Happy Halloween, dear reader! Today I’m participating in the “Childhood Chills” challenge. Please do click on THIS LINK to find a list of the other bloggers participating and read their stories as well! (clicking on the image below will take you to the post that listed the requirements for this exercise). Hope you enjoy my SPOOKY story!
UNDER THE BED
She lay in bed, staring into the darkness of her room. Her clock read 11:14. The numbers glowed faintly, tingeing the blackness with green. A car drove by outside, its headlights casting a moving pattern on her wall that slid around her room and disappeared.
Her parents had gone to bed half an hour ago. She knew this because the light from the hall that filtered under her door had clicked off, and she had then heard them going up the stairs to their own bedroom. Her parents weren’t afraid of the dark. She wasn’t sure why this was. Perhaps they did not know what lurked in the dark after the lights were turned off. Maybe when you grew up, you forgot. Or maybe it was because there were two of them. Or maybe growing bigger also meant growing braver.
There were rules. Her father had told her so, and she believed him. They couldn’t come out in the day. They couldn’t come out if the lights were on. They couldn’t climb up onto the bed. Apparently, they couldn’t be seen by adults.
She trembled a little, wishing she could fall asleep, but knowing she couldn’t. The only reason she was awake was because she had to use the bathroom. But she was afraid.
It wasn’t the getting out of bed that terrified her. No, she had mastered the art of taking a flying leap off of the end of her bed and reaching out for the light switch while still in midair. Because of where the switch was positioned, sometimes she could even get the light on before her feet touched the soft carpet of her bedroom floor.
No, it was the coming back. She would have to turn the light off before navigating her way back into bed. And she couldn’t reverse the flying leap strategy. The distance was too great.
Her parents had suggested a flashlight. She had stared at them in disbelief. A flashlight was no good to her. Its light could only serve to reveal the horror, not dispel it. The only consolation was that at least they hadn’t told her that ten-year olds were too old to be scared of monsters under the bed.
She wished she had gotten up before her parents turned off the lights It would have been safer. If only she hadn’t had that last drink of water before getting tucked in. She gripped the covers tightly around her chin and squeezed her eyes shut. It was no use.
With a heavy sigh, she threw the blanket off. She would have to be very quick upon returning to bed, that was the only thing she could do. She stood on her pillow and took three quick steps before launching herself off the end of her bed. In the darkness her fingers found the light switch and a brilliance illuminated the room as she landed safely next to the door.
Moments later she returned to her room and stood for a moment in the brightness. Everything seemed so normal, so safe with the lights on. Her fears were almost ridiculous, even in her own mind. Her whirling thoughts quieted when the lights were on. She gazed about, taking in the familiar walls, furniture, and corners of her room. Tomorrow, she promised herself, she would rig up a pulley system with string so that she could turn her light on and off from the safety of her bed. Then she wouldn’t have to face these childish imaginings any more.
Her fingers touched the switch and she took a deep breath. Closing her eyes, she flicked off the light. Her heart pounded, the fear returning the instant the room was flooded with darkness. One step. Two steps. Leap. She landed safely in bed. She sighed. They hadn’t caught her tonight. She had eluded them once more.
She snuggled down into her covers, grateful for the safety of her pillows and blankets. Her heart stopped pounding, and she yawned. As her eyes closed, something cold wrapped itself around her ankle. Paralyzing terror gripped her. She could not move. She could not cry out. The thing around her ankle began to pull, slowly, slowly dragging her toward the edge of her bed.
Inside her mind, she screamed, over and over again: there are rules! There are rules!
And, just in case you need something a bit lighter now…