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Amnesiac
September 30th, 2015, 09:40 PM
Andrew was terrified of the monsters that lived in his room. They were either in the closet, or they were under his bed. He was fine with the ones that lived in his closet, because he could close the closet door before going to bed, and that would keep them from getting out and hurting him. The ones under his bed were more problematic, though. He just knew that the scarlet-skinned Devil lived under his bed, and if a stray leg, foot, arm, or hand slipped over the edge of the mattress, that the Devil would seize hold and drag him, screaming, into the fiery maw of Hell. This belief was exacerbated by that muscular jerking sensation that people sometimes have, as they are dropping off to sleep. He thought it was the Devil ramming his feet into the bottom of the mattress, as if to say, Hey, kid! Ha ha! Remember me?! I’m still here, just in case you forgot!
Where did he get this idea? As far as he could remember, he’d not been to church, yet. He’d not sat in a Sunday school or heard a sermon or anything else about the nature of God nor Devil. Maybe these ideas were something culled from a Jungian collective conscious or something… He honestly didn’t know.

He would lie on his back in bed, flattening his body as much as he could, with the covers pulled all the way up to his neck, reasoning in his little boy logic, that any self-respecting monster would leap up, ready to devour him, and upon finding only his head upon the pillow, would leave him alone and not bother gobbling him up.

Days were spent playing either in his room or outdoors. Nights were spent in sweaty combat with shadows, with darkness; his bed and bedroom a blurry field of battle. He would get bloody noses, too. He was too scared to get up and walk down the hallway to the bathroom that was midway between his room and his parents,’ so he would just bleed, and the edge of his sheet and his pillowcase would be bloodstained in the morning.

He had two night terrors. In the first, he is lying in bed and the door is slammed open by a man clad only in a pair of ragged pants that are held in place by a piece of rope tied at the waist. He throws back his head in a nasty, awful laugh. Andrew knows he means to hurt him, and what’s more, he will relish the job. In the other, he is at what looks like a county fair with his sister. There’s an old-fashioned general store, and the counter is all the way at the back. His sister is ahead of him, and walks to the counter. He tries to follow, but when he does, several planks of the wooden floor vanish, and he’s left trying to balance on a single plank that’s wobbling up and down. He’s in the middle of it, and it’s bowing under his weight. Thousands of feet below, he can see Brontosaurus and other massive dinosaurs shrouded in heavy mist, and he knows he’s going to fall.
Each of those night terrors would scare him so much, he would jolt awake, sitting bolt upright in his bed, screaming so hard, the only sound that came out would be a weird sort of strangling, gagging sound.

One night, drifting off to sleep, he felt the Devil kick the underside of his mattress again. He felt the familiar fear, and then he felt something new; a growing anger that washed through him and left him shaking with a reckless resolve. Kicking the covers off, Andrew rolled off the mattress and onto the green carpet. He wriggled his way under the bed and came face to face with the Devil.

He fought back his fear and the Devil laughed. “Hey there, Andrew!” he growled. “Ha ha! It’s about time! I’ve been waiting for you!”

Andrew, fighting to keep his voice from quavering, cried, “I’m sick of you kicking my bed! Knock it off!”

The Devil laughed, “Andrew, you’re afraid! You’ve always been afraid! You’re afraid right now!”

“No I’m not!” Andrew said, feeling stronger and more determined with each word. “I’m not afraid of you, and you can’t hurt me! If you were going to grab me and take me to Hell, you would have done it already! Go away! I’m not afraid of you anymore!”

The Devil seemed to shrink a little, and even looked a little hurt, “You’re not?”

“No! I’m not afraid of you! Go away! I am not afraid! I’m not, I’m not, I’m not! Not anymore! Never again!”

With each word, the Devil grew smaller and smaller, until he disappeared. All that was left under the bed was a broken red crayon, a plastic horse, and two marbles. Andrew’s breathing settled down and softened. It really was quite cozy, under there. There were still the monsters in the closet to deal with, but for now, he felt quite brave and very sleepy.
He rested his cheek against the curious rough softness of the carpet, and suddenly, he was running happily through tall green grass of a wide meadow, with the brightest sunlight he’d ever seen, bathing everything in the most radiant light.

He awoke to the sound of his mom bustling around the kitchen, and the good smell of cooking breakfast wafting through the house.

kasbar21
October 1st, 2015, 10:11 AM
Hi. I quite liked this and I am all for making children see that scary things are not that scary! Just wondering what age this is aimed at as some of the language for children may be a little difficult.
P.s I love that there was 'a broken red crayon, a plastic horse and two marbles' still under the bed. And 'curious rough softness of the carpet'. Kept me reading to the end.

Amnesiac
October 2nd, 2015, 08:55 PM
I don't know what age this would be aimed at, to be honest. The first four paragraphs are autobiographical. This all happened when I was 4-years old, and it's as vivid now, at the age of 46, as it was, back then. "Andrew" is an amalgam of my own name. I didn't have the kind of parents I could run to and ask to sleep in their bed, nor were they the type to come and try comforting me after a night terror. It was just me and the things I was terrified of, engaged in nightly combat. :grey:

kasbar21
October 2nd, 2015, 09:36 PM
Oh bless you. Well they say pain is art and it certainly is in this case. There is no doubt that there's a story in you.
I think I was almost too lucky, my parents are pretty great, but I'm only 27 so there's time yet!
Keep writing :)

Amnesiac
October 2nd, 2015, 09:48 PM
Thank you very much. Welcome to the forum, BTW.

Renaissance Man
October 5th, 2015, 06:32 PM
I think you did a good job of portraying how to fight one's fears. It's short and a little too descriptive with too little action. But shows you have much promise as a writer.