But all he hears in reply is a muffled, shaky moan echoing from below the bed. He lets his gaze drift to the nightlight – which is still on – over near the chest of drawers, hoping for comfort, reassurance, safety. But the hair on the back of his neck will not be convinced and it rises, sending a chill down Tommy’s back.
Grabbing his Spiderman flashlight, he leans over the side and pulls back the bed’s apron. He pokes the light underneath, and then, taking a deep breath, slowly slides his head down, down, down, until he can finally see the light’s bright beam. It smacks up against the monster who’s tucked into Tommy’s favorite blankie, the brown and green one with all the dinosaurs that Nana got him. The monster has his eyes closed so tight, they look like they’ve been sealed shut with a big glob of that white Elmer’s glue Tommy uses when making cardboard garages for his cars. Even though the monster’s pulled the blankie up such that it sits just under the tip of his long crooked nose, and his sharp clawed fingers, normally green, grasp onto the blankie’s edge so tightly they’ve gone white, he’s shivering as if the North wind cuts an icy path through Tommy’s room.
Tommy stares for a moment, not quite sure what to think. Finally, letting his curiosity get the best of him, he slides – ever so slowly – down more and more until his upside down head rests on the carpeted floor.
But the monster only pulls the blankie tighter, ducking his head and sucking in his shoulders, trying his best to hide from Tommy’s voice.
“What’sa matter Mon’ter? Aren’t you ‘posed to be scary?”
The monster’s eye on Tommy’s side pops open, its red luminous glow almost matching the brightness of the Spiderman flashlight. “Scary?” he asks, his quivering voice more a growl than words. “Have you seen the news, Tommy? Your people are waaaaaay scarier than I could ever be!”
A tear wells up in Tommy’s eye, and, dropping the light, he stretches out his dangling arms. “Oh, no, poor Mon’ter. Come here. I hold you. I hold you all night.”