"The Monster’s Box" was published in the Spring/Summer, 2005 issue of Fighting Chance.
Of all the stories I’ve written, this is the one that my wife deems her favorite. Of all the stories I’ve written, this one has caused me the most pain.
I love the fantastic and impossible. Monsters, aliens, supernatural gunslingers that travel the dimensions–those are my kind of stories. "The Monster’s Box" isn’t at all fantastic or impossible (although the title would suggest different).
The story is about real pain, real monsters. It is a subject that hits very close to home. There is absolutely nothing in this story that is real. I am not the main character. It is a story, not a memoir. But it is a subject that I know a good bit about.
I didn’t write this story with the thought of seeking publication. I wrote it out of frustration and hurt. Maybe that’s what makes it my wife’s favorite. Its honesty.
What is sweet nectar to her is bitter water to me. The words cut me when I wrote them–they cut just as deep every time I pass by. But please don’t confuse pain with regret.
The Monster’s Box
by Gabriel Beyers
I stand staring into a box. Inside the box is something I love and something I hate. The box belongs to a monster. I know that seems foolish and simple, but it’s the truth.
I can’t remember when the monster came into our lives; perhaps he was always there. If I press hard into the thick swamp of my mind and force myself into the wilderness of my memory I can feel him there. Red hot and angry.
When I was young, I spent my nights being startled awake, not sure what it was that woke me. I would lay there, staring into the dark ceiling, mute with fear, listening to the monster’s growls slithering up and down the halls. Could my mother hear him? What if he found her?
All I could do was pull the covers over my head and clog my ears with my fingers. Sometimes it took me hours of lying like that before sleep would come again.
Years went by, and soon my little brother came to share my fear of the night. The monster, who had limited his visits to once or twice a week, was now coming every night.