"Mommy?  Can I get a drink of water?" Steven asked.  (No answer...)  "Mommy?"
     "Stevie, you know you are supposed to get your drink before you go to bed.  Not 15 minutes later!"
     "I forgot.  Can I please get up and get a drink?  I'm real thirsty..."
     "Hurry up!  This is really Ridiculous young man!  Then get your butt to bed," Tammy said.
     "Okay."  Steven scampered to the bathroom.  When he got back to his bedroom door, he peeked in carefully.  Then, judging the distance to his bed, he ran and dove for it.  He quickly pulled the blankets up around his neck.  As he started to drift off to sleep, he thought he heard a kind of scuffling noise coming from the closet.  He scootched further under the covers and kept his eyes glued on the door.  Another noise!  This time it sounded like something scratching.  "Mommy! Come here!  I need something, quick!"
     Tammy stuck her head around the corner.  "What do you need now?"
     "I have to go to the bathroom."
     "Come on now Steven.  This is getting out of hand.  What's wrong?  Why can't you go to sleep?" she asked as she came over and sat on the edge of his bed.
     "I gotta go.  And if I don't, I might wet the bed."  (He wanted to spare her from the monster in the closet.  If he heard it again, he'd call daddy.)
     "Well hurry up then.  I'll wait here and tuck you back in.  Then no more nonsense.  Now scoot!"  She patted his bottom as he slipped past her.

     Steven returned and stood by his bed.  "Mom?  Do you believe in ghosts?" he asked.
     "No.  Do you?"
     "I don't know...  How about monsters?" he inquired.
     "I seriously doubt if there are monsters either.  Why?" she asked.
     "Oh, no reason.  I was just wondering."
     "Well, you just stop thinking about things like that and get to sleep.  It's way late and you have to get up in the morning to go to Aunt Nita's.  Goodnight now."  Steven climbed up and she tucked the covers around him.  "I'll leave the hall light on for you."  She bent down and kissed the little boys forehead.
     "Yeah, I will go to sleep now, mommy."  He closed his eyes to show her he would try.
     Tammy left the door half open as she left the room.

     "Daddy!"  He was almost sleeping when the noises started again.  He thought he heard a low moaning too.  The sounds were coming from the closet!

     Craig ran into the room.  His hair was tosseled and he had obviously been sleeping.  "What is it son?" he asked the terrified little boy.  "Was it a bad dream?"
     "No daddy!  There's something in my closet!  I heard it!" the boy cried.
     "Stevie, it was just a bad dream.  A nightmare.  They're pretty scarey, but it wasn't real.  There's nothing in your closet," Craig explained.
     "There is!  I heard it all night.  That's why I couldn't go to sleep!"
     "Then why didn't you tell mama that when she tucked you back in?  You're just scared of some old dream."  Craig stood up and started for the closet.  "I'll show you that there's nothing in there.  It's just your imagination."
     "Daddy, NO!  It'll get you!"
     "It's alright," he said as he opened the door and started pushing the clothes back.  "It's just a plain old clos---"  Craig disappeared into the open door.

     Steven screamed!

     It only took Tammy a minute to appear in the doorway.  "What's going on here?" she demanded.  "Where's your father?"
     "It got him!  The monster got him!" Steven screamed.  "I heard it drag him away!  I knew it was real!  It got daddy!" the boy sobbed.
     "Steven, be quiet!  Daddy must be playing a joke on you.  Craig?  Come out of there...  You're scaring him to death!  Craig?"  She edged toward the closet.
     "Mommy, no!  Don't go over there!  I heard it making noises."
     "Hush up...  I told you daddy is just playing a very bad joke.  He's trying to scare you and now, me too!"  She jerked the closet door the rest of the way open and reached in.
     Steven watched as a green monstrous arm yanked her inside.

     Steven ran from the room, but he was not quick enough.  He still heard the sound of bones crunching.

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