my ankles whenever I was tempted to give up on a story or a grade.
It was my monster who got rid of every person who had ever made me cry or feel invisible and useless.
Maybe I’ve become slightly insensitive to the fact that there are indeed people missing who don’t deserve it. But they are all the people who in some way or another made me feel like less. And I’d lie if I said I didn’t feel a rush of adrenaline every time my monster struck, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy some of it.
I think my monster understands that. So as long as this house stands I shall stay here with my monster; if someone wants to come for it, they will have to take me down as well. For I befriended the monster under my bed, and the blood on its claws is blood on my hands — we are intertwined, my monster and I.
And I would not have it any other way.
Raven writes in Nuevo Leon, Mexico and is trying to establish herself as a writer.