On the surface of the fair city of Prague there lives a race of creatures called The Moansters. Moansters are very much like Wild Things, sad and cruel creatures. They cannot be seen, only heard, and therein lies their main character trait: They moan, wail, cry all night from dark corners to make sure that anyone in earshot will be as painfully sleepless as they are.
Zuzu had once heard that especially in the winter Moansters would find their way into apartment buildings, looking for a warm corner or venting their anger by smashing through apartment doors to see what’s inside. But she had never encountered one in person. The closest she had come was a Moanster ringing all the buzzers in the apartment building, hoping someone would buzz him in, too weakened by the extreme cold to even break the door down.
On January 4, 2011, after Zuzu drank her sleepy-time tea and brushed her teeth, Zuzu heard him, outside in the hallway.
“Oh my fucking Gaga,” thought Zuzu as she clapped her hands to her face and stared at her front door in horror. “What should I do?” Zuzu wondered. She quietly closed the bathroom door, fearful that if the Moanster heard her movements he would be at her door ready to huff, puff and blow it down. Slowly slowly she opened the bedroom door to wake her husband. “There’s a monster outside! Listen!”
“Aaaaaaaaaah! Eeeeeeeeeeh! Snortsnortsnort!” The Moanster cried his misery.
Zuzu’s husband, in what seemed like his loudest voice possible, “What? What? What’s going on?!”
“SHHHHHHHHH! I don’t want him to hear us!” Zuzu hissed.
“Come to sleep, sweetheart.”
“What if he breaks in?!” Zuzu whispered furiously. “I’m really freaked out right now!”
“No one is getting through that security bolt, schmoopie,” falling back asleep at the last word.
Zuzu’s heart was racing and adrenaline made her tummy ache. She thought about reading, but her newest Stephen King Challenge novel, “Lisey’s Story” was not fruit to quiet her racing imagination, especially since it contains a shadow monster called The Long Boy who has nothing good to offer this world. In her panic Zuzu wondered if the creature outside was that Long Boy “with the pie-bald side” rather than a Moanster. Not a good thought before bed. Or ever.
Quietly quietly she closed the door to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed, listening to The Moanster’s moans and cries. They were at such regular intervals, Zuzu figured he had to be sleeping. Upstairs she could hear her neighbors stirring, footsteps, their bedroom door opening and more footsteps. Voices. They could hear him, maybe they would call the police. They were Czech after all.
Zuzu was exhausted and the sick anxious feeling sat in her insides like a fat toad. She put her head to the pillow, listening to The Moanster. Finally she fell asleep.
And in the morning The Moanster was nowhere to be found, but the lingering smell of rancid flesh remained in his wake.
©Sezin Koehler, 2011