My name is Dani. I’m 10 years old and there’s a monster living in my closet. The first time I noticed it was the day after I turned 10. It was the afternoon and mom had just served me my lunch. It was peanut butter and strawberry jelly with the crusts cut off. That’s how I like my sandwiches. And she served me chocolate milk too.
“So how do you feel about being ten?” asked mom.
“I feel older, and important,” I answered.
“You’re always important to me, sweetie.”
Mom usually kissed my forehead, asked if I needed anything else, and then left after she gave me my lunch, but this time she kind of stuck around.
“Am I always important to dad too?”
Mom cleared her throat. “Yes, sweetheart. You’ll always be important to him.”
Mom looked nervous, and she was sweating. Her face looked like it was filled with tiny diamonds shining in the sunlight that came through my window. I didn’t know then that she was scared, really scared. She cleared her throat again, wiped her face, and left.
She seemed in a hurry to leave. A moment later, dad came into my room.
“How’s my big girl?” he asked, opening the door.
“I’m okay, dad!” Dad was supposed to be at work, but he was home now. I ran to him and jumped into his arms. He kissed my forehead and put me down on my bed.
“Is mom okay?” he asked, sitting down on the floor next to the puzzle I was working on. “Mommy seemed… nervous I guess. Any idea why?”
“Nope. She seemed okay, but when I asked if I would always be important to you even though I’m getting older, she seemed, I dunno. Scared, maybe?”
Dad kissed my cheek and hugged me. “Sweetheart, I love you as much as Mom and vice versa.”
Dad left, and I got off the bed so I could go to my closet. That’s when something bumped inside of it.
I stopped and listened, watching the closet door. Nothing happened for a couple of moments so I went to open the door. I was about to open it when a voice said, “Your father hates you.”
I ran back to the bed and quickly pushed it against the closet. I didn’t know what it was, but it sounded like a can opener, like it was maybe running out of power. It didn’t sound friendly at all, and it was in my closet.
“Daddy hates you because you took mommy away from him. And he hates mommy for making him marry her. He hates you more though.” And then the door shook. It pushed against the bed, and the bed moved against me.
I don’t remember running from my room to downstairs, but I did. Dad was the one stopped me. He had heard the bed move and was on his way up to see what was wrong.
“What’s wrong, honey? What’s the matter?”
He bent down and brushed my hair away, and I felt that I was sweating. It had grown hot and now I wanted to run away but was too scared to move.
“In the closet,” I said. “There’s a monster in my closet.”
I thought Dad would laugh, but he didn’t.
He looked at me so seriously. “Baby? Are you that scared?”
I tried not to cry, but I felt tears leaking from my eyes. “There really is something up there. It said you hated me because I took Mom from you.”
Dad growled. It was an ugly noise. I’d never heard anything like that before from Dad.
“I’ve heard enough.” Dad went upstairs, angrier than I had ever seen him. “Honey, call the police!”
He stopped in front of the closet, breathing hard. His hands were in fists as he looked at the door.
“Daddy, please,” I said, trying not to cry even more. I couldn’t help it. I cried harder. “Please, Daddy. Please don’t open it.”
“I want him to open it,” said the voice.
Daddy opened the closet, and nothing happened. “Come out,” he screamed. “I don’t know why you’re doing this. Why-”
He had moved to my bed and was going to reach under it when there was a flash of metal from under the bed that made him scream and fall.
“What the fuck,” cried Daddy. He was lying on the floor clutching his bleeding ankle, and crying. “What the fucking hell-”
He didn’t get to finish his cry. A girl, a little older than me maybe, crawled from under the bed, punched me in the nose and, sat on top of my father. She was dressed in a black t-shirt that said ‘Sanity is a Full-time Job’, and her hair was blonde and dirty. It hung in front of her face, making it hard to see her features. What scared me the most though wasn’t the big black knife in her hand or what her shirt said. What scared me the most was that she was in my house wearing only that shirt and a pair of black panties, no pants, shoes or socks. And the way she was smiling.
“Die,” she said, stabbing daddy in the throat and then the face. The knife broke in Daddy’s eye. That made the girl laugh. I screamed, and she hit me again.
“Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up,” she whispered to me, dragging me to Daddy. She pushed me down beside him. I tried to fight her, but she was stronger than me. She made me lay in Daddy’s blood. It was sticky and still warm. I looked at my Daddy’s eyes. I didn’t know what to say except that I wanted my Mommy.
“Oh, I totally forgot about her. Here you go,” said the little monster of a girl. “You need to be comforted.” She giggled and dropped mom’s head beside me. I tried to scream, but couldn’t.
“Well, Mom’s calling me for diner. Time to go home,” said the monster of a girl, with a wave. I watched her go to the closet, then she turned to wink at me, and close the door behind her.