“Daddy, there’s a monster in my closet.”
“No, there isn’t,” I reply in my half-asleep state, “we’ve been through this already.”
Now my wife is awake too. “Shouldn’t you at least check? It seems like ever since she got back from the hospital, all those bodies started turning up around the city. There was another one last night. It was in the paper.”
“Yeah, I can’t tell you how broken up I am over all those dead pimps and drug dealers. Somehow, I don’t think whoever’s taking them out is after our kid.”
“Just humor her, please.” She turns to Kayla. “Did you see the monster?”
Kayla nods. “He’s really tall and has long fingers and a big mouth with sharp, shiny teeth. He hides in the closet and peeks around the door. He says he’s coming for me real soon, and his name is Goregrinder.”
Now, I’m pissed. I throw off the covers and jump out of bed.
Susan grabs my arm and leans in close. “Would you please have some patience with her?” she hisses, “My God, she just made a complete recovery from a disease that kills children her age. It’s a miracle we even have her here to inconvenience you in the first place.”
“I know. I’m going already,” I growl back. I storm into her room and turn on the light. Nothing. The closet creaks open slowly. I throw it open. Nothing. Oh wait, I’m doing it wrong. I turn off the light and let the moon illuminate the room. There he is. So tall he would have to duck to come out of the closet. Wearing a coat that covers most of his body. It looks like it’s made of bearskin or something. His arms crossed over his chest, with his wrists bent and his impossibly long fingers pointing downward. Warty skin that looks tougher than leather. A mouth that looks too wide for his head, filled with steely blades for teeth.
I shove him against the wall of the closet and follow him in to make sure my wife and kid can’t hear me. “I already paid you with a fresh one last night, you bastard! You don’t collect her unless I’m at least a week late. That was the deal! You scare my kid one more time and I’ll kick the shit out of you!”
He grins, delighted by my righteous indignation, his mouth stretching extra wide. Even in the dark of the closet, I can see his bladed teeth glistening. He knows I can’t make good on my threat, but he doesn’t scare me either. He’s bound by the same rules I am.
I back out of the closet and he comes after me slowly, grinning defiantly. Whatever. I shut the door in his face. Then, I wait a few seconds and open it again. Gone.
I head back to our bedroom. “Okay, sweetie, the monster’s gone.”
Susan puts a finger to her lips. Kayla is curled up against her, sleeping peacefully, as if she knows how safe she is, and that I’ll do anything to keep her that way. Anything.
Fine. She can stay, but just for tonight. I squeeze into bed next to them, with what little room the girls have left me. I’m still too annoyed to sleep, not just at Goregrinder, but his master. Does he really think I’d sign a contract in my own blood on a parchment made of human skin without reading it first? How stupid does he think I am?
Credit To: E. Alan Rahn