Rays of bright blue light shine through the window, then suddenly vanish as waves of clouds obscure tonight’s full moon. The scent of talcum powder travels throughout the air. Three vibrant pictures are etched into the wall; an elegant unicorn riding atop a rainbow, a playful monkey hanging from a tree branch, and a chubby pink pig snorting at his surroundings. Below them, a shapeless shadow inconspicuously climbs quietly up the wall. A crack in the door gives a small glimpse of the outside world.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. A crudely carved walnut clock dangles high upon the wall, pointing up towards the stars. Squeak. Squeak. A field mouse scurries along the hardwood floor, in search of food. Hoot. Hoot. A large owl sits perched atop the branch of a giant oak tree no more than 20 yards from the window.
Alone in the center of the room lies a sturdy makeshift crib. Chips of baby blue paint float off the surface of the bars. In the bounds of the small wooden prison lie two piles of fur, one purring contently and the other rustling about restlessly.
Suddenly, a flicker of light escapes the clouds’ grasp and briefly brightens the room. One of the kittens unfolds himself, peering around the room for a moment before retreating under his soft blanket. There it is. He saw it. For a fleeting moment the shadowy figure was right behind him, baring its fangs with malicious intent.
“W-What was that?!” Fletcher’s tail wraps around his pudgy midsection. His paws are shaking like a violent earthquake. He shoves one into his toothless mouth, tears streaming down his rosy cheeks. “Scary...” he whimpers.
Orin rubs his eyes and grumbles softly. His ears fold over, resting atop the back of his fluffy black head. “You’re just imagining things again...” he claims, stretching his arms and staring into the eyes of Fletcher. “You always wake me up…”
Fletcher picks himself up, wobbling onto his feet. They were not cooperating with him. “N-no! I saw! There!” One paw is a vise, locking his blanket in place, while the other darts towards the wall where the shadow had been.
“You see this ‘monster’ every night, has anything bad ever happened?” Orin asks. He outstretches his arms, offering Fletcher a gentle hug and smiling, his single pearly tooth visible. “You can trust me.”
Letting out a deep sigh, Fletcher falls over like a ton of bricks and leans into his friend, passively accepting his consoling hug. It must have been my imagination...right? Turning around, he smiles back at Orin, nodding. He slowly shuts his eyes, stretching his arms and yawning as if nothing had happened.
Swish! A cold breeze shot through the room. “What was that?!” Fletcher yelled, springing back to his feet. His eyes burst open as he glances around. A chill runs down his spine, causing him to shake from head to toe. The shadowy figure was back—for him.
A large hole forms in the center of the shadowy figure, reflecting a small bit of light into Fletcher’s eyes, blinding him. Thump. Thump. Thump. His heart was racing… faster and faster. It reached 300 beats per minute. He could barely make out a devilish grin from the corner of his eye. Everything vanished.
Fletcher shouts at the top of his lungs, but his voice falls on deaf ears. Help me! Orin? Are you there? Please… Everything was slimy and hot. He attempts to take a deep breath, to no avail. Where had all the oxygen gone? His legs were swept from underneath him, flipping him upside down like a ragdoll. His feet swing violently in the air, appearing as mere blurs. And then they too, disappeared into the belly of the beast.
The clocks minute hand shifted forward, again…and again…and again…and again. Twenty minutes had passed. The clouds covering the moon reveal the lunar light once again, bringing sight back into the room. All that could be seen was Orin, caressing his bulging stomach and snoring softly.