the lights are low
the TV plays
to an empty couch
the windows are boarded
yet he hears whispers

he checks the locks
he closes the blinds
he buries himself
under piles of blankets

but a shadow surfaces
by his feet
so, he grabs
his shield and runs

to his room;
there are no windows
there are no lights
but the wind scratches his roof
and a monster lives under his bed

he finds a bat, gathers
his weapons, sprints
to his basement
but the stairs creak under his weight
so, he jumps down the steps

he sits in the center of the floor
so he can better
keep watch;
the lights are on
the door is shut
the room is silent
so he can better hear
his pounding heart

Elaine Zhai is a high school Junior from the Harker School in San Jose. California. Her work has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and elsewhere.