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Under the Bed
Olivia woke in the middle of the night.
The stars twinkled peacefully in the dark sky and she was wrapped up like a burrito in her blankets, sleepy and warm. She wondered why she had woken up.
She heard a rustle under her bed.
A monster, she thought at once, and sat up. Her light blue eyes flashed in the starlight as she peeked over the edge of her bed. The carpet was strewn with toys. Olivia leaned further, trying to see under the bed. She couldn’t see anything but darkness.
Just as she was curling up again and telling herself that she had just imagined the rustle, there was another one, followed by a tiny thump. The little hairs on her arms prickled. “Is there a monster under there?” she whispered, after summoning all her courage.
There was an unmistakable giggle.
Monster, she thought again, her heart thumping against her ribs. Was the monster going to crawl up onto the bed, snarling, and eat her? And then... what if it slithered into her brother’s room, and ate him too? And—
Wait... her brother? A memory swam up to the surface of Olivia’s mind. Just a few months ago, Noah had hidden under her bed, hadn’t he? He had. He’d rustled and giggled and made Olivia run screaming to their parents’ room.
Exactly, she scoffed to herself. He was doing it again. Stupid Noah—did he really think that trick would work a second time?
She slid out of her bed and got her flashlight off the dresser. She knelt down to shine it under the bed. “I got you, Noah!” Olivia crowed happily. “You’re not making me run to Mother and Daddy this time!”
The monster blinked and recoiled in the sudden burst of light.
“Oh, hello,” it said, looking amused.