I wrote this for Halloween last year, and it got runner-up in the World Geekly News Horror Flash Fiction Contest!
Most kids think monsters live under beds or inside closets, that they hide in the darkness waiting for the perfect time to drag you away by your ankles and that the only thing your mom will find in the morning is your fingernail scrapings along the bare, wooden floor. But I know better.
My monster lives underneath the wallpaper.
That’s how it moves around the house. It lurks down hallways and weaves through picture frames. You can’t escape monsters when they’re in your walls. You can’t shut the closet door or stay safe in bed.
They get to you no matter what.
My monster creeps through the cracks of my door at night. I can see its bulge slithering beneath the beige paper like a bug under skin, and as it passes under the little blue cars, their wheels seem to spin.
The wheels on the bus go round and round, Willie, says the wallpaper. Round and round.
The walls throb as the heart of my monster beats.
So I rip it off the wall.
It comes off in sheets, curling in on itself as it falls to the floor of my bedroom, the little blue cars torn in half. My monster weeps and its tears drip down the walls.
I’m in big trouble. Mommy yells. Susie laughs.
And my monster slinks down into the carpet.
Monsters don’t hide, not like people think. They aren’t scared of daylight. Some monsters even live there, in the light. But not my monster. My monster lives in the carpet. It writhes just under the daylight so it can watch me, so it can whisper to me as I drink my soup.
Willie, Willie, Willie. You can’t get rid of me, Willie, says the carpet. Twirl your spoon around, Willie.
Round and round.
So I take Daddy’s knife from the Big Block in the kitchen and rip it off the floor.
It’s loud as it tears, and the wool tickles my kneecaps as I pull it up. The ground below is gray like sick skin. It’s cold and hard and shakes as my monster trembles.
Bad Willie. Mommy screams. Susie frowns.
And my monster crawls out of the carpet shreds and into Susie’s stuffed bear.
Monsters want to be close to you, to be so close they can smell your bones. Stuffed bears don’t have bones, but I do. They smell like burning hair when you cut them.
Willie. Can I stay here, Willie? says the bear’s face. Don’t hurt me, Willie.
So I rip it off his head.
Button eyes roll along the ground as my monster gasps for air from its severed mouth.
Mommy shrieks. Susie cries round and round. Her cheeks turn puffy red and her knees drop to the floor. She holds the bear’s corpse in her arms as he bleeds out his white insides.
And my monster snakes up her arms and into her skin.
Monsters take things you love so that maybe you’ll love them, too. So that maybe you’ll let them stay.
Susie’s eyes are bright and blue like the cars on my walls. They start to spin round and round.
Willie. I love you, Willie, says her skin. Don’t hurt me, Willie.
I go to the Big Block in the kitchen.