Real Monsters Don't Take Time Off
by Eric J. Krause
"Daddy, the monster under my bed says he gets Sunday afternoons off."
Jim nodded as if this was common knowledge. What he was really doing was trying hard not to bust up laughing.
"Good. That'll give you plenty of time to play Barbies or read a book."
Cara smiled, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and scampered up to her room. Only then did he allow himself a chuckle as he walked in to grab a beer.
He'd only just popped the top when a grunt, thud, and scream erupted from upstairs. He managed to set the can down without spilling any before rushing up the stairs. She'd probably just scared herself with the monster under the bed talk, but that'd been a pretty loud thump. Life never slowed down when living with a child with an overactive imagination.
At the top of the stairs, a cold breeze brushed by him, though he knew all of the windows in the house were closed. Cara didn't yet have the strength to open any of them.
He burst into her room, his heart racing so fast it hurt his chest. "What? What happened?"
She lounged on her bed, the picture of the teenager she'd become in a few years: a book lay open in front of her, and a Princess Dream slipper hung from her toes. She gave him a sweet smile.
"I told him that the monsters above the bed don't take any time off."