The Monster in the Room

by Elliot Harper

The Monster in the Room

“So, are we going to discuss the monster in the room or not?” I glance at her. A frown creases my forehead. She sits with her legs crossed, the top leg bobbing up and down. “Don’t you mean the elephant in the room?” I say. A look of exasperation passes through her features. “No, I mean the monster in the room. You know, the one sat over there.” She jerks a lazy thumb to the corner. I don’t bother to look but reply anyway. “Oh right, you mean the actual monster in the room? I thought you meant the saying. You know, the elephant in the room. I thought you were trying to be clever.” She lets her hand drop, drums her knee with her fingers and rolls her eyes. “Why would I try to be clever about it? There is an actual monster in the corner of the room.”

            I shift uncomfortably in my chair. “Yeah, well, I didn’t know that’s what you meant. I thought you were, you know, going to say elephant so that the monster wouldn’t know that you were talking about it.” She shakes her head, angrily. “Can you even hear what you are saying? That makes absolutely no sense at all! There is a monster sitting in the corner. It’s been here for over an hour. What I want to know is are we going to talk about it?” I sigh deeply and rub under my eye with my index finger. “Well, aren’t we talking about it right now?” I’m being antagonistic, and I don’t really know why. Her face clouds over. “Yes, clever dick, we are, but that’s only because I had to ask you about it. So, come on then.” I fold my arms and delay a few seconds longer then I need to before I reply. “Come on then, what?”

            She snaps back at me and points irritably at the corner where the monster is. “Are you taking the piss? What is a monster doing sat in the corner of the room?” She’s got me there. I hold up both my hands and beg off. “Okay, okay. No need to shout.” I briefly glimpse at the monster before quickly averting my eyes. Instead, I fix my line of vision on her. “I thought you brought it with you.” She is obviously incredulous. “What? You genuinely thought I brought it with me? Come on, mate! Why would I do that?” Damn, that’s another point to her. I unfold my arms and grab a beer of the coffee table to kill a few seconds. I take a quick sip of the lukewarm drink and grimace at its temperature.  I take my time knowing that this will annoy her. “It wouldn’t be the first time you brought something strange over.” She looks momentarily confused but then realisation dawns. “Are you talking about Paul? You are, aren’t you? Jesus fucking Christ! That was two years ago.” I can’t help but smirk which only riles her up more. “Paul wasn’t that bad! A bit strange, yes. Control freak, certainly. Sadist, maybe, but are you really trying to say that he was as bad as an actual monster? Come on.” She waits for my reply, shooting me daggers.

            I sigh again and pretends to think it through. I delay further and take another long swig of beer which draws a sigh from her before I reply. “Yeah okay, fair enough, but you have to admit Paul was a proper weirdo.” She shakes her head in disbelief and reacts with some fury. “Yes, he was a weirdo, but that is not my point. My point is, he isn’t as bad as an actual real-life, terrifying monster that is currently sat in the corner of this fucking room listening to us talk and thinking who knows what.” I nod, she has me there. She’s on fire tonight. “Fair enough. Well, if you didn’t invite it here and I certainly didn’t, then it must have come on its own.” I risk a minuscule peek at the corner of the room but quickly avert my eyes. She scratches her chin briefly and stares at the coffee table.


            A few minutes pass. Eventually, I break the silence. “What shall we do about it?” I see her look at the monster out of the corner of her eye as well. “Not sure really. We could just put the TV on and see if it goes away?” I feel rather than sees the thing shift in the corner of the room. I genuinely consider what to do about it for a few moments “Yeah okay, why not. Celebrity Love Island? That’s always good for a laugh.” She nods her head and smiles for the first time in the last fifteen minutes. “Yeah, why not!” I can hear the monster in the room move again, possibly due the television being turned on.  I take another swig of my lukewarm beer and points to the remaining cans on the table. “Do you fancy another?” She gives me a thumbs up. I stand and hand one to her which she takes gratefully. I grab another one from the table, look directly at the monster and hold up a beer. “What about you? Do you fancy a beer?”

About the Author

Elliot Harper is a bloke with a ginger beard who writes fiction. Author of the Dark Science-Fiction novella “The City around the World” published by Sinister Stoat Press, an imprint of Weasel Press. His short fiction has appeared in FIVE:2:ONE Magazine's #thesideshow web series, Maudlin House, the Ghost City Review, Akashic Book’s #FriSciFi web series, Litro Magazine’s #StorySunday web series, Vagabonds Magazine and Riggwelter Journal. Find him on Twitter @e_harper_author and at his website

LitStyle staff

LitStyle is yr spot for all yr favorite baadassery!

If you’d like to submit or pitch  your own review/interview/article for LitStyle please email us at

#thesideshow| Flash Fiction| January 2020