“Under the bed?” Mason repeated what his daughter said. The eight-year-old girl looked embarrassed but nodded. “Aren’t you getting a bit too old for this?” he asked her.
“Yes, daddy,” she whispered quietly. Her soft voice was filled with shame.
“This is the last time I’ll help. You’re a big girl now and next time you handle it yourself.” Mason did not like being hard on his daughter but he did it so his wife did not have to. She was far harsher on the girl. Mason crouched to his knees then adjusted himself to lay on his stomach. He used his phone as a flashlight to illuminate the small pocket of darkness. He jumped slightly when a small, pale face looked at him. His daughter looked exactly like her.
“Daddy, there’s something on top of my bed…” she whispered at him. She looked frightened but her trembling slowed when Mason smiled at her.
“How did you get down here so fast?” he asked. The girl rapidly shook her head.
“No daddy I’ve been here! After I brushed my teeth I got in bed but there was someone there already. I was too scared to run to the door,” she said.
“Are you playing a trick on me?” Mason asked She shook her head vigorously. “So if I look up on the bed you’re saying I’ll see something there?” She nodded. “Alright, here.” Mason reached his hand under the bed and grabbed her tiny hand. “I want to make sure you don’t get up there as fast as you got down here. Here I go…,” Mason sat up on his knees, pulling the girl forward as he did. She still remained mostly under the bed, but she was closer to his side now. He held on to her hand and looked up on the bed. Then he crouched low again and shook his head.
“Nothing there,” he squeezed her hand. “Tomorrow, after you get a good night’s sleep, I want you to tell me how you moved so fast, okay?” He tugged her forward to stand her up on his side. He remained on his knees as she stood up then pulled her in for a hug once she was on her feet. The girl noticed her mother standing at the door; she smiled at waved but her mother looked angry. She leaned against the door frame with her arms crossed and a stern look on her face.
“She’s getting too old for daddy’s help,” her mom said. Mason shook his head and stood up.
“If she wants a bedtime snack, there’s nothing wrong with helping as a favor,” Mason said. The girl looked up at her father when he said ‘snack’ but he kept talking. “But you’re not wrong. We’ve already had that talk, haven’t we?” Mason turned and looked at his daughter. The eight-year-old girl by his side grew even more concerned when she watched her dad look at the bed when he asked, ‘haven’t we?’ She looked at the bed and saw a girl that looked just like her nodding her head with red glowing eyes.