by E.C. McMullen Jr.
Deep in the night while everyone slept, five year old Ankar sat on the foot of his bed.
His feet dangled over the floor as his hands firmly gripped the edge, ready to launch himself off … if need be.
Meanwhile, with his head tilted slightly to the left, so his ear was pointed to the source, Ankar gave his closet door a wary side-eye stare.
Something moved in there, the soft noise woke him up. Now there was silence but Ankar was certain that, whatever it was, was biding its time.
It waited for Ankar to let down his guard.
Ankar was pretty sure he knew what was in his closet. The same thing he saw with his Uncle Terry that night his parents were out on a date. Over the salty goodness of fresh hot buttery popcorn and sweet icy cool lemonade, they watched an old movie with music for sound and nothing else. No color, no talking, no noises, just the music and moving pictures. His Uncle Terry insisted Ankar read the title cards out loud as they came up.
“Why can’t we hear them when they talk?”
“That’s how people talked to each other back then before sound,” his Uncle Terry said.
“But they have sound. Music is sound.”
“Just watch,” Uncle Terry said. “History is important.”
Ankar was certain the monster in the movie was the monster in his closet.
Ankar leaned closer, his ear turned and tuned ever more toward the closet, but not so turned that he couldn’t see it from the corner of his eyes.
A rustling sound.
A Monster was in there.
No, THE monster was in there.
All the other times, when Ankar ran to his parent’s bedroom, pleading, pulling on his father to catch the monster, the creature escaped before they returned, making Ankar look dumb.
Ankar wouldn’t let the monster get away this time.
There it was again!
Within the closet, the hangars clattered against each other. Ankar was sure of it: something rustled amongst his clothes.
He launched himself off his bed.
He walked toward his door.
Ankar was brave. Ankar was scared. He was ready to run should that closet door open without him. For such an emergency, he left his bedroom door open before he went to bed. He would fly like a shot if things turned sour.
Having crossed the floor, Ankar stood before his closet door.
He stood in the dim rectangle of hall light through his open doorway. Evenly broken lines of mute glowing wafers, stuck to the ceiling, guarded against absolute dark. They were there for half slumbering night snackers – like his Pop – to navigate their way to the kitchen. That little bit of light gave Ankar courage. He wasn’t entirely in the dark. Not like he was on his bed.
As slowly, softly, quietly as he could, Ankar gripped the closet door handle and slowly, softly, quietly as possible, he turned it.
The door came forward from its frame a bit: resisted. It was kind of stuck.
It was now or never.
Ankar yanked opened his closet door wide.
Blackness, nothing but dark in there.
So dark he couldn’t even see his clothes. Ankar nearly sighed in frustration. Fooled again.
Yet … the meager light through his bedroom door, from the hall …
‘Wait,’ Ankar thought, ‘There is enough light here. Why can’t I see my clothes?’
His small body trembled at the thought. The answer was both obvious and mysterious. ‘Something is in front of my clothes!’ Ankar thought.
Apprehensively, reluctantly, he slowly raised his face to look up at the towering darkness …
All the way up to where a hideous white face at the top, nearly glowing, smiled down at him.
This face smiled without a trace of kindness: Malevolent not Benevolent.
It was the creature from the movie. His monster: Nosferatu.
It was taller than the boy expected and, while he was too young to turn the phrase, Ankar felt deep within his heart that the creature was confidently capable.
Ankar’s plan of escape evaporated in the creature’s devouring stare. He wanted to run, but feared he’d be easily caught and, whatever the monster had in mind, it would be so much worse if he ran.
But he had to do something!
“My Pop says you’re not real.”
For but a finger flick of a moment, the creature’s sanguine, predatory smile faltered. Its enormously wild hairy eyebrows subtly drew in with concern. Then it regained its composure.
“But,” it grinned. “What does your Mother say?”
“She told me to ask my Pop.”
Ever. So. Slightly, the Nosferatu’s features crumbled again. This was apparently not good news. Once again the creature thought a happy thought – a private thought that was happy for it – and its vile smile returned.
“Yet here we are.” The thing grinned so wide that its sharply prominent, ratty teeth, displayed right down to their points. “So all that really matters is,” and here it drew its enormous hands out from behind its back, “What do you think?”
The question chilled Ankar into shivering. The creature’s two front teeth were longest and sharp as nails. Neither his Mom or Pop were here to protect him from something that wasn’t real, and here was something that looked very real!
“Yesss?” The creature interrupted him, dragging out the word, the smile stretching.
Doubtfully Ankar continued, “- under the circumstances -“
“Ye-ess?” the creature cut off Ankar again, breaking the child’s concentration, savoring his fear. It extended its white, hideously taloned, spidery fingers out, the long razor claws slicing the air into whispers. Each claw curved to point toward Ankar’s face. The Nosferatu wanted to terrify the child into paralyzed terror.
“I think I should do what my Pop says.” Ankar finished.
“Shi-!” The creature *popped* out of existence.
Shocked. Wholly surprised that it worked, Ankar stared dumbfounded at the clothes in his closet.
Then a shadow fell across him!
Ankar’s head nearly spun toward his open bedroom door!
His pudgy Pop, half asleep and holding a glass of water, filled his son’s doorway. Pop’s hair was pillow pulled into an unruly wave of bed head. A bristle of beard dust dirtied his face, and his eyes blinked and squinted beneath his brow shadow at Ankar. His child, standing wide-awake in the middle of the night in front of his open closet.
Pop sussed the situation.
“Did you do what I told you?”
“Did it work?”
Still in awe, for Ankar was effectively surprised that it did, he said, “Yeah…!”
Ankar’s Pop pointed his index finger at his son with a thumb’s up and made a “Click-Click” sound in his cheek, saying
Ankar stared in wonder at his amazing, unkempt hero, who smiled in warm father to son comradery and closed the bedroom door. As the rectangle of hall light squeezed thin across Ankar’s astonished face, he heard his hero say,
“Now go to bed.”
If you enjoyed this short story, watch the further adventures of Ankar in the online short film, THE NIGHT MY MONSTER DIED.
Then come out of the closet and buy my book
It’s my second collection of critically acclaimed Supernatural and Drama Thriller short stories with all of the Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem, you’ve come to expect (or should by now). Feature’s the Ankar story, Steven’s Mother.
Available in paperback for $8.00 or in Kindle for only $1.99. Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free! The tales will last you longer than latte!
Want more? Buy
PERPETUAL BULLET: A Science Fiction Collection.
It’s a veritable trove of previously published Science Fiction Horror Thriller tales – plus bonus stories
Featuring: Weird Sex, True Love, Monsters and Mayhem!
Now on sale for $9.00 in Trade Paperback and in eBook for $1.99 and available for your Android Tablet, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and every other “E”!
Find it at (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, !ndigo, iTunes, KoboBooks, Smashwords, WHSmith, and more).
Buy the paperback at Amazon and the Kindle eBook is free!
Crave still more?
“Cedo Looked Like People” – E.C. McMullen Jr.: A boy’s strange next door night- and day-divided neighbors make for equally strange – and later disturbing – friendships. This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I’ve read in a long time.”
– Amazon Reviewer
Also available from Crystal Lake Publishing, the film making guidebook, HORROR 201: The Silver Scream. Reap the rewards of movie making experience from the likes of Myself, as well as John Carpenter, Tom Holland, Jeffrey Reddick, George A. Romero, Keith Arem, Richard Gray, also the late Ray Bradbury, Wes Craven, plus many more. $19.99 in Print or $3.99 in eBook.