Flash Fiction

Under the Bed

An “AI Made Me Do It” Story

Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written
Published in
4 min readMar 5, 2023

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“Hey, watch it! This is my turf!” came a gruff voice as Beezle squeezed under the bed. “Keep to your closet, bogey.”

“Can it, Mub,” replied Beezle as he jammed his too-large body under the mattress. He was made for the closet, after all. “We have bigger fish to fry.”

The monsters both fell silent as The Child rolled over and the springs of the old bed jangled.

Once, that sound was enough to wake The Child in a panic. It had made their job easy, for a while. Now, a foot could dangle over the edge of the bed for Mub to tickle and The Child might hold out for twenty, thirty minutes — maybe even an hour — before pulling it back inside the safety of the blanket. Even poor Beezle’s shadow puppets from the crack between the closet doors were ignored now.

“I’ve got seniority,” Mub huffed, unhappily sharing his coveted spot. “Who d’you think you are, coming down here?”

Beezle didn’t take the bait. “Mub, things are getting bad.”

“You think I don’t know that?” said Mub, rolling all six of his eyes at Beezle. “I could lick The Child’s toes, for all he notices. And his bedtime has been pushed back until ten o’clock. The Union didn’t say anythin’ about cutting our hours.”

It had been ages since The Mother had shined the flashlight beneath the bed and moved the clothes aside to for them. They were becoming both bolder and complacent: it wouldn’t be long until they were re-assigned by the Union to a younger kid.

“That’s not what I meant, Mub. I mean, things are getting bad on the Outside. For The Child.”

“Outside?” asked Mub. He’d been under the bed for so long — first with The Child’s older brother, then The Child himself — that he hadn’t kept up on Outside news. “What’s bad in the Outside?”

Beezle sighed, making a noise like clothes swinging against each other on their hangers. “He’s got new Monsters, out there. Here, look at this.” He pulled a notebook from between his many folds and opened it before Mub.

It was The Child’s diary. Mub hadn’t seen it in years. The Child didn’t hide things under the mattress anymore. He preferred a box at the back of the closet for that sort of thing.

Beezle turned to a recent page and began to read:

“Today those monsters jumped me in the parking lot after school. There wasn’t anywhere to run or any adults around, and they knew it. They all started chanting ‘smear the queer’ as Cooper held me down. I didn’t know what they were going to do to me.

Suddenly they all started laughing. I didn’t know why at first, but I realized after they’d left. I’d been so scared, I wet my pants.

Cooper terrorizes me almost every day now. I don’t know how I’ll be able to face him tomorrow.”

Mub was silent for a moment, his long tongue lolling thoughtfully. Beezle waited patiently.

“These new Monsters think they can get our gig, huh?” said Mub after his moment of reflection. “Scabs think they can scare our kid? No way. On the Outside? Harumph. The only ones who get to scare The Child are us. It’s in our contracts.”

Beezle nodded enthusiastically. “My thoughts exactly. Sounds to me like this Cooper Monster needs a good old-fashioned spooking. And who better than Mub, the best Monster under the Bed that I’ve ever known?”

“Don’t lay it on too thick,” Mub grumbled, but really, he was flattered.

When Billy woke the next morning, he found his window open and his diary at the foot of his bed. Confused, he shut the window. When his feet hit the floor, he barely noticed that there was no one there to tickle his toes.

He went to the closet and put his diary in its rightful place, in the shoebox at the back. He barely noticed that there were fewer shadows than normal as he got dressed.

What he did notice that morning were the dark circles under Cooper’s eyes. Cooper was quiet and sullen all through homeroom. He looked like he hadn’t slept at all.

At lunch, Billy saw Cooper coming his way and tried to make himself smaller, but Cooper made a beeline for him.

“Sorry about yesterday, Billy,” he said awkwardly. “Won’t happen again.”

Cooper didn’t look much like a Monster as he walked away with his shoulders slumped. Billy couldn’t be sure, but he thought he saw a familiar shadow peeking out of Cooper’s backpack.

This story is based on a prompt generated by ChatGPT: “The monsters under the bed are real and are plotting to take over the world.” My story strayed from the concept, but that’s the fun of prompts!

For prompts like this, check out “AI Made Me Do It” on Promptly Written:

Thanks again Ravyne Hawke for the opportunity to run this prompt series.

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
Promptly Written

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.