(This story is presented as-is. It's still a draft of a work-in-progress and might have an error or two)
"Are you scared, Lisa?" I lay on my left side, huddled under the covers nearly up to my eyes as lightning lit up our bedroom, giving me a good view of Lisa's back and long, brown hair. She wore a simple, white nightgown which nearly glowed when the lightning struck.
Our house had another bedroom, but Lisa and I had always been close so we shared everything, always. Lisa was three years older, but she had always treated me like her equal. In fact, she loved to tell me about how, when I was just a few months old, she pushed me around in a stroller wherever we went.
A three-year old, probably smaller than the stroller she pushed! It was one of those heavy-duty rigs with the oversized rear wheels that you could probably go off-roading in. Mom and Dad told me it was designed to support up to two-hundred pounds—you know, for the hip dad who liked to ride on the back like a shopping cart. They both said I really enjoyed riding in it but, looking back at it, it seems like overkill.
"No, Abby," she whispered, her back to me. "Are you?"
"Of course not."
Thunder blasted overhead, rattling the windows and shaking the picture hanging above my head—a photo of me three years ago in 4th grade, holding a trophy I won in the school spelling bee. I hadn't originally wanted to compete but everyone kept messing up the simplest of words and I felt I should at least pass a couple of rounds to show them up. Before I knew what was happening, I won.
Since then, I threw every other spelling bee, preferring to duck out. The pressure was ridiculous and the parents—sometimes the parents behaved as if it were a life and death situation. Anyway, there were no spelling bees in seventh grade so, problem solved.
A second blast of thunder nearly made me jump out of my skin. "Maybe a little bit scared," I admitted.
"It's okay to be scared, Abby. We're all scared of something, and I don't think we ever grow out of it. I bet Mom and Dad are scared of stuff."
Another several flashes of lightning in succession. I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the inevitable thunder, gripping my covers.
"You mean, like, Mom and Dad are scared of monsters under the bed or ghosts?"
"Probably not," Lisa laughed. "Mom and Dad are more afraid of things like taxes and unemployment—boring thing adults worry about and try to hide from us kids."
A torrent hit the roof and splattered against the window, making eerie clicking sounds—as if a creature were gently tapping on the glass. I looked up to see the curtains were closed and breathed a sigh of relief. But the curtains were thin and did nothing to block out the lightning.
If there were a monster outside, could it see in?
"Do you..." I hesitated. It was a silly question to ask, but my mind tended toward the fantastic. "Do you think there's, you know, a monster under the bed?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Are the other kids at school filling your mind with nonsense?" Lisa shifted a little and adjusted the blanket around her as another bolt of lightning lit up the room.
"No," I mumbled.
My imagination always got the best of me. When I was younger, Lisa and I would make up fantastic tales and act them out with dolls and action figures. I always played the monsters—dinosaurs, vampires, werewolves and the like. On more than one occasion, Lisa would shake her head and tell me I was weird.