True Mathematics “After Dark”
 Whodini “Freaks Come Out At Night”
 Lovebug Starski “Amityville (The House On The Hill)”
 Run DMC “Run’s House”
Hands up if you had a monster in your closet when you were a child. I certainly did, in fact, I had a whole host of ghoulies, ghosties, and long-legged beasties and every last one of them went bump in the night. Don’t even get me started on the motley crew under my bed either. Back in primary school I was praised for my imagination and gladly took any accolades going. However, as night drew in, that blessing swiftly became a curse and it’s a wonder I got so much as a wink of sleep. Of course, the strain of succubus my little mind concocted were never anything less than bizarre and would come a cropper in an identity parade thanks to all manner of distinguishing features. Eyes traditionally came in clusters of eight, limbs were nothing like the kind they mass produce stockings for, and no thesaurus in the world would have been able to make a single lick of sense out of their dialect. Bottom line was this: I asked for freaks and that was precisely what I got. And we all know when freaks come out.
I often didn’t help my cause by watching so many movies that I had no place whatsoever viewing, often through the slender crack in the lounge door. Being a child of Hammer and Amicus, I was never short of inspiration and they had plentiful flag bearers in their horrific armory. That said, none of them ever made it as far as my closet. This was reserved for the more distinctive creatures, the likes of whom hadn’t yet been patented. Take away Count Dracula’s fangs and he’s little more than a well-dressed letch, subtract Frankenstein’s neck bolt and he’s as harmless looking as a kitten plucked straight from the litter, and The Wolf Man may be a vicious killer but only if you bury his bone too deep. Then you had the kind of specters lurking in my dark recesses and there was no mistaking them as everyday citizens. Tendrils seemed to be quite in vogue and they were the first thing to come slithering out after lights out. I would preempt this by leaping from the doorway to the safe confines of my bed and not allowing my feet to hit the floor so much as once, in case one of these worrisome wrigglers snagged me with their suckers.
A quick under the bed check was mandatory and the emphasis here was firmly on speedy. Once satisfied, I was halfway home, but safety precautions still had to be taken. I’m not altogether sure what makes small children think that they’re safe beneath bed linen but it got me through some decidedly tight squeezes. The key here is in leaving not a solitary opening for any undesirables to slip in unnoticed. One must construct themselves a fortress so formidable that no creature in their wrong mind would even think of forming an attack. It’s laughable really, had Monster #42 have decided to test out his 10,000 teeth, then I’m fairly assured I would have been acid reflux before dawn. However, beneath those sheets, I felt secure and completely safeguarded against sneak attacks. Oxygen was in scant supply and passing out a distinct possibility, but being eaten alive wasn’t. However, the moment I was forced into coming up for air or got complacent, game was straight back on, and I burrowed back inside before my bones received a good slathering.
This went on for a number of years, perhaps an unhealthy quota as I have been known to erect my fort even now thanks to the occasional horror movie that actually gets it bang on the money. As I have grown older, my designated monsters have matured also. None of them have got any prettier mind and I’m pretty sure they haven’t bathed in over thirty years. It’s hard to explain what they look like as each of them has their own unique quirks. That said, there is this one spook, a real ugly heathen, who appears to act as their ringleader and the sight of this towering inferno is the whole reason I smuggle eye drops to bed night after night. You see, he has to be ten feet tall. No small feat when you consider that my closet is little more than half that height. Heaven knows the kind of orthopedic problems this particular arch-fiend is going to suffer in later life, as his crooked posture is clearly doing him no favors. The moment I hear that infernal groan, I know he’s making an appearance, and likely cursing all the pint-sized critters scurrying past his ankles with contorted smiles on their faces, as he attempts to navigate the tight crawlspace, hitting every last fixture and fitting on the way through.
I’m no fool. Chances are, he’ll be mighty pissed off by the time he gets to stretch those abnormally long legs, and that’s where trusty bed linen still comes in handy even now. I’ve caught the odd glimpse of his face and have to say that it’s rather uninspired for the leader of a monstrous militia. Effectively an old man, he is bereft of distinguishing features other than the customary elongated nostrils sprouting random white hairs and eyes so sunken that The Goonies are busy drawing up a treasure map to plunder those peepers. By all accounts, he’s your average geriatric but this just makes him all the more terrifying. You see, it is proven fact that humans shrink with age. Even the Harlem Globetrotters steadily relinquish their vertical stature once the sands of time start filtering through the hourglass. Thus a ten-foot man at the foot of my bed after dark is not a presence I wish to entertain, much less feel. As for his minions, well they can all carry on grinding their teeth for all I care, as I’m not stepping a foot outside my fortress until sunrise.
The real mystery is that I’ve checked my closet during daylight hours on a number of occasions and there appears to be no entry point for these unwelcome trespassers. This suggests some kind of portal that only opens up once my head hits the pillow and I just wish they’d pitched it somewhere else like a busy freeway or fast crumbling cliff ledge. Why here? Why me? Does my blood taste different to over seven billion others? Have I done something to upset the order? How was I to know that playing Slayer’s God Hates Us All LP backwards summons gnarled unsavories from the very pits of hell? I listen to Duran Duran too but you don’t see Simon Le Bon bounding from my closet to sign my leg cast. I even went as far as erasing my pentagram and released Garry The Goat from captivity without a solitary strand of gruff fluff on his chinny chin chin tampered with. Perhaps that’s it you know, the gods are evidently requesting a sacrifice to sate their blood lust and I habitually keep coming up short. Does anyone have a small mammal or pretty young virgin spare? Anything to appease the ten-foot man and his entourage.
Anyhoots, my demons equates to my problems, and I don’t wish to burden you with the skeletons in my closet when you likely have your own to fend off nightly. Besides, I’ve made it this far without being digested, and don’t foresee any issues until the obligatory mid-fifties knee replacement. When you consider that three of my strides is still dwarfed by a solitary step from my head monster, the last thing I need is a three-month recovery period. Methinks I shall remain bed bound all that time, set up my fortress, watch the entire Hobbit trilogy every day like clockwork, and keep my head down wherever possible. Eventually they’re bound to grow weary of standing around flailing their tentacles. The moment that happens, I’m nailing my closet shut before the changing of the guard can be facilitated. I’ve heard that spectres can grow to almost thirteen-feet tall and fear that my teetering ticker won’t be able to endure any more upgrades. As for beneath my bed, well I’m already one step ahead there. You see, I no longer have the immigrant space available thanks to a bunk with no underneath to speak of. That was the first thing on my Christmas list after watching Poltergeist and I’ll always be indebted to that clown for his midnight wanderlust.
Of course, Tobe Hooper’s film also planted another seed that I find hard to shake and said kernel grew into a horribly twisted tree that taps menacingly at my bedroom window each time the gales arrive. It’s one thing having a road to perdition running directly through your closet, but entirely another when mother nature has entered into a tryst with him downstairs. I’ve checked and double checked any relevent paperwork and my house wasn’t erected on any ancient Indian burial grounds so I suspect I’m just dreadfully unfortunate. On the plus side, the ten-foot man is rather a dab hand at brushing away the cobwebs so boudoir arachnids are something I don’t have to concern myself with. Someone once suggested that we swallow a handful of these eight legged freaks every calendar year as we slumber and, while this has since been disproved, I’m still not taking any chances. The idea of having eggs laid in my brain never particularly appealed and is another reason why my bed sheet citadel has come in so handy. Spiders are fine as long as their spindly legs account for over 50% of their overall body mass. However, anything with a booty more bodacious than the size of a high street cashew, and it’s hoover time baby.
The whole glass and paper trick is too dicey in such circumstances and I just can’t bring myself to snuff out one of God’s little creatures unceremoniously so vacuum is the only way in my book. Granted, chances are they will perish during transit, but at least I’m not left with blood and entrails on my rolled up copy of Hustler. It’s a little flawed when you think of it as they probably wait until your back is turned and scurry back out of their trappings. Not if you have some duct tape handy however. Damn right, I seal that shit up, and who can blame me considering the other perils I have to deal with? Sometimes I wonder whether it would be more shrewd not sleeping in the first place but I’ve heard what lack of rest can do to a man and World of Warcraft is the first online videogame ever to have its own dedicated obituary thanks to folk pulling one too many all-nighters. The whole fortress gig has worked thus far so I see no reason to go changing the habit of a lifetime.
Therefore, if you should need me between the hours of 12.00am and 8.00am, you’ll know precisely where to find me. Ignore any rhythmic movements emanating from beneath the linen, I’m just polishing my mother’s cutlery and doing so thoroughly to boot. There just aren’t sufficient hours in the day to get those spoons and forks gleaming so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Honestly there is nothing untoward occurring under here and the whole process only takes around six and a half minutes. Don’t be startled if I sound like I’m in discomfort for the last few seconds, those repetitive strain injuries are a bitch on deep heat and mom’s very particular about her shiny tableware so I polish that shit until I’m red in the face. I also ask that you provide me a few moments afterwards to recompose myself as all this rigorous exertion sure does take it out of you. While you’re waiting at the drawbridge, feel free to take a stroll around my moat, but I’d advise against washing your face in its milky stream. Second thoughts, I hear it’s good for the complexion. Nighty night.