"Goodnight, don't let the bedbugs bite," her mother said, tucking her in tightly.
"Bedbugs?," Julia asked, her voice trembling.
Her mother said not to worry, it was just an expression.
"Besides," her mother continued, "our house is much too clean to have bedbugs. So no need to worry about them."
"Shouldn't we maybe vaccuum the mattress first, just to be sure, Julia said, kicking at the heavy down comforter.
Her mother lay a hand against her forehead and brushed the hair back from Julia's eyes. She sat down on the bed.
"You just want to stay up and watch television," she said.
"No, the shows you and daddy watch are boring. I'm tired. But I don't want to get bit."
"You won't, I can promise that much," her mother added, and handed her the doll that had fallen to the floor.
Her mother kissed Julia on the cheek, stood up and walked to the door.
"No bedbugs, but watch out for the monster under your bed, she said, turning out the light.