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Monsters Hate Light

Two days ago I got a call from an old friend. We used to call him "Inspector Gadget," because could build something out of nothing; robots out of pop-sickle sticks and batteries; cars out of chairs and roller skates. But his coolest creation was a night light he believed would eradicate evil. Yes, you heard me right: A weapon against monsters.

Of course, we were teenagers then and I was just as scared of the dark as the next person. I asked him to make me one. He never did. So when I received this call, so many years later, the first thing I said was, "Where's my monster-eating night light?" To which his answer was, "A monster broke it."

I laughed this off, but after an awkward silence I added, "What kind? A vampire?" He cleared his throat. "No. A shadow person. One of those dark, morphous things." I smirked, but I was also intrigued so I probed for more information. "Okay, just because I haven't talked to you in like, forever, I am going to play along. How did the big scary monster kill your night light?"

"I'm not even kidding," He said. "It was like six years ago. After I moved to Rhode Island." And then he began to tell me about the night a giant black shadow figure stomped out his night light.

"I was sticking boxes into boxes, trying to keep everything off the floor and I came across an old, taped up FED EX box. It wasn't labeled and the tape was yellow, so I figured it was something old and forgotten. It was my 'monster light'. I remembered how long it took me to build and how funny it would be if I actually used it.

So that night, after I found an extension cord, I plugged it into the living room wall and pulled it over to the couch where I was sleeping because my bed wasn't coming for another day. I started playing with the dimmer on it until I got a faint orangey glow and then I fell asleep watching a Seinfeld re-run.

I don't know how long I was sleeping before I heard a crackle and a snap. I usually sleep through anything, but this made my heart pound and I could have sworn I was having a panic attack.

The room was in total darkness and when my eyes adjusted, I could see a huge dark thing hovering in the corner of the room. I could hear it breathing…like a runner after a marathon. Hard and labored. And I reached my hand down toward the light, because in my scared sh*tless state, here I was thinking my monster light might work.

I reached for it and touched broken glass. The bulb had been completely smashed and this thing must have known I was reaching for it because it unfurled like some giant cat, and fell from the corner of the ceiling where it was hanging…I don't know. It started coming towards me and as it did, it started changing shape until it morphed into the shape of a man. A tall and burly man, about 8ft tall.

It stood in front of the couch, where my feet were and it just stared at me. I could feel it staring even though I didn't see any eyes. I was too paralyzed to get up and run and truthfully I didn't want to move because I didn't want to provoke it.

I really thought I was going to die, and then, a cars headlights flashed through the bay windows and lit up the room and I could really see this impenetrably black thing just standing there. It was as real as wall behind it.

When the light came through it sort of burst like a cloud of smoke and disappeared and right then and there I jumped up and ran into the kitchen and hit the light, grabbed my keys, drove my ass all the way to Northeastern and slept on my brothers dorm room floor."

The line was heavy with dead silence. "So the monster light doesn't work then." I said, and we both laughed. "No. I think it did. I think that's why that thing, whatever it was, broke it." I asked him if he would ever build another. "No. Well, it depends. If the world gets taken over my demons. Yeah. If they paid me a billion dollars."

After discussing some brighter memories, I hung up. It was a quarter passed eleven, and even though I am 30, I don't like the dark. I don't like it even more when old friends call up and tell me tales about shadow men and monster lights. So I slept with the light on. Hey, it may not be a custom made monster light, but it's GE and it cuts down on CO2 emissions and it's all the way up on the ceiling and a lot harder to break.

Or so I'd like to think.

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