Under The Bed

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  • Rating:
  • Published: 13 May 2018
  • Updated: 13 May 2018
  • Status: Complete
Oneshot.

Tessa Blake and the monsters.

cover credit to friendlyfoxpal on Tumblr!

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1. Under The Bed

Tessa was crying for the third time that week. There was something under her bed, she just knew it. She could hear it growling and snarling, even if Momma couldn't. Tessa grabbed her blankie and dragged it to the hallway, where she determined she would sleep for the night. She felt a sort of strange satisfaction as the monster stopped growling.

 

That morning, Tessa was rudely awakened by Papa yelling at her to wake up. He shook her shoulders and tried to pick her up. Why was the light flickering? Is the sun blinking at me? Papa left her to sleep (thank god). Why is it so hot? Tessa felt a soft whoosh as her nightgown was picked up and she was carried (none too gently, either) to her window.

 

She screamed as her eyes cleared from her sleep-haze and she saw the flames. Tessa was flung through the window and was sliced as the shattering glass cut her skin. She crumpled to the grass, trying to crawl away from the heat. A firefighter grabbed her and pulled her back from the raging inferno that had once been her home.

 

"Mama! Papa!" Tessa screamed as the roof collapsed.

 

The police were stumped. The fire had been started by a faulty stove, and the house was gone. So were young Jack and Clarrite Blake, the two married injury attorneys. But their daughter, nine-year-old Tessa Blake, had somehow escaped. Even though the window was twice as high as her and there was no way to get out. Even though everything happened so fast there shouldn't have been time for anyone to get out, least of all a runt kid with no ladder.

 

But somehow, the girl had gotten out. For a while, the police had toyed with the idea that she had slept on the lawn. But then firefighter Ted Hector had reported the lacerations on her as he pulled her away from the house. Then they thought that perhaps she had started the fire, before it was found that the stove had. Then, they had speculated that her father or mother had pulled her out– but evidence supported that they had left her for dead and were in the foyer when the house collapsed, too far from Tessa's breakout. So what had happened?

 

Tessa herself was no help. She was silent as the grave. Didn't even cry for her parents.

 

She did cry when they put her into the group home, though. That night, the monster didn't appear under her bed.

 

Nor the night after.

 

Or the night after that.

 

Or the night after that.

 

Tessa accepted that her monster was dead, and moved on with her life.

 

Her grandmother took her into custody, and she became a fine young woman. Then, in junior year of high school, she went to visit the house's remains.

 

A new house had been built where hers used to be. It was nice, but it wasn't hers. So Tessa went back home.

 

That night, Tessa heard a growling under her bed.

 

Oh, shut up, Tessa thought. I'm too old for these juvenile nightmares.

 

But the growling persisted.

 

Again the next night.

 

And the next.

 

And the next.

 

And then Tessa's grandmother had a heart attack.

 

Tessa was not old enough to live on her own, so back to the group home she went. But this time, the monster went with her.

 

Every night, it growled.

 

And every night, Tessa broke a little more.

 

How unlucky must a girl be for both guardians to die? people wondered. She's bad juju. Bad luck. Bad magic, people whispered.

 

And Tessa remained silent.

 

Therapists, speech doctors, ENT doctors, nobody could make Tessa talk. Eventually, it was decided that the poor thing had some sort of shock-induced muteness, and people left the issue to fate.

 

Then, one night, Tessa was sent to a different place. A foster home. Tessa was two years away from being able to live by herself (she had skipped a grade and was a sixteen-year-old junior), so she was sent to live with Anne and Jebediah Hackler.

 

The Hacklers were sweet and good when others were around, but in the darkness of closed doors their true colors came to reveal themselves.

 

Tessa had the bruises to prove it.

 

The only thing that was the same with her life was the monster. It remained, silent, watching. It was always under her bed. And it growled.

 

The Hacklers didn’t believe her when she told them about the monster. They said she was too old for such juvenile fancies, that she was a fool to believe the illusions of her unstable mind.

 

But Tessa knew.

 

Under the guise of night, Jebediah opened the door to the little Blake girl’s room. Earlier that day she had told them some silly tale about a “monster” under her bed, and tonight he would show her the price of telling such lies to her superiors.

 

He grabbed her shoulder roughly and shook her awake.

 

He drew back his fist to plunge it home into her stupid, horrible face and–

 

Tessa flinched as blood spattered the wall.

 

Jebediah had been there, he was going to hurt her, and…

 

And what?

 

What was stupid enough to protect her from such a thing?

 

And was it worse than Jebediah?

 

Tessa turned to face the hidden force. She knew what it was.

 

It had reminded her that it was there all those years that she had grieved.

 

It had told her, I’m here, even when people won’t believe you.

 

It had given her the tough love she needed to survive the death of her parents.

 

And once upon a time, a long, long time ago, it had saved her life.

 

Tessa sank into the soft, warm, furry embrace of the monster under her bed and gazed up at its cruel horns, the fangs, and the gigantic clawed paws that had sliced a man apart– the very same paws that held her and comforted her.

 

The police marveled at the young woman the force was beginning to revere as the Miracle Girl.

 

At nine, she had been saved by an invisible force as her parents died.

 

At fifteen, her guardian had been taken from this world.

 

And now, at sixteen, she had somehow sliced a full-grown man from head to toe with cruel slices that had put him in the hospital for a month with her bare hands.

 

Tessa Blake is now Tessa DeRiesta. She was married in the fall of 2010 and is now a successful doctor. And when her child cries about the monster under his bed, she sits down to tell him a story.

 
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