"Can you look again?" Garrett tucked his blankets under his nose, blue eyes wide. His father sighed, feeling the drag of another eighteen hour day.
"Buddy I checked your closet twice already. No monsters."
"Under the bed?"
"Garrett, Daddy needs to go to bed. He's had a long day and so have you. You have school in the morning."
The boy's lips pulled into a pout. "You're absolutely, positively sure there are no monsters?"
His father smiled, ruffling his son's tangled curls. "Yes, now go to bed."
The door closed. His father's footsteps receded down the hall.
The dark corners of the room stirred. It separated from the shadows of the open closet, a creature of teeth and claw, saliva dripping from massive jaws. As it approached the bed, claws clicking on the hardwood floor, another creature slithered out from beneath, curling its sleek body up the bedframe. Both paused before the boy, twelve eyes between them, meeting him stare for stare.
"Fine you win," he grinned, revealing two missing front teeth. "Wanna play Chinese checkers?"
The closet monster raised its scaly arm. "I'm red this time."