Monsters! By: Owen Merrill

Chuck is on his computer on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. He is eating hot pockets and playing Call of Halo on his iWindows PS360. As he fends off orcs and zombies, he contemplates what his life could be like if his past was different…

The moon was rising and the boys in the cabin were quieting down. Bunk bed after bunk bed littered the room. It smelled dusty, cramped, and kind of moldy. Bugs were crawling on the floor and some children sneezed, as they were not prepared for the cold weather. A few of the kids were already asleep and one was snoring. But put all that aside, and Outdoor Ed is a good time. For most people, at least.

Chuck had been painfully holding in gas all night in the attempt not to weaken his heart and, OF COURSE, not to embarrass himself among the kids. He was a teacher at Romona Elementary school, and was despised by the children because of his short temper. Some 4th graders call him "unpopular."

It was a full moon tonight, and everybody had heard and spread rumors about monsters roaming the camp on nights like this one. Windy, foggy, and most of all, below zero. It was a strange phenomenon for the temperature to drop like this in the fall. The windows crackled and sizzled as the freezing temperatures reached them. It took a while, but Chuck fell asleep.

A huge "disturbance" woke up Chuck in the middle of the night. He grasped his heart and forgot to breathe for several seconds. But for some reason, he heard no laughing fits, no chuckling students, and strangest of all, no muffled giggles. As he rose to see what was happening, he peered outside the window. There was a campfire. Those rotten kids. He thought. This was his first "Outdoor Ed," after all, and he was not aware of how they would behave. Chuck was ready to go bust them. He was on the lower bunk, and he jumped off. Keep in mind he is 289 pounds and 5’4”. As Chuck fell to the floor like a cannonball, the cold cement greeted him. Ooh. You are in HUGE trouble now…

He stepped in his shoes and nearly shouted. It was the most uncomfortable feeling he had ever experienced. Chuck assumed it had been raw eggs from breakfast the previous morning and the kids were playing pranks on him, but he wasn't entirely sure what the mystery substance was. Instead of using his shoes, he decided to go barefoot. He wouldn’t let that hold him back, he would take it as a sign. A motivation, per se. Which is why he reached into his bag and grabbed his ruler. Oh yes. The metal greeted his hand. And a smile was forming on his face.

Chuck could not wait to slap some sense into those kids and discipline them the old fashioned way. Deep down he knew he would get in trouble with the board of education, but at this point, the kids had done too much. He no longer cared. He was going to march right up to them and punch each one of them square in the gut. Then Chuck would drag them by the hair straight into the cabin and hit them with the ruler, soon afterwards he would lecture them all night, not allowing them to sleep. To him, a child NEEDS molding like this in order to mature into a graceful, civilized, and perfect adult. That was how Chuck was raised, after all. He opened up the cheap wooden door and a shrill scream could be heard throughout the entire campsite.

A group of adult sized things marched around the blazing tower. The monsters turned towards Chuck at that moment, so he got a good look at them. Some were hairy, some were slimy. Some were tall, some were short. Some of their eyes were green, some blue, some yellow, and some nonexistent. But one thing they all had in common: their teeth were blood red. Chuck could only imagine the horrible and extremely violent things the monsters had done to the children. THE CHILDREN! He thought, What happened to them? Chuck couldn't see any skeletons, any clothes, any anything that resembled what a 4th grader may have carried. They must've eaten them whole.

The monsters and the Chuck stood there, both refusing to budge. It was as if everything else in the universe halted and was waiting. They studied each other and tried to predict the next move. It must have been at least 5 minutes until Chuck's heart started to give way.

Tears flooded his eyes as he staggered around in a circle. He threw the ruler blindly in the direction of the things and fell to the ground. It was either get up and stumble towards the monsters, or crawl into the forest. Chuck chose the forest. As he stumbled away, he knew the monsters had started to chase him because of the cracking and snapping of the branches around him. Chuck reached forward with his hand and tried to find a place to rest it, but he couldn't. More shrieks that sent shivers down the spines of everybody in a five mile radius. The screams turned to shouts, turned to whimpers, turned to silence. Chuck no longer wished to escape. All he wished was that he could find the strength to yell out and alert the creatures of his whereabouts. As a monster ran up to him and lifted Chuck up in his cold, slimy arms, Chuck's eyes got heavy. He was prepared to be prepared...

The following morning I awakened in a pearl white room."Wha am'y?" I asked. "WHA AM'Y?!" A nurse rushed into the room, "sir! Are you feeling alright?"

"Wha- Wae- Where... am... I?"

"Sir, you are in a hospital. What is your name?"

I didn’t respond.

"Sir, can you tell me your name?"

"Chuck."

"Ok. Chuck. You had a heart attack last night. You were taken to this hospital by a mysterious man who asked me to give you this note as soon as you woke up. He said it was urgent."

"Did you happen to see his face?"

"I didn't but I'm sure somebody else-"

"Gimme that!" I seized the letter out of the nurse's hand and ripped it open:

I couldn’t believe it. It must have been a dream. It felt as if another heart attack was brewing inside of poor old me. I was too weak to do anything at this point, besides think. Think about how sorry I am for all of those children, devoured by those beasts. They did not deserve that. But I couldn’t quite put my finger, though, on why they decided to spare me.

***

Chuck, also known as the ChuckMeister34, now lives in the attic he rented from a stranger’s house. The Board of Education decided that teaching wasn’t the best job for him, so he decided to throw away his past life and start a new hobby: gaming. He now regrets treating kid’s the way he did as an educator, so he decided to turn away from children altogether. As for the fourth graders from last fall, well they were hiding in the bathroom of the cabin all along. And the monsters didn’t have blood in their teeth. It was simply ketchup. Lots and lots of ketchup. But Chuck learned one VERY important lesson on that fateful Outdoor Ed: don’t spread rumors.

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