The Monsters Aren’t Under The Bed

Face promptHe’s gone now.  But he’ll be back.

There’s an odour under here which reminds me of something; of somewhere I’ve been, but I can’t recall precisely.  It’s a holiday smell – like a floral scent in a cleaning solution or sun-cream – something like that anyway.  And I can’t make sure by breathing in more deeply because I’m scared it might make me sneeze.

Then he’ll know I’m here.

My back’s beginning to ache.  I know I need to move, to alleviate the pressure on the side of my body I’m lying on, but I daren’t; I don’t know for sure that he actually left the flat, or just went downstairs. And I’d rather have back pain than risk revealing myself.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been under here.  I know I was getting hungry and thinking about lunch when I heard the back door crash open.  The force slammed into the picture behind it and splintered the glass; there was a crunching sound.  I knew it’d happen one of these days.  I don’t know why I didn’t just take it down and put it somewhere else before now.  But I’m not going to blame myself for being stupid and not doing that – for not saving the image of a happy holiday.  Because blaming myself doesn’t help; it does the opposite; it makes me stay the victim.

My hand reaches around to the reassuring handle of the suitcase which is behind me, concealing me from any brief glances under the bed.  He doesn’t know it, but beneath all the usual baggy jumpers and joggers I’ve been wearing for the past few months, I’ve managed to lose enough weight to fit  right up against the wall and still have room to pull the suitcase in front to conceal me.

And – unlike me – this case has put on weight. But he won’t have found clothes missing from my side of the wardrobe because I’ve been stashing charity finds for months inside my friend under the bed.  This big black thing we take on holiday twice a year has become my hero, my saviour.  Yes, my friend.

Through the open window in the bedroom I  hear the familiar sound of a car engine being revved angrily, then the crunch of gravel spitting out from beneath the wheels as he races off.  I know he’s going to the office to see if I’m having lunch there. I feel sorry for the receptionist who’s going to have to tell him I don’t work there anymore; that today is the first Monday I won’t have turned up to do a job I’ve never liked to pay for half the rent on a flat I started hating the minute I first saw my own blood spatter onto the freshly-painted pale blue walls.

I push with my back, and my friend the suitcase slides out, waiting patiently as I emerge into the bright light of our new life together.

Written in response to the prompt 18th May 2017


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