Little Annalise did not like to go get the daily mail. She begged her brothers to go for her. She saved her allowance to pay the neighbor to go. She pretended to go and came back saying Oh, there wasn't any mail today, Papa.
Truth be told, Annalise knew something no one else knew: the mailbox was alive.
Don't be ridiculous, her father laughed, and don't come back until you get the mail! and slammed the door at her heels. Poor Annalise didn't know what to do.
"If I get the mail," she mumbled to herself through bitten nails, "I will surely be eaten!" She looked back at the house only to see her brother's sneering at her from the window. Annalise's eyebrows dove into a frown, "I will go. I will show those brothers of mine how brave I can be."
She walked down the street and around the corner.
"I will go. I am brave."
She climbed through the forest and down a long, steep hill.
"I will go. I am brave."
She wound her way up the next hill and found herself face to face with the mailbox.
"I am brave. I am brave. I am brave."
The mailbox stood tall and regal on top of the hill, gleaming in the afternoon sun. From this distance, it looked like an ordinary mailbox. Annalise crept closer. The crisp, metal edges of the mailbox flashed a glint of sunshine in her eyes, blinding her momentarily.
When the red spots faded from her eyelids she noticed the mailbox had changed.
"I am brave," she said again with less enthusiasm.
But as she spoke this time, the sharp corners of the mailbox pulled back to reveal row after row of gruesome teeth sharp and jagged as broken glass. Two black, evil eyes snapped open.
Now, glowering over her, so close to her face she could see bits of envelopes stuck in its teeth, was the Mailbox Monster. She knew it was real, not just a figment of her imagination! But the victory of being right was short lived as the Mailbox Monster's rancid breath was breathing down into her face; strings of drool dangled from its mouth.
Quick as a whistle Annalise grabbed what mail she could see in its jaws and darted away down the winding hill. She snuck a look over her shoulder to see if the Mailbox Monster was behind her. Close on her heels was the metalic horror that haunted her. Harder and harder she pushed her legs nearly tripping over her own feet.
She reached the bottom of the hill and started up the second hill. Her legs burned! She could hear the snarling growl of the Mailbox Monster chasing her. Faster! she chanted to herself. Faster!
She thought her lungs were going to explode when she finally made it to the top of the hill. The forest wavered in front of her eyes as ink blots formed in her sight. She pushed on.
Through the forest she dodged around trees hoping to lose the Mailbox Monster. She looked over her shoulder again and it was a little further away. A seed of hope blossomed. Twigs scratched at Annalise's legs and stung her face but she pushed on.
She was back on the sidewalk and heard the Mailbox Monster close behind her again. Just a little further, she thought. It was so hard to hold the mail while running for her life. A few envelopes slithered from her fingers and fluttered away behind her. The Mailbox Monster stopped to eat them up. Yes! she cheered and let go of another envelope to distract the monster.
Annalise flew around the corner and saw her house in sight. The Mailbox Monster was gaining on her and she only had one envelope left. She couldn't come home without any mail. She had to keep this one. She could feel the hot breath of the monster on her neck. She thought her legs would give out any minute. If only she could just make it up the steps to the house. But the door! The Mailbox Monster would surely eat her as she tried to open the door!
Good fortune shined on Annalise that day. As she zoomed up the front steps, one of her brothers opened the door. Annalise dove into her brother, grabbing the knob behind her and pulling the door shut. She stood up panting but victorious.
Her Papa walked in and looked at Annalise with a frown. Between heaving breaths she held up the envelope and said, "Papa! I....I got...the mail!"
Still frowning, his eyes wandered to the window where surely he must see the Mailbox Monster.
"Yes, but you forgot the newspaper."
The Mailbox Monster
Written by Martin Shorn
Illustrated by Ken Lamug
You can see more of this duo in the upcoming August issue where they take on The Unforgiving Tree. Don't miss it!