Max thought he heard his daughter talking in her room, so he was not surprised to open the door and see her sitting on the windowsill. She had dragged the quilt of her bed off and had it draped around and over her head.
“Anya,” he sighed, “it’s well past your bedtime. You should be—”
“Shh!” Anya put a finger to her lips. “I’m having a connastion.”
“May I ask with whom?” Max whispered as he crept over to his daughter.
“The monster outside my window.”
“Oh, I see.” Max looked up to see the gnarled branches of a tree knocking against the windowpane in the stormy gale outside and realized that to a child’s eyes it must look like some fearsome creature lurking in the dark. “You don’t seem very frightened.”
Anya shrugged underneath her quilt cloak. “He’s a very polite monster. All he does is knock. Can I let him in, Papa?”
“I don’t think so, ketsela. A storm’s coming, and if I open up that window you’ll probably fly away.”
Anya giggled and buried herself down under the quilts. Max fished her out and carried both her and the covers back to her bed. “But what about my monster?” Anya asked. “Won’t he want to come in from the storm?”
“Nonsense. I know for a fact that monsters love storms.”
“And how would you know, Papa?”
“I know a great deal about monsters.”
He let her slip out of his grasp and fall back upon the bed. He unfurled the quilts and threw them over the bed, purposely letting them fall and cover her whole. He smiled as she laughed and flailed about before her head popped back out amongst the pillows.
“No more conversations, Anya. It’s time for bed. It’s late. You’ll be a terror in the morning if you don’t sleep.”
“I’ll be a monster!” She roared and gnashed her teeth.
“Well, that would be unfortunate, because then your Mama and I would have to leave you outside during every storm.”
“Oh yes, we absolutely would have to. So you had better go to sleep,” Max laughed as he ruffled her hair.
“G’night, Papa,” Anya said, rolling over onto her side at once.
“Good night, ketsela.”