I have a deep, psychological fear of the monster under my bed.
“Leslie, please. You’re 21 years old for christ’s sake. There is no monster under your bed,”
There is, if you would just let me explain.
When I was about 12 years old I had a nightmare. The kind that sticks with you for life, that haunts you even in your waking moments. It is almost impossible to function when sepia images flash through my mind. It is the root of my insomnia and the basis of all my ghost stories.
I was 12 years old and I was running for my life. Running from ghosts and goblins and giant spiders (frequent guests to my nightmares after watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). I was running, running, running, and then suddenly
I was home. I was safe. My mother was putting me to bed, kissing me goodnight. I was climbing to the top bunk, getting under the covers, and settling down for a good night’s rest. I lie on my back, staring at the ceiling, waiting to begin my dream within a dream. Just as I was drifting off to sleep a green hand with long, sharp, and extremely grotesque nails burst through my mattress, digging into my back.
I wake into real life, screaming, touching the skin still stinging from the imaginary attack. My mother rushed into my room to see what was wrong. I describe to her my nightmare between sobs and gulps of air. She looks at my back “checking” for scratch marks. She assures me there are none, despite my still feeling the claws raking across my skin.
“There is no monster under your bed, sweetie.”
I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.
I’m not sure I slept the rest of the week.
To this day, that green hand haunts my dreams. I cannot lay on my back without feeling the claws carving four clean lines along my spine.
And now its powers grow. Sometimes I imagine that same hand coming from under my bed. I refuse to let my legs hang over the side for fear the hand will grab me and drag me under.
I am 21 years old and I am afraid of the monster under my bed.
There was never a monster under my bed.
Not until I put him there.