She lay under her covers, shaking. The covers were pulled all the way up her face and she peered over the edge of them, toward the closet door.
It was open, just a little. And she knew what was behind it. What had always been behind it, for as long as she could remember. The reason she never went in there, why her mom still needed to get her coat for her. She knew what lived in her closet.
She knew, and she called her dad anyway.
"What is it, princess?" he asked softly as he came in. "Did you have a bad dream?"
Hardly. She'd woken from a particularly lovely dream, only to find... it perched at the end of her bed. It had been staring at her, like it often did. She usually closed her eyes and it would go away. It had only ever just watched her. But this time it had spoken to her. It told her to scream.
She'd screamed for her daddy. And now he was here, and she knew why it had told her to scream.
"Nuh-no, Daddy," she said, trying to calm down. If she could keep him away from the closet, maybe even get him to take her back to bed with him and mom.
The closet door creaked. Her dad looked over at it.
"Aw, was it this creaky old door? No, honey, look," he opened the door wide, looking back at her. "It's just your close--"
He was pulled up into the closet. She heard a muffled scream and his feet kicking the wall of the closet and then nothing.
She lay in the dark for a very long time, and nothing happened. She sobbed silently and tears streamed down her face. She wanted her mother. Wanted her so badly but didn't dare call her.
Then, it came out the top of her closet, skittering across her ceiling and down the wall behind her bed. It sat perched on the wall above her head, reached down and roughly wiped her tears away with a scaly dry thumb. Her sobs increased, and she clutched the covers to her.
It climbed down over her to the foot of her bed, where it perched again and told her to do something else. Then it crawled down under her bed. It lay under her bed, directly beneath her and talked to her. Whispered horrible things. Told her it had her daddy under there with it. And that he might still be alive.
So she screamed. Screamed for her mother.