As she sat in the bed, Amelia twisted the bed sheets between her hands, trying to calm her heart so she could go to sleep. However, her heart continued to race as she heard her parents voices raise down the hallway. Sounds of a glass shattering on the kitchen floor, followed quickly by a curse sent her blanket flying over her head, a childish attempt to protect herself from the reality of what was happening.
She barely heard the scraping from under the bed over the din farther in the kitchen. Persistent, it grew louder as Amelia huddled under the covers, pretending to be on a magic carpet with anyone else, anywhere else. The scraping continued, growing louder for a few more moments, without any reaction from the little girl.
“For real? How fucking deaf are ya?” An elongated head popped over the side of the bed, staring at the blankets covering Amelia. It’s eyes were wide set, glowing a soft red in the darkness. The creature’s neck was so long it disappeared under the bed without showing any of it’s body. Amelia poked her head out, tears drying on her cheeks as she stared at the newcomer.
“Who are you? An alien?” Her voice cracked as she slowly regained control of her emotions, one last soft sob slipped out after her second question. The blanket remained drawn up to her neck. Her questions drew an exasperated sigh from her visitor.
“Yer a little slow hey? I’m a monsta under this here bed. Should be pretty damn obvious.” His head indicated vaguely to the fact that his body was under her bed. Amelia nodded her understanding, the blanket slipping down a little. “What’s not obvious is why ya aint scared of me right here now. Ery otha child I’ve hunted was terrified of me.” A long arm came out from under the bed, three clawed fingers at the end clasping themselves to Amelia’s bedpost as the monster adjusted itself and waited for her response.
“I dunno,” she responded simply with a shrug, “I guess I figured if you were actually going to hurt me, you would’ve already. Since you haven’t, I thought you just want to talk.” The beast moved it’s head to the side to indicate confusion and thought. In the background, the voices fell silent as Amelia’s parent’s bedroom door slammed shut.
“Well… nah. I’m not here ta hurt ya. Justa scare ya. Am I really not scaring ya? Fuck, kids these here days.” It pulled the entire length of it’s body out from under the bed. Amelia let out a little gasp as she saw how long it was. Coiling itself at the end of the bed, it seemed more like rope than an actual torso.
“Why do you just want to scare me? Wouldn’t it be scarier to actually hurt us? I really don’t want that, but it doesn’t make sense to me.” The house was entirely silent at this point, and Amelia’s voice had dropped to a whisper to match. The monster shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant way.
“It fills tha rumble in our bellies, and puttin’ any mark on ya would ruin what little grits source we got.” He slithered, as Amelia now assumed it was male, to the closet door and looked back at her. “But since ya not actually ’fraid, I’mma move to the next victim, eat some of that terror.”
“Wait!” Amelia was trying to work through his words as they didn’t make much sense to her, but had a plan forming in her mind, pushing it’s way through to the front of her thoughts. “Can you help me?”
“I don’t help ya kind. Consider yourself alone in whatever’s ya wantin’.” Turning away, he opened the door with both claws, straining against the weight of them. “See-ya sweetie.”
“You’ll be able to feast from the comfort of wherever you are on the other side of the closet. I promise.” Freezing, the creature stopped it’s retreat into the closet.
“Magic words kid, but can ya pull that there rabbit from’a hat?” Slithering back, he extended a claw to Amelia in a handshake. “Teracerous Ncever, at ya horror.” Seeing her pause at his name, he sighed and shook his head. “Just call me Terrance.”
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The woman in beige had been looking at me with a look of confusion on her face throughout everything so far. My annoyance had grown to the point where I could no longer just look at her stupid face and keep telling her about my past. As I stop abruptly to manage my anger, she interjects quickly.
“Your vocabulary was quite expansive for a seven year old. Did you read a lot as a child?” Her pen resumed its tapping as she spoke, and I glared at it in thinly veiled anger. Upon seeing my stare, she stopped and put the pen in the coils of her notebook.
“I don’t know what a lot constitutes. I read most days, it was an easy cheap escape.” I shrugged, not wanting to give her any satisfaction, no feeling of success at probing me. “All I needed was my library card for hours of escape. But I also could be projecting some on the conversation, filling in gaps to show better the progression between Terrance and I.”
“So you’re saying that some of the story isn’t true?” Of course this bitch would latch onto something like that. I didn’t respond, counting to ten in my head so I wouldn’t come off as too aggressive. I could see the director watching closely, one of his hands half raised, ready to motion to the security in the room if I were to lose my temper.
“No, everything is true.” Teeth clenched, I spoke slowly and kept counting past ten, as the original ten count wasn’t working. “I just know that a child speaking to a monster in simple words doesn’t explain everything in the correct way. I want to show you more how things happened.”
“To be frank with you Amelia, telling me the flat, unchanged truth is much more likely to help me understand where your issue’s are stemming from, allow me to help you better.” Her statement blatantly showed that she didn’t believe me, that this was another stupid suit here to tell me I wasn’t right. That I was just some dumb girl who…
I couldn’t continue the thought, and having counted past forty-five with no lessening of my rage, I lost control. Throwing myself at her, my mind emptied into the moment, and my doubt, fears and insecurities melted away. I felt power as my fists connected. It didn’t matter if she believed me or not, I held dominion over her in this second. Blood poured from her nose, colouring me the victor of this battle. Stronger arms, ones who didn’t care about the personal victory I was claiming, latched onto my arms, another pair controlling my head. They merely removed me, holding my neck in a way that slowly shrank my world into a pinpoint.
My eyes slowly opened, and I greeted the world with blurry vision and an aching head. Padded walls materialized over me as my eyes regained focus. My arms were bound around me within a straightjacket, and my mouth was bound with a gag. The connecting pin between the jacket and the gag rubbed against the back of my neck, and I felt a chafe beginning to form already.
There were multiple orderlies in this padded room, finishing up with the equipment they had bound me with. The director was standing at the far end of room, his arms crossed. For a moment, it appeared as if a small smile of glee flitted across his face, but it quickly disappeared. The lady in the beige suit was beside him, spatters of blood now on her lapel. Blood had been washed from her face, a large black eye and bandaged nose the only indicator we had any altercation at all. She pulled an orderly aside, motioning towards me. He nodded, and walked over, removing the gag in one clean motion from my mouth.
“Still here eh?” I knew that any further provocation from me would result in weeks of a half aware, cotton-mouth, overly medicated state. But after years of people exactly like her parading through again and again, casting doubt on my story, stating unchecked rage as the cause of the incident, I almost didn’t care. It had me fed up, I was sick of it, and honestly, scared that maybe I was wrong. I just remember Terrance so vividly…
“Well you left your story unfinished, and I do want to help you. So please, continue the story for me. No more interruptions from me.” Her tone was composed, but a quiver in her lip showed me she was scared of me. I clung to that, knowing that I had some small modicum of power in this uncertainty and oppression.