Peter called the monster under his bed ‘Muffin’, after its favourite food. Muffin also liked apple cores, cookies, and ham sandwiches. Not the crusts though, he tossed those back on the covers.
Dad checked under Peter’s bed with a torch each night before bedtime.
Mum sprayed her special ‘Monster Repellent’, which Peter knew was really vanilla air freshener.
But the monster was still there, waiting for him to fall asleep so it could break his toys and steal his socks and who knew what else.
Finally, he decided the only way to get any peace was to set a trap. He'd have to set it up early, while the monster was asleep.
The next morning, he snuck into the laundry and tipped all the clean towels out of the basket. Mum wouldn’t be happy, but it was worth it to catch the monster.
Next, he took one of Dad’s golf clubs from the hallway cupboard. Dad only played on Sundays, so he had plenty of time to return it.
Then he tip-toed into his sister’s room and cut a piece of wool from the ball she was using to knit a hat for her doll. The doll had a tiny head, it wouldn’t be missed.
Now, he needed bait. Last night’s roast? Too smelly. A piece of broccoli? Too disgusting. A honey sandwich? Too sticky. He remembered the muffins Mum baked yesterday. Perfect! He took two – one for bait and one for breakfast.
He was ready.
Back in his room, he assembled the trap. Tying one end of the wool around the golf club, he balanced the upside-down laundry basket on top. He placed one of the muffins under the trap and hid in the wardrobe, the other end of the wool in his hand.
Leaving the door open a crack, he could see the trap perfectly and, with just one tug on the wool, he could bring the basket crashing down, trapping the monster underneath. He munched on his muffin and settled down to wait.
Soon he heard a strange snuffling sound from under the bed. The monster had smelled the bait. Slowly, very slowly, it emerged. It was the size of a cat, covered in blue fur, with a thick puffy tail like a squirrel.
When it reached the muffin, Peter pulled the wool, and, with a thud and a squeal, the monster was trapped! He leapt out of the closet and peered under the basket at his prisoner.
The monster’s mouth opened, revealing jagged white fangs. “Mummy!”
Did monsters have mummies? The monster started to cry. It was more scared of him than he was of it.
Feeling guilty, and before he could change his mind, he flipped the basket over. The monster shuffled back under the bed, its yellow eyes staring out.
Peter picked up the muffin and rolled it into the darkness. He smiled when he heard the sound of munching.
Maybe the monster under his bed wasn’t so scary after all.
B. L. Draper lives in northern Australia where she teaches for money and writes for love. She enjoys writing stories for children that enrich their imaginations and inspire in them a life-long love of reading. She can be found at her website, Treekeeping.
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