Staring up at the dilapidated house she was now to call home, Megan Delaman turned to her husband Tyler, and gave him a disparaging look. “It’s, well…are you sure about this?” she asked him meekly. “I’m not sure I’m cut out for a renovating project.”
“Trust me,” Tyler told her, rubbing her shoulders. “This is well worth the investment. The house is a gorgeous Victorian with potential.”
“I wouldn’t exactly say it has potential,” Megan told him, staring up the old house, noting broken spindles, loose shutters, and not mentioning what the inside had to look like.
Tyler sighed. “Let’s go inside. The movers will be here soon. And I know you will just want to start cleaning it up right alongside me.”
“Sure. I look forward to chaining myself to the broom and mop for the next several years,” Megan commented sarcastically, as her husband led her inside.
The inside was dark, with not even a bit of light streaming in through any of the windows to light the way. Grime and mold covered many of the windows; others were covered with yellowing pages torn haphazardly from newspapers. Sheets were tossed over furniture that had been left behind from past owners. Upon further inspection of the house, Megan wandered into the kitchen, only to find the counters a mess, floors neglected for years perhaps, and the poor body of a mouse, snapped in two by a mousetrap. A cockroach scuttled across the counters and disappeared into a crack in the molding.
“Lovely,” Megan said dryly to no one in particular. “A project from hell. This place is superb as a haunted house.”
“It’s not that bad,” Tyler told her, startling her. “The movers are here already. Let’s see what we can get done quickly before they start placing everything. This will be a fun renovating project. I promise.” Giving her shoulders one last reassuring squeeze, he left to go deal with the movers.
Take one last look around the dreary kitchen, Megan sighed and reminded her that her husband loved this house. “If he does, then so will I.”
Several hours later, Megan collapsed exhausted into their bed, curling up among the covers. Tyler slid in next to her, cradling her against him. “I won’t be gone long, you know,” he said, reminding her that he was living on a business trip first thing in the morning. “I’ll be back in a few days. That’s not long.”
Megan kissed him. “I know. It’s just going to be strange without you. And a little scary.”
“Something about this house. It kind of spooks me out some.”
“It’s just an old house, that’s all. Nothing more than that,” Tyler told her, closing his eyes. “Sleep. I have to be up very early.”
Megan tried to, but in the middle of the night, she thought she heard the closet door opening. She could have sworn she thought she heard something move under the bed. Just her imagination, perhaps. Or as Tyler would have told her, the house was settling, or maybe there was a missed rat.
The next evening, Megan was in the living room, scrubbing the antique roll top desk she had found. She hoped that Tyler could put some finish on it when he returned. Probing through one of the drawers, Megan came across an article, not more than a few years old. She had understood that the last owners had departed suddenly, about three years ago. Problems, the realtor had told her and Tyler. The article suggested that there was more to this story.
A daughter had been found dead in the house. As the article stated, she had a traumatized look upon her face when her body had been found. There had been no signs of a break in or a struggle. The police had suggested her heart had stopped, that maybe she had been scared to death. Unusual circumstances, more or less, with not much more of an explanation.
Was it possible that you could be scared to death? By what?
Shaking her head, Megan hastily stuffed the article back into the drawer and chastised herself for reading the rubbish in the first place. She’d have nightmares for sure.
Finally, just after eleven that night, Megan was in bed, trying to sleep. But something stirred, causing her eyes to pop open. It seemed to be coming from beneath the bed.
I don’t believe in monsters under the bed, Megan scoffed, closing her eyes. At least she didn’t anymore, not since she was a little girl. A bump from beneath her caused her to open her eyes again. Slowly sitting up, she looked into the dresser mirror across from the bed and began to scream.
Staring back at her was a monster. Its face was grotesque; its skin seemed to be peeling off, eyes bulging and a terrifying shade of red. Megan closed her eyes and began to shake. It couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t be.
Her eyes flew open. Trembling, Megan didn’t see the face anymore. Very carefully, she leaned down, and with shaking fingers pulled up the coverlet and looked under the bed.
With a sigh of relief, Megan pulled herself back up. There Except for her, there was no other face in the mirror. The closet door was shut tight.
Did I shut that? I honestly don’t remember.
She had to just have been seeing things in the dark. Darkness was known to play tricks on the eyes, sending mixed signals to the brain, causing one’s imagination to go overboard.
Megan slept with the light on for the rest of the night.
The next morning, Tyler called to check on her. He laughed as she told him about the monster. “You’re imagination is working overtime. You had to have had seen something in the dark. Old house, unfamiliar surroundings. And I’m not there. You’ve always had one heck of an imagination,” he told her gently. “You didn’t find anything, right?”
“Right. You have to be right. Maybe I just had a bad dream?”
“Had to have been. Hey, I’ll be home late tonight. About three in the morning. So, get plenty of rest for me, okay? In the meantime, keep working on our beautiful home.”
“Tyler? Why didn’t anyone ever try to clean the house up? Did the realtor happen to mention about a young girl dying here? I found an article about it in the desk in the living room.”
“I didn’t see the need to mention anything like that to you,” Tyler said guilty. “The police had said it was caused by natural causes. Her family claimed she had been seeing a monster under her bed. The girl was just nine. Nothing but a young child that couldn’t let her childhood nightmares end. Too much of an imagination, if you ask me. Why you ask?”
“Just this old house is so creepy. And the monster…” Megan’s voice trailed off.
“We’ll have that house looking and feeling so bright when I return!” Tyler reassured her. “We’ll get it painted and everything. How’s the cleaning coming along?”
“Too much, but it’s coming along. I wish we had a maid.”
“Maybe as a birthday gift,” Tyler teased her. “I’ll see you tonight, my dear. Love you. See you soon.” The connection broke on the cell phone, and Tyler was no longer there.
Megan gently set her phone down. With a sigh, she headed for the kitchen to start cleaning some more. Another long day lay before her, one full of exhaustion and who knew what else.
About nine that night, a storm settled in, the trees outside whipping about, branches tapping on the windows, the wind banging loose shutters about. Rain began to pelt down on the old roof and Megan raced around the house, setting out pots and pans wherever leaks occurred. Thunder rumbled in the distance as the storm grew stronger and angrier.
A shower would make her feel better, Megan thought to herself, stripping down out of her clothes and stepping under the hot, but welcoming water. Fifteen minutes later, she stepped out of the shower and began to dry off. Turning to the mirror, preparing to wipe away the water caused by the steam, Megan began to scream.
There, on the mirror, written out for her was: BELIEVE IN MONSTERS?
Dashing out of the bathroom and to the living room where she had left her phone, Megan snatched it up and quickly dialed her husband. To her dismay, the call wouldn’t go through.
The storm, she thought.
Grabbing a butcher knife from the kitchen, Megan quietly headed back upstairs, her breathing labored, as terror took over her.
Monsters aren’t real. Monsters aren’t real.
Slowly, ever so quietly, Megan stepped into her bathroom.
The wording was gone.
“My imagination,” Megan sighed, calming her breathing down. “Wait until Tyler gets home. He’ll be laughing so hard.” Walking over to the bed, Megan laid down, the towel still wrapped around her, the knife still clutched in her hand. “I’m so stupid to let my imagination get the best of me. Monsters!” Megan laughed.
Suddenly, Megan jerked up to a sitting position.
The closet door was open, and she knew she had closed it before getting in the shower.
Shaking, Megan gripped the knife tighter, her breathing starting to become heavy and labored once more. The storm continued to rage outside, bearing no comfort for Megan.
Leaning over just a bit, Megan could faintly make out footprints coming from the closet.
“What…?” Megan whispered, trembling, as she reached behind her to turn on the lamp.
The power was out.
Hot tears began to trickle down her cheeks. “No, no, no. This isn’t real. This isn’t happening.”
A noise from beneath the bed silenced Megan.
Something was there. Down below, waiting for her.
Her body trembling, the knife still clutched tightly in her hand, the knuckles turning white, Megan slowly leaned over the side of the bed, her free hand reaching to draw up the coverlet.
Jerking up the coverlet, Megan came face to face with her monster from earlier.
It reached up and grabbed a screaming Megan, jerking her underneath the bed.
Hours later, Tyler was shaking his head, still not coming to terms that his wife was dead.
He had found her on the floor of their bedroom, a towel beneath her, a knife still clutched in her hand, her eyes glazed over, staring up at the ceiling, and her mouth in a silent scream of horror.
“What happened?” one of the officers asked Tyler, as another handed him a cup of coffee.
“I came home and found her like this,” Tyler told the officer, spilling some of his coffee from trembling so hard.
“Mr. Delaman? Could you come here?” another officer asked him. The officer was standing beside the bed, near the window, looking down at the floor. “Are these your footprints?” The man pointed to a set of muddy footprints leading to the window.
Tyler put his foot next to one; they were obviously not his.
“And would you look at this!” a dark-haired officer exclaimed, pulling up something from beneath the bed.
He was holding up a rubber monster mask.