There is a monster under your bed. It sounds insane when you say it out loud, but you know it’s real. You know that you can’t ignore it forever, and eventually one of you will cave. It seems unrelenting, but you’re also incredibly spiteful. At night, you listen to it tap it’s fingers impatiently on the floorboards of your bedroom. You’re not sure exactly what it’s tapping with, you’ve never actually seen it.
You know it’s there because sometimes, when you’re alone in your room, you hear it shift it’s large body beneath the skirt of your bed. You’ll see the ruffles flit out from it’s breath, and it growls contently as you work at your desk. It stays awake with you on those nights you can’t sleep and is always a present thought in your mind, even when you’re not at home.
At this point, your mind has conjured up what the beast looks like. Based on what you assume are large curled talons tapping away at the hardwood and a tail you swore you saw once peeking out from the bedskirt, it’s a large scaly thing. Nearly the size of a crocodile, it’s got a large snout and snapping teeth.
This monster has been with you for as long as you can remember. It’s always seemed bigger and stronger than you. You’ve maintained a healthy fear, but as you get older, you’re more comfortable around it. Sometimes you even talk to it when you’re feeling down, only feeling slightly crazy as you do so.
Your parents sometimes ask about it, but rarely talk about it as if it’s something to seriously worry about. They don’t seem to understand that it affects your every personality trait, having grown up with such a huge secret. Your friends are a bit more understanding, but they sometimes make the monster the butt of their jokes, and that hurts more than you’re willing to admit.
You’ve been dealing with this monster for so long, living in fear of what it might look like, letting it cause nightmares and anxiety. It’s getting to be too much. As you move through the phases of your life, it becomes more of an annoyance than a secret worth keeping. Today, you’ve decided you’re finally going to see what this thing is and what it wants.
Once the majority of your day is over, you climb the stairs to your bedroom. You’re positively terrified to face this thing. Your hands shake as you reach for the door knob and your heart soars to your throat as you push the door open. As usual, the thing meets you with a satisfied growl and your bedskirt flutters up and away from the floor with it’s breath. You stop for a moment, assuring yourself that you’re ready to look this thing in the eyes after years of trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.
The floorboards creak as you walk across them and kneel down before the foot of your bed. With a trembling hand, you reach for the bedskirt. Index finger and thumb gently lift the navy blue fabric to reveal a face peering back at you. It’s your face, but more realized; the face you wish you had. Content and happy, it smiles. You fling yourself backwards and propel yourself on your hands as far from the bed as possible. The thing slithers out from underneath the bed, still smiling, but not in a threatening way. You stare for a few moments in silence, unsure of what to say. The scaly beast of your nightmares was you all along.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for some time now” it says. “I am so glad to have met you.” It sounds like you, but with the confidence you wish you could portray in every word you speak.
The rest of your day is spent conversing with your monster, seated on the floor of your room. Tears are shed, memories are recalled, and you become better acquainted with who you’ve always wanted to be. As night falls, the monster stands and says “it’s time.”
“Time for what?” you ask, but stand anyway. Without words, the creature outstretches its arms, waiting. You take your time making your way over to where it’s standing. Accepting this monster means becoming this confident happy person, it’s what you’ve always wanted, right? Thoughts of friends and family run rampant through your mind as you come within inches of the monster’s arms. Throwing caution to the wind and eager to begin your life, you draw the monster into a tight embrace. Your eyes are closed and the warm body wrapped around yours feels right and comfortable.
When you open your eyes, your left standing alone in your room. It seems lighter, like the oppression of keeping your secret is no longer necessary. As you make your way over to your desk to start on tomorrow’s work, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the vanity mirror. It’s the face of your monster smiling back at you. A low, satiated growl emits from your belly and you sit down at your desk to work.
Last Week’s Story: Keepsake
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