When I was little, I never saw a monster under the bed. I always thought I had escaped that by experiencing something else.
It started late at night, as it always did. Since I was little, I always had these bouts of paralysis, sort of like sleep-paralysis but when I was completely awake. I had seen doctors and therapists, and I had researched it online, but the only other people who even knew what I was talking about were obscure stories without much substance or solidity.
So I got used to it. It didn’t happen every night, but it was close. Nothing usually happened, and it usually lasted two minutes and twenty-six seconds. I had counted. Sometimes it varied by a second or two, more or less, but that never really mattered.
On this particular night, however, I guess it did. It started at 2:26 a.m., and that’s how long it lasted. It felt as if something had aligned. But I didn’t even think about it until it was over.
I was lying on my bed, staring straight up at the ceiling and trying to sleep. That’s when it happened. It wasn’t much of a big deal anymore, so I didn’t freak out.
But then I felt my upper body being pulled upward without my consent, my eyes flicking around nervously, wondering if I was actually dreaming this time. My body was upright and my head staring straight forward at the mirror that sat directly in front of my bed.
My breathing became labored from terror and a chill crept up my spin, rising goosebumps on my skin.
And I saw it.
Long, stringy, black hair surrounded a decaying face with coal black eyes and a toothless grin. It crawled on all four dislocated limbs out from the darkness pooling beneath my bed, looking deeper and murkier than ever before. Its bones cracked and popped with every move. It turned its head in a corkscrew motion, creaking in an agonizingly slow fashion before I felt its eyes on me.
In the mirror I saw its long, crooked, bony fingers, covered in rotting, blue and black flesh, sliding their way up the mattress before they locked onto my wrist. The rest of its body followed up onto the bed, its legs bent out of shape as one foot planted itself behind me.
It leaned its head over my shoulder from behind me, the smell of decaying flesh filling my nostrils and my hair standing on end.
It whispered in my ear with its crackling voice, sounding as if it came through an old radio, screeching and growling.
“See you soon.”
And then it was gone. Nothing remained of the monster except the goosebumps on my body. I stared at myself in the mirror before I screamed so loud I hurt my own ears, until I could hear nothing but the ringing in my head. When I ran out of breath, I sucked in air and screamed again.
After three screams my mother came rushing into the room, yelling at me to tell her what was wrong. I almost stopped to tell her what had happened before I screamed again.
Her lips twisted into a terrifying grin. In the mirror, her skin had rotted off and her hair became black and greasy. She crouched down on bent legs and arms and grabbed my wrist.
When I was little, I never saw a monster under my bed. It was always in the other room.