Short Story: There Are No Monsters In My Closet

As a babysitter you are putting a young girl to bed. She says “Don’t worry. There aren’t any monsters in the closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement.”

“Sure kiddo” you pet her head and leave her in the room, door slightly ajar, you go and sit downstairs on the sofa to read your book.

The parent’s arrive home at midnight. You don’t bother to say anything about the monsters, after all, it’s probably just a little kid’s imagination or her father’s way of managing her anxiety.

A few weeks later they ask you to come babysit again. You’re quite excited to see Stacia again; she was a really entertaining kiddo. They ask if you’d be willing to stay the whole night as her mother has a work event and they think it best if they stay in a hotel and come back in the morning. You agree because they offer you more than double your standard fee.

You arrive at dinner time; the parents are all dressed up in sparkly fancy clothes and you smile and wave goodbye to them with Stacia. She’s in her pretty pink dress again, which she doesn’t hesitate to point out to you. You smile and nod. “We should make a tiara so it can be a pretty princess dress”

“After dinner” she says

You laugh and agree, finding the takeout menus underneath an envelope with takeout money in it. You and Stacia look through the menus together and decide pizza is the way to go. She tries to make you buy three. “Why?” you ask

“One for you, one for me, and one for the monsters in the basement”

You frown, remembering her statement from last time. ‘There aren’t any monsters in the closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement’

You laugh and tell her that “Monsters don’t eat pizza”

“Yes they do!” she insists

“Well you don’t need a whole pizza just to yourself. How about we get one large one and you, me and the monsters will share?” You figure it’s probably best to just play along for now. You don’t want to bother the parents with something so silly while they’re busy with work. You decide you’ll ask them about it tomorrow when they get back.

“Fine, but they don’t like leftovers!” she grumbles

You order the pizza, with plenty of sides and some cookies for after and get out your bag of activities so you can start making tiaras. Stacia seems to forget all about the monsters and you two put on a Disney film while you eat and continue your tiara making once she’s washed her hands.

You start getting her ready for bed and she flows through her bedtime routine with ease. She snuggles under the covers and asks you to read her a story. You oblige, finding the book she requested. You read the story and she beams up at you “Daddy never reads” she says “but that’s okay because he keeps me safe.”

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement.

You smile and nod. She snuggles close to her stuffed rabbit toy and you leave the room

“Don’t forget to feed them or they’ll get mad” she calls out after you

You turn around to look at her, a little alarmed “what?”

“The monsters will get mad if you don’t feed them the pizza we left”

You smile and nod. She truly does have a vivid imagination, you wonder if you ought to mention it to the parents, see if they can encourage her to use it.

They said you could use the spare bedroom to sleep in but you think its probably best to stay downstairs, after all, Stacia knows that when you stay you’re always in the living room, and their sofa is so massive you have no problem lying on it. You watch a little TV before getting yourself ready for bed, getting changed and brushing your teeth in the downstairs bathroom.

You hear a noise and wonder if Stacia is out of bed, maybe she had a bad dream or needs some water. You wander out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand and glance up the stairs. No sign of Stacia. You must be hearing things. You head back into the bathroom.

There’s a thud again. You put your toothbrush down and head upstairs. Maybe she fell out of bed? But Stacia is sleeping peacefully. You shake your head. You’re not normally paranoid like this. It’s just being in a stranger’s house overnight.

You head to your makeshift bed on the sofa and decide to read for a little while. It’s not that you’re scared, you just want to finish the chapter. You don’t hear anything more at the end of the chapter and you put your book down to sleep.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

You jolt awake at a noise. It sounds like someone is trying to break in. You listen intently for a moment before grabbing your phone and creeping through the kitchen toward the backdoor. There’s nobody in the well fenced garden. You creep toward the front door. You can’t hear any more noise but you peer through the peephole anyway. Nobody there. You’re willing to shrug it off as a bird, or a stray cat until you hear the noise again.

Its coming from behind you. A sort of jangling and a thump.

You turn around slowly.

The noise is coming from the basement. You hold your phone tighter in your hand and creep slowly towards the basement door. Surely its just something that’s not secured properly. Maybe they have one of those basements you can enter from the garden as well. Maybe the door is chained shut put being lifted by the wind. You try to convince yourself even though the trees outside are still and you’ve been in a heatwave for the last three days which is set to last antoher week at least.

You feel sweat run down your spine. Heatwave. Not scared. That’s ridiculous. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

You reach for the basement door handle.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

It feels icy cold to your sweaty palm.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

Slowly you inch the door open.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

And look down the steps.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

You use your phone as a torch to see what’s down there. You can’t quite see from where you are, the steps turn about half way down.

You step down onto the first step. It creaks quietly and you freeze.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

Don’t be ridiculous, you tell yourself. Monsters don’t exist. You should just turn around and go back to bed.

But something compels you to look. You’ll just look, and then you can know for sure what that noise was. You’ll just look and then you can go back to bed.

You crouch down and peer through the banister, shining your phone light around the basement.

The light shines on silver chains on the floor.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

It catches something else.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

Something you can’t quite see.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

You creep down a few more steps until its clearer.

There aren’t any monsters in my closet. Daddy keeps them all locked up in the basement

You dash back upstairs, slamming the door behind you. You’re not sure how long you’ve been down there because the front door is opening to reveal Stacia’s parents returning home. Her father looks at you with soulless eyes.

You. Stood in your pyjamas. Leaning on the basement door. Breathing heavily. Phone clutched to your chest.

“How was she?” Stacia’s mother beams “I know we’re back early we just couldn’t wait to see her!” she bustles straight upstairs to wake her daughter, not waiting for you to answer. You’re left with him.

He stares at you.

“I thought I heard a noise” you try quietly. You try to laugh. “I’ll just get dressed and go”

You try to move past him into the living room where you left your bag. He catches your arm as you pass him.

“Wait” he says “You’ll need your money”

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