Monsters are afraid of my house

I have to write this in ten minutes and no more. All right, idea ready, timer set, GO!

Monsters don’t come to my house. That was established when my little sister was worried about it. She’s nine now, and this story happened when she was about to turn six, or perhaps just after she turned six. In my living room, she voiced a serious concern. What about monsters? She wasn’t worried about herself or her house. She was worried about me. I was all alone in my home. How was I going to be safe at night? What happens if a monster comes?

Now if I were a mature, responsible adult, I would have explained to her that that there are no monsters. There’s no such thing. That’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s not what I said, because I know that’s no good. You can tell a child there are no monsters. You can even convince them to say it and think it. Sooner or later it will be dark though. Or they will be alone. Then they will remember that there are monsters. That’s not something you can banish with the power of positive thinking. Children know that there are monsters. They KNOW it. You can’t change that. So I addressed the problem a bit differently.

I explained to her, “Brandy, monsters don’t come to my house. They’re too afraid.”

“But they’re not!”

“Yes, Brandy, they are. They’re too afraid to come here.”

“Monsters aren’t afraid.”

“Yes they are. Monsters know that if they come here they’ll get their heads chopped off. I chop off monsters’ heads.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes I do.”

“You can’t!”

“Sure I can. I have a big damn knife just to chop monsters’ heads off.”

“But you don’t!”

“Here it is.” I got my machete down from a shelf. I don’t own a gun. If I did, I would have used that to convince her. I do have a really big, scary knife. It’s not a fancy movie knife. It’s dull and thick and hard. It can cut right through a thick, galvanized nail without leaving even a small dent in the edge.

Brandy saw it, and that was evidence. It wasn’t just smart talk. Here was a big scary, monster chopping knife. “You do,” she said with awe. “Can I touch it?”

“Sure, but you can’t hold it. Be careful. It’s not too sharp, but it’s not supposed to be.”

Seeing that, she was convinced. She slept a bit better knowing that her big brother keeps a big scary knife for the express purpose of chopping off monster heads. It stayed with her and Alec, her brother two years younger. It was referenced several times over several months. Monsters might be out there somewhere, but that doesn’t matter, because we are scarier than they are.

(Ten minutes, but I did go back over it to clean up typos and bad punctuation. I don’t know if that’s against the rules or not, but it shouldn’t be. Anyway, I finished it with over two minutes to spare. I’ll take that as a bonus to actually add a few words here and there where needed as I edit it.)

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6 comments

  1. It’s official.You have ten minutes just to write. Editing and proofing come afterwards and don’t count!! I, of no authority whatsoever, have decreed it. Enjoyed your piece. —Judy

    1. Ah, thank you. I feel a lot better. I feel validated. I may not be afraid of monsters, but the tenuous, arbitrary rules of a blog prompt had me worried enough to arm myself with a parenthesesed admission of possible guilt. It’s funny, I hate disclaimers, but I apply them freely where they are not needed. Well, next time I will use my blog chopping common sense to hack away at my post with a clean conscience and no confessions.

    1. More than that, it was effective. I’m not sure what I would have said if I hadn’t had the thing to convince her. I do know that I wouldn’t have tried to assure her that there aren’t any monsters. That’s really the most important thing to take away from the story. You can’t convince a kid that there aren’t monsters. Hell, I’m thirty eight years old and I can’t even entirely convince myself.

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