Mama’s dead. The monster killed her. Of course, no one believes me when I say that out loud, so I just whisper the words and hug the truth close to my heart.
It’s her own fault, you know. All those years ago she didn’t believe me either when I told her about the monster creeping around my room.
“Go back to sleep, you silly child,” was all she said.
But I couldn’t sleep, not with a monster lurking in my room, so I slipped out of bed to sit in my grandma’s old rocking chair. I felt safe in her chair sitting by the window where the light from the moon chased the monster back into the shadows. Outside I could see my brother and his friend, Tommy, chasing fireflies and catching them in Mason jars. As I nodded off to sleep in the moonlight I wondered if it were possible to catch monsters the same way.
The next night I was ready for him. I sat quietly in bed, the quart Mason jar hidden just under the blanket. I held my breath as the monster crept closer wondering what would happen to me if the jar wasn’t big enough or I couldn’t get the lid fastened quick enough. I don’t know what kind of magic spell the moonlight cast over me but as I captured the monster between the jar and the lid, he shrunk down to a speck of red light the size of a firefly. It’s amazing what a jar and a little moon magic can do.
I’m twelve now and I’ve been collecting stray monsters for nearly six years. I never enter my bedroom without a jar of some type. They think they can outsmart me, but they don’t know my secret. They don’t know about the power gifted to me by the moon and over the years my collection has grown. Monster upon monster until the shelf over my bed is overrun with jars of all shapes and sizes.
I lay in bed at night and watch them. The bright red lights beating against their jar prisons until they fall exhausted to the bottom. A bit of rest, and they begin again. A brilliant light show dancing over my head as they search for a crack or a chip in the glass to escape through. They should know by now I’m not silly enough to use a flawed jar.
Now Mama, she just purely hated that shelf full of jars. She said all those empty jars gave her the creeps. Funny, huh? She gets shivers up her spine looking at those jars but still won’t believe me when I tell her they’re filled with monsters.
“You silly, stupid girl,” she says. “There’s no such thing as monsters. I’ve told you that a million times.”
What a fool she was. Laughing at my fears then smashing the jars one by one just to prove her point. Oh, I warned her. Over and over I screamed at her to stop. I tried to stop them, but the red lights swirled around her body sucking the life from her.
I know she believes me now. How could she not? She stared straight into that monster’s ugly face just before she died and she wasn’t laughing anymore. I know because I was staring straight back at her.
Now Mama’s tucked deep inside the ground and I sit quietly on my bed, jar hidden in my lap, waiting for the monsters to come creeping back. They will you know, for the world is full with monsters. They come in all shapes and sizes.
©2013 Sandra Seamans