Under the Bed

The waves crash and roll against the rocky shore. The roar of their assault on the stone beach drifts in through my window on a salt breeze. The damp air tickles my face and drags across my legs which I let lay dangerously exposed to the night air. The moon`s light dances through the glass of my room, a perfect collection of windows giving perfect view to the beach bellow and the night sky above. Stars sprinkle across the deep blue of night. Everything is cast in a special shade of silver that only the clearest nights with the fullest of moons can create.

My eyes flutter closed as my muscles and nerves relive the day I have had. I can feel the waves in their gentle push and pull that bobs me up and down on the surface. I can feel the tug of the current out and the force of the wave forcing me back in. I can feel the pebbles biting into my feet and the sand giving away so the loose, little grains can weasel their way between my toes. My feet still sting and my muscles still buzz. I can feel the warm sun washing over me as it danced across the sky in the daylight hours and the first chill that the moon had brought as a gift.

The day`s heat has relented. The oceans song is now not over run by the laughter and squeals of people who claimed the beach as their own during the day. They do not know that beach as I do though. They have not sat there alone in the late hours of the night to converse with the bubbling of a soft, rising tide. They have not moved every single pebble to essentially recreate the entire beach. They have not had bonfire after bonfire there or spent every single birthday playing on that grey and yellow shore.

I should be out there now. From my room of glass I can see the smoke twisting and twirling up towards the dark blue sky. I catch the orange glow of the bouncing flame and spot the long shadows of the people sitting around it. I want so terribly to be amongst them when the sand and pebbles are cool and the waves speak the clearest. Had I not nearly passed out at dinner and fallen face first into my crab soup I could be there with them, but no. I was too close to a world of slumber so my mother sent me off to bed. I resisted and my father resisted her choice as well as I am old enough to decide when I need to sleep. My mother would not budge though, so now I am here and they are all down there, even the little ones.

I sigh and roll to face the only opaque wall in the entire room. Maybe I should have let mom draw the curtains so I would not be tortured by the sight of all of them, or at least their shadows, upon the beach having fun without me. I force my eyes to close so I no longer have to stare at the pale blue that makes me think of the day sky when I am laying on my back over the waves. Sleep will do me good anyways, peering down the cliff, slight as it may be, does not always help with that habit no matter how often I travel the stairs running down it to the beach.

The instant I close my eyes I wish the cliff had been the only thing keeping me up at night. With closing my eyes I unintentionally tense, my muscles become painfully stiff in preparation of what is to come as has been coming over the past few nights. As usual the scent comes first. It is not an inherently negative scent. It is a faint hint of strawberry that dances so sweetly over the nose as if becoming lost in a massive strawberry patch. It taints the air in the room until even breathing through my shirt will not filter the smell even slightly. It is a natural scent leaving me to ponder if the strawberry patch is where the creature presides over the daylight hours.

The smell quickly becomes overwhelming. It is almost nauseating. I resist the urge to tug the cover over my head, but I do pull my legs up until they are completely under the blanket leaving me in an uncomfortable position as a compact ball. I shift ever so slowly to keep the bed silent, still maximize my comfort, and prevent future motion.

A soft scratching follows the sweet scent. Claws click against the hardwood flooring, yet never leave a single mark on the floor in the morning. I can hear the sound reverberating around my large room. Its motion is slow, teasing in a way as it draws close. Today it is feeling brave as I can hear a claw drag slowly across the metal bed frame with a ringing, dull screech. I become so tense my body starts to shake, then the sound stops. Silence settles upon the room then the crash of the waves greets me once more. Only the scent of strawberry lingers.

The creature has been at this for weeks, drawing closer and closer as the nights slip by while it grows braver and braver. The peace that settles on the room draws me towards slumber. My muscles relax and I stretch back out over my mattress. I keep the blanket sprawled across me for a sense of comfort, but with the air on it still allows me to be pulled towards the world of dreams. Then the bed jolts. The mattress rises then caves shocking me back from sleep.

It`s under my bed.

I hold my breath and wait. Things fall still and after a long while I start to find sleep again until the bed shifts once more. It continues tauntingly for what feels like hours. The creature lurking in the shadows under my mattress kicks it up, waking me each time I approach sleep. I ignore the slight discrepancies in the normally still mattress. The small shifts and dips send my heart racing momentarily holding back the sleep, but it manages to inch closer. Eventually the movement stills and false serenity falls down again.

My eyes snap open once more mere seconds later but not from motion. A realization dawns on me that sends my heart plummeting and knots my stomach into a bow. My bed is on a solid oak frame that rest heavy on the floor all the way around. I stare, with my eyes nearly bulging out of my head, at the cool blue wall drenched in long shadows cast by the moons vibrant glow.

The bed shifts once more, dipping in with a force that sends me rolling. Warm, damp breath dances across the back of my neck as something sharp and hooked indirectly digs into the soft flesh of my back.

There is no under my bed.