by Betsy Ashton
Not all monsters live under your bed. Some do, but more live out in the open for the world to see but not recognize. Monsters come in all sizes and shapes. Some are drooling troll-like creatures that blither and babble and keep you awake. Some shadow you on your daily tasks, causing you to drop things, run into walls and forget why you walked into a room. There's the big pink bubble gum monster, homeless on the streets, that grabs the sole of your shoe and throws you to the sidewalk.
Greeblings cause cats to go nuts long after midnight. 'Long around four in the morning, our dear kitty, Smokin' Mocha Java, becomes the caffeinated cat from hell. She comes into the bedroom on tippy-paw and chirps to let us know she's fine. Sometimes she chirps a whole bunch of times before we rouse enough to acknowledge the princess's presence. Then, she turns and races down stairs, hits the wet-shoe tray, pounces on her catnip mousie, and runs down the second flight of stairs to the basement. Tiptoe back to the bedroom. Chirp, dash, repeat. Last night was no different, except the greeblings began earlier and lasted longer. I counted at least six iterations of the pattern.
Don't get me wrong, She's not the only one who hears things that aren't there. My house has two spirits who visit occasionally. Odd, because the house was built in 2001, but the land was built much earlier. One spirit is male, the other female. Both are benign. Both speak directly in my head and to characters in my books. Both have spoken to friends who've stayed overnight.
I have this image of the man. Native American. Not a Plains Indian, but not dressed in beads and feathers either. More a Daniel Boone figure in buckskins. Kindly face. Words of wisdom shared with me and some, but not all, of my characters. He's pretty busy, so he doesn't come often. When he does, he nudges me to do or think something new.
The female is a bit more of a cipher. I think she may be an early settler, but she may also be Native American. I've never seen her, but her presence often hovers in my bedroom or office. I never know when I'll feel her until I get a touch of cold air on my neck. I mean, the coldest air imaginable. That's when I know she's in residence. I welcome her touch, now that I've learned it can't hurt me.
Once when she came late in the evening, Mocha came out of a deep sleep, all puffy-tailed, on guard against the thing that didn't go bump that night. After a few seconds, she walked over to the corner of the room and sat down. Tail unpuffed. She stared upwards. I know she was hearing, "here, kitty, kitty."