Travis discovers his dad in his room.
His father looks at him with a look he can’t identify. “Travis. Do you have a monster under your bed?”
The boy hesitates. He sets down his backpack – not dropping it like he usually does. “Yeah. He used to be scary, but now he’s friendly.”
“And do you have a monster in the closet?”
After a moment, he nods.
His dad smiles. “Not anymore.” He picks up the samurai sword. “Did you know that you taught this thing honor? You can teach your toys all sorts of things.” He looks right into Travis’s eyes. “And sometimes you can teach your dad something, too.”
“Dad, what are you talking about?”
“Did you know your imagination’s a pretty big thing? Ever since you were little, that’s one of the most awesome things about you.” He plucks the futuresaber from the ground. “And sometimes your imagination can do big things.”
“Yeah, well, I’m hoping I pass that on to you.” Dad pauses. He stutters, and then says, “I’m proud of you. You’ve learned good things. Don’t learn bad things from me, all right?”
Dad stands to go, but notices something on the floor. A doll. “Isn’t this Charlotte’s?”
“Yeah. She left it in here once and I, uh?”
“Looks like you gave her doll a heck of a makeover.”
“I think she belongs in here now, doesn’t she?” A grin pops into one corner of dad’s mouth. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”
Travis takes the doll. “What did you mean.” He doesn’t ask it.
“Your old man, um, I fought the thing in the closet. I came home early with a present. I found it fighting with your pal from under the bed. Pretty brutal.”
“You’re not telling it like you’re making it up.”
“It wasn’t my imagination that saved the day. It was yours.”
Dad nods. “It started like this.”
Read more of the Nation of the Child here.