The misunderstood monster
A thunderous stomping came from the stairs. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP-THUMP-THUMP! Mother and Father glanced at each other from opposite sides of the breakfast table.
“Timmy!” Mother yelled, “Stop stomping! You are going to scare the baby.” Timmy appeared on the other side of the kitchen and looked at his baby sister. She was cooing and smashing banana all over her face.
“She doesn’t look scared to me,” he said. Mother jumped.
“Timmy! You are going to scare me to death!” Mother said. Father looked at Timmy with a grumpy frown. His father didn’t like mornings and there had been far too much noise for his liking this morning.
“Tim, you can’t stomp down the stairs like that,” Father started, then scrunched up his face like scrambled eggs, “How did you get there if you just stomped down the stairs?”
“I was in the garage looking for my jump rope to take to school.” Mother and Father looked at each other in confusion.
“You didn’t just stomp down the stairs?” Mother asked.
Father walked out of the kitchen. Timmy and his baby sister looked at each other. She extended a hand with a tiny piece of not mashed banana offering it to Timmy. He took it, placed it on the table of her highchair and mashed it with his thumb. She squealed with laughter and returned to pounding any remnant of whole banana left on her tray.
“I didn’t even hear any stomping noises, Mom,” he said drinking his orange juice.
“Your father is checking. I’m sure it was just the cat.”
“Blamed for the cat’s trouble again!” Timmy said, “I told you we should have gotten a dog.”
“Timmy,” Mother said with a sour face and pursed lips. She was tired of talking about the stupid cat. Father returned to the kitchen holding a small stack of books.
“These were on the stairs. Yo-Yo must have knocked them down,” Father explained.
Mother smiled, and gave Father a peck on the check. Timmy stared at the books. They were his library books. They had been on his night stand, not at the top of the stairs, or the shelf in the hallway. Yo-Yo couldn’t have moved them that far without him noticing.
They finished breakfast and piled into the car to go to school, work, and daycare. Timmy thought about the books the whole drive.
“Don’t forget, Margo will pick you up and stay with you until I get home,” Mother said kissing the top of his head.
“Ugh, Margo,” he said to keep up his appearance of not liking a babysitter, but he thought it would be a good chance to investigate the monster who had moved his books.
Back at Timmy’s house, Pearl the monster, slithered out from underneath Timmy’s bed. She meandered the house, looking for something interesting to do or read. Yo-Yo hid in his litter box as soon as he saw her. The birds outside the window stopped chirping and flew away when she looked out. Pearl flicked through the TV channels until she found her favorite and settled in to watch until it got closer to the family’s return. She did this everyday, but she was getting tired of being left out of all the family activities and living a solitary life. She wanted to be with the family; she wanted to eat a delicious meal. She had dropped the books to get a quick peek at the breakfast table this morning. No one saw her except the baby, who giggled when she made a face.
That’s when Pearl decided she would sit at the dinner table with the family tonight. She wouldn’t say anything. She wouldn’t be loud or rude, she would just sit down like a regular family member. With that goal in mind, Pearl enjoyed the rest of her leisurely day.
Timmy sprinted from Margo’s car to the door.
“Slow down, big guy! I have the key,” Margo called.
“Why don’t you hurry up?” Timmy shouted back. Timmy actually didn’t mind Margo; she was fun and didn’t treat him like a baby. Once inside, he flung his bookbag to the floor, grabbed a snack and started investigating.
“Make sure you do your homework,” Margo said, “I know you are responsible, but you seem a bit distracted today.”
“OMKay!” Timmy said with a mouth full of crackers. He started in the basement, where he would expect a monster to life, but he didn’t find anything, just Yo-Yo hiding in his litter box. Then, Timmy scoured the main floor. Looking behind the couch and TV, checking every kitchen cabinet, and evening sneaking into Mother’s home office. Nothing! Although he was pretty sure the TV remote had been on the coffee table when they left this morning and now it was in the middle of the couch, but Margo could have moved it. Finally, he went up stairs. If the monster wasn’t in the basement, it was probably under the bed, or in the closet. That’s what all the stories said at least. He started in his baby sister’s room, then his parent’s room, and last his room. As he crawled under his bed, it squeaked, which he thought was odd, but he found nothing under the bed.
Pearl, sitting on Timmy’s pillow, watched him wiggle out from under his bed before sliding back under it herself. She thought about introducing herself to him, but decided it would be better to save her introductions for dinner tonight and only to tell her story once.
Timmy frowned, brushing the dust bunnies off his shirt, and plopping on the bed. “There is something here! Yo-yo didn’t move my books. Margo didn’t move the remote. Strange things keep happening. There is a monster and it wants something.” Timmy pondered what a monster would want. He imaged bone crunching teeth chomping down on him, drool falling from its mouth, his parents fleeing in terror. Timmy sighed, but continued imagining the monster, and went to start his homework.
Pearl waited until she heard everyone’s chair was pushed in at the table and for Father to ask the question that signified dinner was beginning, “How was everybody’s day?” She snuck downstairs without a sound, took a deep breath, and stepped into the kitchen. She smiled, but said nothing, pulled out a chair, sat at an empty place, and picked up a roll.
“Could someone please pass the butter?” she said as politely as she could.
Timmy’s fork clanged as it fell from his hand to his plate. Mother screamed, Father had already ran into the living room.
“I was right,” Timmy said, fearfully watching the monster and backing into the living room. Mother fainted, leaving the baby in her high chair. She giggled and held out a tiny hand with a Cheerio in it toward Pearl.
“Why thank you,” Pearl said taking the Cheerio and popping it into her mouth, “How generous!”
Father watched the exchange and collapsed. The baby squirmed with laughter. Pearl enjoyed the meal and her new friend, and had disappeared back under the bed before either Mother or Father came to. Timmy watched, but would never repeat the story, or sleep in his room alone again.
Next week’s prompt: What did you want to do when you were eleven?
Feel free to join me or suggest a prompt in the comments below!