Me? Afraid of the dark? Don’t be silly. Well, maybe I’m just a little bit afraid.
It would be a lot easier to not be afraid of the dark if it weren’t full of so many creepy crawlies, monsters, and dragons. And spiders, BIG spiders. And those long buggy things with all the legs. Oh, and those glowing eyes in the backyard by the compost bin. And whatever the dog keeps barking at when he goes out at night.
But it’s ok, I’ve got Snoops. Snoops will protect me. He’s more than a cat. He’s a big cat. He’s almost as big as I am. I know ’cause he makes a great dance partner. He’s a mean cat too. Not to me, he’s one of my best friends. But he scares away those eyes in the dark by the compost bin. And he’s not afraid of the creepy crawlies, or the dark. Or The Dragon.
I like knowing he’s here with me. He sleeps at the end of the bed. I can wiggle down and scratch him with my toes. He doesn’t bite them like some mean cats would. But he always sleeps just far enough away from me that I can’t kick him in my sleep. But I know he’s there. He’ll protect me.
I don’t think the monsters like Snoops. They know he’s a bigger and meaner than he looks. He’ll protect me from the monsters. He’s not afraid of them, or the dark, or The Dragon.
I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m a warrior pirate princess on a pirate ship. It’s sturdy but creaky. The monsters can’t get on my ship. They can’t reach up and grab me when Snoops is on the ship with me. There’s just enough room on this ship for me, Snoops, and my small crew.
Raggedy Ann’s part of my crew. She lost her arm in a terrible battle with a bad puppy. Mom patched her up, but wasn’t able to fix her arm. So she won’t be able to help me fight The Dragon, but she can steer the boat with her good arm.
The other crew members told me they are afraid of the dark, and The Dragon. Guess they’ll be the lookouts. They can sit at the back of the boat, with the pillows. They can hide under the pillows when the fighting starts.
But not me. I’m not afraid of the dark, or The Dragon.
The monsters have been quiet tonight. Most nights, they are what’s hiding in the dark. But not tonight. Tonight there’s The Dragon too. Tonight the monsters are leaving me alone. Maybe I should investigate. I’m not afraid of the dark.
But The Dragon… are the monsters afraid of it? Why are they so quiet tonight?
No one on my crew wants me to find out why the monsters are quiet. The Dragon isn’t quiet. The crew wants me to hide under the pillows and blankets with them, safe from the monsters and The Dragon. But I’m not afraid.
The Dragon is getting louder.
I’ll send Susiebear to check on the monsters. That’s what I’ll do. Sorry, Susiebear. This is for all of our safety.
I drop Susiebear overboard. Snoops raises his head. Well, he wasn’t helping. What did he expect me to do? Jump down there myself? Snoops doesn’t care if Susiebear gets eaten. He never pays attention to any of my crew. He purrs and rolls over.
I have to find out what the monsters are doing down there tonight. Why are they so quiet? I need to get past The Dragon, but to do that, I have to know what the monsters are doing. I can’t just run for the light. They might be expecting that. Maybe that’s what they want me to do. Maybe they want The Dragon to get me.
I roll over to the side of the bed as quietly as a I can. I don’t want the monsters to know what I’m doing, or to let The Dragon see me. Susiebear is ok. She’s laying in a sea of green carpet. The monsters haven’t noticed her.
I’m not afraid of dark. I’m not.
But The Dragon. Even the monsters are afraid of The Dragon. I know how to outsmart the monsters. I know how to outrun them. I can make it to the light before they catch me. I’ve done it before. But I don’t know what to do about The Dragon. I don’t know how fast it is. I don’t know if I can make it to safety.
I can see the light from here. But I have to run past The Dragon to get to it. What if the monsters are tricking me? What if they’re working with The Dragon? Is it a trap? Are they just waiting for me to run? Did they leave Susiebear alone to trick me?
I reach out and grab Susiebear as fast as I can. The monsters let me grab her. I still don’t know if it’s a trap. What are they doing down there tonight?
The Dragon gurgles loudly. Is it hungry? Did it see me rescue Susiebear? Is it mad?
I leap under the blankets with Susiebear. She’s afraid of The Dragon too. I pull the blanket up over our heads. The crew is glad to see that Susiebear is OK. I pull Raggedy Ann under the blanket with me and the rest of the crew.
Snoops springs to his feet. He was sleeping on the blanket. Why doesn’t he notice The Dragon?
The monsters might be afraid of Snoops, but I don’t think The Dragon is. It’s been puffing smoke and it’s belly has been glowing all night. I don’t think The Dragon cares the Snoops is protecting me. I think it’s mad. It sounds angrier each time it puffs smoke. I think it’s getting louder too.
I should peek. What is The Dragon doing? What are the monsters planning?
I can see The Dragon. It’s just there, just across from me on the dresser, near the light. I can’t get to the light with out running past it. It gurgles loudly and angrily. It’s belly glows blue. A giant puff of smoke floats toward me.
I’m just going to stay here under the blankets. I know Snoops will be OK out there. Dad says he’s the meanest cat in the neighbor hood and killed a raccoon last week. Snoops will slay The Dragon. I know he’ll protect me. I’ll stay under here and protect the crew.
It’s been a few minutes since The Dragon gurgled. Maybe it’s sleeping.
I should look. I can’t look. I can hear my heart in my ears.
What is happening out there? It’s so quiet. I can still hear the dragon, but it’s breathing is quieter. I have to look. I need to know if it’s sleeping before I try to run for the light.
The Dragon is still there. It’s belly is still glowing blue but it’s not puffing any smoke. Can I run for the light quietly? Is The Dragon asleep?
The door opens and the the light gets bigger on the carpet.
“What are you still doing up?” It’s Mom. I can tell she’s angry, but that’s OK because the monsters are afraid of her. And they don’t like the light. I can hear the monsters fighting for the dark spots under the bed as the light gets bigger.
Mom starts walking towards The Dragon. I should warn her, but I can’t move. I’m to scared. What if The Dragon eats her? She’s safe in the light, but The Dragon is in the dark.
Snoops jumps off the bed and runs toward Mom. He curls around her legs. The only person he likes more than me is Mom. He’ll protect her. The two of them can fight The Dragon together. It’ll be OK. Mom has Snoops now.
Mom turns on the bedroom light. The dark is gone. The monsters are gone. The Dragon is gone.
Mom has a pitcher of water in her hand. “You really need to get some sleep. You’re cough is getting worse.” She walks over the to the dresser and refills the blue glowing belly of the humidifier. It sputters and starts gurgling and puffing steam again.
I hug Susiebear tight. Snoops jumps back onto the bed. He curls up on the blanket and purrs loudly. I watch as the humidifier puffs out clouds of steam. I told you I’m not afraid of the dark. Or monsters. Or Dragons.
(c) Lisa Trefsger Krack, 2019