Flash Fiction Friday starts with a quote:
"I remember my own childhood vividly . . . I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let let adults know I knew them. It would terrify them" -- Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are
"Mommy?" Joey asked.
His mother turned and smiled, hoping this wasn't another excuse to stay up past his bedtime. "Yes, dear?" she asked, almost keeping the annoyance out of her voice. She hoped her son didn't notice.
"Can you close the closet door, please?" Joey asked, pulling the covers up to his chin and looking at the open door. It was an older house and the closet door was just a smaller version of the door that led to the hall. His mother had whimsically painted it red when this bedroom became his after his older sister had gone to college.
His mother smiled and brushed back a stray lock of dirty blonde hair. "Of course, dear." She stepped to the door and gently closed it so that it hardly made a sound. Then she walked over and kissed Joey on the forehead. "I don't like the closet door open, either," she whispered.
Joey nodded, his blue eyes looking happier.
"Good night, sweetie," he mother said standing and walking to the door to the hall.
"Good night, mommy," Joey replied.
She smiled at him, turned off the light, and closed the bedroom door but leaving a gap of about four inches to let in light from the hall.
Joey heard her footsteps go down the corridor. And he waited. He didn't dare close his eyes but watched the red door. It always seemed to take a while, but eventually the knob started turning. Joey pulled the covers over his face but not his eyes, as he watched the door know slowly turn, so slow it was hard to even tell it was turning in the dim light. Only the dent on the old knob indicated that it was turning at all.
The door opened, again with a speed that made it even hard to tell it was moving. Almost like the hands on clock, it moved nearly imperceptibly.
What eventually came out of the closet was not human. It wasn't exactly a monster. More like a large dog, Joey thought, that walked on hind legs. He'd once, without his parents permission, watched a werewolf movie. This creature was close to how the werewolf was portrayed, but smaller and without the vicious teeth and claws.
"It is safe?" the creature asked.
Joey nodded. He'd done this before.
The creature closed the bedroom door and turned on the light.
"Is it your turn or mine?" he asked.
"Yours," Joey said, pulling the covers down to his chin so he could talk.
The creature gave Joey a toothy smile. It's teeth were rather human.
"Risk," the creature said.
Joey groaned. "It takes too long."
The creature sighed. "Fine, backgammon. But no whining when you lose."
Joey nodded, threw back the covers and grabbed the game. He knew if he could keep the creature busy until it fell asleep, he could keep it from eating his family. He just felt lucky he asked it to play a game before it ate him when it first showed up right after Joey moved in. Joey wondered if his sister knew of the creature. He's have to ask her when she came home for Thanksgiving break.