Bewildering Stories

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Confronting Closet Creatures

by Henry P. Gravelle

You cannot deny their existence, nor can you ignore the fact that beady-red-eyes belonging to little soulless, curious, inquisitive and possibly frightened beings, peer at your inert sleeping form nightly. After all, you are within their realm…the bedroom. It is here they dwell, it is here they multiply, and here they continue the time-honored custom of waiting until you are comfortably tucked under your sheets before scaring the be-Jesus out of you.

They are sensitive creatures, but emotionally unable to reach a level of satisfaction realizing their deeds have caused considerable fright to their human host. There is no end to the scare. It continues until unconsciousness takes you away to dreamland, or you remain shaking under the sheets watching with red-rimmed exhausted eyes as dawn erases shadows from throughout the room.

I am speaking of the monsters, ogres and beast that sneak about in the cover of night. Silently moving between dark corners and silhouetted hiding spots, their purpose simply to witness your reaction to the fear that has filled your eyes because you realize something is in the room with you. Which brings me to a few areas I wish to mention not only for the creature connoisseur but important information for the un-initiated, the rookie, those who have not yet experienced confronting the creature's in the closet, or under the bed, but hopefully preparing you for the moment.

Briefly, let me discuss whom, or should I say, what we are talking about because there are many types. The English language, according to Webster, lists numerous beasts, ogres, trolls, monsters and witches, but for simple classification we shall corral all the titles into one, the usual nomenclature…creature. So what is the creature doing in your bedroom?

First. Not all bedrooms contain creatures. It depends on the human host's section of brain that triggers the imagination mode. This function may be activated by a simple sound. Example: You have put yourself to bed, relaxed your muscles, smiled at your comfort and allowed the brain to assign a skeleton crew to keep bodily functions like lungs and heart working without supervision. Then, sometime during the evening, a slight tremor from an unknown source taps at the eardrum. This signal is sent immediately to the decipher room in the brain where the sound is analyzed and categorized into one of three groups: Dream, non-threatening or danger, this 'sorting of the sound' is where the type of human comes into play.

The least effected by this 'sound sorting' is the alcohol or drugged individual whose eardrum will not send the sound to the control room for analysis because all or nearly all functions have been closed or shut down. Skeleton crew's have been knocked unconscious by the misuse of a substance, leaving the power plant, known as their brain, empty like a factory with machines running and everyone at lunch. They will not be bothered by their fears of unknown sounds. They have more to worry about than creatures. They have Demon's, which is another story all together.

Most likely to suffer the sleep depredation from creatures are young minds and those who possess them. From early human development through old age, a childlike imagination remains active in many, albeit, it will decrease measurably with time, but it is still active. A childlike imagination is open to all spectrums of the fantasy rainbow. Sounds, lights, visions will turn a peaceful reality into a nightmarish hell releasing a simple emotion…fear. And it is that fear those pesky creatures thrive on, it is that human emotion that they yearn to bring out through your eyes and quivering body under the sheets to sustain them and place a stamp of approval on their existence. Fear is creature food.

Okay, I have taken you through who is, and who is not vulnerable showing in conclusion there are two types of humans susceptible to their own emotional fear, those with a working brain and those without. Now you might ask; if fear is fodder to attract creatures into my bedroom how do I deal with it? Good question, I am glad to see you are paying attention.

There are three, and only three ways, to remove, or end the fright from your bedroom. Number one is to fall asleep. There is no instructive guidance for this, you either do or do not. Maybe through medical assistance you could knock out your brains skeleton crew and bypass the sound analyzer thereby becoming unconscious, but will you do this nightly, taking the chance of joining the ranks of those without a functioning brain?

Second, is to remain wide-eyed leering into the darkness, watching the entire room at once for any un-authorized movement while you hold tightly the sheet to your chin, protecting your prone body from the intruder you heard and know is… somewhere. My question here is, "What level of protection would you receive from a sheet?"

If you are contemplating a move to another bedroom or the living-room sofa, forget it, creatures move as well. Once that fear is released, you are locked on. You will remain in this condition until dawn brings its light, unless you can accomplish the aforementioned number one solution. This brings us to the third method and the most tried but unsuccessful of the remedies - Look a creature in the eye. Here is how it works and the best way to accomplish it.

You are asleep when your sound analyzer triggers your danger alarm…wake up! This is the tricky and most difficult part because you are schooled to open your eyes and glance quickly about the area. DO NOT! I repeat, do not open your eyes. Remain absolutely still. Waken your brain with your eyes shut, bring back the day shift and toss out the skeleton crew. If your senses are registering a danger signal, they are probably correct and the creatures have come for their fear feeding.

At this point, if you can ignore the bells and buzzers going off in your mind, do so and fall back to sleep, if you can. That will deny them a feast, for tonight, or if you'd like to sit up and wait for sunrise, that's like a Bobby Brown hit - 'My Prerogative' However, if you are crafty as they, and want to show them there is no fear available - do as I instruct.

Without moving a muscle, your mind will receive a report from your nervous system concerning the status of the epidermis layer of your skin, or simply - is anything touching you? More than likely the answer is no. Creatures will not generally touch, per say. They will brush closely to your face, hair or especially the feet with their claw, paw or cloven hoof, but it is rare there will be actual contact.

Having searched for that sensation, now try (without moving!) to feel any depressions upon the blanket or mattress, close to your form. Smaller creatures enjoy a game called "Omlig." They individually show their skill and tenacity by snuggling as close as possible to the sleeping human. The bravest at Omlig have been known to slip under the sheets for a period of time, while others have actually replaced the pillow with their own furry body under the snoring head of the human host.

Larger creatures will sit at the foot of the bed, alongside or stand bent over you, placing their snouts with dank breath, inches from your face. These are the most likely creatures to capture with a stare because they move slower.

If you have felt nothing touching you and found no depressions around your form, and are sure your head is on a pillowcase, not wiry stubble, then it may be safe to assume the danger signal has been initiated from a source not at the bed itself. You must remain still in order to place the creature into a false sense of safety, believing you are asleep.

Now very slowly, open both or one eye to a mere squint, just enough so you can search the area that is available to your present view. If you find that you are on your side and fear the sound may have originated from behind, try this procedure; Keep your eyes closed and mumble something while rolling to a position you feel will provide a better view. The creatures will think you are merely changing position, dreaming and fast asleep. Now proceed to squint again.

Move your eyes slowly, allowing them to adjust to the darkness and scan the room two or three times. Identify objects, and be wary of shapes out of place that do not register as being part of the room's inventory. If you see something that arouses suspicion, hone in on it and wait. You are more than likely correct that the shape does not belong in the room.

Within a short time, two dim, red glows will emerge from the dark shape you have found. This is the creature watching you. Remember its position and quickly continue to scan the room, you will likely find another pair of tiny, hellish pupils gazing in your direction. Focus on one set of eyes for you cannot attempt to capture more than one at a time.

Now, the time has come - as fast as you can fully open your eyes and sit straight up without removing your eyes from the creatures. It will not move as long as you have eye contact with it. The others, however, will be long gone.

As you both stare at each other, this Mexican standoff must come to a conclusion. You will have to remove yourself from under the comfort of your covers and find the light switch. If you can accomplish this without removing your sight from the creature or blinking even once, then when the light snaps on, you will find your creature defeated and humbled. It will leave your bedroom, your house, in shame… for good.

Having been stared down by a human is humiliating. The creature is shunned and will loose its self esteem. Destroyed is its eagerness to resume feeding, and the creature must move on to another location before it may find fear to feed from again.

In the new host's bedroom the creature will be smarter, more alert to possible situations were it may be once again 'found.' It will secure a darker, deeper corner to hide in or blacker shadows to blend with.

What do you do now? First, congratulate yourself because you have cleared one creature from your room, and have scared off the rest for the remainder of this night at least, so you might as well fall asleep. Tomorrow night, repeat the above mentioned tactics and soon you will have a fear free bedroom.

My purpose for giving you this information is that I believe with this knowledge you will search nightly for the eyes, faces and body's that watch you sleep, waiting for you to feel the fear, so they may feed. However, with this knowledge, you will be more alert, confident that when an alarm is triggered you will know what to do, although, as is human behavior, you will become extremely frightened from the thought of what you now know. My plan is simple. By your nature, this knowledge will eventually turn into fear…food.

I have accomplished my goal of providing information to you, and just in time, for dawn breaks. I must return…to the safety of my hiding spot…within your closet.

Good night.

NB: Mr Gravelle says that when he isn't haunting closets: "I have published two books, The Banshee and The Fort Providence Watch. I have also sold a story to 'Hadrosaur Tales' which will be published in August 2003."

Copyright © 2002 by Henry P. Gravelle