Don’t turn off the lights. Especially the nightlight.
It always happens when the lights go out. The little boy in the bed can’t help but be afraid of what lurks in the dark. Even at his young age, he knows there are monsters, evil spirits, and even demons that would take any chance they get to suck out his life, if not steal his very soul. But that is why I was created. My soul mission in life is to care for and protect any child that is in my charge.
“Now, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“Don’t worry, sweetie. I promise there are no monsters in the dark. Don’t let your brother’s scary stories get to you. Besides you have your nightlight in here. And one in the hallway. And you’ll have Mr. Fuzzy right beside you all night.”
She leans down and lays me right next to him. She then tucks us both in, kisses him good night, and starts to leave.
“Wait! What about Mr. Fuzzy!”
She laughs, “Oh sorry! I forgot!” She leans down and kisses me. “Good night, Mr. Fuzzy. Please protect my sweet little boy.”
And with that she leaves, turning off the bedside lamp.
My boy whimpers a little. I try to stay as close to him as I possibly can.
“I have you, Fuzzy…”
In no time at all, he falls asleep. Yet, I still hold my breath. I know they are coming.
A creak comes from the hallway. It’s only the boy’s brother.
“Stupid.” I hear a click.
That ignorant boy turns off the night light. He’s the stupid one. Does he not know that night lights are the first defense against the Shadows?
As soft thumps move away from my boy’s room, I prepare myself for what will come next.
I hear snickering. The Shadows start to move, speaking unintelligibly. The light in here starts to flicker. It seems this time they are strong enough to extinguish it.
I hold my ground as some small Shadows move inside the room. Larger ones build themselves outside the door. I need to hold my position as long as possible.
Never make the first move.
Never let them get the advantage.
Never let them touch my charge.
For my boy’s sake.
As their black limbs crawl on the walls to burn out the last of the light, my boy shifts in his sleep. I fall off the bed, landing without a noise. Near them and the light. They stop. And start towards me.
Right before they can manifest and grab me around my neck, I twist around giving them a kick. I jump, landing with both feet on the ground, shifting into my favorite fighting stance.
They lunge for me. I smack their hands away. Another attack from the left. I dodge right.
The light flickers again. I run. Grab a toy hammer. And smack them away.
Now they are angry.
I ready myself.
“Don’t stop us!”
The Shadows leak out of the walls and floor. Tiny, bony hands manifest from the sludge. They dive towards me.
I smack each one like whack-a-moles. One slips behind me and tries to pull away the hammer. I latch on, pulling harder. It lets go, sending me backwards. I trip over another hand. A third grips me tightly. A few dive for the night light. I struggle to get loose.
Others go for my boy.
The hand clutching me goes limp. It disappears into the ground.
I look up to see Bouncy rolling on top of the bed, hitting the hands away from my boy. I turn around to see Muscle Dude beat others away from the night light, throwing plastic fists and kicks. I grin as best I can with my sewn-on mouth and join the fight once more.
Together we throw them back into the hallway. Hissing can be heard as they rejoin. Another attack is on its way.
We gather at the doorway, ready for the next wave.
They start to strike, when a door down the hall opens up, a brightness pouring out. A shrieking hiss can be heard from the corners.
“Now what is this doing off?” A click and the night light in the hallway is on once again.
Another hiss. We three go limp on the floor as the mother passes by the room. She is oblivious to our fight, and to the shadows that lie in the dark of her own house. They would not attack her though. They have no use for a grown up.
She walks past again but stops short.
“What are you doing on the floor?” She picks me up and lays me by my boy.
As she leaves, I can see the shadows snarl. They know as well as I do there is little chance the boy’s brother will come out of his room again until dawn. They know they are beaten for another night. Bouncy and Muscle Dude stand watch at the door, just in case. I, worn out from my fight, rest in the arms of my boy. I need to store as much love and energy as I can for tomorrow. One wrong move could cost me my life. And my boy’s.
As I lay there, I thank the weather for being nice. It would have been worse if this had been a stormy night.
© E.N. Chaffin 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction without author permission is against the copyright laws of the United States of America.