Johnny & the Monster in his Closet
Before I wrote Jack Gregson & the Forgotten Portal, I wrote a lot of short stories. Some were good, some were bad. A lot of them were only 55 words long and I might do a blog post about them in the future.
This particular short story though, has a lot in common with Jack Gregson. For starters there's a portal featured in it, along with a monster attempting to eat a young boy and his babysister. I'm not saying the story is written in the same world as Jack Gregson, but it could easily be the case. Hope you enjoy!
Johnny & the Monster in his Closet
Johnny was scared out of his mind. He was crouched under a table in his living room with the lights off, trying not to make a sound. The pounding of his nine year old heart seemed to echo down the hall, and he covered his chest with his hands in the hope it might muffle the sound from whatever was searching for him. If he could just get to the door in the kitchen, he'd have an ally. Someone older, someone who would know what to do. He knew he shouldn't have locked the babysitter in the basement.
Not hearing anything for what felt like forever, Johnny poked his head out from under the table. The moon was shining through the window, so he was able to see a faint outline of everything in the room, and thankfully none looked like the monster that had escaped his closet not 10 minutes ago. Taking a deep breath, he slowly ventured out from under the table and made his way to the kitchen. He made his way quietly, keeping low, peering around doorways before bursting into sprints until he reached the next safe hiding place. Eventually he came to the kitchen.
Smelly was banging on the basement door. Shoot! Johnny thought to himself. She was going to give them away if he didn't shut her up quickly. Looking around, and seeing the monster was nowhere in sight, he ran for the door, unlocked and opened it. Before Smelly could get out, he pushed into her and slammed the door shut, leaving them both safe, at the top of the basement stairs.
“You are in so much trouble when your mum gets home” Melanie yelled, wide eyed and red faced.
“Shhhhh!!!” Johnny warned her, finger to his mouth, and spit spraying her face. “He'll know we're here!”. He looked away and put his ear to the door to see if he could hear anything.
“You spat on me...what? Who will know we are here? Melanie replied, her anger washing away to curiosity.
Johnny turned to her and with eyes full of fear, said “The monster from my closet.”
Melanie rolled her eyes and went to push past him “That is ridiculous, you're too old to believe in monsters Jonathan Wright, and you can bet your mum will hear of this!” As her hand reached the doorknob, Johnny grabbed her and pushed her against the wall with all his strength.
“I'm not making this up Smelly, he's out there, I saw him and he wants to eat me." Letting go of Melanie, he turned his ear back to the door. “I know. He's tried before”.
“I told you not to call me that!” she snapped back. “It's Mel or Melanie. It’s my birthday and I'm now five years older than you and I won't stand for it anymore! And I won't listen to any more of your ridiculous stories about a monster from your closet!”
Johnny rolled his eyes. Why was she bringing up such a stupid thing like the nickname he'd given her at a time like this? He wondered. “Look, I saw him and.....”
Slam! The noise cut Johnny short, and Melanie took a step backwards down the stairs.
“What was that?” she whispered.
“The monster” he whispered back. “What do we do?”
They heard the fridge door open. Something was searching through it. Bottles clinked as they were pushed aside.
“We have to get out of the house,” Melanie whispered. She had backed another step down towards the basement, it was clear she somewhat believed Johnny about the monster. It was only seven and Mr. and Mrs. Wright weren't due home until eleven. If it wasn't a monster it was someone that definitely shouldn't be in the house.
“We can’t go outside. I'm not allowed out after dark” Johnny said, slightly embarrassed. “If mum finds out she'll take away my Xbox”.
“I think she'll bloody well understand!” Melanie hissed back at him, causing his jaw to drop at her intensity.
Smash! A glass bottle had fallen to the ground. Melanie slapped her hands to her mouth. She thought it must have heard her.
The fridge door slammed shut. They could hear footsteps approaching the other side of the door, slowing drawing near. Melanie came to stand behind Johnny, her face pushed into his back. He turned back and looked down on her as if she was crazy. What did she think he was going to do?
Something was knocking at the door. Neither of them could move. Suddenly the door was pulled open and the creature let out a roar. It was looking down on Johnny, red eyes glowing. In the light from the stairwell, Johnny could make out its massive claws.
The monster had grown, he thought.
It stood six feet tall and the black hair that covered its entire body looked as sharp as razor blades. It seemed to grin down on him, drool falling from its massive mouth, knowing it had found the meal it was searching for.
Melanie took a breath and peered out between the crack between Johnny's torso and arm. Seeing the monster, she stood up straight in complete shock and screamed at the top of her lungs. Upon seeing her, the monster stiffened, and with a look Johnny thought was terror, it turned and galloped down the hallway.
Johnny let out a “Whoop!” and went to high five Melanie. “You're old enough!” he yelled. Seeing Melanie was in no state to return his high five, he ran out into the kitchen and pulled a rude sign in the direction the creature had run.
“Old....Old enough?” Melanie whispered, returning to a crouch on the stairs, shaking. “What does “I'm old enough” mean?” She said more confidently.
“Monsters are scared of old people, everyone knows that. I didn't think you were old enough. But you are and now he's gone.” He replied. Any fear he'd had less than a minute before was gone. Melanie couldn't believe it.
“You're saying, that....thing...is afraid of me?!” she called out incredulously.
“Yup. I'm surprised he even came out. He only comes out if I'm here alone.” Johnny replied. Pausing to think for a while, he added “Well sometimes when Dad’s had some beers and is snoring extra loud it comes out, but I can just wake up Mum and it goes away. She never believes me though.”
Melanie thought about it. “It’s my birthday, and my Mum told me that I was born at 6:57pm, so I guess I just turned fourteen a few minutes ago. That might be why…So that’s it’?” She asked, coming to a stand and nervously stepping out into the kitchen.
“No.” Johnny said a serious tone returning to his face. “I'm sick of that monster trying to eat me. Now we have to kill it”.
“Kill that THING!” She replied. It was her turn to look at him like he was crazy.
“We'll kill him or at least make sure he doesn't come back. Even if he doesn't eat me, he still gets me in to trouble” Johnny said, looking down at the smashed bottle of homemade lemonade lying in shards on the floor. “He comes from my closet. Maybe we can find out how he gets in and plug up his door. I've looked for it when Mum and Dad are home but it disappears when there's an old person in the house. We need a plan”. Looking at her pleadingly he finished “You have to help me”.
After an hour of discussion, arguing and preparation they were ready. Johnny was upstairs, lying under his bed behind boxes of toys that lined the edge that faced the wardrobe door. The plan was simple. Melanie would leave the house, pretending to be going home for the night. Once she was gone, the monster would come out and head downstairs. There had been arguments over how Johnny knew the monster would go downstairs and Melanie had insisted he take a long shower and wear clean clothes to make sure the monster wouldn’t smell him.
“If animals have a strong sense of smell, then monsters probably do too” She’d told him confidently. She’d then proceeded to spray him and his bedroom with the remaining contents of the bathroom air freshener. Now all Johnny could smell was the exotic aromas of the Amazon.
They’d also turned the TV on downstairs really loud, hoping the monster would think Johnny was down there watching it. If all that worked, then the really tricky part of the plan would begin.
“I’m leaving Jonathan Wright! I’m sick of your tricks. You and your monster are on your own until your parents get home!” Melanie shouted before slamming the front door shut.
Johnny didn’t have to wait long. Peering through the crack between a toy box and the bed he watched as a black shimmering portal slowly opened in the wardrobe. At first it was the size of a football, but then it grew and grew until it took up most of the wardrobe's back wall. The monster emerged, pushing his head through hanging clothes and peering into the room. Seeing no one in there, it walked out of the wardrobe and stepped up on to the bed to look out the window on to the front yard.
The weight of the monster pushed the beds springs into Johnnys back and pinned him hard to the ground. He couldn’t breathe. After a minute it must have been satisfied with what it saw, because it sprung from the bed and made for the bedroom door. Johnny took deep breaths as the weight of the monster came off him and he was able to move again. Looking towards the stairs, he saw a glimpse of the monster before it descended the stairs.
After around a minute he scrambled from under the bed and grabbed the box he’d stolen from his Dads study. He opened it and hurried to the wardrobe. Inside the box were close to one hundred fireworks. Heaps of different varieties, but the ones he was hoping to do the job were the homemade Cherry Bombs. He’d once seen his Dad blow up a tree stump with a bunch of them.
Johnny grabbed the biggest cherry bomb he could find and, using matches he kept hidden in his room, lit the wick. He then quickly tossed it back in the box and threw the entire thing into the black shimmering portal. He saw it disappear from view just as he slammed the wardrobe door shut and sprinted to the other side of the room.
KABOOM! The sound that came from his wardrobe was deafening. The door blew off its hinges and hit the wall two metres opposite. Johnnys school clothes that had been hanging were now burnt pieces of fabric floating across the room in a mist of smoke. The portal was gone.
“Yes!” Johnny yelled out, thrilled that the plan had actually worked. But his joy was cut short by a menacing growl that was coming from the top of the stairs. “Smelly, where the heck are you?” he whispered.
Melanie stood outside the front door of the house. She had to wait for the explosion before she could go back into the house to scare the monster away. She started pacing, her impatience getting the better of her.
KABOOM! The second she heard it, her hand was on the handle opening the door. She ran up the stairs, hoping Johnny was ok after such a massive explosion. Reaching the top, she saw Johnny in the corner of the room, holding his baseball bat in front of him, the monster towering over him about to pounce.
“Scream! Scream like you did before!” Johnny cried once he saw her.
And she did. She screamed at the most terrifying thing she’d ever seen. She screamed to save Johnny.
The monster turned, and seeing Melanie let out its own scream of terror. It flung itself towards the wardrobe. Seeing its portal was no longer there, it let out an even bigger, deafening scream that shook the light fittings and wall hangings in the room. The bedroom door was blocked by Melanie so the creature looked around for another means of escape. It jumped on the bed and hurled itself through the window and landed on the front lawn with a sizable ‘thump’.
Johnny and Melanie dashed to the broken window and looked out. The monster was standing on the road watching them. After a couple of minutes it let out a massive roar and turned away, running off into the distance.
“It’s over!” Melanie said, slumping onto the bed and closing her eyes.
Johnny looked around his room. Window smashed, wardrobe door lying on the floor and clothes burnt to a crisp. His parents would never believe him. Slumping on to the bed beside her, he sighed and said “It’s not over. I’m never going to see my Xbox again.”