I didn’t have, as a child, a particular monster. I had things that frightened me, but they were all very real kinds of things. For example, a fear that there might be a fire in the middle of the night. I used to want to keep all my favorite stuffed animals in garbage sacks near the window so I could toss them out and save them on short order if the need ever arose. That kind of thing.
I do recall quite vividly a nightmare that must have struck when I was six or seven. You see, I had a loft bed that my father had built—basically, it was like having a bunk bed with just a top bunk. Down the foot of the bed were shelves, quite handy, and below the mattress platform was a space for my bureau. On my bureau were my television and alarm clock. The idea was that I wouldn’t be able to turn off the alarm from my bed and would have to get up, but in reality I just got very good at hanging off the side of my bed to reach and slap the off button.
The point of all this is that this nightmare I had involved the space under my bed. The bureau didn’t take up all of it, so there was a big, dark gap between it and the wall. A big empty. Shadowed. And this nightmare I had was about that space. I have this vague sense Cleopatra was in it, but the terror came from there being crocodiles and spiders. While I had no especial fear of crocodiles (or alligators, being from Southern Louisiana), I’ve never liked spiders. And maybe that all started with this nightmare: these things trying to get me and my being stuck on my bunk, unable to leap down or over safely.
So there you have it: the literal monsters under my bed. Very average. But I find the possible and the real can be so much more terrifying in some ways than the fantastic and fanciful.
Not that there would ever be a crocodile under my bed. Or Cleopatra, even. But spiders? They can hide, silently, waiting . . .
For more about childhood monsters, read Christine’s novella “Fearless,” which is available on Amazon, at B&N, or FREE on Smashwords. No e-reader? Then pick up the print version via Createspace. And be sure to drop by on Thursday when I post my interview with Christine!