Filed under "Fiction"

There’s a Minotaur in my closet. I’m sure of it.

I’m six and that’s too scary for a boy my age.

It’s dark and I can see his glowing red eyes through the cracks in my closet door, and I can smell his acid breath from under my blankets.

If I lay still, I swear I can hear his snorts from behind a curtain of shirts and pants. I know I’m not dreaming because I only dream of school or space or Star Wars. I don’t dream about Minotaurs.

I can’t stay here under the blankets forever. My friends told me that Minotaurs can sense fear and they like to eat little boys for late night snacks. I’m really afraid and I bet I’m really tasty (because I like donuts and candy).

That Minotaur is going to eat me up. I have to get out of here before it’s too late.

Mom,” I whisper loudly into the room across the hall where my parents are sleeping. I don’t want to attract too much attention from the Minotaur. I hear movement coming from their room, but no response from Mom.

“Mom!” I say it a bit louder this time. My only hope.

“What?” She stirs. I hear my dad groan a question mark.

“There’s a minotaur in my closet!” If the Minotaur wasn’t on to me before, he definitely is now. Only a matter of time before he stomps through the closet door and eats me up.

“Ok?”

“Can I come sleep in your bed?”

There’s a long silence. Then a snort behind the closet door.

“Just for 5 minutes?” I plead.

“5 minutes,” she agrees.

Now for my escape.

I carefully fold off my blankets and take a tip-toe step onto the floor. The wood floor below me creeks. Did I hear a huff just now? A puff? Time is running out. I have to get out of the room before the Minotaur attacks. He’s going to break down the closet door and gobble me up.

I bet I’m delicious.

I place a second foot on the floor and hold my breath. Did I smell the Minotaur’s breath steaming out of the closet? Is it warmer in here? I swear I can see his red glowing eyes through the crack in the closet door.

I hear my mom’s voice find its way into my bedroom, “you coming?”

I don’t respond. Can’t risk disturbing the Minotaur further. It’s now or never.

One.

Two.

Three.

I dash for the bedroom door and hold my breath again. The Minotaur won’t catch me. My Star Wars socks make it hard to run on the wood floor, so I glide like a figure skater towards the open bedroom door. I’m sure of my escape when suddenly, my closet swings open to reveal the angry Minotaur! He huffs and snorts and kicks a hoof.

The faint light from the hallway reveals the Minotaur as it charges after me. He’s as tall as my ceiling and as scary as I’d always imagined. His eyes are glowing bright red and he snorts angry, hot steam from his nose. I turn back towards the open bedroom door and skate like a madman.

I might not make it. I just know he’s going to grab me with his strong, hairy hands and eat me up with his sharp teeth. I don’t want to be a Minotaur snack!

I hear my mom’s voice again, “honey?”

I turn back to look at the Minotaur, his claws reaching out to grab me, when he awkwardly places a hoof down on my slippery wooden floor and topples right over onto his snout. He makes a loud grunt and kicks a closet door clean off its hinges.

The Minotaur’s fall startles me and sends me stumbling towards a pile of Star Wars action figures near the door, but I grab hold of the door handle and fling myself into the hallway.

I made it. I don’t turn to look back at the damage.

I hurry into my parent’s bedroom and find them sitting up, waiting for me. “What was the commotion, son?” My dad asks.

“It was that Minotaur,” I reply nervously, “he tried to eat me, but I got away. I was too quick for him.”

I suddenly feel very proud of myself.

“Those monsters never can seem to catch you,” my mom chuckles, “you’re just too fast.”

I climb up into their bed and slide between them into a warm space waiting for me. We all bring the blankets up to our chins and snuggle into a dark and cozy sleep.

Monsters are afraid of grown-ups, so they can’t hurt you when you sleep in bed with mom and dad. But grown-ups scare me too, sometimes.

I wake up the next morning in my own bed. My room is tidy, even after last night’s close call with the beast. Dad must have brought me back to my bed during the night. I bet he scared away the Minotaur; looks like he fixed the closet door, too.

My friends are never going to believe this.

Later that night, I make a terrible discovery.

There’s a Werewolf in my closet. I’m sure of it.

It’s my seventh birthday and that’s too scary for a boy my age.

It’s dark and I can see his glowing orange eyes through the crack in my closet door.

“Mom,” I loudly whisper into the next room, careful not to disturb the snarling beast waiting among my shirts and pants, “there’s a Werewolf in my closet!”

My friends told me that Werewolves love eating up little boys like me. I bet I’m delicious.

“5 minutes?” I plead.

A long silence, then my mom’s welcoming voice.

“5 minutes.”

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The only sin I ever did commit was lying to cover up a murder.

I told them I was innocent, that I didn’t even know the guy and those bastards had it all wrong.

I didn’t kill him; that’s the lie I told.

But I never meant to lie. You told me it’s wrong to lie and that the devil himself comes at night to claim sinners and liars.

Now I’m a sinner and a liar, Momma. I should’ve told the truth about killing that bastard while his bastard kid watched. I know I’m wrong, but I didn’t want to get caught, Momma.

You always told me Poppa was a lying son-of-a-bitch, and if I lied, I’d be a sinner just like him. I never wanted that, Momma. Honest.

So I want to be honest with you now, Momma.

I want you to know I’m not like Poppa. I was gentle. I told the boy that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t hurt him. I got blood on his shirt, so I wiped it off. But I swear I kept honest with him, Momma. I told him things were going to be okay, and I left him be.

I didn’t mean to lie, Momma.

I watched the bastard and his kid come home. I had a key. I hid where they couldn’t find me. I didn’t make a noise. I watched them open a can of black beans and make soup. It was just them, that bastard and his kid. I didn’t hurt the kid; he’s okay, Momma, I promise.

I came out after they got done eating their soup. I was hungry, but that’s not why I came out. I walked into their dining room with my shotgun and I told that bastard he couldn’t do nothing more to me and that’d be the end of all that. He got mad and came at me so I shot him in his chest. He died real quick and I saw his boy get real scared and piss himself when I walked over to wipe the bastard’s blood off his shirt.

Then it got real quiet so I told the boy to stay put and everything was going to be okay and I didn’t know what else to do. They didn’t finish the soup but I don’t think I was hungry no more. I don’t know who the hell would want to eat black bean soup, anyway. So I ran out of the house and dropped my shotgun at the door.

You always told me to be honest, Momma, but as soon as those cops picked me up from the roadside, I knew I was going to do something bad, Momma.

I lied. I’ve sinned, Momma.

I told them bastards I didn’t do it. I kept my head high and I told those bastards in blue to go to hell (right along with that bastard I killed). It just came out, my lie. I was real scared, Momma.

They took me in, and here I am now. Please don’t hang up on me, Momma. I didn’t mean to go off and tell a lie like that. I didn’t get up this morning and set out to be just like Poppa. I know what you always told me about him. You said he’d kill me if I crossed him and I saw you cry a lot the day he walked out. But you said it was good, because he wouldn’t be bringing those lies back into our house.

I’m glad he’s gone, Momma.

Are you glad?

They told me I’m in a lot of trouble. I know it’s wrong, but I don’t see all this fuss for just a little lie, Momma.

They told me I might not see you again. I might be getting put away for a long time and I might never come out.

I’m just like him now. I guess that’s why I’m in trouble. His sins are my sins now, Momma. I’m a sinner just like Poppa and I’ll die one, too.

Maybe I’ll die in here, Momma.

Maybe I’ll get to see Poppa again if I die.

But until that happens, I’ll never sin again as long as I live, Momma. I’ll tell the truth now and never lie again.

I’ll tell them I killed Poppa with my shotgun and his new bastard kid saw the whole thing. I’ll tell them I tried to wipe the blood off the boy’s shirt and that’s why my hands are covered in the stuff. I’ll tell them Poppa was a lying son-of-a-bitch and I deserve to be put away because I’m a lying son-of-a-bitch too, Momma.

I’ll make this right, Momma.

Would that make you proud, if I told the truth?

Tell me I’ve done good, Momma. That’s all I want. I don’t want you to be mad at me. I just want know I’ve done good, after all.

Please, Momma.

I put Poppa down, just like I know you wanted. You never said it, but I know you wanted it just like I did. He walked out on you all those years ago. He was a lying son-of-a-bitch. His new boy won’t hear no more of his lies. I told the boy it was all going to be okay. I wiped Poppa’s blood off his shirt just like Poppa wiped your blood off his and I told him it was going to be okay. God’s honest truth.

I guess I’ll go the grave with a dirty sin under my belt. Maybe the devil himself will come to claim me tonight.

But you know what? It felt good, Momma.

It felt good.

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