Mr. Hardy left a pile of paperwork to be done once Nathan walked in. With a sigh and coffee in hand, the tired worker began his routine. Dreading every moment of painstakingly looking after Hardy’s writing. Correcting spelling and grammar errors. Nathan had a knack for correcting spelling but doing it for someone else other than one of Paul’s poems he often put online, made him want to faint of nervousness.
Always worrying about failing. Always worried about causing a commotion. He took a deep breath and rubbed his eyes. I can do this. He repeated softly. It’s only grammar. His heart raced. A lump formed in his throat. Should he get up and leave or sit and take it? He leaned back in his chair, his cubical becoming blurry, he loosened his black tie and unbuttoned the top of his blue dress shirt. The sound of footsteps approaching made him more nervous. Luckily, it was Paul. He eyed his friend worriedly. “Hon? You okay?” Nathan went wide eyed for a moment. “Oh! Paul. Yeah, just fine” he lied. Paul softly approached him, his brown hair styled nicely as always. “You don’t look good.” Observed Paul. “Really?” Nathan asked in fake confusion. “Why don’t you get a drink and take a walk? I’ll watch your stuff.” He nodded softly and left. Paul sighed, debating on whether to follow him or not. He decided against it and sat. Worried about his friend. Leaning up against a wall, he took deep breaths. This was not the first time these feelings had come up. Not by a long shot. This felt like the tenth or fifteenth time at least. Soon it’ll be over. Then what? Then back to his boring house. Why was life either high stress or boredom? It didn’t seem right.
Moving the blankets over, Nathan sat up again. Feeling a cold shiver run up his spine. This time, he knew someone, or something was in his room. He looked to one side, near a burrow. He swore he saw a tall figure. Lurking. The shadow hard to make out, the young man spoke into the darkness. “H-hey!” Of course, after he said this he expected to turn a light on and realize it was a lamp or a jacket hanging from a chair. He didn’t expect to hear the deep tone of another “Hey”. He rolled out of bed, he yelled loudly as he backed himself into a corner. He shivered, his palms sweating. His entire body shaking. Dizziness struck him next. The figure walked over to him, his mannerisms so odd. Nathan turned on his bedside lamp, expecting to wake up from this vivid nightmare.
The light shined on him, a very tall reptile humanoid. Dark green skin, a tuft of black hair on his head. His nose pointed, his tail quite sharp looking, so were his tiny pointed teeth when he spoke. The creature smiled at him. “I got you good, boy.” Nathan stood up and attempted to shove the creature away in-between tears of pure terror. Shoving him back, the creature giggled. “I’ll be back little man. Sadly, for you, this is my job.” He slithered under the bed like some large snake. With a scream, Nathan looked under the bed, but nothing was there. He began to knock items over, ripping the blankets off, seeing if he could find the creature. Running to the bathroom, he ran his hands under the sink and splashed his face. “Pull yourself together! There’s NO such thing as monsters.”
Spilling coffee on the floor, Nathan cussed quietly and grabbed napkins. Paul quickly helped him as he always seemed to appear out of nowhere. He looked at Nathan and saw dark circles under his eyes. “Nathan? Did you sleep at all?” He shrugged. “No. Never do really.” With a sigh, Paul held his hand. “I know you hate this job, and I know you live alone. I want you to call me if you’re feeling unhappy. Really. I can’t stress it enough. I can even bring you food!” Nathan smiled softly at his friend’s offer. “Maybe sometime. Thanks, pal.”
After being called into Mr. Hardy’s office, Nathan sat nervously. Going through his head, thinking if he had done anything wrong. The boss is slender, has a hairstyle that would be a throwback to the 1950s. He wore a grey suit as he sat across from him. On his desk, a picture of his family. “Nathan, I wanted to tell you what you did wrong with your paperwork.” Of course. It was always what he did wrong. Never did he seem to do anything well. It was always whiny criticism. “I noticed that you missed a few periods and you didn’t use the right size font. I’m going to ask you to do it again.” Just like that, he tossed out the challenging work he had done. Truth be told, he did as best as he could. “Sir, I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time. I promise.” Hardy nodded and smiled. “It’s a waste of time to do all that and do everything wrong.” Nathan had all he could do not to tip a chair over or kick the desk in front of him. Nathan left without a single word, heading back to his cubical. He took deep breaths and tapped a nearby pen on the desk, trying to get his mind off Hardy’s tone and annoying little nitpicks. He closed his eyes, repeating…the day’s almost over. The day’s almost over. He had no idea what waited for him at home.
Stepping into his kitchen, he yelped loudly as the very creature from last night was raiding his refrigerator. The creature at full height is about seven feet, dark green scaly skin and a pointed snout much like a Komodo dragon. His eyes yellow and kind of pretty in a mysterious way. Nathan gently backed against the wall. Gazing on something he had never seen. It spoke. “You weren’t supposed to see me.” His voice so odd and otherworldly. Nathan sat in a corner but didn’t seem as terrified as before. “What are you?” Nathan said a bit loudly, the creature dropped what he had in his hand, a box of cereal. “The monster living under your bed.” He states rather plainly. “Those don’t exist! You must be some weird undiscovered creature living in my house.” “I’ve been under your bed for quite some time.” In a sort of rush of flashbacks, he remembered complaining to his parents when he was quite young about a haunting presence in his bedroom. Like all parents, they told him monsters don’t exist. Here one was, plain as day standing in his living room. “I don’t believe you, but whatever the case, can’t you leave me alone? You’ve scared the shit out of me.” The creature eyed him softly. “I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that. You see, when a monster picks a quote ‘victim’ they live in their home until the day we die. We are born to scare. It’s in our nature. We never leave your side. Typically, of course, no human sees us, and they shrug us off thinking we were just a phase in childhood. You are the first human to communicate with any monster under the bed.” Nathan stood up and took a deep breath. Calling the police was out of the question, what if bullets didn’t hurt it? What if the creature himself killed the officers? “Did you pick me on purpose to scare?” The creature picked the box of cereal up and munched once he got a handful. “In a sense. We are born in caverns hidden from society. Our masters teach us how to scare others in unique ways and then we are sent to houses. Most kids are easy to scare, but some aren’t. It’s all luck of the draw.” Nathan rolls his eyes, he truly hated having a monster living with him. Especially one that tormented his childhood. “Well go back to your master and leave me alone, I’m too old to have ‘monster in my closet’ problems. You scared me enough when I was a kid.” Nathan walked to the kitchen as he spoke, getting a salad prepared for himself. The creature followed him, staying a few feet behind him. “We can’t go back. Once we pick a house, that’s it. I will live here until I die. Which won’t be far way away lucky for you.” Perhaps a tad bit of sadness hit Nathan, enough for him to reconsider his emotions. “I’ll make you a deal. You stop trying to scare me, and I’ll let you stay.” Never had anyone treated him with such kindness. The creature smiled a bit. Nathan cocked his head. “Don’t smile. Please. It’s scary.” The creature giggled. “Do you have a name?” With a shrug, he spoke. “Not really.” Nathan paused, he tapped his finger on a nearby surface. “Melvin was the name of my first dog. Does that sound good?”
Melvin sat on the nearby counter as Nathan did the dishes. Melvin cocked his head to the various sounds of glasses being clanked and the warm, soapy water running from the faucet. Doing nightly chores as a tall, reptilian creature watched was far from normal. The human didn’t talk much, he found this whole thing a bit to jarring. What would one talk to a creature about? The weather? Emotions? It all seemed so alien to him. Was Melvin lying? Would he come out with something scarier than before?
As he stole glances towards Melvin and watched him innocently sitting and doing rather normal human behaviors, another thought went through his head. One he didn’t expect. Melvin looked rather innocent. It felt like a silly thought, something that scared him so much, now shown in a different light. No longer shrouded in darkness, but sitting right by him, it gave Melvin a sort of lively appearance. As eerie as some of his movements were, his other features didn’t seem all that bad. ‘Who am I kidding?’ Nelson thought as he finished up and dried his hands. ‘He’s not bothering me now, so I won’t say anything negative. But I won’t be one to start personal dialogue about my horrible work day or anything like that.’
Sitting on the couch, Nathan watched a stupid sitcom, just something to have on as his tiredness ever so slowly began to grow. Melvin sat on the other side, again in a very human-like manner. “Want me to go back under your bed?” Nathan eyed him sternly. “No. You’ll scare me again. Believe it or not, I like when I can see you.” Melvin nodded and coughed softly, his lizard-like long tail sat in his lap, the tip nearly touching Nathan. “Guess I did an excellent job.” Due to the bad day he had and due to the anxiety he had over the past few weeks, he snapped, leaning forward. “I hated it. I hate being scared, I hate having some freak in my house! I hate what you did to my childhood. You know how many kids are freaked out due to monsters in their closets? Lots! You’re part of the problem. Just shut up.” Leaning back, he sighed deeply. Melvin’s eyes went from curious, to down. He played with his tail. “It’s all playful fun” he finally said, Nathan scoffed. “Right. Fun for you. You never, ever stopped to consider the kind of terror you put ME through.” Again, Melvin’s eyes looked down. This time his whole head went with the motion. “It’s the only way I knew how to communicate with someone else. It’s how I was brought up.” Listening to his remorseful voice, Nathan rubbed his eyes slowly. This wasn’t a human. This was an otherworldly being, taught to scare and that’s it. No other interaction. Not until now. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, Melvin. Honestly, I should be in awe. I’m experiencing something probably no one else has.” The creature stood up, Nathan watched him not blinking-a stare of nervousness. Would he attack? Would he yell? Who knew? He braced himself for the worst. “Goodnight Nathan.” Watching Melvin leave, Nathan turned off the TV.
As his weary eyes began to close, he heard and felt something among the blankets. “Melvin! Get out.” He whispered harshly, the creature sat in a ball at the end of his bed. His eyes glowing in the darkness. “I won’t scare you, I promise. I’ve never slept in a bed before.” Remembering his outburst and how horrible he felt after, the human took a deep breath and let him stay.