The Demon Beneath Her Bed
She laid crumpled at her mother’s door so long her tears dried but the door remained firmly locked.
“Mommy,” the little girl whispered.
She wouldn’t dare actually raise her voice and wake her mother; she’d likely be spanked. Again. The darkness was better.
“Ugh!” she cried, standing up with sudden courage and heading down the hall.
“This is my room” She announced, barging through the doorway.
“You’re under my bed! And I’m going to sleep!”” She said, executing a running leap into it.
Her courage evaporated instantly. Anxiety stole the warmth from her blankets; her panicked breathing filled the room. This was a bad idea!
Yet she could not move a muscle. She laid frozen to the bed in fear, slow tears welling in her eyes. The hours dragged on but she did not sleep.
Her mother would not come. She never had, never would. From under the bed came a low, inhuman chuckle.
The girl swallowed.
“Why … me?”
The voice was gravelly, old, and it echoed faintly. “You are always alone.”
It was true and she knew it.
The silence stretched so long it was the demon that spoke first.
“Facing your fears tonight?”
“You,” she said distantly, “come out.”
It gave a questioning growl.
“Come on top of the bed with me.”
There was a long, very long pause at the odd command then a heavy dragging sound, and quick scramble of claws against wood. Her bed gave a great whine of protest under his weight and his full presence loomed above her widened eyes.
Suddenly she threw her arms around the creature with a slightly hysterical giggle.
“You’re furry! Like a dog!”
He hesitated in the embrace before finally saying with deliberate dignity, “I am no dog.”
“I always wanted a dog,” she murmured.
The demon shrugged off her arms, strolling across the bed on all fours.
“I’m not going anywhere.” He snapped, settling on the pillow. The girl actually smiled as she hurried to cuddle against him.
“Go to sleep,” he grumbled as she stroked his fur. “You have school in the morning.”