(1 of 1. Originally posted on June 09, 2023 for the prompt “My Childhood Toy.”)
Something woke Tommy in the middle of the night. He lay perfectly still under his Star Wars blanket, ears straining, eyes darting around the room to try to figure out what had woken him. And why terror gripped him harder than he’d ever felt in all his five years of life. Everything appeared normal by the light of his Death Star nightlight. No strange or scary sounds broke the silence. But the feeling of dread wormed its way deeper into his gut.
Steeling himself, Tommy reached out and snatched his Monster Gun off the nightstand. He jumped up and waved it back and forth, checking every corner of the room. Monster Repellent juice sloshed inside the plastic tank on the back of the gun.
His bedroom secure, Tommy stepped down off his bed. He caught a whiff of something, drifting in from the hallway. It smelled sweet and rotten at the same time, a little bit like daddy’s special drinks. He peeked into the hallway through the partly-opened door, just like when he and daddy played Monster Hunter. Seeing nothing, he crept into the hall. He followed his nose to momma and daddy’s room. He stood outside their door for a minute, listening. Maybe daddy was hiding, waiting for Tommy to find him and spray him and then he’d laugh and say what a good job he did. Or maybe a monster is waiting. It took everything in him not to run back to his room and hide under the blanket.
Tommy counted his breath like daddy taught him. In. Out. In. Out. He opened the door. A dark figure stood over his parent’s bed. It turned. Pale white face. Black eyes. Long teeth. Monster. Tommy screamed. Liquid streamed from his gun and splashed on the Monster’s face. White skin blackened. The creature screeched like a stepped-on cat.
Daddy leaped from the shadows. He hit the monster in the chest with a sharp stick.
Momma appeared from nowhere, nightgown fluttering behind like faerie wings. She scooped Tommy up and pressed him against her chest. She carried him out of the room.
Tommy held on to momma as hard as he could, his face pressed against her.
“It’s okay, baby, I got you. We’re okay.” Momma stopped. She pulled him back far enough to examine him, her cool hands running along his neck and chest. “Are you hurt? Did it hurt you?”
“I’m okay, momma.” Tommy held up his Monster Gun. “I got it. I got the monster.”
“Yes, you did, baby. Good job.” Momma kissed him on the head. She was smiling and crying at the same time.
Tommy leaned against her chest and listened to her heartbeat. He patted her back. “It’s okay, momma. I’ll protect you.”