Tap Tap Tap - Fantasy WarriorOriginally published on reddit

Billy clutched at the blanket covering his face and listened cautiously. Tap Tap Tap…he slowly lowered the blanket and lifted his head up as his swollen eyes scanned the dark room looking for the source of the sound. *Tap Tap Tap…*he turned his head to face the closet at the opposite end of the room. It was unmistakable. Something was tapping at its door.

His eyes followed the length of the door down to the illuminated gap. Although he always made sure to turn off the light before going to bed, he noticed that it was on.

Tap Tap Tap…

Billy pulled the blanket up to his chest as every tap from the closet sent chills down his spine and made his hair stand on end. The cold air filled his bedroom as the deafening silence was interrupted by three soft taps followed by a pause.

Tap Tap Tap…

His eyes moved away from the door and found Rufus’ bed in the corner of the room. The Great Dane was sound asleep. Billy squinted his eyes in the dark trying to make out the outline of his sleeping dog, watching as his chest rose with every breath and a faint grunt escaped his mouth.

Scratch Scratch Scratch…

Billy whipped his head away from Rufus’ bed, and stared at the closet door as the soft tapping turned to violent scratching. His eyes filled with tears and he pursed his lips, trying his best not to make a sound. His body shivered as the tears rolled down his cheeks. He didn’t know what to do. He considered lying back in bed with the blanket covering his whole body, ignoring the sinister sounds at his closet door. After all, the monsters couldn’t get him as long as he was fully covered by his Captain America blanket. No feet or arms sticking out. Completely safe and sound in his bed protected by an armor of knitted wool.

Scratch Scratch Scratch….

He looked away from the door to face Rufus, focused on the sleeping dog’s breathing and low grunts to comfort him. He softly called out to his best friend. His voice shook and tears still rolled down his cheeks.

“Rrrr..ru..fuu…s…”, he stuttered.

He hoped that his trusty companion would be awakened by the mysterious scratching and rush to his aid. After all, Rufus has always been there for him. He considered him his closest friend, having had him as a companion for as long as he could remember. While the 180llbs dog intimidated many, Rufus was friendly and sweet. He would only grow violent if he sensed that Billy was threatened.

Scratch Scratch Scratch….

Billy’s head turned back to the closet door as the scratching grew louder. His body shook as he let out another faint cry, “Rrr…rufus, ccc…ome hhh…ere bbb…oy”

Rufus was still sound asleep, unalarmed by his terrified companion’s plea.

Billy knew what he had to do. He needed Rufus at his side to comfort him. With his tear-filled eyes still fixated at the closet door and his ears listening intently for any movement or faint sounds, he reached for the nightstand to his right. His hand rummaged blindly in the dark, feeling for the soft texture. He always kept that stuffed monkey within an arm’s reach in case he needed to call out to Rufus at night. That silly dog loved his toy, Nojo; a yellow, round, and plump stuffed monkey that would let out a ridiculous giggling sound when squeezed.

Scratch Scratch Scratch….

Billy fumbled to find the stuffed toy, eyes still looking blankly ahead. His hand traced every inch of the nightstand until his fingers detected the fluffy texture. Relieved, Billy grabbed the toy firmly and yanked it.

A loud cackle erupted and filled the silence causing the young boy to freeze as his blood ran cold.

He looked down at the stuffed toy in his hands and realized that he had squeezed the red heart patch stitched across Nojo’s chest.

SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH…

The scratching grew louder and more violent as the toy in Billy’s hands laughed maniacally. The door began to shake. The young boy looked up at the closet and sobbed. More tears filled his eyes distorting his vision and turning the room around him into a blurry nightmare.

He squeezed the toy again, hoping that Rufus would hear Nojo’s laughs and wake up to his rescue. With every squeeze, the toy let out a blood-curling laugh, and the scratching at the closet door grew louder.

With every scratch came a violent growl. It sounded like a crazed wild animal. No…not an animal. Something evil. A beast. Yes, like a crazed beast scratching at his closet door and growling.

In the corner of his eye, Billy saw Rufus awaken and make his way to the bed. Still reluctant to look away from the closet door, the young boy felt the mattress beneath him shift as the Great Dane crawled up underneath the blanket and rested his head on Billy’s lap.

The boy sighed with relief.

SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH….

His whole body shook as a faint cry escaped his tightly pursed lips. He couldn’t just hide under his blanket and hope that whatever was scratching at the door would just leave. He stroked Rufus’s fur and placed Nojo next to him. It was time to face the source of the sound. He swung his legs to the side of the bed and stood up, still grasping onto his blanket.

He tiptoed slowly, dragging the blanket behind him. The short journey from the bed to the closet felt like an eternity. Every step he took brought him closer to a nightmare. He came to a stop inches away from the door and hesitated. He pressed his ear against the wooden texture, and listened closely. No sounds came from the other side, it was as if the scratching and tapping had ceased all-together. His hand reached out and grabbed the handle, turning it gently, hoping to see nothing but his clothes hanging in there. “There’s no such thing as monsters”, he thought to himself*, “It’s all in your head”.* And with that, Billy yanked the door open.

Standing in front of him was Rufus.

The boy froze. A chill ran down his back as he saw his dog’s eyes widen and his growls turn to whimpers.

It only took him a few seconds to realize that Rufus’ eyes weren’t fixated on him.

As he slowly turned his head, he heard a creak from the bed behind him…followed by three soft taps.

Tap Tap Tap…

________________________

 

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