“I’ll be right there, Peter.” David set his e-reader on the night stand and turned to his wife. “Well, here we go.”
“Do you think we’re doing the right thing, honey?” she asked.
David rolled out of bed, put on a pair of socks to go with his sweatpants, and then grabbed his old Steelers t-shirt from the night stand.
“It’s been going on for over two weeks now, Karen. I just don’t see any other way. Hopefully he falls to sleep quickly and that will be the end of it.”
“You sure that bed’s going to hold the both of you?”
“I hope so,” he laughed.
David walked half way down the hall and entered Peter’s bedroom. Peter had been diligent to clean his entire room and make sure nothing was under his bed or in front of his closet. He had been performing the same routine every night since the monster had first appeared. This way, his dad was always able to conduct a quick search before Peter went to bed. Unfortunately, that hadn’t been enough to prevent the monster from visiting him after his parents had gone to sleep.
“Should we still do the ‘inspection’ before we go to sleep?” David asked.
Peter nodded his head up and done. David proceeded to ensure that the window was locked; then he checked under the bed; and then he finished by opening the closet door and looking behind the hanging clothes.
“All clear.” Peter’s dad announced. “You sure you still need me to sleep in your bed tonight?”
“I do dad. Just this once. I’m sure when the monster sees you he’ll be scared off and then he won’t bother me anymore.”
Both David and Karen were concerned that Peter was exhibiting these fears at such a late age. Peter was nearly eleven years old. Monster inspections, night lights and even leaving the hall light on with Peter’s bedroom door open hadn’t helped. David knew that sleeping in Peter’s bed could potentially make things even worse, but he was willing to try anything.
“So…you think there’s room for me in there?”
“I can scoot over dad. But, can we read a story first before we go to sleep?”
David hadn’t read a bedtime story to Peter since he was eight. Still, he figured it wouldn’t hurt. David had heard that parents should continue reading with their children at a much later age, anyway. After reading Peter’s latest “Amazing Spiderman” comic, both father and son were ready to retire.
“Thanks for sleeping in here tonight, Dad. I love you.”
“I love you too, Peter. Good night.”
David reached over and turned off the lamp on the two-drawer dresser next to the bed. The mattress was uncomfortable, to say the least, but he had enjoyed reading the comic book with Peter, and it seemed to be turning into a good father-son bonding experience. After spending a few minutes in the quiet of his own mind reminiscing about Peter’s earlier childhood, David fell asleep.
David heard the words spoken, but it wasn’t Peter’s voice that had said them. Whoever was talking had a gruff, menacing tone. David quickly opened his eyes, but it was too late. Two large, scaly hands grabbed him by his shoulders and tore him away from Peter’s bed.
“Dad!” Peter cried out having just woken up.
The monster squeezed David so tight that he couldn’t muster a single word. In the moonlight David could see that the beast stood a good seven feet tall, had large, olive green scales covering its entire body, and was nearly as wide as it was tall.
“Let go of my Dad!” Peter shouted.
The monster stared at David with its enormous, yellow eyes.
“You’ll do nicely,” it said with a treacherous, toothy grin.
David felt the monster squeeze even tighter, his ribs and various other bones breaking from the beast’s unfathomable grasp. It then proceeded to thrust David’s entire body into its cavernous mouth.
“No!” Peter jumped out of his bed, grabbed his baseball bat, and started swinging at the abomination.
David lay crumpled inside of the monster’s jaw, his lungs having been punctured and the foul stench of death surrounding him. Unable to breath or even cry out, David simply waited in terror for the inevitable. The beast than began to chew.
“David! Peter! What’s going on?” Karen was now hammering on the bedroom door, having heard her son’s screams, but the monster had been mindful enough to lock it before attacking.
“Nicely done, Peter,” the monster finally spoke after it finished savoring the last few pieces of David that had gotten stuck in between its teeth. “You were a scared a little boy, just as you should have been, and it created the perfect opportunity for me to meet your father.”
Peter stopped swinging the bat, the tears in his eyes ceasing as he took a step back and looked at the beast standing in front of him.
“But…how did you get so big?” Peter whimpered. “You were only my size before.”
“Us Beakwinz have the ability to shrink and grow as we need.”
“Beakwinz?” Peter repeated the word, as though saying it out loud might help him to understand more clearly what he was looking at. Along with its green scales and yellow eyes, the Beakwinz had large spikes protruding from its skull down to its lower back, and its neck was so short that it appeared as though his head and body were one.
“Are you going to eat me too?”
“Maybe, someday,” the monster replied. “But I doubt you’d be foolish enough to sleep in your child’s bed if I were to visit them. And right now you’re only a boy and us Beakwinz certainly don’t eat children; that would be an awful thing to do, don’t you think?”
“But you are awful!” Peter retorted. “You ate my father!”
“Only because I was hungry,” the Beakwinz said in a defensive tone.
Peter stood motionless, staring at the monster in front of him. His sadness over losing his father hadn’t waned, yet his fear was fading. The Beakwinz no longer seemed as terrifying now that it wasn’t trying to scare Peter.
“Where do you come from?” Peter asked, his mother continuing to beat on the door, screaming at him to let her in.
“From the world beyond,” the Beakwinz replied as it began to shrink back down to Peter’s size. “We can only enter the human world through a child’s bedroom closet.”
“Don’t know; don’t care. Those are the ways of the Beakwinz.”
The beast turned around and began walking toward Peter’s closet. “Goodbye Peter,” it said as it disappeared into the darkness.
And then the Beakwinz was gone, just as Peter’s mother kicked the door open and turned on the main bedroom light.
“Peter!” Karen hurried over to her son and wrapped him in her arms. She began scanning the room, looking for her husband. “Where’s your father?”
“He’s gone, mommy.” Peter responded, the shock from the night’s events having left him numb.
“What are you talking about?” Karen looked around the room once more and then turned her focus back to Peter.
“Peter! I asked you a question!” Karen shook him slightly, trying to jar him from his trance. “Where is your father?”
“The Beakwinz,” Peter whispered. “The Beakwinz got him.”
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