There were no monsters under my bed that night. No demons keeping me awake. The shadows dancing across my ceiling were, surprisingly, only shadows. Sleep came easily to me and I welcomed it.
In fact, there were no monsters lurking in any of our rooms that night. For on that night the beasts were gathering in a cloud outside in the darkness. And in our beds, blinded by the promise of a single night’s peace, we were wrapped snugly in the calm before our most fearsome storm and rocked gently to sleep before it tore our sky in two.
None of us stirred when the air shifted restlessly and grew thick with menace, or when the changing winds grew violent in the distance. Not a sound could be heard. Not the surprised howling of the air, not the trees being torn aggressively from side to side, not the singular piercing strike of lightning that brought an end to the storm’s rage, or even the deafening thunder that filled the night and lingered in the sudden cold silence.
No, none of us witnessed the storm they brought, nor do we know how far it was from where we lay. We only know that we rose with confusion from our beds the next morning to lives that would be forever fractured, strewn in the aftermath of an act both so senseless and so calculated that it left barely a trace of what it came to take.
….. only his bed, still perfectly made….. his closet still filled with clothes…. His car parked, abandoned, in a strange part of town…. And a search that has never ended.