Benny was tucked in his bed, little eyes peeking out of his quilt. He was staring intently at the closet door, the monster would jump out again tonight and he’ll be sleepless again.
Benny never understood why the monster came every night just to scare him. He would notice his big beady green eyes, the swish of his forked tail, then would appear his bright white fangs broadening into a menacing smile. Benny hated that smile, it mocked him, tonight again I will scare you and you won’t be able to do a thing, tonight again you will scream and no one will believe you, tonight again you’ll be labelled a cry baby, a wolf-crier, tonight again I’ll make you feel bad about yourself.
But tonight it was not going to be this way. Benny was determined. Tonight he will fight the monster, if Susan can punch the school bully, then he can definitely punch that monster in the closet. Tonight he will punch the monster. Benny watched from behind his quilt, the beady green eyes blinked in the darkness. Stinky was here.
Benny had named the monster Stinky in the evening today. Stinky sounded less scary and a little funny. Stinky he could deal with. Stinky swished his tail, and Benny saw it tail rustle up the stiff air of his closet. Stinky was ready to do something to scare him, but before he could do that, Benny sat up straight. Stinky’s smile diminished.
“I’m not afraid of you.” Said Benny
Stinky’s smile broadened. This time, he stepped into the light. He looked like a grey gecko with spikes starting from his spine all the way down to his forked tail. His skin looked as if it had chickenpox, and Stinky was still smiling. Benny felt pity and was yet amazed that Stinky was so ugly and yet he was so happy.
“Stinky, I am not afraid of you.” Said Benny and Stinky stopped dead in his tracks. Benny got down from his bed, he could read the confusion in Stinky’s eyes. Benny closed the gap and stood face to face with Stinky. Stinky was just about his height and scrawny, he wasn’t as scary so close. In fact, Stinky wasn’t the same size since he had stepped out of the closet, Benny noticed that he was growing smaller.
Benny had his fist balled up, he plucked up the courage and punched Stinky in the face, just like Susan had punched the school bully. Bam! His fist hurt, it hurt a lot, but Benny heard Stinky’s teeth rattle and he felt good. Stinky was now an ordinary room lizard. Benny breathed in deep and picked him up by the tail.
“Stinky, you can live in my closet, I don’t mind. I am not afraid of you and I will never be afraid of you. If you ever try to turn into a monster again, I will punch you again. I AM NOT AFRAID!”, and then Benny put Stinky in his closet and shut the door.
He climbed into his bed, fist still hurting. It had started to turn red. He had punched something real. His fear wasn’t his imagination. He’ll sleep sound tonight. He felt proud; he didn’t need anyone to help him overcome the monster in the closet.