The Monster Under My Bed is My Brother

Ban Bean


It was just ice cream.

The lady had been nice. She was Ozzy's friend, and he was busy working. He’d left her alone for hours while he went and did stuff, promising to be back for lunch but it was past noon. She was starting to think Ozzy forgot about her. The lady had been nice, introducing herself to Dot as Ozzy’s friend. And Dot was hungry. The nice lady took her to McDonald's for a kids meal and ice cream. She’d even gotten a new toy, a small figurine from her favorite cartoon.

The nice lady had called herself Jade, complimented the little girls star-shaped sunglasses, and took her back to the hotel. Bernadette chatted away with her, telling her about Ozzy taking her around in the car. He left her alone in the hotel or car a lot. She didn’t tell Jade about him eating people. Ozzy made her promise not to tell people that. Jade took her to a different, nicer hotel and she proudly showed off her light-up sketchers, running down the hotel hall.

The day wore on. Watching TV and playing games with Jade slowly turned to boredom. Even at nine years old, Dot had learned to keep an eye on the time. Ozzy always told her what time he’d be back. He said he’d be done with work at three. It was almost four.

“Where is Ozzy?”

“He’ll be here.”

Dot asked again, a bit later.

“He’s coming soon,” Jade said. Dot wasn’t old enough to detect the subtle lie of her bright tone.

Being a runaway, Dot had gotten a feel for people, and the longer she spent with Jade the more wary she became, and the longer Jade insisted Ozzy was coming to the hotel. And he did come. About twenty minutes after Jade was the phone with him, telling him Dot was with her.

“Oh, don’t worry she’s safe with me…after all, I need you to come here, don’t I?”

When Ozzy came through the door, he was more angry than Dot had ever known him to be, but it burned like a cold ice under his placid facade. Dot ran to him before Jade could grab her and hold her back. In fact, Jade seemed unconcerned at the two reuniting, keeping her eyes fixed on Ozzy.

Do you know what's worth fightin' for
When it's not worth dyin' for?
Does it take your breath away

And you feel yourself suffocatin'?

Ozzy gave Dot a quick, emotionless embrace, speaking in a hard voice, “Bernie…get in the bathroom. Lock the door. Don’t come out.”

She hated that nickname, but more so she was confused by his use of it, and his anger. She did something wrong.

“Ozzy, I’m sorry…” She said quietly, trying to apologize like the Sisters had taught her, ” I was hungry and you didn’t come for lunch-“


Does the pain weigh out the pride
And you look for a place to hide?
Did someone break your heart inside?

Dot swallowed and ran into the bathroom, locking the door as instructed. She’d only been with Ozzy a few weeks, but she knew to obey. Her heart sank in her chest, trying to figure out what she had done wrong. Would Ozzy leave her here? She still waited by the door, listening at the cracks. A habit from the orphanage. Nothing was worse than when people talked about you when you weren’t there, but there were no words. No speaking. Only loud banging, the tearing of bedsheets, and yelling. More loud noises and the shattering of glass.

You’re in ruins

Dot fell back against the sink as something heavy hit the bathroom door.

She scrambled into the bathtub and crouched down for safety, terrified. Then came the screaming. Agonizing screams and the tearing of flesh. The horrible crunch of bone. Something liquid. Maybe it was her tears. Dot covered her ears, trying not to listen to the ruckus outside the door, flinching at every new, sudden crash. To distract herself, and keep herself from crying more, she began to hum the stupid song Ozzy listened to in the truck on repeat.

One, twenty-one guns
Lay down your arms
Give up the fight
One, twenty-one guns
Throw up your arms
Into the sky

You and I

Dot waited until it stopped. It didn’t take long, but it felt like she’d been in the bathroom for ages. Was Ozzy ok? Dot didn’t let herself think otherwise. Ozzy promised he’d take care of her. He wouldn’t lie about that...would he? What if he was out there, hurt?

She climbed out of the tub and slowly approached the locked door, hesitating for a full 30 seconds, her hand shaking. Dot pushed it open, and looked out into the room with red puffy eyes and bit back a scream of her own.

When you're at the end of the road
And you lost all sense of control
And your thoughts have taken their toll

When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul

The room was in pieces, with the beds a mess, and the lamps broken. The couch was collapsed in the middle, and there wasn’t anything not overturned. Everything was covered, sprayed, with sticky red blood. On the floor was a mangled mass that had inky black hair just like hers. Jade's empty eyes stared back.

A man was standing amongst the carnage, just a shadow of him, and his antlers, his back to Dot, lit only by the sunset coming through the window. She breathed a single, barely audible question.


Your faith walks on broken glass
And the hangover doesn't pass
Nothing's ever built to last

“I told you not to come out, Bernie.”

You’re in ruins