Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Short Story

With a major tip of the hat to Wil Wheaton, who came up with the original idea on his blog.

Wil started with: writing a short story that begins with "There is a monster in my closet."

I took it one step further, based on an amusing news story that my colleagues and I were chuckling about today - the story has to end with "In retrospect, I could have handled things differently."

So without further ado, I present:

The Monster In My Closet
I. Before
There is a monster in my closet.

During the day, it doesn’t do much. From time to time I can hear it whisper – as I’m driving to and from work, and sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk. It’s better when I can’t hear what it’s saying, because the things it says are not very nice. I turn my music up as loud as it will go, because then I’m not tempted to try and figure out what it’s trying to tell me.

The nights are another story. I can usually tell that something is up because my cat will wander into the closet, stare intently at something for what seems like an hour, and then run down the stairs with a very spooked look on his face. When that happens, I usually don’t see him until the next morning.

And the thing is, I’ll walk over to the closet myself and try to find what it was that spooked the cat, and I can never find it. But it’s there, trust me. I can tell because it’s always managed to knock one of my suits off the hanger. That, I can live with.

What’s hard is what happens after I fall asleep. That’s when the monster in the closet turns into the monster that’s in my head. The dreams are never exactly the same, but they’re all variations on the same theme. I hesitate to go into too much detail, but let’s just say that very sharp knives are involved. There’s also a sticky substance that could be blood, but then again, it could just be chocolate. My dreams are in black and white (Is that normal? I can never remember), so it’s difficult to tell.

I think I’ve finally figured out a way to stop this madness. I mean, listen to me – “stop this madness,” my God, how melodramatic can you get? And I know I’m not mad, I just want to have a good night’s sleep. So here’s what I think: if just this one time, I actually do what the monster is telling me to do, then maybe it will leave me alone. I think I saw that in a movie once, or maybe it was a short story I read in the seventh grade. I can’t remember.

The weird thing is that this feels so much like one of my dreams. I suppose when this is all over, I should try to write down what happens in my dreams in a little notebook that I keep beside the bed. I think I saw that in a movie once too.

I just wish that what the monster asked me to do didn’t scare me so much. I mean, I don’t even like knives…I don’t think I’ve ever used this one, not once, in all the time I’ve had it. To tell the truth, I can’t even remember why I bought it. It’s almost like someone whispered in my ear one time when I was in the store, and for some reason I thought buying it would be a good idea.

OK, so I’m taking some deep breaths now. All I can say is that I hope this works. Because I just can’t see myself doing this on a regular basis.

II. After
The first thing to say is that it didn’t work. I still hear the monster in my closet, although the whisper is even fainter now that I’m not living in the house where I used to be. The funny thing is, I don’t even have a closet now. So I’m not sure why I can still hear him (actually I don’t know for sure if the monster is a “him,” although I find it hard to imagine a “her” asking me to do those sorts of things).

I suppose the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t always listen to the monster in your closet. I’ve lost my house, I’ve lost my friends, and I suppose one could say that I’ve lost my freedom – although the people here are very nice, and they even let me spend part of each day relaxing in the courtyard. But in the end, it’s just not the same.

In retrospect, I could have handled things differently.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I really like it! You've got a future as a short story writer.