Nights like this, when the thing under the bed is restless and making a lot of noise, I just sit up and keep my eyes open. I don’t ever see it, but I might. Besides, I know that if I close my eyes I might fall asleep. And if I fall asleep, it might take me.
At first I didn’t know it would try to take me; I just thought it wanted to hurt me or eat me or something. But Dad told me one night, when I had screamed for him to save me and he had opened the door and switched on the light, that the thing was probably more afraid of me than I was of it. He said because it was afraid, it wouldn’t try to take me. I wasn’t sure, but I knew that even if it was afraid of me, it wouldn’t be if it found me asleep. So I stay awake when I know it’s restless. Like tonight.
Mom said the thing was only in my imagination, and that ten was too old to be afraid of monsters under the bed. As if monsters didn’t bother with kids after they turned ten. She was wrong about that, but she may have been right about the thing being from my imagination. But what does that have to do with anything? Just because I imagine it doesn’t mean it’s not real, does it?
And besides, even though she might have made me think for a little while that it wasn’t real, now I know for sure that it is. I knew as soon as I walked into Mom and Dad’s bedroom three days ago—when I found them gone and saw their pajamas shredded and lying on the floor beside their bed.