“I don’t wanna go to bed!” Millie huffed, stomping up the stairs in her purple night gown. I chuckled to myself as I ushered her up to her room, I knew this is what I had signed up for when I agreed to babysit a 6 year old. I looked at the time on my phone, 8:30pm, her scheduled bedtime as given by her parents before they left for the night. They said that they were going off to a friend’s cottage for one of their rare weekends off work. Millie had to stay home because she had plans to visit her grandmothers in the morning.
“Look, when you grow up, you will miss the times when it’s okay to go to bed at 8:30” I told her as we made it up to the second floor.
“Yeah right! When I grow up I ‘m gunna stay up all night and eat ice cream for dinner!” Millie said skipping to her room. “And I’m gunna got to Chuck-E-Cheese everyday! Oh, and watch cartoons whenever I want, and never have to eat broccoli, and…”
“Okay, okay,” I said, rubbing the top of her head. “You can tell Grandma all about it tomorrow. Now, time for bed, let’s go.”
Millie let out a loud ‘aww’ but continued into her room and jumped into her bed. She then reached under her covers and pulled out a brown teddy bear, hugged it tightly, then tucked it in beside her. I reached over and tucked her in along with her teddy, and saw that she had a small nightlight on the stand by her bed. I bent over to flick it on, but it didn’t light up.
“Did this work last night Millie?” I asked while fiddling with the blub in the small pink lamp.
“Mhm.” she responded. “Is it broken?”
“I think so. I think you will have to go without it tonight love.”
“Nu-uh!” Millie said, bringing the covers up to her eyes. “I am scared of the dark, there’s monsters!”
I sighed and remembered that she is in fact a 6 year old girl and they can tend to be afraid of the dark. I looked around her room.
“Where do you think the monsters are?” I asked
“In…my closet.” Millie said sheepishly. I turned to her single-door closet. It had white paint and pony stickers all over it, not very threatening.
“So if I open the closet and find no monsters, then will you go to bed?” I asked, putting my hand on the knob.
“No Michael! Don’t!” Millie screamed while bringing the covers over the remainder of her head.
I turned the knob and swung open the door, and moved so Millie could see the absence of any sort of monster. She slowly peaked out from her hiding spot and looked inside to find only an clothes hung up and on a pile in on the floor of the closet. Beside it was an old doll house and some dolls.
“See?” I said. “Nothing there.”
“You can only see it when its dark!” Millie protested.
I rubbed my temples and tried to think of some way to get this girl to bed. That’s when I remembered an old trick my parents used on my when I was just a little kid. I ran downstairs and plucked and old dish soap bottle from out of the recycling and on the front label I wrote “Monster Blaster” in black marker. Then I went back up into Millie’s room and handed to her.
“What’s this?” She asked, puzzled by the seemingly garbage I had given her.
“That,” I explained, ” Is a Monster Blaster! When you think a monster is around you squeeze it and all the monsters will go away! I brought it just in case this happened.”
Millie looked at it in amazement , and squeezed the middle. A puff of air escaped and made a low whistle. She giggled and pointed it at her teddy and squeezed it again.
“Save some for the monsters!” I joked and walked to the doorway of her room and turned off the light. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight!” Millie said, tucking the Monster Blaster between her and her teddy. I smiled and headed back downstairs to watch some T.V. I looked at the time again and was surprised it had been ten minutes trying to get Millie to bed. I laughed to myself at the thought and sat down on the couch.
I could empathise with Millie, when I was young I used to be terrified of the dark. I guess when my parents had enough of my imagination getting the better of me they did the same thing that I did to Millie. Ever since then I had been fine with the dark and my “monsters” eventually let me be.
About thirty minutes after I had gone downstairs, I heard something stirring upstairs, then followed by the low whistle of the soap bottle. I smiled and figured Millie was in combat with her closet. After a few minutes later I heard it again this time more vigorous than before, I turned down the T.V to listen. The whistle stopped abruptly, and was followed by a loud thump. I got to my feet and started upstairs.
“Millie? You okay?” I called as I climbed the stairs. I slowly opened her door and flipped on the light.
Pure horror rushed through my body as I saw the closet door opened up and the pile of clothes broken apart. I ran to the bed and saw the sheets soaked in red and Millie was nowhere to be seen. A trail of blood smeared across the ground and lead to an open window, the curtains flapped in the wind showing more specks of blood. I wanted to vomit, out of disgust and horror.
I pulled back the covers to see a message written in blood, it read: I’m a different kind of monster.