“Thanks to you, Benny, I am now in penance.”
Benny stood still, saying nothing.
“I’ve already explained everything to Mom, but she doesn’t believe me. She keeps telling me that I was the one who damaged the keyboard. She told me that you couldn’t be the one who spilled the milk on the computer.”
“Your mom is right, Harrison.” There are many things I can do, like come into your room, talk to you, dance, sing and walk around the house. But I can’t move things. You have been the clumsy one. You still don’t manage your body well. You’re going to have to learn how to do it, just like you learned to handle your fears and invented me. I am your invention, but I am free.”
“I thought you were my friend! Friends are there to help each other.”
“Your mother can’t see me and she can’t hear me either. The only one who can see me is you.”
“I was chasing you and you got into Daddy’s desk. It was your fault!”
“And what are you going to do? Are you going to put me in penance? I am not afraid of you. But I can stay and keep you company until your mom lets you out of the room.”
Harrison thought for a while. He shook his head disapproving of his friend’s idea.
“No, that’s not enough. It’s not fair that they punish me alone.”
“I apologize. It will not happen again. Friends back? Shall we high five?”
Harrison’s face lit up.
“Sure! I’m going to lock you up.”
Benny sneered at Harrison.
“I go in and out wherever I want. Because I am your imaginary friend.”
“Really? You’ll see!”
Harrison went to the bedroom closet, followed by Benny, and opened the doors wide. Crouched inside was a three-headed reptilian monster, with drooling jaws full of massive teeth and paws razor-sharp claws. Benny stepped back and froze with terror.
Without giving him time to react, the monster pounced on him, grabbed him, and shoved him into the closet. Harrison closed the doors and listened to Benny’s desperate screams, which lasted only a few moments. Then, only the noise of the monster devouring its victim with enthusiasm was heard.
Harrison smiled and told himself that it was great to have an imaginary monster in the closet. The only bad thing was that he was going to have to make up another friend to replace Benny.
Marcelo Medone (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961) is a medical doctor, lyric tenor singer, painter, journalist, fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His fiction and poetry has received awards and has been published in reviews and editions in various languages in more than 20 countries, in Latin America, USA, Canada, Spain, France, Nigeria, India and Australia. He currently lives in San Fernando, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.