Prompt: The monster under your bed is real. It’s there to protect you from things that are even worse than itself.
The hallway light bled between the cracked doorway, soon blotted out by a figure. The door softly opens, and his shadow is thrown across the carpeted floor. “Daddy,” is on the tip of her tongue but she keeps her lips sealed. There’s no clocks in the room, but she knows what time of is, like she knows the fear trickling down her back, the tensing of her body as he closes the door behind him. The smell of something pungent, overwhelming, like him, permeates everything. It soaks into the walls, the stuffed animals, the toys, the games; the things and the memories they created that were meant to remain innocent.
His glasses are crooked, his mouth in the form of a grin. His collar is stained and undone, his tie loose and hanging freely. He sits onto the side of the bed, leans over and gently lays his hand onto her lap.
“Honey,” he says, “dear? Are you awake?”
She doesn’t want to nod. She doesn’t want to open her eyes to see him looming over her. She wants to keep within the emptiness of her mind, and hopes that what has been happening every Friday night to never happen again, yet it does. She knows deep down no matter how much she hides or pleads or prays, it’ll never end.
“Yes, daddy,” she whispers, opening her eyes, tears already welling, “I’m awake.”
“Oh, sweetie,” he says, gliding his hand up the comforter to the top lining, and grips. “Oh, how I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too, daddy,” she says the line seared into her tongue. Tears fall down the sides of her face.
Please. Someone. Help me. She thinks, closing her eyes tight, as he slides the comforter off her. Then, nothing. She waits for his hands to move up her gown, waits for her skin to reel and crawl as though spiders are underneath it, waits for his smelly breath to burn her nose and fill her mouth, but nothing comes.
She opens one eye, widens, then the other.
He’s strung in the air by black tendrils, roots, wrapped around his arms, legs, growing out from underneath her. His glasses are gone, and tears cover his cheeks. He’s holding back a scream because he doesn’t want his wife, her mother, to know he’s in her room, he doesn’t want their secret to leave the pink and white painted walls. The roots grind together, wood on wood, and tighten. Branches— bones crack and pop. He lets out a silent scream. Another root uncurls out from under her, in-between her legs, and raises to his face.
He becomes transfixed, mesmerized, by it, and its tip blooms, revealing vibrant, star-spotted pedals that swirl, creating a flickering tapestry of space. His jaw slackens, his eyes widen, and something shoots out, covering his face and burrows into his nose and eye ducts, scurrying in his skull, hollowing out what’s there. He releases a muffled scream, and as though he was left in a desert for eons, his skin tightens over bone and what muscle remains. His arms fold backwards, his back forward, his insides shatter and break and he’s compressed into a form that could be considered a root of its own. Then, he’s wrenched into the swirling space.
Soon after, the roots wither, wilt, turn to ash, and are gone, too.
The door cracks open, a shadow fills the space. “Honey?” her mother asks with a gentle voice. “Is your father in there?”
She shakes her head. “Uh-uh.”
“Oh, okay, dear. Have a good night.”
“You too, mommy,” she says before the door closes and she’s finally safe.
Read my previous prompt, “The Lonely Monster”
Read more of my writing prompts here.
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