In My Room by Monica Brinkman

Monica BrinkmanMonica


She sat on the overstuffed beige couch, legs pulled to one side; head nestled against her mother’s soft shoulder. She normally looked forward to the Sunday night ritual of watching re-runs of America’s Got Talent or The Voice. This evening all Justine could think of was the tick of the clock as it inched closer to the hour mark. A scowl, a lifted brow and a deep sigh brought no response from her mother who was captivated, eyes intently staring at the latest daredevil performer vying for a chance in Las Vegas. Click, click, click, sounded the clock’s metal hands as seconds turned into minutes; there was no escaping the inevitable turn of time.


It was always there. Stealthily creeping closer, beckoning her to acknowledge its existence, calling her to its side. Justine buried her head deeper into her mother’s warm body, hoping she’d find protection, yet knowing there was none.


“Come on baby, time for bed.”


The child’s eyes grew wide as she heard the clock’s ninth chime.


“Mamma, may I stay up just a little bit more, I’m not tired at all.” Justine conjured up the most pitiful, sorrowful face, wanting so much for her mother to give in to her wishes.


“Sorry sweetie. You have school tomorrow and we can’t have you falling asleep in class.  Now go brush your teeth and wash your face. I’ll be there shortly to tuck you in.”


With a deep moan, Justine rose from the couch and padded into the bathroom located between her bedroom and her parents’ room. She could feel its presence waiting outside the bathroom door. Muffling a sob, Justine slowly brushed each tooth twenty times and ran the soapy washcloth against her pale white-skinned face, taking extra time to rinse the suds off and pat her skin dry.


Her mother called from Justine’s bedroom, “Honey, hurry up.”


“Okay Mamma, I’m coming.” Justine took a deep breath, exhaled and entered the light-filled room, hurriedly jumped into her small twin bed, sliding her thin body under the blue and yellow pastel colored sheets.


“Did you go potty?” asked her mother as she pulled the sheets over Justine’s body and up to her chin.


“Yes Mamma.” The young girl surveyed the room and finding nothing alarming, she snuggled deeper into the soft covers, ready to fall off to sleep. Her mother placed a kiss on her forehead, rose and walked to the doorway, stopping to look back at her daughter, blew her another kiss, turned off the light and closed the bedroom door.


Justine felt a weight settle onto the foot of her bed. Don’t look, she told herself. It’s not real. It’s my ‘magination.  She felt the weight slink upward until it was right next to her face. She could feel a cool breath blow against her left ear. An icy hand touched her face and stroked her hair, as shivers of fear ran throughout her entire body. She was not going to look; not this time, not ever again. No one believed her anyway.


She shut her eyes even tighter, buried her head into the pillow and realized it would be there…today…tomorrow…for eternity.


Author: Monica M Brinkman, 2013


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33 thoughts on “In My Room by Monica Brinkman

  1. Linda Hales

    Is this every child’s reality? We know they have monsters in their closets but on the plus side, they also have imaginary playmates. Maybe when she awakens each morning and realizes that she is still intact, she will tell her fears to get lost. Now – sixth sense is a different kind of scary – they are visual and audible – not just palpable. I love that her life is so normal and loving which contrasts with the fear buildup but hope that Part 2 will give some kind of climax!
    Great piece Monica!

  2. Marta Merajver-Kurlat

    A masterful piece showing how normality and horror can inhabit a child’s world, to which loving parents seem to have no clue. When our children feel reluctant to go to bed, why do we forget we went through similar experiences at their age?

  3. Martha Love

    This story does make you wonder how many children feel like “no one believes me”. That is the real horror of the story, that children feel so all alone with their imaginations. Thank you for this story, Monica.

  4. Clayton Bye Post author

    Great Story. It reminds me of my childhood when I had to fetch water during an evening. The pump was at the bottom of the hill, pushed right up against old growth forest. I was convinced there were creatures that always watched me as I pumped the water, wondering whether this would be the time they would take me and eat me. I couldn’t run with a full two gallon pail of water, but I sure could walk fast, and never once did I look back into the dark.

  5. Micki Peluso

    Monica, great story that really hits home. When I was sent to bed as a child I saw a black shadow line of darness surround my bed, terrifying me. It was surly the Devil. I had a little cross that illuminated when placed near a lamp and stared at it until I fell asleep–in the middle of the bed, sure to keep legs and arms tucked in.

    1. Monica Brinkman

      Ah, don’t know about the Devil but in the house and town I grew up as a child, very strange occurrences took place. In fact, the house across the street from us was the topic of many a news article on poltergeists. I am happy the cross kept you safe and snug. And then we have the fear of the proverbial ‘monster under the bed’. Ah, to be a child.

  6. Sharla

    Of course you realize you gave us just enough of the story to whet our appetite for more! Great write and so typical of childhood experiences. Your words captured the essence of the little girl’s fear, not only the actual encounter but the fear that no one believes it is there, it is real, it is not ‘magination. Looking forward to the ‘rest of the story’!

  7. Anne Sweazy-Kulju

    Monica, I think you have perfectly captured the average child’s night terror! Alas, my daughter was not raised in the average home. Instead, she grew up in a ghost-filled Victorian mansion on the Oregon coast. We ran a B&B out of it. We acknowledged the ghosts, since there was no escaping them–but she still had to go to bed in her own room each night. I think it helped her that mom, grandpa, aunts and an uncle, all had ghostly experiences in the Inn, as did many a guest. Every experience was friendly and quite non-threatening. But I still marvel at how my little 4 year old climbed into her bed each night, not just believing but knowing she was not alone in her room, and yet she turned out so… normal. She considered them her guardian angels, and perhaps they were. (Imagine that!) This story, written in such an easy, Americana style, really stoked some childhood nostalgia for me. Thanks!

    1. Monica Brinkman

      Ann, Thank you for sharing your experience living in a haunted residence with us. I used to shy away from mentioning the spirits I grew up with for fear of retribution. Many people who have not had actual encounters put labels on those who speak up as they cannot understand that it is a reality for those who live with these souls. Appreciate your words.

  8. Diane M Denton

    It is the non-graphic qualities that make this piece so supenseful, Monica. Despite being short it moves slowly into the fear of the child and love how it blurs the lines between imagination and reality that is so much a part of most children’s lives. Wonderful piece of writing!

  9. Cherrye S. Vasquez

    Poor baby!

    I wanted to shake mommy and tell her to just crawl into the bed with Justine for just little while until she fell asleep, and until this time in her life would surely pass away.

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