I have a small night light by my bed, but it fails to reach the darkest corners of my room, where the monsters stand and watch. I try to ignore the feeling of something watching me, but it never works, the feeling never goes away.
Mum always closes my curtains before tucking me in for the night. I wait till she closes the door and I can hear her footsteps echo down the hall, leaving me alone with the monsters that lurk. Grabbing the polar bear in my hands, I make my way towards the window, hoping that the small light will keep away the things that live in the dark.
I pull back my curtains to see the street below me. The street lamps glow a warm orange against the night as cars pass by randomly, and lights from other houses scatter down towards the end of the road. I leave the curtains open and make my way back to bed, pleased with my clever plan to light the scary parts of my room without having to turn on the big light so I can fall asleep.
I do the same thing the next night. Get out of bed, open my curtains and crawl back into bed, again holding my polar bear for safety. The sky is raining, so as I make myself comfortable, I watch the rain fall against the window. My eyes feel droopy and I am no longer afraid to fall asleep, until something passes the window, a shadow of sorts.
It must have been a bird, I tell myself. It makes sense. My room is on the second floor of the house. I sit up, watching the window; I am waiting for something to move again. The room is quiet but the ticking of the clock on the wall and the rain outside tap tap tapping on the window. It must have been a bird, and so I lay back down, keeping my eyes on the window.
After a minute goes by, I see someone grabbing onto the ledge outside. The long slender fingers tap their way up the window till they take hold of the sides. The thing pulls itself up and I pull the covers over my face, hoping it won’t catch me looking.
The monster is small and thin to the bone. He hunches over, his body filling the frame of the window. A light passes by, allowing me to see the monster’s pale face as he places a long finger against his smiling black lips, his large eyes bearing into mine.
I pull the covers over my head in fright. Maybe he’ll leave me alone if I ignore him. I can hear the rain tapping at the window and then a slow, soft knocking begins to accompany it.
He wants to get in.
His breathing is deep and terrifying, and sounds as if he has something stuck in his throat. The knocking becomes slower than before, but I can tell he is angry as his fist makes my window into his drum.
My whole body begins to shake, and tears fall down my cheeks. I know I can’t run to my parent’s room this time, that would make the monster outside angry. I know that if I step one foot onto my blue carpet, he will rush towards me and I will never see mum or dad again. Even if I yell for them, the monster will eat them too; I need to protect them. As my body shakes and shivers with fear and the tears stain my face, I force myself to sleep. My body feels tired and drained.
We sit on a bench, my mum and me, watching the ducks float by and I throw bread into the water, watching the ducks devour it. It is a sunny day with clear blue skies and green trees and flowers all around us, but the monster at the window keeps creeping into my thoughts, an unwelcomed visitor both during the day and the night. So I tell mum about the monster, earnestly begging her to make him go away.
She just smiles at me, telling me it was all a dream, and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Mum would never lie to me, right? But if she did tell me the truth, then why can’t I believe her?
Because every night I still see him outside my window, wanting to get in, but he never does. I still sleep with my curtains open, hoping one night he won’t climb into my room and step closer to me than he has ever done.
After all, it is better to have one monster who can’t get me then to have multiple who can.