Monsters Under the Bed

He wasn’t there anymore.

He wasn’t in that monochrome room with a portly woman interrogating him and he certainly wasn’t in that god-awful facility he had reluctantly called home a little under six months ago. He was still in a room but not a room that reeked of despair and dejection; it was a room seeped in the various scents of delicious food and was gently lit with golden lights. The people surrounding him weren’t nurses or doctors afraid to take their eyes off of him rather, they were beloved friends; one of them literally squeezing the awful memory out of his mind.

“I’m so proud of you Demetri, you deserve it!” The over-enthusiastic Audrey squealed and continued to squeeze him.

“Aud, give Demetri some breathing room!” Vincent laughed and high-fived his friend as Audrey pulled away.

“I can’t help it! I think it’s amazing how even though you fell into such a deep pit you still managed not only to climb out but also make it into the top 10 of our class!” Audrey went on as Demetri took one last spoonful of ice cream and Vincent paid their waiter. “It’s like what happened to Robert Downey Jr!”

“The only different is that my comeback wasn’t in the form of a summer blockbuster.” Demetri chucked as they walked back to Vincent’s car.

“You still made one hell of a recovery.” Vincent grinned and eyed Demetri’s certificate, framed with gold. “I didn’t suffer from depression or a drug addiction and I didn’t make it into the top 10! I’m just kidding, you really earned it.”

Upon receiving it only a couple hours ago, Demetri didn’t think he deserved it. There were plenty of other smart kids in his grade that deserved a spot in the top 10 who had a spotless record. After the storm of compliments had passed he had decided that maybe he did deserve this. After all, he DID recover from a nasty drug addictions/depression combination and forced his near-demolished academic record back into place.

His mishap had also awarded him with scars but Demetri wore them like medals of bravery given to a solider; that’s what he was after all, a solider that had taken down the enemy.

“You still aiming for high honors to top off high school with a giant cherry?” Audrey poked her head in between the two front seats, her dark brown hair freed from its elegant updo.

Demetri shrugged. “I’ll let fate take the reins; I don’t care what happens as long as this year doesn’t happen again.”

Audrey put a hand on his shoulder. “Even if it does, Vince and I are always here.”

Demetri smiled at both of them as Vincent pulled into his driveway. “I honestly couldn’t have gotten this without you two; you guys are the best.”

“No problem, that’s what friends are for. So…I’ll see you in pre-calc tomorrow?” Vincent handed Demetri his award as he climbed out of the car.

“I’d BETTER see you!” Demetri laughed. “Bye Aud, bye Vince.” He gave Audrey and Vincent a quick hug and threw the two a wave as he let himself into his house.

The house was empty, as he expected. His mom had to work the late shift at the hospital again so he wouldn’t see her until at least 11:00 and his dad was still in England with his company. Demetri didn’t mind the emptiness as it was quickly filled with the zeal pouring out of him. Six months ago, the only place he could see himself in was the psych ward of that despicable institution he was thrown into. He had proved himself wrong and even his teachers, who shared that same belief. A few other people were also proved wrong…

Demetri threw his tuxedo jacket onto his bed and kicked off his shoes upon entering his room. With care, he placed the shiny award on his desk and smiled to himself before he reached under the bed and pulled out a heavy case secured with a thick lock. He twisted it a few times and the lid burst open on its own. A storm of growls and hisses followed and Demetri swore that the box nearly threw itself from his hands.

He gently lifted a cage from the box and he was facing his demons again. Their claws, once sharp, had grown dull and cracked and they seemed powerless and lethargic compared to when he last saw them when he got out of rehab. The depraved glow in their eyes was still there but they didn’t frighten him at all anymore.

“Hi, long time no see.” He smirked at the creatures and they went haywire, hissing and clawing at the bars of the cage. Six months ago, they could have broken the bars as if they were mere twigs but now the task was nearly impossible.

“See that?” He pointed towards the award on his desk and it mocked the malevolent demons with Demetri. “I won that. I won that because I got rid of you guys.”

One of the monsters, this on in particular crosshatched with slashes, roared at him but failed and came out more of a pathetic mewl. Another one, colored a deep black, jumped onto the bars and shook them furiously. It quickly lost its grip and fell into a slimy, tar-like heap onto another one of the little beasts. Demetri laughed a little more.

“I got rid of you guys and you don’t scare me anymore.” Demetri told them firmly. “And you’ll never scare me again, as long you stay where you are, in my memories.” With that, he clamped the case shut.

Demetri never opened it again.

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