Nathan was afraid. Of the monsters under his bed and the boogeyman hiding in his closet. The foggy darkness where no stars shone through and the shadows creep along the buildings and trees below. He was afraid of the night.
Chills crept down his spine as he slowly lowered his head to look under the bed, shaking hands clenched tightly to the sheets above. Two green eyes stared back at him. He jumped back onto the bed like he had been shocked, head furrowed beneath his pillow.
"If only I had a mommy," he sniffled, wanting someone to hold him tight. To tell him everything would be okay.
But he had no mommy or daddy. They'd left Nathan before he could meet them and he doesn't know why. Maybe he hadn't been smart enough. Or nice enough. Or brave enough.
It was probably the last one, Nathan thought miserably to himself. He had never been that brave; always scared of anything that moved too quickly out of the corner of his eye.
But maybe it was time he changed that. Maybe it was time he faced his fears head on, instead of sticking his head cowardly under the pillows and shaking like a loose leaf on top of the bed.
Taking a deep breath, Nathan leaped off the bed and looked straight at the creature with green eyes from before. As his eyes adjusted to the lack of light, he discovered the fearsome creature he'd built up in his head was just a scared little kitten, as alone in the world as he was.
He reached under the bed and pulled the kitten out, its grey fur matted with burrs and dirt. It meowed softly at Nathan and he melted immediately.
"I think I'll call you... Mittens," he declared, petting the kitten's head with a deft stroke. "Because Mittens are warm and comforting and fuzzy. Just like you."