It’s just a nightmare, Mike thought. He’ll go back to sleep soon enough. But more cries came, and with greater urgency.
Mike heaved himself out of bed, draped on a dressing gown and crossed the landing to Cameron’s room.
“What’s up mate?” he asked as he flipped on the light. Cameron was at the window peering through the thin gap in the curtains.
“Look Dad, by the garages. There’s a monster out there! It looked right up at me.”
Cameron ducked beneath the windowsill as his father pulled wide the curtains. Mike squinted. His vision was blurry but even without his glasses he could tell that there was no-one out there.
Mike yawned. “It was probably just someone walking home from the pub who happened to look up just as you looked down. Now get back to bed Cam.”
He felt bad about leaving the boy alone when he was clearly upset. “Listen son. I won’t let anyone ever hurt you, OK?”
Cameron smiled. “Thanks Dad.”
They hugged and Mike tucked him in before returning to his own bed. The bedside lamp had only been off for seconds when more cries pierced the silence.
“The monster! It’s in my cupboard!”
Mike returned to his son’s room. Cameron was crouched behind his desk with one trembling hand pointed at the wardrobe in the far corner. Its door was slightly ajar.
Was it open before? Mike couldn’t remember. He’s even got me spooked now, he thought as he pulled open the door with a little more trepidation than he would ever admit to the guys at the pub.
“See! Nothing! That man outside just gave you the creeps, that’s all.” You and me both kid!
He slid the clothes across the rail, making a show of searching the cupboard and then pushed its door shut so there was no gap through which Cameron might spy the night-time horrors of a child’s overactive imagination.
The boy tried to protest but Mike cut him off. “Enough! I’ve got an early start tomorrow.” He stormed back to bed again.
Mike was woken a third time by a thudding from Cameron’s room. Furious, he rubbed his sleep filled eyes as he headed back to put an end to this nonsense once and for all.
He looked across to the bed as he entered. The duvet was pulled right up to the headboard, shrouding its occupant.
“You’re ten years old for Christ’s sake! There’s nothing in the garden, nothing in the cupboard…”
Mike crouched down and winced as his knee cracked on the floor. He pressed his face to the carpet to get a better look under the bed.
“… and there’s nothing under…”
He stopped when his eyes adjusted to the gloom. A chill spread down the back of his neck and he felt his pulse increase. A boy with panic-stricken eyes and a finger pressed to his lips was staring back.
“Quiet Dad!” Cameron whispered. “There’s a monster sleeping in my bed!”
Since I started writing again this was the first story I created purely for pleasure. Despite there being no external limitations this time I decided to test myself by keeping within the 500 word limit which had been set in the previous competitions I had entered.
Cameron gets his name from “Cameron’s Closet”, a 1990 film in which a young boy with psychic powers accidentally opens a gateway to a demonic realm inside his bedroom cupboard. However the content of the story is somewhat different. It plays on the classic childhood fear of a monster in the darkness. Parents are used to checking behind the door, in the wardrobe, under the bed, and so on… but what if the creature really is there and just can’t be seen by grown ups until it’s too late?
Is the monster in the story up to no good or just looking for a comfy place to have a snooze? That’s up to the reader to decide.