“Let’s play hide and seek, mommy,” Cat said, half covering her eyes with her pudgy hand. Ashley knew that Cat was afraid and wanted to delay her bedtime as long as possible. Her father had been the one that banished the monsters and other imaginary creatures that went bump in the night. But she only saw him twice a month now.
“How about we sing instead?” Ashley scooted so Cat could sit next to her on the piano bench. She played a few notes of Cat’s favorite lullaby, whispering the lyrics in her ear. She could see her daughter’s eyelids getting heavy.
After Ashley did the best job she could ridding Cat’s room of monsters, she tucked the little girl into bed and kissed her goodnight, wishing her sweet dreams.
She tiptoed to her own room and turned out the light. The bed seemed to swallow her. Alone in the still darkness, she had to admit, she was afraid too. Sleep seemed so far away. Why is this so hard? She considered turning on a light, or the television, letting white noise fill the quiet, but decided against it, falling back against the pillow. Slowly, her eyes began to adjust to the dark.