The Dirty Washing Monster! by Bob Lock

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SUMMARY: Don't believe in things that go bump in the night?

Jimmy turned restlessly in his bed; he couldn't drop off to sleep again.

A quiet moan escaped from his lips and he held his breath for a moment, hoping that his parents, in the bedroom next door, hadn't heard him.
They had threatened to take his computer away if he "created" another night.

Why did they blame his sleepless nights and frequent nightmares on his computer?
Jimmy just couldn't understand their reasoning. Okay, some of the adventure games he played on it involved him slaying various types of monsters, vampires and such but he knew that they were only sprites on a monitor but they made such a big deal about it.

He turned over again, the blanket was wound around him and he sat up to straighten it. His bedside clock's glowing red numerals showed 3.30a.m. Jimmy rubbed his tired eyes and was about to lie back down when something in the corner of his dark bedroom caught his eye.

The something had a black, shapeless form and he thought it caught his attention because it had moved...

Jimmy stared at it until his eyes burned and he finally blinked. The thing hadn't moved whilst he had kept it under observation and although he couldn't remember throwing any of his clothes down in that particular corner he concluded that it had to be a pile of dirty washing or something.

He lay back down... or something... he thought.

He lasted about two minutes before he peeped over the edge of his sheet to check on the something again. It had moved! He was sure that it had moved, not sideways, not backwards...but closer!

Jimmy stared again, this time he wouldn't take his eyes off the thing. Soon his eyes burned once more and would you believe it?

They had begun to feel tired!

Tired...he thought...great, now I begin to feel tired when a man-eating monster threatens my life and I need to stay awake!

He dragged his drooping eyes away from the thing and looked at the clock, it showed 3.45 am; he yawned and decided to take one last look at his uninvited friend before trying to drop off once more.

It had moved closer again...

Jimmy started to get angry, all he had to do was get out of bed and switch on the light and he'd see that his something was just a pile of dirty clothes...that's all he had to do. But it was cold in his room, he felt the cold through his sheets.

Perhaps I should call my parents, he thought, they'd come in and switch on the lights instead and put me out of my misery.

But then they'd just see a pile of dirty clothes, give him hell for disturbing them again and definitely take away his computer privileges.

Damn it....he's only a pile of clothes...

Jimmy snorted, disgusted with himself, then pulled the blankets over his head and soon dropped off to sleep.

Within a short space of time Jimmy was snoring away blissfully.

It was then that the black, shapeless thing made its move; silently it climbed onto the bed and consumed the sleeping child.