I don’t mean to watch you sleep, but sometimes, monsters just get hungry. Then, we open your closet door, peep out, and comfort ourselves that you’re tucked up to your chins in bed. That’s the only way I know that Cory, your neighbor’s son, sleeps with his socks on. And Mindy, that coworker your parents never talk to? She often falls asleep with her glasses on and a romance bridged on her chest. She’s the one who makes me giggle, too. You know how some people snore (not you, of course)? She puffs. Monsters often find people very funny creatures with all the noises they make.
Take solace that when monsters get hungry, it’s rarely for human. It’s a simple matter of predator-prey evolution. First of all, many of our mouths aren’t large enough to devour a person, especially with all the wriggling and thrashing they do. Secondly, we’re very finicky creatures. We prefer food that’s cooked and that we can eat daintily with fingers. Imagine dipping your hand into a pile of ketchup and not getting a single drop on your shirt or, in my case, fur! Once you fall asleep, we’re often off to the kitchen to see what scrumptious dishes your parents prepared for dinner. In my opinion, if anything, people should take pity on monsters. Hours we have to wait, smelling hot dogs frying or pork broiling. We can’t eat it warm. You smack your lips and clink your forks and there we hunch in your closets (here and now, I would like to apologize for the drool stain I left on your blue shirt).
Homes with animals are the most frightening, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve accidentally woken up the family dog. Some monsters decide that living on the street is safer than dealing with pets, but here’s a secret about us: sunlight scares us. We have lots of tales of sunlight singeing our scales or fur or petite third noses. Sunlight is the main reason why we hide on shelves and inside hampers whenever you turn on the lights. Darkness is simply kinder to our eyes and skin. I’ve no proof of sunlight scalding, but no one needs proof to be scared of something, wouldn’t you agree? The last closet I lived in belonged to a boy petrified of needles, and personally I love needles. They are reminiscent of the spikes that line my neck and tails (I would like to stop you right now before you unfairly judge me on this point – spikes are defensive additions to any creature’s back and are not meant to harm you – just ask any hedgehog).
But I was talking of dogs, and I would like to return to the subject. Beagles can ferret out a monster almost no matter where it hides, and for this reason we avoid homes with beagles. Terriers can be just as bad, though their barks often outclass their bites. All the same, the barks can wake up parents and this is the worst possible of all scenarios. If a parent wakes, a particularly quick or slithering monster can hide under the sofa, but not all of us can. Luckily, we monsters are second to none at ventriloquism. I would rather not go into details, as this is often our last and most crafty of defenses. However, I will say that some nights when you call out to your parents, it may not be them telling you to go back to bed.
So as you can see, our simple trip to your refrigerator quickly becomes an ordeal. Many nights we keep our rumbling stomachs to ourselves and instead rummage through your closets to stave off boredom. The advent of video games did wonders to keep us preoccupied, though many monsters lack the proper tendrils to push buttons. These monsters prefer the old-fashioned book (I must ask on their behalf that, no matter what your parents say, please do not sell these books at your garage sale). Whenever you hastily chuck birthday presents inside, expect me to be the first one to enjoy it. You have an entire room and world to keep you company, after all, which makes your closet feel small by comparison.
Don’t worry – your parents have monsters in their closets, too. In fact, most good homes have more than one monster living there. Some prefer attics or under the stairs, and more than once I’ve napped in a basement corner. I would not recommend doing this yourself, as many basement corners have spiders or crickets. These are worse than monsters. Monsters, at the very least, know how to carry on a decent conversation if you’re clever enough to get one going. Not to mention, we are more than willing to nibble on that meatloaf you disliked the first time around. Markedly astute children leave us lists of their least favorite foods, which we are only too happy to devour.
By now, you must be wondering why I, as a monster, have decided to talk with you, a human. It has a bit to do with eating leftovers and barking dogs and parents and video games. Mostly, it is a simple request, one that I hope you will seriously consider: would you mind unplugging your nightlight? It’s hurting our eyes, and we’re hungry.
Layne Miller splits her time between pursing an MA in international relations at Washu, and staring blankly at a computer screen for work. Currently, she is developing a manuscript that delves into the psyche of prolonged isolation, which she assumes is a better use of time than conversing with the monsters under her bed.