They crouched to peer beneath the stairs; a small boy and his even smaller sister.
"What are we looking at, Jack?"
Jack frowned and shushed his sister, pointing conspiratorially at the darkness between the slats of the steps.
They stayed that way for several minutes, scrunched up tight, necks disappearing into shoulders, rocking forwards on their toes.
"There, Arianna, look!"
He pointed towards a patch of darkness that had begun to twist and swirl in very much the way darkness shouldn't. Two yellow eyes blinked and stared back at them.
A voice like poison treacle spoke into the silence.
"It's rude to stare."
Arianna's wide eyes threatened to burst out of their sockets as she whispered, "Who's there?"
"I am a monster," the voice said, "and I like to eat children."
A shadowy tendril licked at the tips of the children's toes from beneath the bottom step.
"And," it continued, "I should very much like to eat you."
Jack and Arianna leapt to their feet as the darkness swirled more ferociously into a solid form; a great chimera, climbing and oozing through the gaps in the stairs.
As it got closer, there was a great bellowing roar and Jack was shocked to see that it had not come from the monster.
Arianna had puffed out her chest, opened her mouth, roared and then-
Swallowed the monster whole.
There was no more talk of monsters after that incident. But Arianna had a terrible stomach ache for weeks.