It was the right time to leave. The bedroom was mostly empty, the floor cleared enough to see the color of the carpet. From beneath the bed, he could hear the girl packing what she might need in a small duffel bag. She was leaving for Army boot camp and didn’t need much.
He’d been with the girl since she was little and living with both her father and mother. Back then, any little noise would frighten her and being the creature beneath the bed was easy. She’d call for her mother or run from the room and he could settle in for the night, knowing that his task for the day was complete.
After her parents divorced, he wasn’t sure where to live. He stayed at the father’s house for a while even though she was only there every other week. He might have been content to relax during the time she was gone, but father kept trying to clean the room. Not only was the man impervious to his scare tactics, he was dangerously close to discovering the hiding spot under the bed. It was time to check out the mother’s house
The next weekend he hitched a ride in the girl’s suitcase. The bed was smaller and there were a multitude of cats living in the mother’s house. They peered under the bed and meowed at him, trying to give his hiding place away. One of them even had the nerve to try and snuggle with him! He was not a snuggle monster, so he quickly put an end to that with a hiss and obnoxious fart gases.
In spite of this, he enjoyed the mother’s house. The girl still had fears that he could play with. She worried about school, boys, her weight and driving. He’d send occasional nightmares and drank in her luscious emotions. Sometimes, he’d sneak over to the mother’s bedroom and scare her as well with strange noises and worries about her only daughter. It was glorious fun!.
As time went by, their fears faded and so did he. The girl grew up and became confident and strong. She didn’t need him anymore. His orange fur had once been bright and thick, rippling with motion. Now it lay flat and unresponsive. His bulbous eyes had lost focus and the tips of his claws had dulled. He needed fear to survive.
There was anxiety in the air, but it had nothing to do with him. It was about the future and what might happen when the girl left.
Without fear, he was starting to resemble a fluffy cat instead of an under-the-bed monster. He worried about disappearing and wondered where he’d go. Would he continue to shrink and eventually disappear into a tiny dust particle? He didn’t know and for the first time, he was scared.
The mother called her into the other room and the girl left the duffel bag open. He crept out from beneath the bed, sniffing the air for cats. The coast was clear. He crept up the side of the bed and popped inside the bag minutes before the girl returned.
“Mom! I’m ready to go.”
The mother came into the room. He could smell her perfume and sadness.
“I’m going to miss you, kiddo.”
They hugged and the girl said, “Boot camp is only nine weeks. Will you come to my graduation?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
He chortled with delight, careful not to give himself away. There should be plenty of fear in an Army barracks. Inside the bag, he settled in for a wild ride.
Written for YeahWrite.me Weekly Fiction contest. Check out the other stories at the link below and vote for your favorites!