Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Tuesday Teaser - new book started! No title as of yet.


***Trigger Warning***

Warning for child abuse. It does NOT actually take place in what you are about to read. But be warned that events are leading up to it happening... before something stops it. But the tension and fear is there, but again, it DOES NOT actually happen.

I don't want to trigger anyone, but this little bit needs to happen for the story to make sense later.

You could scroll down to where is says “No, he isn’t.” and be safe, I think. Notice I said 'I think'! The threat is over by then, but use your best judgement.






AUSTIN CLIMBED into bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. He stared at the bedroom door, willing it to stay closed. Time dragged by and nothing happened. Had he gotten lucky? 

Maybe that slap from earlier was enough to satisfy his father.

Eventually his heart stopped beating so hard. He yawned, then yawned again. He needed to stay awake, he really did, but eventually his eyes grew too heavy. 

Just as he drifted off, he could’ve sworn he felt a gentle breeze in his room. Which was odd. He hadn’t heard the air conditioning kick on.

A LOUD crash startled him awake. Confused, and still half asleep, he sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes. Another crash came from downstairs, along with bad words. His tummy cramped. The words were slightly slurred, and the tone was angry.

Footsteps stomped up the stairs. 

Should he run? Maybe he could get past his father and hide somewhere in the house. He’d done that before. But was there enough time? Maybe he should just run out the front door and keep going.

How near was his father? Austin’s breath all but strangled in his chest when he heard the muttering getting closer. Tears welled in his eyes, and he frantically wiped at them. Crying only made his father madder. 

Throwing the covers back, he scrambled out of the bed and fell to the floor. He whimpered at the pain then crammed his fist into his mouth. Quiet. He had to be quiet.

The muttering was getting louder. It was too late to run.

Hiding under the bed was stupid. He knew it was stupid, but still he thought about it. His father would simply pull him out, kicking and screaming. He’d done it before. Same with the closet. There was nowhere to hide. Nowhere was safe.

Trembling, he stared at the door. “He’s gonna whoop me. He’s gonna whoop me so bad.”

“No, he isn’t.”

Austin froze. 

“Get back in the bed. Hide under the covers, and no matter what, don’t look. Promise me, Austin.”

The voice was coming from underneath his bed, and it was speaking to him. Eyes wide, he stared at the darkness underneath it. 

There was a monster under his bed! And it knew his name! He wasn’t sure if he wanted to scream or throw up. Maybe both. His chest hurt, and he couldn’t swallow. He whimpered. Monsters were real. They were real, and one was in his room with him. What was it going to do to him? Was it… was it going to—

“Oh, hey, no. None of that! I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe.”

Nowhere was safe. Never had been. 

“I promise.”

He’d had promises broken before. Was there… was there something moving under there? He leaned closer to the floor.

“No peeking.”

Austin’s head jerked up. How had it known? His breathing increased. Had he made it mad by not minding? “I’m sorry! Don’t… don’t….”

“Oh, sweet boy, I’m not mad. I just don’t want you to see me. You’re not ready.”

Sweet boy. No one called him cute names like that. Other moms and dads did, but not his father. “Then… then are you… are you a good monster or a bad monster?”

Soft laughter floated out from underneath the bed. “I’m whatever you want me to be.”

Tears dripped down Austin’s face. He was so tired of being scared and hurt. “I don’t want to get a whooping, Mr. Monster.” His father’s belt really hurt. Sometimes he had problems sitting afterward.

“Would you like me to make him stop? Permanently?”

There was a creak outside his door. Oh no. His father was there. 

“Permanently?” Austin asked. “Do you mean…?”

“Would you like for your father to join your mother in Heaven?”

Dead. The monster was asking if Austin wanted his father dead. He was old enough to understand what the monster was asking him. For a split second, he thought about it. But… that was the only father he had.

“Don’t… don’t kill him, please. Just, maybe, make him leave me alone? Please? Maybe scare him some too,” Austin added as an afterthough.

“Are you sure?”

“No killing, Mr. Monster. My grandparents suck too.”

Another laugh drifted out from underneath the bed. “Mr. Monster. I like that. 

“Is that okay?”

“Yes. I’m your monster.”

“Cool!” He had his very own monster.

“Back into the bed. And remember, no looking.”

Austin did as he was told. This was crazy. Completely insane. Maybe his father was already in his room beating on him, and he was just dreaming this. Huh.

“Is this a dream?” Austin asked.


Of course the monster in the dream would say it wasn’t a dream. “Oh. It feels like it. Will I ever see you again? You said you were my monster.”

“I will always be near, sweet boy.”

Right before he covered his head, the night-light showed the handle to his bedroom door turning—another thing his father would get mad about. According to him, Austin shouldn’t need such. He was a big boy, after all.

Austin jerked the covers over him and hunkered down as his bedroom door flew open. It slammed against the wall, and every muscle in Austin’s body locked up. It sounded like his father was mad. Really, really mad.

“Austin, get your worthless ass out from under the—”

His father’s angry tirade abruptly ended in a terrified scream. Something crashed to the floor, which was then followed by a choking sound. And a low growl. There was heavy breathing, gagging, and a high-pitched whine. 

“Not so brave when confront by something bigger and badder, now are you?”

Austin heard wheezing. He didn’t think it was his monster.

“I should pop your eyes out and make you eat them.”

Okay, that was gross. A strangled scream echoed through the room. Guess his father thought so too.

“Then cut off the hands that have abuse that boy.”

Yuck. That was gross too.

“As much as I would like to choke the very life out of you, I’m not going to. I… well. Pissed yourself, huh? That didn’t take long.”

Austin snickered. His monster made his father pee himself. He loved it! 

“And now you’re turning blue. Humans! You all are so delicate. It doesn’t take much to beak your kind.”

There was gurgling, then a thump. A small cry drifted up from the floor.  

“What… what are you?”

There was no missing how raspy and strained his father’s voice sounded. 

“I am the shadow that lurks in the darkness. Take heed, human. I’ll be watching you. That child is now mine to protect.”

“I-I… what?”

“Never hurt him again. Can your alcohol-soaked brain comprehend that? Speak cruelly to him and lose your tongue. Leave bruises on him and lose your hands. Look at him with ill intent and lose your eyes. I will take you apart piece by piece all while you are still alive and begging for mercy.” 

“Oh God, oh my God, yes, yes, I understand! I’ll never lift a hand to him again. I swear!”

“See that you don’t. Now leave his room. Never come in here again unless Austin gives you permission. Go!”

His father’s scream was hoarse, but the pounding of feet was loud and fast. Austin giggled. Oh, how he’d like to have seen his father scared shitless. 

Austin started to lift the cover, but a hand settled on top of the bedspread and gently held it in place. “No, sweet boy. You don’t need to see me.”

“Okay, but I really want to.” Austin tried to peek past the edge of the bedspread. He thought he caught a glimpse of pitch-black skin and long black nails. “Are you really real?”

“I am really real.”

“Will you tell me what you are?”

“I am exactly what I told your father—the shadow that lurks in the darkness. I will be watching you, Austin. You’re mine.”