Gus had a problem.
Every night, when the lights went out, he saw them … one hundred eyes.
Sometimes they were under his bed.
Sometimes they were in his closet.
Once they were in the hallway on his way to the bathroom.
Mom tried to help.
She brought him a bear to stand watch, but bear eyes are too small.
Dad tried to help.
He read stories until Gus fell asleep, but if Gus woke up, the eyes were waiting.
One afternoon Mom and Dad asked Gus to close his eyes and hold out his hands.
He felt something warm and soft so he opened his eyes and looked down.
Looking up was a fluffy orange kitten with brown stripes and big green eyes.
“Gus,” said Mom, “this is Leopold.”
“Leopold,” said Dad, “this is Gus.”
At first Gus and Leopold were both nervous, but Gus held out his hand and Leopold sniffed for a long time with his cold, wet nose.
Then Gus put a bit of tuna fish on his finger, and Leopold really liked that!
His rough, scratchy tongue tickled as he licked off all the tuna.
Soon Leopold was climbing on Gus’s shoulder and purring in his ear.
Gus made paper wads for Leopold to chase and they took turns playing hide and seek all around the house.
They played together all afternoon, and Gus forgot all about the hundred eyes.
At bedtime, Gus used an old sweater to make a warm place for Leopold next to the refrigerator.
He left Leopold some water, some food, and a furry mouse, but the kitten had played so hard he curled into a ball and went right to sleep.
Gus climbed the stairs to his bedroom.
He changed into pajamas, washed his face and brushed his teeth.
Mom tucked him in and Dad started to read a story, but Gus was asleep before the second page.
Later that night, Gus woke up.
He rubbed his eyes, yawned … and snatched the covers up to his nose!
At the foot of his bed, all one hundred eyes, stared at him from the darkness!
Gus couldn’t move.
He couldn’t breathe.
When something small landed on his bed, Gus started to shiver!
When something small started walking towards him, Gus started to shake!
When something small breathed right next to his ear, Gus let out a tiny “yelp!”
Then a small, rough tongue licked him on the nose and Gus saw Leopold’s two big, green eyes looking back at him.
Leopold turned his two green eyes toward the foot of the bed so Gus bit his lip and turned to look too.
At first, nothing happened, but then … something did.
All one hundred eyes blinked!
They blinked again and, with a little “pop”, they disappeared!
Carefully, Gus and Leopold leaned over and looked under the bed.
The eyes were there, but they seemed nervous.
When they saw Gus and Leopold, the eyes opened wide and disappeared again.
Eagerly, Gus jumped to the closet and pulled open the door.
The eyes were there, but they looked scared.
They started to shake before popping away.
Excited now, Gus ran to his bedroom door and looked down the hallway.
The eyes were all there, huddled together at the end of the hall.
They stared at Gus, and Gus stared back.
They stared at Gus, and Gus smiled.
They stared at Gus, and Gus laughed.
The eyes blinked.
They grew wide.
And, one by one, they disappeared.
Popping like soap bubbles, until only two were left.
Those last two eyes hung in the air, watching Gus watch them as they slowly disappeared.
Gus was still smiling when Leopold rubbed against his leg.
Gus scooped up the kitten and cuddled him next to his cheek.
Leopold purred loudly and gently touched Gus’s nose with both paws.
They went back to Gus’s bed and Gus climbed under the covers, while Leopold curled up next to him on the pillow.
Both of them yawned, looked each other in the eyes, and went to sleep.