Coming in October
Me and Reg and Boyd

Littlelot & the Real Monster

It isn't just a room monster. A room monster is made of shadows that look really scary, but when you turn on the lights, it disappears. Room monsters don't usually have eyes and they hardly ever move. This is a real monster. It's got two eyes that glow in the dark, and I saw it move.

 

It's nighttime and there's a monster in my room. It's crouching beside the door. Even hunched over like that, it looks as big as my dad. Standing all the way up it must be ten feet tall. I'm only six years old, and my mom says I'm short for my age. The monster could eat me in one bite!

It isn't just a room monster. A room monster is made of shadows that look really scary, but when you turn on the lights, it disappears. Room monsters don't usually have eyes and they hardly ever move. This is a real monster. It's got two eyes that glow in the dark, and I saw it move.

Whenever a car goes by on the street outside, I hear the sound of the motor, then light from the car's headlights moves across the walls of my room. The monster closes its eyes and hides behind the coatrack. As soon as the light passes, it comes back out again and looks to make sure I'm still in my bed.

The last time a car went by, when the monster closed its eyes and hid, I pulled the blankets up over my head and got the flashlight from under my pillow. Sometimes at night, if I'm not asleep and I'm bored, I pull the blankets over me and make a tent underneath with my head. When I turn on the flashlight, my parents can't see the light under the blankets.

I turned on the flashlight and got my notebook and pencil from under the pillow, because that's where I keep them. My mom said I could choose three things to keep under my pillow. I chose the flashlight, my notebook and pencil, and whatever book I'm reading. My mom said that's really four things, but I said my notebook and pencil only count as one, because you can't use a notebook without a pencil.

Right now, I wish I had chosen the lightsaber I got last Christmas. The lightsaber is in my toy box on the other side of the room. It isn't a real lightsaber, of course. It's only a plastic toy and the battery is dead, so it doesn't even light up or go voom-voom when I swing it. I could swing it like a stick, though, because I can't fight the monster with my bare hands. The monster would eat my hands, then it would eat me! Then it would eat my parents, then my little sister and my big brother, too.

It would even try to eat Granddad, but he died. My mom said he went to heaven. That means he isn't here anymore, so the monster can't try to eat him.

If Granddad was here, he would have the courage to fight the monster. Granddad was in the war. He gave me his army field jacket before he died. He pinned his medals on it, too. One medal is for his courage, and one is for when he got hurt in a battle but still went on fighting.

Sometimes, to practice my courage, I put on Granddad's field jacket and play like I'm him in the war. I was practicing my courage today, so I should be able to save my family from the monster, even though it's very scary. Granddad said that everyone is afraid of scary things. He said heroes use their courage to overcome their fear and confront the things that scare them. I'm only wearing pajamas now, but I'm going to use my courage to confront the monster. That's what Granddad would do.

I need to make a plan. Granddad said in the army they always had a plan. I can't just scream for my mom and dad, because as soon as I did that, the monster would eat me. Then my parents would come through the door, and it would eat them, too. Then it would eat my little sister and my big brother.

I know what I'll do. First, I'll turn off the flashlight and let my eyes get used to the dark. Then, the next time I hear a car coming down the street, when the monster closes its eyes, I'll jump out of bed and run as fast as I can to get the lightsaber. Then I'll get ready to swing it like a stick and I'll point the flashlight straight at the monster's eyes and turn it on! That will blind the monster for a minute and make it hide. Then I'll fight the monster, and the noise of our battle will wake up my parents. My mom can take my little sister and my big brother to the kitchen where they'll be safe, and my dad can come and help me fight the monster.

That's my plan. I'm going to turn off the flashlight now and wait for the next car. If the monster eats me, give this notebook to my parents.

Mom and Dad, I love you both very much.

– Littlelot 

* * *

 When we got home from the hospital emergency it was already daytime. I was still wearing pajamas, and my dad was carrying Granddad's field jacket. My mom and my little sister and my big brother were waiting for us in the kitchen. I told everyone about the monster and all about what happened.

“When I heard the next car coming,” I said, “I threw the blankets off me and jumped out of bed as fast as I could, just like I planned...”

When I landed on the floor I made a loud boom! and my ankle went crack! The pain in my ankle was so bad I could hardly think. All I knew was that I couldn't scream, or the monster would eat me, and that I had to get the lightsaber to save my family.

I crawled across the floor to the toy box and grabbed the lightsaber. I pointed the flashlight at the monster and turned it on. In the light, though, I saw that what I thought was the monster was only Granddad's field jacket hanging on the coatrack.

My dad heard all the noise and came to see what was the matter. He opened the door and turned on the light. I was kneeling on the floor, holding the lightsaber and pointing the flashlight at Granddad's field jacket. He raised an eyebrow at me.

“I thought it was a real monster, Dad.”

Then the pain in my ankle got so bad it felt like the monster was trying to eat it off my leg. I cried so hard I woke up my little sister and my big brother.

My dad took one look at my ankle and said, “Looks like it's broken.”

He wrapped me up in Granddad's field jacket and took me to the hospital emergency, while my mom stayed home with my little sister and my big brother.

The doctor put a cast on my ankle and said I'll have to learn to walk with crutches for a couple of months. Crutches are two long sticks that go up to my armpits. I put one end of each stick under my arms and use them to walk without putting any weight on my ankle. It's like walking with my arms instead of my legs.

When I finished telling the story, my dad said, “You must have seen the reflection of the streetlight off your granddad's medals.”

“They looked just like the monster's eyes!” I said.

“And when the cars went by, you probably saw the shadow of the jacket moving on the wall behind it.”

“I thought the monster was coming to eat me!”

My mom took Granddad's medal that he got for his courage off the field jacket and pinned it on my pajama shirt.

“You were very brave, Littlelot,” she said. “Your granddad would be proud of you for having the courage to fight the monster.”

My dad took Granddad's other medal and pinned it on my shirt next to the first one.

“And you went on fighting even though you were injured, just like your granddad in the war.”

 

It's nighttime again and I'm back in my bed. Granddad's field jacket is hanging on the coatrack. I put his medals back on it. When I turn out the lights, I know I'll see the monster again, but I know what it is now, because I confronted it. It's only a room monster, and it isn't so scary after all.