The thing waited under the bed for another night in a row. “Gonna get me some o’ them delicious ankles,” it sang to itself in a voice that it thought sounded like a fairly good match for B.B. King. “Oooh-ee yeah, them ankles. Snatch ‘em up, eat ‘em up, fry ‘em up ankles.” The creature stopped suddenly as it heard the crack of a door. The thing’s eyes lit up as he saw his prized ankles for a moment. Then after the woman looked around the room, she closed the door.

Alistair—for that was the creature’s name—considered how he might pass the lonely hours ‘til nightfall, when he’d reach out and seize his scrumptious midnight snack. This portal was new to him, appearing as a trapdoor in the underworld. He’d opened it and crawled up under this bed, where he’d stayed for the past couple of days, trying to get his courage up. Alistair was a thin creature with four legs, and each of the legs had five spindly fingers, the better for reaching with. He had great big glowing eyes with no eyelids and large pointed teeth set into a big smiley face. Few monsters were as damn good looking.

“I’m totally going to check under your bed in case there are monsters there,” said a young male voice from beyond the door. “I’m studying cryptozoology so I have to find something. You said you heard a scratching the other night, right?”

Oh no, thought Alistair. I’ve been discovered. I’d better leave this door alone for a good couple of days. But then he had another idea—he saw a really killer hat lying on the floor, over by the full-length mirror at the other side of the room.

“No,” said a female voice from beyond the door. “There are no monsters under my bed. It was probably the cat or something. Tell you what; you can check after I leave for my meeting in about ten minutes.”


Alistair crawled over, seized the hat, and then put it on himself—it was way too big. But Alistair had some impressive skills. One of them was the magic of resizing things. He sprinkled some gold dust on the hat and made it tiny enough to fit him. Then he admired himself in front of the mirror, watching transfixed for several minutes. This hat had a tiny red feather sticking out of it. He looked amazing.

But eventually he had to tear himself away. So he scurried back under the bed, his tail slithering under just as the bedroom door opened.

“Oh my god, it’s under there!” a voice called. Alistair saw the light of a flashlight as he hid beneath the hat. He took no chances, opening the trapdoor portal and dropping back into the underworld.

The boy took hold of the hat and moved it to find just a hardwood floor underneath. Alistair listened from beyond the portal for a couple minutes as the parties lost interest. Then he slowly opened up the trapdoor portal again, reached in, grabbed that hat, and pulled it down. He closed the portal.

Then he went to his resting room and put that hat on.

Yeah, he looked real stylish. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t gotten an ankle in a while. The hat was his prize tonight.