Nike lay wide awake in his room, the shadows looking strange on the bare walls of his small room. Moonlight came weakly through the dirt smeared window, and he had opened it up just a crack so his room wasn't so stuffy like it was at night.

Outside his bedroom door, he heard Mommy and Daddy talking really, really loudly. They always had these loud conversations when they thought he had fallen asleep, but he never was. This had been happening for a long time ever since Daddy began to take vacations during the day to a place he called "the bar". Mommy disapproved, but never said a word.

Nike had heard Mommy mutter things under her breath during the day lately about Daddy. She kept repeating words Nike didn't really know, like "drunk" and "capricious" and "violent". He had asked Mommy only once about the words, but she only smiled and told him to go play.

Their voices grew loud, but Nike could never make out their words. He closed his eyes, trying to block out the noise. Suddenly, he heard a scratch, scratch, scratch sound coming from the inside of his closet. He sat up, looking in fear at that old black door. The scratches turned to banging, and a voice came from inside.

"Nike…" it whispered. The voice was low and sounded like someone dragging their nails down a chalkboard with the sound of a screaming man mixed in as well. "Nike… Open up the door, Nike. I'm hungry, and I want food… Nike… Let me out, Nike. Please, let me-"

Nike's bedroom door flew open. Daddy stood there. His shirt was all in a mess, but his black hair was brushed back all neat like. His gray eyes looked red, and he was all red in the face. He had an angry look on his face. Nike heard Mommy crying behind him.

"Mommy?" Nike whispered.

"What's with all the noise?" Nike's father demanded. "I thought you went to bed ages ago."

"Daddy! I can't sleep!" Nike protested. "There's a monster in the closet."

His father laughed, and the sound was cold in Nike's little ears. "Idiot child," his father said bitterly. "Monsters aren't even real. You're making it all up."

"But-"

"NO BUTS! If I hear another sound from this room, you're going to be in trouble." Daddy slammed the door closed, making Nike's room go completely dark.

Moonlight came weakly through the dirt smeared window.

-x-

Nike walked down the hall the next night, heading to his bedroom. Maybe Daddy was right. Maybe he had been imagining the monster noises in his closet. Maybe…

As Nike came around the corner, he saw it.

It was a huge shadowy figure, almost as tall as him. He couldn't make out any facial features, but it spoke.

"Dinnertime, Nike," it whispered. "I'm really hungry…"

Nike squeaked in fear and turned to run. He hit something behind him. Fear overtook him, and he screamed.

"Nike! Calm down!" Mommy said. "It's just me, you silly little boy."

Nike looked at Mommy. She was very pretty. She had short curly brown hair and pretty green eyes. Mommy always wore long dresses, probably to cover all the bruises and scratches on her arms and legs she seemed to get every night ever since Daddy started the vacations. Mommy never talked about her bruises, and Nike never asked.

He was smart enough to know some things were better left unknown.

Nike turned to point at the door frame, but the monster wasn't there. Just an empty bedroom.

"Okay, Nike, time for bed," Mommy said happily.

"But Mom! Do I have to?" Nike pleaded.

Mommy smiled. "It's past curfew, Nike." Nike knew "curfew" was a fancy word Mommy always used instead of "bedtime". He was about to tell her about the monster, but suddenly the front door squealed open and suddenly slammed closed. Nike jumped, but Mommy only sighed.

"That sounds like your father," she said, using the tone she used before her angry voice. He walked around the turn to go into the living room.

"WHAT'S ALL THIS?!" Daddy shouted.

"What do you mean?" Mommy replied, her voice sounding tired. "I made you some stew, I cleaned the house, and put everything just the way you like it."

"You call this tidy?" Mommy and Daddy were in the hall now, right in front of Nike. He saw that Daddy was squeezing Mommy's arms tightly, but she didn't show signs of pain. "Maybe I should make myself clearer."

"Please, Johnathan," Mommy said. "You're just a little drunk, and-"

"A LITTLE DRUNK?!" Suddenly, the two of them turned to look at Nike.

"Why are you not in bed?" Daddy snapped. "Go to your room." Nike didn't move. "NOW!"

Nike ran quickly to his room and slammed the door behind him.

He was catching his breath when he heard scratches and bangs from the closet.

Nike slowly made his way to the closet door. He put his hand on the handle, and the noises instantly stopped. Nike closed his eyes and opened the door.

Only to find his closet empty.

He looked around. The only thing in there was the small shelf he kept all his clothes. He shrugged, feeling foolish for thing a monster lived inside of his closet.

He closed the door and turned around. All the color instantly drained from his face. His blood turned to ice. The creature before him was so scary it made his heart stop for a second.

Nike screamed and fled the room.

He stood in the hall, and suddenly became aware of the sound of breaking china and Mommy crying in their bedroom.

"How about this?" Daddy shouted. Another shattering sound. More crying.

"Get up, you idiot girl," Daddy said. Mommy just cried harder. "I said, GET UP!"

There was a loud thud and the door flew open. Mommy fell into the hallway. There was blood all over her forehead. She wasn't moving.

"MOMMY!" Nike screamed.

Daddy came out of the room. "Why are you out of bed? GO to your room!"

Suddenly, Nike was very, very angry. He was mad at Daddy for hurting Mommy. How dare he hurt Mommy! She didn't do anything wrong!

"Just like your mother," Daddy muttered. "Can't eve- HEY!"

But Nike had already begun to march away. His eye twitched only once, and his fists were clenched into little balls.

Nike stood in his doorway, and closed his eyes. "MONSTER!" Nike shouted into the empty room. "MONSTER! Make Daddy pay for hurting Mommy!" Suddenly, Nike's door slammed closed. Daddy glared at it.

"You can't hide from me, Nike!" He shouted, making his way towards the door. He flung it open, and stared into the empty room. Suddenly, he saw the closet door out of the corner of his eye slam closed. He then heard the sound of a sobbing little boy.

"You can't hide from me," Daddy whispered, closing the door behind him.

The room was dark.

Moonlight came weakly through the dirt smeared window.

Daddy walked to the closet, opening it up. He scanned the room until he saw Nike sitting in the corner of the closet with his back to him. Before he could say a word, Nike's head suddenly spun entirely around.

Daddy was face-to-face with a monstrous creature with a face that would scare even grown men. The creature let out an earsplitting shriek and pounced on him. The creature screamed in his ears and sunk its long fangs into Daddy's neck. Daddy threw him off and held his neck where he was bit. Blood was everywhere, and it ran on his hand. He was holding a place where flesh should have been. His back hit the wall, and he slid down it, leaving a trail of blood.

"You….are a…... monster…," Daddy weakly said.

The creature smiled, revealing the blood stained fangs in its mouth. "But you said monsters don't exist, Daddy," it said in a raspy voice. The creature sunk its claws into Daddy. A gasp escaped his lips as he died.

The last thing he saw were its claws sinking into him and those, red, red eyes.

-x-

A soft moan escaped Mommy's lips. Her head hurt terribly. She opened her eyes and saw Nike holding out his hand to her. His fingers were all bloody, and the liquid was around his mouth and on his teeth.

"Nike….?" Mommy whispered.

Nike wrapped Mommy up in a big hug. "Don't worry, Mommy," he said. "It's all over now. Daddy can never harm us again." He closed his eyes, though Mommy couldn't see.

Mommy held the back of Nike's head in a way only a mother could. She didn't see Nike open up his eyes, revealing instead of his regular blue eyes a pair of red, red eyes.