“Everyone knows monsters don’t exist”
The low hiss of an all too familiar voice invaded Jonathan’s ears again as he lay as still as a statue. Tears silently welled in his eyes as he made sure to keep his arms and legs as close to the middle of the bed as possible. A while before, he had made the mistake to fall asleep with his arm dangling off the side of the mattress. The sensation of his hand being crushed and broken was the most pointed incident in existence to his six year old mind. His parents had found him on the floor with a mangled wrist. Both they and the doctor told him that he had fallen out of bed.
He wanted to believe them.
The voice cut through the air again, sounding like a snake’s hiss mashed with a hyena’s mocking cackle. When it spoke, the air filled with a sulfuric smell that matched the voice, and it made Jonathan’s face scrunch up in disgust. “Little one, I know you’re up there.” It stopped for a moment, and the noise of claws scraping on a hardwood floor started to fill the room. “I heard what your mother said,” Jonathan curled up in the middle of the bed under mountains of blankets and pillows. “She said that I’m in your head, that I don’t even exist, that if you don’t think about me, I’ll go away,”
It laughed at such a high pitch that it hurt Jonathan’s young ears, and the entire room seemed to shake a little. All of a sudden, the room plunged into a deadly silence, and it hissed in a serious yet mocking tone, “Well then boy. Go ahead. Stop thinking about me,” As Jonathan’s tears hit the pillow, the monster laughed again. “You helpless animal! You cannot do anything about me! I have been here since the day you were born, and will stay here until the day you die!”
Jonathan would have screamed. He would have tried to leap across his room. He would have tried to turn the lamp on. But he couldn’t. He was only a child, and the lamp was always just a little bit out of reach, the door a few inches to far away to jump to. And when he screamed, the only answer he would get was the Beast matching his scream exactly, sardonically mimicking his cries and wails. He would then lie in silence as incessant giggling echoed from the hell underneath, and the floor shook with heaving fits of laughter. “Go ahead boy, scream some more, scream for your mother, scream for your father, scream so loud that the angles hear you and the world shakes. Nobody’s going to do anything,”
The beast had been there for a very long time, a presence that Jonathan only felt at night, when the world was asleep. The first memories that Jonathan had of him was dreams. Only scattered fragments were distinguishable in his young mind, but if he really concentrated, he could remember nightmares that plagued him through his very young childhood. Not nearly old enough to understand them, or even make sense of what he was seeing, all he could feel was an animalistic instinct to run. To get away from the creature that lived underneath his bed. To escape the heavy, malevolent breathing that was the backdrop to all his nightmares.
Eventually, he got to the point where he could articulate well enough to hint at the presence below. His parents would then sigh and lift up his sheet to show that there was absolutely nothing there to be afraid of. “Jon-Jon, your perfectly safe, there is nothing down there.” And there never was. But then, at night, the dreams turned into reality. The breathing wouldn’t stop when the dreams did. Instead it would persist on in a rattling, wheezing drone that lasted until the morning. His parents told him that it was just the house settling, and that he was perfectly safe.
But the beast was still there.
Then he started to smell it. The stench changed from night to night, one evening Jonathan would wake up to the reeking of rotting flesh, and the next he would be overwhelmed with what could only be described as gasoline fumes. It became hard to get a full night’s sleep, and he started trying to ignore the stenches and sounds to continue sleeping. But he never could completely forget about the beast, for even on nights where it seemed to be inactive, there would still be the occasional wafting of smoke and growling breath.
The night of Jonathan’s sixth birthday, it started to speak. It would whisper terrifying things, and get louder and louder every night. By the time that he ‘fell out of bed’ and his wrist broke he was petrified of this thing that was all too real for him. His parents weren’t going to do anything, and he felt more trapped then he ever had before.
And there he was, lying in the middle of the bed, driving laughter threatening to push him to the very edge. He figured he had one option, and one option only. He had to do the unthinkable, and acknowledge its existence. “Please. Please leave me alone,” his voice left him in barely a whisper, but the beast heard it, and surprised that the child talked, it took a second to answer. “I don’t think so…” its voice trailed off with the flick of a serpentine tongue. “But, may-maybe we could be friends instead,” Jonathan used the only sentence he was ever taught to use when faced with an opponent.
Laughing like a maniac, the monster screeched out a shrill “Sure thing boy, we’re be best of friends” followed by terrifying, wall-shaking, chest-bursting cackling. “So, are we friends?” Jonathan stammered. “Sure child, come down here, and I can see you, and you can see me.” In his childish ignorance, Jonathan figured that it was telling the truth, and even if it wasn’t, he wanted this torment to end, and whatever was waiting down there had to be better. “That’s right, step onto the ground, come to me my friend.”
The second his foot hit the ground, he squealed in pain. A hand, much bigger than an adult man’s, and covered in disgusting black hair grabbed onto his ankle. Jagged, uneven claws dug into his skin as he tried to pull his leg up. The creature screamed, and tried to pull him down. The arm was massive, and was so muscular it looked like snakes were squirming beneath the skin. Jonathan screamed when he saw it, and he used every bit of strength in his body to force himself away from it and onto his bed. The hand couldn’t follow, and retreated back to underneath the bed, accompanied by violent wheezing and heavy breathing. “You lied! You monster!” the beast hissed like a snake, and fell silent for the rest of the night, Jonathan falling into a fitful sleep.
The next day Jonathan was so tired that he could barely drag himself out of bed, and go about with his day. The beast was getting stronger as he lurked in the darkness, and the boy worried that soon it would be able to drag itself up from that dark place underneath the bed.
He knew for sure it was getting stronger as he began to see it everywhere he went. At first, it was just an out of place shadow, or a shuffling in the bushes. But as time went on, and his seventh birthday drew nearer, these visions would get more detailed, and more petrifying every time. Dirty yellow eyes would peer out of the shadows, massive claw marks would appear on the trees outside his house, and that horrible breathing would follow him everywhere, constantly in his ear wherever he was. The beast would not leave him alone, and it was taking a horrible toll on his mental state.
After three sleepless nights in a row, Jonathan came to the conclusion that it would either be the beast or himself. He tried to tell his parents, but daddy was usually out and his mother was either working or crying. He tried to tell a teacher, but they seemed to only care when he mentioned that his parents didn’t notice it. So he figured that he would have to take care of it, and he would do it completely on his own. He just needed a chance.
That chance came the night after his birthday. His mother had put on a little party for him and three of his friends, and he had been given a state of the art baseball bat and glove. He was overjoyed when he unwrapped the bat, because he knew in his heart exactly how it would liberate him. After thanking his mother a dozen times, he ran upstairs to slip the bat discretely underneath his pillow, hoping that neither his parents nor the beast somehow noticed, before returning to the party.
That night, after he tucked himself into bed, he fell asleep like a baby, his room completely peaceful.
The familiar breathing, along with a low growl, jerked him awake. “This is it little one,” the beast hissed, accompanied with the smell of burning rubber and decomposing meat. “Your time has come,” Jonathan was scared, but knew that he had some hope in the instrument lying right beneath his head. “Climb out of bed, come down here, come to my realm,” this was said in a surprisingly calm tone, compared to the manic laughter that usually filled his room.
Jonathan put on the best fake apathy in his voice as he could and he answered “I don’t care, if you want me, come up here and get me. I won’t fight,” The beast paused for a moment, almost as if there was hesitation in its voice. But finally it hissed “Yessss, I will come up there,” Jonathan readied his bat, its aluminum glinting in the faint light that the room had. One of the monster’s giant hands grabbed the edge of the bed, and with a mighty heave, another hand grabbed on next to its twin. It was almost like the beast was pulling itself up from a chasm, an incredibly strenuous task. Jonathan was shaking in terror as he saw the disgusting arms and the maggots crawling underneath the oversized claws. No child could imagine a creature as horrible as this one, and no child should ever have to.
Finally, after heaving and pulling, the very tip of the beast’s head became visible from Jonathan’s position. Four giant, curled horns protruded from its skull, each one a different size and shape. Immediately, Jonathan knew where to bring the bat down, and he would have to wait a few more seconds. When he could see the beast’s eyes, he knew that he had to strike. The bat came down with a speed and accuracy one would never expect from a young child. Not only did it hit the beast right between the disgusting yellow eyes, the surprise made him let go of the edge of the bed, and fall.
Jonathan looked over the edge to see, to his disappointment, that the evil being had not fallen back to wherever he crawled from, but was instead struggling to get up from the ground right in front of him. For the first time, he saw the creature in its entirety. Its body was covered as the same course fur as its arms, but was much less muscular, and incredibly thin. Its ribs were protruding from its skin, and its legs looked like they belonged to a malnourished bull. Its head and face were reminiscent of a deer, a bobcat, and a jackal, and was an absolutely horrifying sight to behold. A forked tongue slithered back and forth in between needle-like fangs.
Ignoring the horrible face, Jonathan opted to look at the ground instead as he swung the bat again. It was brought down hard on the beast’s left leg, and the bone cracked under the blow. The beast swung at the boy with one of his clawed hands, but it missed in the confusion, and it staggered backwards. Suddenly, an insane courage took over the young boy, and he leapt from the bed, bat overhead. He brought it down hard on the beast’s skull again, and the creature fell to the ground.
Jonathan didn’t stop there though, he kept beating it, pounding it into the ground. “You’re nothing but a bug!” he screamed at the creature as he hit it with the force of a thousand trucks. The creature tried to stop him, but this was a confusing place for it, and it had been taken by surprise. Blood and tears ran down its face, as it murmured “please don’t kill me,” through a mouth of broken teeth.
“You know what? I think I may have a better idea,” Jonathan giggled as he put the bat down. “Yes, anything, just don’t kill me.”
“Mr. Gillette will see you now.” The intercom went off in the waiting room as the sharply dressed thirty year old stood up and straightened his tie. “Thank you” he said sharply into the intercom, and he opened the door to his boss’s office. “Jonathan, why are you here? And why didn’t you knock?” Mr. Gillette said snidely as he eyed the newcomer underneath his spectacles. Jonathan laughed, and stepped in. “Call me sir now.” He started making himself a coffee with Mr. Gillette’s cappuccino machine.
“Don’t touch that! What do you think you’re doing, barging in here like this? I have an important meeting in five minutes!” Jonathan looked at his superior, and then at the coffee he had just began to sip. “Oh, I am that important meeting, I convinced your dear secretary that I desperately needed to talk to you, and to put me down as a client.” He grasped the warm drink in his hand. “This coffee is disgusting, almost as bad as your hair,” Jonathan tossed it on the ground, and the ceramic mug broke, the brown liquid spilling all over the white carpet. “What do you think you’re doing Jonathan? You have five seconds before I call security!”
Jonathan sat down in the chair across from his manager, and leaned in, dropping his voice to a whisper. “I want your job, you can either give it to me, or we can do it the hard way.” Mr. Gillette pushed Jonathan away, and hovered his finger above the security call button. “Get out”
“Alright, hard way it is. Might want to get your things in order.” Jonathan winked at him as he left, and Mr. Gillette simply sat there, trying to make sense of the events that had just transpired.
That night, Thomas Gillette was working late when, apparently, he made the decision that he would rather take the twenty story fall from his office then go to work the next day. Jonathan Haines was the last person to speak to him, and thus was considered to possibly have a part in this. However, he was out getting drinks with friends that night, and was nowhere near the office. Reviewing of the office security cameras showed Mr. Gillette walking around, seemingly talking to himself, and later in the tapes, running from absolutely nothing. At the end, he was shown trudging towards his office with a crowbar in his hand.
Later investigation showed that Mr. Gillette must have used the crowbar to break the glass out of the frame so he could wriggle out. He had huge scratches on his back that at first were an anomaly, but must have been caused by the broken glass. All the police needed to check this off as a suicide. They went to check the footage from his office itself. The camera in his office skipped frames and were very unreliable for the first couple minutes of the tape. After Mr. Gillette left his office to go to the hall, the camera fritzed out completely, and recorded nothing but darkness for the remainder of the evening.
But nobody thought to double check the first five minutes. If one was to pause it, and focus on the far corner of the room, they would see a dark shape. Through the grainy, low-definition footage, it almost looked like a crouching beast with massive claws and a nest of horns on its head.
But that’s ridiculous.
Everyone knows monsters don’t exist.