There’s A Monster In My Closet

There’s a monster in my closet. That’s something you should be hearing from a five year old looking for excuses to keep the lights on at bedtime, not from a forty year old man who’s busy haunting his own house most of the time.

But just because it’s not something I should be saying doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Something is hiding in there – lurking in there – and I know it’s waiting for me to drop my guard. It’s waiting for me to go to sleep without the lights on, or to push too far into the back of its domain reaching for a shirt or a Christmas ornament or something. Then it’ll grab me.

It’s been there since June. I don’t know what about the merry month of June made a monster decide living in the closet of one Larry Spaulder was a great idea. Maybe it was tired of the summer heat and decided my nice, air-conditioned condo was a better idea. Or maybe it was looking for me, hunting me, even before I knew it was there.

I don’t know what I could have done to earn the attention of the monster. Why it would want me over someone else. Maybe I just drew the unlucky straw one day. Do monsters have little circle-jerks where they decide who they’re going to haunt? Cast lots? Play fucking poker? Who the hell knows? Not like I could just ask him.

“Him.” Like I know what gender it is. Probably someone out there would get mad at me for giving a pronoun to a creature I don’t understand, on the chance that it doesn’t identify as that. Fine. I’ll go back to “it.” Not that I think it’s any better.

But seriously, you can’t ask the monster what it wants. It doesn’t respond. Acts like it’s not there at all, and does it so well that after half an hour of shouting at it you start to almost believe it yourself. There’s nothing there. Of course, that’s how it gets you. Makes you think it’s not there, that you’re just being silly, and when you go to throw the door all the way open and laugh at your own idiocy, that’s when it comes out, all teeth and claws, and does what it wanted to from the start.

At least, I think that’s what it wants. Maybe it just wants to drive me crazy. Maybe whatever it wants is something humans just can’t understand. But I know it’s hungry, because it ate my wife.

She thought I was crazy, she laughed at me, said there was nothing there and I was jumping at shadows. Said between my disability leave and the quarantine I’d gone absolutely around the bend nanners. Said I needed to get out more, or make some friends and talk to them. She kept saying that – was in the middle of saying one of those things – when she opened the closet and then she was just gone.

It happened that fast. One moment, she was opening the door and saying my name, about to spout off her hundredth platitude of the hour about how I was being silly, the next she was yanked backward into the darkness. She didn’t even scream. The only sound was like a garbage disposal trying to attack something that wasn’t quite too much for it, but close. The sound went on for about three minutes before stopping.

I used a mop handle to shut the closet door. No way was I going to get close enough to do it by hand. That’s how it gets you, after all. Like it had gotten my wife.

There’s a monster in the closet. It ate my wife, and it wants to eat me. Tonight might be the night; the last lightbulb is flickering, and I don’t have any replacements. I haven’t been to the store since Millie was killed, and I don’t think I can leave safely. It might leave the closet, be hiding somewhere else when I got home. You never know. So when the light goes out, and the sun sets, it’s probably over for me.

There’s a monster in my closet.

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