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Charlie Versus The Closet Dweller This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Take that! And that! Back, you evil fiend!" Charlie had seen through the disgusting mush-monster's disguise. What may have looked like the average plate of potatoes to most was now trying to consume Charlie's steak like a hungry amoeba! Charlie began to imagine dreadful scenarios should this mush-monster succeed. First, it would take his steak, then his vegetables. His entire plate would eventually be in jeopardy! The monster would grow larger and larger. It would consume his house, then the city. The whole world would be in danger!

Charlie, however, could not allow this to happen. He quickly grabbed his knife and fork and was slowly driving back the mush-monster.

"Aha!" Charlie cried victoriously. "I've got you cornered! Now for the finish." Charlie took his knife and fork and cut the monster into tiny little pieces. He then proceeded to wrap each piece individually in a separate napkin and spread them across the table.

"Charlie! What are you doing? Don't play with your food!"

"But, Dad! The mush-monster was about to take over the world! I saved your life. You should be grateful."

"Don't talk to me like that, young man! Go to your room!" Charlie's dad yelled angrily as he tried to gather up all of the soggy napkins spread over the table.

As Charlie slowly made his way to his room, he tried to think of who could be responsible for the sudden attack of the mush-monster. There was only one villain evil enough to follow through with such a dreadful scheme. It must have been ... The Closet Dweller!

Charlie realized that it was up to him to put an end to the creature's plans. No one was aware what was going on. No, he would have to handle this one himself.

Charlie went to his room and sat on the bed. What he needed was a good plan. He thought quickly, for he knew that once the sun went down, the Closet Dweller would be ten times more powerful.

"I've got it!" Charlie hollered out loud. He quickly ran to his bookshelf where he found the set of classics his grandmother had sent him for his seventh birthday. He never thought he would use them, until now.

Charlie reached down and picked up the two biggest books that he could find, Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities. He searched the room for a roll of duct tape. Charlie sat down and taped one book over his chest and the other over his back. The result was a nifty suit of armor in which he would be able to do battle. Charlie also discovered that his Mickey Mouse lamp shade would work nicely as a helmet, once eye holes were made with a pair of scissors. Equipped with his Fisher Price sword, his body armor, and helmet, Charlie was prepared for battle. His knees began to shake as he crept to the closet and peered inside. Boy, was it dark.

"C'mon, Charlie, do it!" He urged himself as he slowly tiptoed into the closet.

Slam! Charlie jumped several inches into the air as the door unexpectedly shut behind him. As he regained his senses, Charlie again turned to the far end of the closet. Two narrow slits began to open, exposing a pair of glowing red eyes.

"Unhhhhh," Charlie gasped. Once his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, he could make out the body of the Closet Dweller. It was huge, standing around five feet tall. Its arms seemed to hang to its knees and were lined with lean muscle.

"This is gonna be tough," Charlie said to himself as he tried to muster all his strength.

"Aaaarrggh!" Charlie screamed as he charged. His head was lowered and his sword was in front of him.

Smack! Charlie suddenly found himself on the ground with a broken sword in his hand and a welt over his eye. This monster was stronger than he imagined. It seemed huge, like a giant, as it loomed over him in the darkness. Charlie, however, was quick and agile. He sprung up and ran right under the monster's legs.

"You'll never escape me, boy!" The Closet Dweller growled as he pointed a long, grotesque finger in Charlie's direction.

Unnerving as it was, Charlie ignored his fright.

I need a plan, fast! Charlie thought as he realized he was defenseless. The sun was almost down, and the Closet Dweller was gaining strength.

"There!" Across the room, directly behind the monster, was Charlie's own Spider-man flashlight! He suddenly remembered an old wive's tale, told by his grandfather. It was about a young boy named Bobby who defeated the Monster Under the Bed by shining a bright light into its eyes. It was worth a shot. If only he could get around the evil beast ...

"A box!" Charlie looked down and found an empty cardboard box at his feet. He quickly grabbed it and yelled to the monster, "Hey, Closet Dweller! You're nowhere near as scary as the monster in my old house!" That really made the monster mad.

"I'll get you, boy!" The Closet Dweller screamed as it charged at him. Just before getting plowed over, Charlie slammed the box down on its head and dodged to the other side of the room.

"Okay, Spidey!! Time to save the world! I hope your batteries aren't dead!" Charlie said as he picked up the flashlight and shined the bright beam into the corner.

"My eyes! You've blinded me!" The Closet Monster screamed. As soon as it got the box off its head, Charlie's flashlight beam caught it right smack in the eyes.

Charlie put the beam on bright, and continued to focus the light on the narrow red slits until the monster began to melt away into an oozing puddle on the closet floor.

"I'll get you for this, boy!" The Closet Dweller threatened, as the last of its body melted into an unidentifiable mess that soon disappeared entirely.

Charlie was stunned. Single-handedly he had defeated one of the most feared monsters of all time and saved the world in the process. He would be a great hero and remembered by all ... if only anyone would believe such a tale. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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