Under the Bed

by Allen Taylor

Under the Bed

I loved my bunk bed. I have always wanted one ever since I saw that commercial with the two young boys playing on a big, red bunk bed the was solid wood, (as if there were any other kind). You know the one with the two smiley faced kids with bright blond hair sleeping soundly in their bunk bed. This particular bunk bed had a slide, yes a slide. They would climb up the ladder that was on the end of the bed and then slide down. I watched this commercial with wide-eyed amazement and made sure everyone was quiet when it came on the television. At first, I tried to drop subtle hints to my parents that I wanted this bunk bed for my Christmas present. But as Christmas got closer, I began to think that my parents weren't picking u the hints that I was dropping. I screwed the subtle hints and would tell them flat out that I wanted the awesome bunk bed from the TV commercial, the one with the slide. After lots of begging and making empty promises about how many extra chores I was going to do, my mom said, "We'll think about it." I knew I had them.

On Christmas morning, I got up early, as I usually did, and went into the living room to see if "Santa" had came. I just stared with boyish wonder at the large pile of presents that were stacked up around the tree. But to my disappointment, I didn't see any bunk bed shaped boxes. I took comfort in the thought that it probably was in a smaller box and had to be assembled. But I was wrong.

I was thrilled with the presents that I did get. My parents got me pretty much everything I asked for, a remote control car, a big wheel, the latest GJ Joe action figure, and a pocket knife that I had wanted for Boy Scouts. I didn't want to feel sad or disappointed about the bed. I thought that if I did I was being a terrible child. I should just be happy that I got any presents at all. "Some kids only one get one small present or maybe none at all," my mom would always remind me around the Holidays and birthday. So I told my self to forget about the super cool bunk bed with the slide attachment. Maybe next year.

Just as I had finished opening my last gift, (it was a pack of new underwear, no biggy), my parents had one more surprise for me. "You're not done yet,guys," said both my parents in an odd unison which seemed like the had rehearsed it. The large smiles on their faces grew even larger as they led me and my older brother into the den. "Close your eyes," squealed my mom in excitement. "Okay, open them!"

I felt awkward with this whole situation. I slowly opened my eyes. What I saw filled my young childish heart with utter excitement! It was the bunk bed that I had wanted, slide attachment and everything! My brother was happy to see it, but not nearly as much as me. This is what I wanted. It was mine.

There was only one problem. My dad, who was a handy man and a smart man but had made a mistake this time, had assembled my brand new bunk bed in the wrong room. It was in the den, which was almost on the other end of the house. We would have to walk it out of the den, through the living room, down the hall, and into my room, assuming that we could get it to fit through the doorways. Disassembling it was out of the question for my dad. "I spent all night on that darn thing. There ain't no way in the world I'm taking it apart." We somehow managed to maneuver it, very slowly and strategically, out if of the back door in the den, around the house, onto the front porch and through the door that led straight into my room. A much better plan.

"I guess you gonna take the top bunk, huh Allen?" said my dad, who was, at the time out of breath and wiping sweat from his brow. I heard this question, but felt no need to answer; my actions spoke for themselves. I quickly lept up to the top. "Well I guess thats a yes. Mark, that means you get to take the bottom bunk. I bet little Allen will feel much safer with you sleeping under him instead of the boogey man. You wont have to worry bout him any more" scoffed my dad as a big smile broke out across his face. He let out a few little laughs and I rolled my eyes. I knew he was kidding, and it didn't scare me. That was eight years ago.

It was time now for me to get a new bed, a more grown up bed. The slide which I had once loved has long since seen any action. I probably would have broken it if I had tried to slide down it. The bottom bunk was well made up, and has been that way for the past several months. My brother had gone off to college this year, rendering it unused . It was bigger than the top bunk but I could never bring myself to make the move. Maybe it was out of habit or whatever. I don't really know.

So the day came when me and my dad disassembled the bunk bed and hauled it out to the truck. We donated it to a young couple down the street who had two young boys. I've seen them before, playing out in there small yard. They reminded me of those two kids from that commercial, except one of them was slightly obese. "Gah, that fat kid will bust that slide the very second he tries to slide down it, if he can even haul his meaty butt up the ladder," I thought to myself. At this thought I realized that apart of my still loved that bed and always will. I knew I would miss it.

My new bed arrived on a Thursday. It was already waiting for me when I got home from school. It was just a regular ol style bed, nothing exciting, no distinguishing features; certainly no slide. On the other hand, I was happy to see that it was bigger than the size I was used to. I proceeded to make my new plain and boring bed with the new sheets my mom got for me. They were a dark navy blue and quite soft. When it was all made and pretty, I was happy with the outcome. I felt a little excited about going to bed that night. "Looks like your all set, boy" said my father as he sauntered in my room. "Hope you can adjust to sleeping on the ground."

"I should be just fine , dad. I'm a big boy now, yah know"

"Okay, okay. I get ya son. Just remember one thing. Don't look under your bed, don't reach under your bed, and most of all, don't let your little feet hang over the each of your bed. You know why don't you?"

"No dad, why?" I responded in an obvious sarcastic tone.

"Because the monster that lives under there will grab yah and drag you down!" My dad threw in a quick jab with his remark which hurt a little more then he probably intended it too. I managed to conjure an awkward smile. "C'mon dad, you tell me that story all the time, its a little old. He hasn't gotten me yet has he?

"Well son, like I said you're on the ground floor now, and your brother isn't here to protect you no more." He left the room with a chordal and shut the door behind him. I loved my dad, just not to keen about his style of joking.

I remembered the first time my dad told me about the monster that lived under my bed. It doesn't mean much to me now but when I was about three or four, they had a major affect on my ability to sleep. I had a few nightmares that scared me so bad that I wet the bed. Needless to say my mom put an end to the scary monster stories. But my dad still brings up the story of the "monster under my bed" from time to time just to mess with me. He knows that while it doesn't scare me anymore, the whole experience of wetting the bed still embarrasses me. Scaring his sons was one thing that my dad loved to do. Many a time I would walk into my dark bed room at night only to have the piss scared out of me as my dad jumped out of my closet. This became such a regular thing that I would not enter my room at night unless I knew where my father was. After I started getting wise to his routine, he would change up where he would hide, sometimes behind the door, slamming it shut after I walked in, or behind the curtain. As I got older, it became much harder to scare me, but as persistent as he was, he just tried harder. He had been doing this for years now, just not as frequently. This was good and bad. Good that I didn't get the crap scared out of my every night, but bad in that I didn't know when it was coming. He had a few failed attempts, like the time when I saw his feet at the bottom of the curtain which he was hiding behind. But if my father was anything, he was dedicated.

I started to shove things under my new bed. That is what I really like about this bed is that it was big and had a lot of storage place under it. I had lots of things to put under it. A box filled with my old baseball cards that I used to collect long ago. Even though I didn't' collect them anymore and they weren't really worth anything, I kept them, for sentimental reasons. I shoved a box filled with old magazines and papers, another box filled with some old Cd's, and a lot of other boxes filled with my own treasures. I knew I should get rid of some of this stuff, but you just never know when you might need something. I had to push real hard and squeeze the last box under my bed. "There," I said,"Nothing can fit under there now, not even the boogey man." I jokingly said this to myself and laughed a little, but a small part of me was comforted at the idea. I heard my mom call me for dinner from the kitchen. I had been so busy with fixing up my room that I had forgotten that I was even hungry.

I had to quickly eat my dinner and then hurry to basketball practice. We had late practice that night. As we lined up on the baseline to start running suicides, I thought to myself, that it might not have been so smart for me to have eaten all that food before practice and so quickly too. I made it through practice, only having to fight off the urge to puke two or three times. When I got home, it was already getting close to my bedtime, which was fine with me since I was exhausted and wanted nothing more then to shut my eyes. So I took a shower, did some last minute homework, and told my mom good night. "Good night mom," I said as I gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Where's dad?"

"Oh he already went to bed, he has to get up early for work tomorrow."

I turned and walked back to my room. As I stood at the door to my room, an old thought came to mind. "What if dad is in there waiting to scare me?" The door was open but the lights were off so I could not see anything. I grouched down and slowly reached my hand around the corner and quickly flipped the light on. I then cautiously walked into my room but found that my father was no where to be found. I set all my clothes out for the next day and made sure that my backpack was packed. I turned off the light and slid into bed. It was like slipping into a warm bath. My aching body was cradled by the warm, soft sheets and my brand new comforter. My new bed, which was not too soft and not too hard, but had just the right amount of firmness to it, came with an equally as comfortable pillow, which was at that very moment holding my head like it was in the palms of an angel. I began to doze off.

Just as my mind was falling into deep sleep, I woke up again. I slowly opened my eyes, which were a little better adjusted to the darkness by now, and looked at the clock across the room. To my surprise, I had only been sleeping for thirty minutes, which felt like hours to me. This didn't really bother me because I felt so relaxed and happy that I had much more time to sleep than I thought. I puffed up my pillow and settled back down ready to fall asleep again. But then I heard something. It was very faint, I wasn't sure that I even heard anything at first, but then it became very distinct. It sounded like breathing; a quick inhale followed by a long exhale. Just as I was getting concerned, which took me longer than it should have due to my semi-conscious state, the noise stopped. I rolled over onto my back and spread out my legs and arms. I loved to do this on my new bed; my old bed had been to small to do so. I was getting a little warm under my comforter so I stuck my legs out from under it. The cold air of my room felt good against my skin. I didn't even care that one of my feet was hanging over the edge of my bed. I was almost asleep again when the sound of breathing invaded my ears again. I just layed real still trying to discern in my mind what the noise could possibly be. "Maybe something is blocking the vent," I thought to myself. The sound of breathing was then joined with a much more disturbing and frightening sound. I heard something moving under my bed, rustling around moving the boxes that I had shoved in here earlier that day. "There's so way someone or something could fit under there," I thought to myself. The scratching and rustling sound from under the bed grew quiet. I was paralyzed with hear, my eyes wide open, eyebrows raised on top of my forehead, cold sweat cascading off my body. As all went silent all I could hear was the sound of my heart beating almost out if my chest. Something grabbed my leg. It felt like a hand with an extremely strong grip. It had claws that I felt tear through my skin. I quickly spun around and grabbed onto the other side of the bed, holding on to my young life. I began to cry and tried to call for help, but, perhaps do to hysterical panic, I could not utter a syllable. I tried to dislodge my foot from what ever it was that had hold of it from its clutches by kicking it with the other foot. It was pulling on me so hard, I was loosing my grip on the bed. I was down to one hand, then went to three fingers, then I lost my grip entirely. The tension that was built up released and I flew off the bed and landed on the floor. Almost half of my body was under the bed now. I clawed at the carpet, trying to gain a hold on something, anything. I was able to grab hold of the bottom of my clothes dresser, but I knew I couldn't hold that for long. I looked back at my feet which were now under the darkness of the bed. Thats when I saw it. Eyes, piercing red, look at out at me from the darkness. I could just barely make out any features of the creatures face. It had a very large mouth, that, at the sight of my face wrenched with terror, morphed into a terrifying smile that revealed rows of razor sharp teeth. I thought that I was dead for sure. I lost grip of the dresser and tried to scream as I felt my body slide across the carpet and under the bed. In a desperate and final resort for life I was able to catch onto the bed frame with my left hand, unfortunately that wasn't my strong hand. I quickly lost grip and felt the lower half of my body slip into the warm, slimy throat of the creature. It bore down its razor sharp teeth into my abdomen. It hurt all the way down my body. Blood shot out and ran down my side. I started to cough and gasp for air. I could taste blood in my mouth and felt it running down my throat. A warm puddle began to surround me. I lost consciousness.

I somehow managed to open my eyes, slowly waking up. I saw the bright sunlight shining through my window and could hear the singing of birds outside. At this pleasant greeting, I almost forgot about the dream I had that night. I was in my bed, not under it, safely nestled under my covers. "Oh gosh, it was just a dream," I took a deep breath, "it was just a dream," I said as I rose up from my pillow. It was drenched with sweat. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and ran my fingers through my tangled hair. Upon lifting my head, I began to notice something very wrong. Some of the boxes that I had shoved under my bed were laying out on the floor around my bed. "It was a dream wasn't it?" I began to notice other things that were quite peculiar and brought me much anxiety. Strange track marks ran on the floor leading under the bed. It was then I took stock of myself. My eyes watering and my hear racing, I looked down at my feet. There were scratch marks, marks that I knew had not been there the day before and have no business being there now, unless... I then felt around my stomach and back. My mouth fell agape as I ran my finger across what felt like deep wounds cut into my backside and abdomen. "Could it have been real? There's no way it could've been" My knees began to knock together and my hands shook violently as I was overtaken with the reality of my wounds.

It was at this time that my dad sprang from the closet yelling like a mad man, scaring the piss out of me. My heart stopped. I fell to the floor, lifeless.

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