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Prompt Five

Tuesday November 10, 2009

When you were little, you could swear there was a monster under your bed–but no one believed you. On the eve of your 30th birthday, you hear noises coming from under your bed once again. The monster is back and has an important message to deliver to you.

There it is.  That sound again.  Every time she walked towards the closet she could hear what sounded like the rustling of curtains.   She could almost feel the breeze, but all of the windows were closed.  Standing on one foot in the center of her bedroom, trying to force her leg into a new pair of pants she finally saw it.  The rustler.  Now a flash of metallic blue disappearing behind the skirt of the bedside table.  A rush of feathers.  What is it?

Standing half-clothed in the moments before her dreaded 30th birthday dinner while a brightly colored something scurries around her bedroom, she experienced an unexpected wash of calm.  As this difficult day arched toward further complication, she felt nothing but curiosity.  Life was strange.  Of that, she was certain.  The possibility that a mouse had settled into her attic had once precipitated a two-week stay in her sister’s guest room and a steep extermination bill with not a mouse to be found.  In fact, she spent much of her childhood convinced that a monster lived in some invisible nook beneath her bed.  She lost a lot of sleep over that one, but didn’t every kid have a monster under the bed?

Yes, they do said a voice.  It came from the bedside table.  It almost sounded like the lamp was talking.  Was she losing her mind? 

No.  There it was again.  A soothing sound.  Almost warm.

Who’s there?

From behind the table, a small creature marched towards her.  Bright eyes shining.  Except for the eyes, he was covered in shining blue feathers.  He looked like nothing she had ever seen.  He wasn’t a bird and he wasn’t a  monkey, but somehow he had qualities of both animals.  He was the most alien creature she had ever seen and yet she knew him.

It’s me.  Your monster,  the small creature reported.  I’ve been here all the time, but now it’s time for me to go.  We’re both getting too old for this.

He settled himself in the pillows on her bed as he spoke.  Moving her blouse aside to make himself more comfortable.  Stretching out as though this bed were his own, which she guessed, it was.

I’m a little nervous about my new assignment and spending the last 30 years with you makes this pretty hard, but rules are rules.  The 30th birthday is the expiration date for monsters like me.  We’ll both have some adjustments to make.  You’ll have your new monster to create and I’ll have a new child.

No more whispering into your dreams the monster said sadly.

Whispering into my dreams? she asked.

Of course.  That’s my job and I take that job seriously.  Does this sound familiar? Suddenly the nature of his voice changed and the sounds came from inside her own head.  They resonated in her bones.  The fear, the doubt, the questions.  She knew them as well as she knew herself.

Stop it!! she shouted.  The sound was loud in the room and the fierceness of the words rattled something inside her.

When she opened her eyes, she was alone in the room.  Her blouse was laid out neatly at the foot of her bed and she was balancing on one foot, halfway into her new pants.  There was not so much as a blue feather anywhere in her room.  No sign that a monster had ever appeared.

Life was indeed strange and now it was time for her birthday dinner.

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