There once was a girl who disliked going to bed. Each evening, she would try to stretch the minutes, to stall the dreaded moment when it was time for her to go to her room.
She would brush her teeth for as long as she could get away with, go to the toilet or ask for a glass of water at least twice and ask for a sequel to the story her father read to her.
She would call for him when he had already tucked her in, kissed her goodnight, turned down the light and up the nightlight, and nearly made it through the door. Invariably, she would ask him a question, in one of those clinging, semi-philosophical moods yound children all over the wolrd would sometimes get into, like „Will the world still be the same when we wake up tomorrow?" Her father would smile, come back to her, answer her question, also the follow-up question, but then gently, ever-so-gently, remove himself from her room, arguing for the value of sleep.
The girl would keep her eyes and ears wide open, and listen to his steps moving away to his own room, further down the hall. She would hear his door close, hear his light switch, and the very faint sound of her father settling in his covers.
And then, there was only Silence.
In the beginning, when she had first met the Silence, she had tried to make it go away by making some noise on her own, whispering to herself, telling silly stories to her teddybear or drumming a rhythm with her hands on the wall and the bedframe.
However, she soon discovered that this did not lessen the impact of the Silence. Instead, it seemed to make it even worse.
Ignoring it didn't work, either. Some nights she tried to just lie there, be stronger than the Silence, waiting, hoping to fall asleep.
The Silence just grew, filling the space of her room, wrapping her up and making her ears ring.
One day, she had asked her Dad for a cassette player, and it had kept her company ever since.
She thought she would never fall asleep without that old tape player ever again, forever afraid of the Dark and the Silence that hid within.
That is, until one night, when the Monster appeared for the first time.
At first, she did not notice anything different. It was a very cautious Monster, and it prided itself for having a good build-up and creating the right atmosphere. So when she heard the scratching and shuffling, she thought of the old mouse that sometimes could be seein in the doorway between kitchen and pantry, when it was either very early in the morning or getting late.
But then the Monster started breathing audibly. The girl wasn't quite sure if mice could breathe, but she was fairly certain they wouldn't be so loud about it, not even in a Silent room.
Still, the girl waited a few very long minutes before she whispered into the incomplete Silence: „Hello?"
And from the Darkness a low, raspy voice answered her.
Her heart skipped a beat, though not out of fear.
„Who are you?" Had she not been wide-awake before, kept sleepless by the piercing silence of her room, she would have been now.
„I am Monster"
„But that's not a name", the girl replied. Monster did not reply and there was Silence once more. The girl felt it stretching out its long, thready limbs in the room once more.
„Are you still there?"
„No one has asked my name before. Why are you still talking to me? Aren't you afraid?", the Voice From The Dark asked, sounding puzzled.
„Why would I be afraid?"
„It is just what's supposed to happen, you know. No one talks to the Monster under their bed. You're supposed to be afraid."
„But you don't always have to do the things you're supposed to do! Where would be the fun in that?"
„Fun?" Monster seemed to consider this.
„Yes, fun! If you always did what's expected of you, you won't ever get to do the fun things. So you have to take care of that by yourself. And besides, don't you get lonely when you spend all that time under people's beds and you don't ever get to talk to them? That seems boring, never really talking. I like talking."
„I never would've guessed."
But talk they did, long into the night. And when the girl finally, blissfully fell asleep, Monster got out from its hiding place, looked at the face of its new friend, adjusted the covers around her and bit her head off. It just wouldn't do, losing authority like that. No one told it what to do, least of all a little precocious girl.
Then it headed home, back to the place where Monsters go when it's daytime.