Thunder rumbled in the distance as the trees swayed to the ever increasing wind.  Lightning lit up the sky as though it were day.  A large storm was coming. On a quiet street, surrounded by large over grown trees, was a small weatherboard house.  The black tiles of the roof blended in with the night sky while the white siding lit up with each flash of lightning. On the second floor, right at the front of the house, overlooking the street, was a small bedroom belonging to a young boy.  Trent Anderson was only twelve years old and, like most children his age, was scared of the dark.

He always heard horrible noises at night, banging and crashing, coming from his closet and under his bed.  Every time a shadow looked ominous, he ran screaming from his room, down the hall, leaping from the doorway into the safety of his parent’s bed. Each morning, his father would walk him down the hall, back to his room and proceed to show him that there was no such thing as monsters.  “It’s all in your head,” he said every time.  “Your imagination gets the better of you.”

Trent did have an active imagination.  He knew that.  He was always dreaming up stories or fun things to play when no one else was around.  He was the sort of child that could entertain himself for hours on end.  But when the sun went down, his imagination went with it, and all that was left were the shadows and the things that go bump in the night. As the storm approached, Trent stared out his bedroom window, huddled under the sheets; his eyes and his spiky brown hair were all that was visible.  He wanted to climb into his parent’s bed, but they were out at a movie.  His babysitter, Mrs. Harris, was a grumpy old lady who resented having to look after him.  She told him that she wouldn’t put up with any of his nonsense and to go to bed in his own room. She had tucked him in and turned on the night light.  Trent’s eyes widened as the shadows came to life.  Why couldn’t she have just left the big light on?  As Mrs. Harris closed the door, Trent sat up, arming himself with his Transformers and kiddie league baseball bat.

Trent glanced at his closet as a creaking noise flooded his ears.  A flash of lightning lit up the room, the shadows dancing on the walls and ceiling.  He cried out, diving beneath the covers in an attempt to shield himself from the dangers of the night time monsters. The wind howled outside, rustling the leaves on the trees.  A branch scraped on the gutter.  Trent held his breath, counting backwards from ten.  His father once told him if he could count backwards from ten and get to one, then all the problems would just go away.

“Six.  Five.  Four.  Three.  Two.  One.”

He lowered the sheets.  The scraping noise had stopped and the wind has died down.  Trent looked out the window.  The rain had started.  He watched with interest as the raindrops bounced when they hit the pavement.  Forming neat little puddles that come the morning he would want to splash in.  The dirt beneath his window turned to mud and the road was slick with running water from the sky. Trent turned his attention back to his bedroom.  Toys littered the floor.  Cars, trucks, books, an old baseball glove.  He even saw the collection of Barbie heads he had taken from his younger sister, Jane.  They didn’t look so scary.  Maybe his father was right.  Maybe everything did look better after counting backwards from ten. Wiggling around in his bed, Trent laid his head on his pillow.  He closed his eyes, feeling safe for the first time. A clap of thunder shook the house, causing him to jump and cry out in surprise.  He looked out the window again, seeing the sky light up.  He could hear the rain pelting down on the roof.  It sounded like a raging waterfall.

The feeling of uneasiness washed over him as he slowly turned around.  He screamed, burrowing his way back under his blankets as a large shadow with long fingers and an eerie smile leaned down over him.

The big light snapped on and the shadow disappeared.

Trent poked his head out to see Mrs. Harris standing in the doorway.

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