Tonight is the Night
I play a little game with myself when I’m bored and it’s almost time for bed. Since I was a child, I’ve always had an active imagination. Naturally this led to me becoming a voracious reader and eventually a lover of film, especially horror movies. Although most of them don’t scare me, I have always had a special place in my heart for “monster under the bed” stories. The idea that there’s something malevolent directly beneath you as you’re trying to sleep, waiting until that dream world takes you so that it can creep out and do what monsters do is just terrifying to me.
But I like being scared. In this world full of glaring spotlights which illuminate all of the mysteries of life until they are no longer interesting, that space between the floor and the bottom of your mattress represents the last holdout of things which go bump in the night. Because it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve checked under there before – tonight could be the night that some lunatic broke into your house and decided to hide in your room so he could sneak out and stab you in the chest while you sleep. Or the night that quantum fluctuations led to an interuniversal portal opening beneath your bed, letting in some freakish monster which decides to eat first and ask questions later. Tonight could be the night, after all.
So I play this game with myself. I turn off all the lights and lay there, quite still and calm. If I don’t fall asleep within 5 or 10 minutes, I decide to see if I have the stones to give myself a fright. I’ll flip over onto my stomach and hang my feet over the edge of the bed, or I’ll drape an arm down off the side so that my fingertips just graze the floor. In my mind, I imagine some frightful entity seeing my tender flesh hanging from the safety of my mattress, drooling at the mouth and waiting for just the right moment to strike.
I’ll hold that pose as long as I dare, sometimes even wiggling my limb to entice whatever might be lurking. Of course, nothing ever happens, and after I’ve gotten my adrenaline rush, it’s always a lot easier for me to get to sleep for some strange reason.
But tonight, I am now curled up in my bed with the covers wrapped around me and my head buried deep beneath them. Tonight, I’m shaking with fear and nearly crying in panic. Tonight, I held my foot over the edge of the bed and wiggled it, and just before I pulled it back, I felt an icy finger drag itself up my heel and onto my ankle, and I heard something exhale sharply in excitement.