Patty was never much convinced of the presence of monsters under his bed or lurking in his closet. The bed was nearly impossible because he slept on the top bunk, his brother, Henri, on the bottom. It was low to the ground, so whatever did live down there probably wasn’t much of a threat anyway. And besides, Henri was closer, so it was more his problem than Patty’s. And the closet was out of the question because Henri had hit puberty a year ago and the closet was where his dirty clothes resided before Mother swept them up for laundry.
Patty, at the ripe age of four, had never sniffed death, but he imagined it was similar to sweaty socks and rancid armpits.
But there was the Blurry Man.
And every night Patty would wake up, thirsty for milk out of his sippy cup, and would journey out under the glow of night lights to the fridge. But out there, there were no night lights. And the Blurry Man crouched behind the kitchen table, waiting for the bulb in the refrigerator to extinguish so that he could swipe up Patty and take him somewhere nondescript, but decidedly haunting and undesirable.
So Patty dashed away, racing the fridge door back to his bed before taking one or two sips of milk before dozing off to sleep.
By morning, the milk was warm and thick, caught in limbo between curdled and not.
And Henri would complain of the smell.