by Teresa Cain
Meggie knew the rules about monsters. Paul had told her all about them at school during playtime. She knew that you should never, ever let your hand or foot dangle over the side of the bed, because monsters could grab you. She knew that they could pull your hair if you went to sleep too close to the top of your bed. She knew that they could come out of your closet if you left the door open. She knew that all-dark rooms would make them come, and she knew that night-lights would keep them away.
So Meggie would sleep close to the top of her bed, and she slept with arms and legs dangling. She always left the closet door open. She made sure that any lights were always turned off before she went to sleep. Mommy was so proud of her. Her little Meggie was such a brave little girl.
But Meggie wasn't brave. Meggie was scared. But she wasn't scared of monsters in her closet or monsters under her bed. They weren't scary. The bed monster looked like an octopus, all long, long arms and a big, lumpy black body that you couldn't see when you looked under the bed. And it smelled like old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and socks that someone forgot and left under the bed. It would grab her in the night sometimes, but she didn't mind. It made her feel better to know he was under there.
The closet monster wasn't scary. He was all shaggy with black fur and glowing yellow eyes and long teeth like Mommy's knitting needles. He smelled like cotton dresses and corduroy overalls and leather sandals and plastic toys. He would peek out of the closet at night, those big yellow eyes shining as he stared at Meggie asleep in her bed. But she wasn't always sleeping. Sometimes she would just pretend to sleep so she could see him peeking at her. It made her feel better to know he was in there.
It was the monster outside the door that scared Meggie.
That monster would stand outside of Meggie's room and twist and rattle the knob of her door. Twist, twist - rattle, rattle. But it never came in. Twist, twist - rattle, rattle. Meggie would lay awake at night and listen to the knob, holding her breath when it would twist too far. But it never came in.
Meggie knew that this monster wasn't like the others. Getting under the covers wouldn't stop it. Tucking her head down low on the pillows wouldn't stop it. Closed doors wouldn't stop it. Night-lights wouldn't stop it. This was a bad thing that you could only hide from, but if it found you, it would do horrible things.
One night Meggie was lying just almost asleep, one arm hanging over the side of the bed. She would giggle as the bed monster tried to pull her off the bed, but not really. It was just playing. Then she heard the sound. Twist, twist - rattle, rattle. Twist - turn.
Meggie sucked in a breath, her fingers holding on tight to the bed monster's long arm. It was coming in! The bad thing was coming in! So Meggie threw back her covers and slid off the bed and ran into the closet. She closed the door, and she ran to the back of the big closet and huddled against the wall. Big tears poured down her cheeks as she heard her bedroom door open and the bad thing come in. She pushed herself against the wall and held her breath.
But Meggie wasn't up against the wall. The wall wasn't shaggy furry, and it didn't smell of cotton dresses and corduroy overalls and leather sandals and plastic toys, and it didn't have big glowing yellow eyes and long sharp teeth. It didn't pat you on the head and its eyes didn't crinkle as it smiled all widely at you. It didn't pick you up and stand up, all taller than the slide at the park and hold you close.
Meggie let out a long sigh and snuggled closer, her fingers holding on tight to long, shaggy fur to keep from falling. And when the closet door opened, she wasn't scared. She just looked at the bad thing. The bad thing looked just like Mommy's boyfriend Mike.
Meggie wasn't scared anymore.
But the bad thing was.
The bad thing looked at the closet monster with big eyes, and it peed all over its pants. Then it tried to run, but the bed monster reached out with all its long, strong arms and grabbed the bad thing and started pulling it under the bed. The bad thing tried to scream, but the bed monster put an arm across its mouth and pulled it all the way under. Meggie put her head on the closet monster's big shoulder and hugged his neck while she listened to the wet sounds and the breaking sounds and the ripping sounds and the slurping sounds. Then the bed monster burped, which made Meggie giggle.
Then the closet monster walked out of the closet with Meggie and put her back into bed. He pulled the covers up over her, and he patted her head, smiling all toothy again. Then it went back to the closet.
Meggie listened for more noises under the bed, but it was all quiet. So she scooted to the edge of her bed and let her arm and leg hang over. The bed monster grabbed her, its long arms patting her. Meggie smiled all sleepy and yawned.
And then Meggie went to sleep.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
Meggie's Monsters ©2000 by Teresa Cain
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