By Lily King
A monster still lives in my closet.
“You’ll outgrow it,” people used to say, never wondering if it would outgrow me.
I ask my friends if their monsters still follow them. Too many say yes, and a few say they’ve never had one at all. I wonder what their closets are made of.
I cannot ignore it and I cannot fight it. We’re bonded now. I try to make it seem human.
I put little ribbons in the beast’s greasy, knotted fur. I find my satin blue dress and slide it over its deformed body. Maybe I can find some red lipstick so it won’t scare me when it smiles.
It sprawls across my bed, whining in apparent defeat. Its crooked, spider limbs almost look cartoonish now. It looks so pathetic sleeping there, dressed up to meet the Sandman. I laugh. It opens its eyes.
I throw away my blue dress. The monster’s stench is woven into the fabric. I look for a new shade to compliment my skin, but the closet only appears to me in black and white.
The monster sits in my chair, flicking its eyes between the moon and my bed. It’s nighttime now and we haven’t slept in days. My eyelids droop but never close.
I speak to it in poems, hoping that the venom dripping from its lips will turn to honey. My ears still burn when it screams at me. I cover them and it begins dancing in the mirror.
I can sense the familiar signs of goodbye. It will soon grow tired of jumping on my shoulders and sticking pointed claws down my throat. I take a deep breath.
I sit in my chair now, gazing at the moon and my empty bed. Silence fills the room and I run my hands across the satin dress I recovered from the garbage.
The closet door creaks open.
* * *
Lily is a lover of all things horror. She frequently watches the sun set and rise while writing and snacking.