Deep down, Jack knew all too well what had awakened him. His T-shirt was damp with sweat and clung to his body. He didn’t move while his eyes stared out into the darkness of his bedroom. Everything was still and silent like a warm summer night, and a soft sigh came over his dry lips. In a couple of hours, it would be morning and they would celebrate his birthday. Then the shriek came, and it clawed in his ears like broken nails. Every muscle in his small body tensed, and he closed his eyes so hard it hurt. The dream had followed him.
When he was younger, he would scream and his mother would rush into his room and embrace him. She would rock him assure him that monsters weren’t real. His eyes teared up and he cursed the day she died and left him alone in the dark.
Something shambled under the bed and pulled itself up onto the bed. Jack emptied his bladder as it crawled on top of him. The moist breath washed over him and the scent of rotten meat stung in his nose.
After an eternity a horse and strained voice broke the strained silence.
“Kid listen. Your mother wants you know something. She’s sad she didn’t believe you when you cried out I was under your bed. But now? Oh, now she believes. She really does, I tell you.”
Jack wanted to scream, kick and claw at the thing on top of him, but he was frozen in place.
“She also wished you could have a lovely birthday tomorrow, but since monsters are real…”
The sudden pain came over him like a bucket of boiling water, and a short gurgling scream echoed out in the darkness.
. . .
© Ken Bergman