Mark Duplock

The Monster Under the Bed

There’s a monster under my bed. I know it’s there; I’ve seen it.

It has evil yellow eyes, with thin black slits for pupils. The fangs glisten white as they catch the light from my reading lamp. Sometimes a talon will creep out from the darkness under there, its curved black claw searching for a victim.

For many years, I avoided the monster. I would press the light switch as I entered my room and dispel the shadows. Sometimes I saw it dart back under the bed—a grey ghost of movement, caught in the lamp’s glow.

I knew it wanted to catch me. It hunted me every night, waiting for me to make a mistake. Hoping that I would walk into the darkened room without checking. Then it would spring its ambush and drag me into its lair under my bed.

But I was too clever—or so I thought.

I don’t know what caused me to forget about it tonight. Maybe I was distracted. I forgot about the monster.

I walked into the dark bedroom, unaware of the shadow lingering next to the doorway. I didn’t notice it stalking me as I walked to the bedside table. It wasn’t until I’d reached the bed that I realised my mistake. There was a sudden movement behind me. The shadows had closed in, and I sensed something charging towards me. In a blur of motion and a rush of noise, I was pulled to the floor and dragged under the bed. The monster had me. After so many years of outwitting the creature, it had finally caught its prey.

The creature was hideous. Thankfully, the darkness obscured many of its more vile features, but the black maw filled with glistening, white teeth loomed over me. I felt its damp breath on my face and smelt the decay. I was petrified in fear—frozen in place by the horror of the thing.

It growled in a low, menacing rumble. The floor vibrated as the growl became a vicious snarl, and I knew it would strike at any moment. It was savouring the victory—gloating over my helpless body and tasting my fear.

The monster shifted, subtly adjusting its position—tensing its muscles. Death was near and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. It lunged, the bared fangs flashed. But it didn’t strike at me. In a terrifying blur, the monster passed over me and into the room. I held my breath, waiting for the inevitable snap of the jaw around my exposed neck. But it didn’t come. Then I heard the monster snarl—and there was something else in the room. Something worse.

Carefully, I looked out from under the bed and saw the movement of shadows in every part of the room. They flowed over walls, between the furniture and across the ceiling, finally meeting in front of the door. They coalesced into a larger, formless shape that moved further into the darkness. I watched in awe as the shadow appeared to melt into the blackness of the room.

The continuous, low growl of the monster did not cease as it stared at the spot where the shadow had vanished—its yellow eyes penetrating the gloom, searching for movement. Something shifted at the corner of my sight—an abrupt change where the shadow had been. The monster erupted in a roar and leapt forward, its claws and fangs bared.

The shadow rose in the centre of the room, impossibly free from the walls and surfaces. It radiated malevolence as it loomed over the monster. Great spikes seemed to grow from it as the shadow reshaped parts of itself into weapons. The monster snarled and leapt at the thing—claws striking into the darkness, fangs tearing murky, black clouds from it.

One of the shadowed spikes pierced the monster, passing through its leg. The monster howled, clamped onto the spike with its jaw and, with a mighty jerk, separated it from the formless shape. With an ear-splitting, yet soundless howl, the shadow shrank back to the walls, where it quickly dissipated and vanished into the darkness of the room.

Silence descended as the shadows retreated. The sound of my pounding heart filled the room—occupying the void left by the fleeing darkness.

A giant paw thumped into the ground next to me, almost causing me to scream in terror—the monster was returning. A second paw followed as it pulled itself back under my bed. The yellow eyes looked around, briefly focusing on me. The leg that the spike had injured dragged behind the monster and its breathing was heavy as it crawled into its lair. Cautiously, I climbed out from under my bed and the monster made no move to stop me as it settled down to rest.

The room was still dark, but there was no hint of any ominous shadows. I knelt beside the bed and looked back into the yellow eyes of the monster. It stared at me, unblinking. It didn’t appear so terrifying anymore.

Standing up, I turned on my reading lamp—finally dispelling the darkness of the room. I took a last look under the bed and was not surprised to see no sign of the monster now. I knew the monster would heal, and that it would be there when the shadows returned.

There is a monster under my bed. I sleep better knowing it’s there because it hunts nightmares that are far more terrifying.