Joey and the Monster: A Family Matter’s short
The door to Joey’s bedroom creaked open. He lay there, eyes shut tight, fearful that the sounds in the night were a monster, and that it was coming to get him. His breathing quickened as a shadow fell over the bed, and the warm breaths of the thing were on his cheek. He clutched the sheets, doing his best not to scream, but when something hot slid over his face, he couldn’t help it. He let loose with a mighty cry.
The light flicked on, and Joey found himself hoisted up and pulled into a tight embrace. Papa’s scent, that weird, sweet and spicy scent, filled Joey’s lungs, and he opened his eyes. Papa was holding him tight, with Daddy standing beside him, his hand on Joey’s back. Joey threw his arms around Papa’s neck and cried.
“Hey, what’s wrong. It’s okay, just a bad dream.”
“There was a monster in my room!” he wailed.
“Hey, sweetheart. Listen to me, okay? No monster would ever dare to come in your room, and you know why?”
Joey sniffled and scrubbed a hand over his eyes. “No.”
“Because me and Daddy will always be here, but you’ve got another protector too. One any monster is going to be too afraid to come near. It wasn’t a monster in your room, it was someone making sure no monster would dare get close to you or Jen.”
Papa pointed down, and Joey’s gaze followed. There, at Papa’s feet, sat Olaf, his head cocked, staring up at Joey.
“It was Olaf?”
“Yeah, honey. It was,” Daddy said. “Olaf checks on you and Jen several times throughout the night, because you’re his family, and he wants to protect you, just like me and Papa. That’s why no monster would ever come into our house, because you have a family who loves you very much, and would never let anything happen to you.”
“Oh.” Still, Joey’s heart was racing. “Daddy? Can Olaf sleep with me?”
“Well, I think that’s up to Olaf. Why don’t you get back in bed and ask him?”
Joey nodded. Papa put him back into bed and drew the covers up to his chin, then leaned in and kissed him on the forehead. Daddy was next, and he did the same thing.
“We love you, Joey.”
And Joey loved his Papa and Daddy. He was glad Daddy and Papa got married, because Daddy didn’t seem so lonely anymore, plus Papa let Joey and Jen have a cookie when Daddy wasn’t around.
“Okay, call Olaf.”
“Olaf?” Joey called softly. “Do you wanna sleep with me?”
Before he even finished the question, Olaf launched his not inconsiderable sized body onto the bed, and moved behind Joey. He flopped down, with his head behind Joey’s. Rolling over, Joey wrapped his arm around his dog and buried his face in Olaf’s fur.
“See? Olaf will always protect you. He loves you and Jen so much, you won’t ever know. He loves you almost as much as me and Daddy.”
Joey glanced toward the door and found Jen standing there, rubbing her eyes.
“Can Jen sleep with me too?” Joey asked. “I think I need more ‘tection.”
Daddy laughed. “Sure. Jen, you want to sleep with Joey? He had a bad dream.”
She nodded and crawled up next to Joey and Olaf. It was nice having her here.
“Now you guys get some sleep, okay?” Daddy ran a hand over Olaf’s head. “And you make sure the monsters stay away.”
“Joey, did you want me to leave the light on for you?”
Glancing from Olaf to Jen, Joey shook his head. “No, I think it’s safe now.”
Papa chuckled. “Sleep good, sweetheart.”
“Love you, Papa.”
“Love you too, Joey.”
The two of them flicked off the light and stepped into the hall. They stood there for a minute, watching, but Joey was fine. He wasn’t lying. Having Jen and Olaf here, and knowing Papa and Daddy were in the next room, he was safe.
“I’m not afraid of you anymore monster,” he whispered into the dark.
Then he rolled over and went to sleep.
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