Friday, February 8, 2013

FFF: The Monster In The Closet

Every Friday, Kurt posts a new piece of original flash fiction. This week's entry...

The Monster In The Closet
Word Count: 600

Jim had just settled in for the evening—he had stretched out on the couch with a book and a glass of wine—when he heard the pitter-patter of his six-year-old coming down the stairs. Little Bryan poked his head around the corner at the bottom of the stairwell. “Daaaaad,” he said.

“It’s past your bedtime, kiddo,” said Jim.

“But Daaaaaad, I can’t sleep,” said Bryan.

“Did you try laying down and closing your eyes?” asked Jim.

Bryan nodded.

“What’s the problem?” asked Jim.

“There’s a monster in my closet,” said Bryan.

Jim raised an eyebrow. “I doubt that,” he said.

“There is,” said Bryan.

“Well, you need to go to sleep anyway,” said Jim. “Why don’t you lay down and pretend that the monster isn’t there?”

“But Daaaaaaad—” said Bryan.

“Go to bed,” said Jim.

Bryan hung his head and loped back up the steps. Jim could hear the bedroom door open and close. “Now, where was I?” he asked. He’d gotten about a paragraph into his chapter when he heard tiny footsteps above him. “Bryan?” he said. The footsteps stopped halfway down the stairwell. “Bryan, I can hear you.”

Bryan’s tiny head peeked around the stairwell. “Daaaaaad, the monster’s still there.”

“You need to go to sleep, Bryan,” said Jim. “It’s past your bedtime and you’ve got school in the morning.”

“But Daaaaaaad—”

“No,” said Jim. “There’s no monster.”

“Could you look, please?” asked Bryan.

“No,” said Jim.

“Pleeeeease?”

“No!”

“But Daaaaaaad—”

“But nothing,” said Jim. “You are too old for this. You need to go to bed and go to sleep.”

“But it’s really real,” said Bryan.

“Then it’ll still be there in the morning and you can deal with it then,” said Jim.

“Can’t I just take a knife with me?” asked Bryan.

“Absolutely not,” said Jim.

“I know where they are,” said Bryan. “In the butcher’s block.”

“I said no,” said Jim.

“I’ll be careful,” said Bryan.

“Do you want to get a spanking, Mister?” asked Jim.

“Just a small knife!” said Bryan.

“One…”

“But Daaaaaaad—”

“Two…”

Bryan grunted and kicked at the carpet, but he acquiesced. He hung his head and trudged his way up the steps, scraping his feet angrily as he walked.

“Don’t drag your feet,” said Jim. He heard one last kick from the stairwell, and then orderly shuffling. “If I have to come up there,” shouted Jim, “you’re not going to be very happy about it.” He listened as Bryan’s bedroom door opened and closed—forcefully. “Love you,” Jim hollered.

“And now, back to my book,” Jim said.

A series of bangs and thumps jerked Jim to attention. The clatter was intense, but it ended abruptly. Bryan’s door opened and closed. Tiny footsteps came down the stairs. Bryan came around the corner, his mouth dripping a coarse, green fluid. He threw something on the coffee table—it looked like a furry black ear. Green slime dripped out of it.

“Now do you believe me?” asked Bryan.

Jim looked at his son. He looked at the furry ear on the table. Then he looked back at his son. “Did you bite that off?” asked Jim.

Bryan nodded.

“Is it still alive?” asked Jim.

“I tied him up with my jump-rope,” said Bryan.

Jim rolled his eyes. “Fine,” he said. “Get a knife from the kitchen—a small knife—and you’re going to have to clean up when you’re done.”

“Thanks, Dad!”

“And don’t torture it for too long,” said Jim. “You’ve got school in the morning.”

“Love you, Dad!” Bryan yelled. He grinned wickedly and scampered off.

Edited by Carolyn Abram.

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