My mother says there’s a monster under my bed that stays up all night to watch while I sleep. She says he’s there to eat me if I get up in the middle of the night.

I used t be afraid. His very existence gave me nightmares for years. I used to wet the bed rather than get up for fear of his wrath.

As I grew older, I started to convince myself that he was just make believe; a lie my mother told me to keep me in line. I was so sure, I got up in the middle of the night to check.

At first, I couldn’t see him in the darkness. But, as my eyes adjusted, he took shape.

Long twisted horns with broken tips and glowing red eyes filled my vision. I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out.

He rushed to me and I saw my short life flash before my eyes. I was sure I’d meet death under that old twin bed.

“Luci, don’t be afraid,” he said in a low growl.

I nodded, though I didn’t believe. He smiled and handed me something. I took it and mumbled a thank you.

“I know you’ll be leaving soon to join the world, and I just want you to know, should you need me, just squeeze this and think of me. I’ll be there soon, okay?”

I smiled and looked at the object in my hand. It was a dead mouse, mumified by years of careful neglect. “Thank you.” This time I meant it.

“My pleasure, sweet bringer of light.”

“Bringer of light?”

He chuckled and it sounded like pain and grinding bones. “It’s what your name means, dear one.”

I heard my mother calling for me. It was time to go. I hugged him and made a mental note to spare him and all his kind.

I no longer fear him, no any beast. I know he’s not a monster. He’s a demon, my demon, and he loves me.