Thursday, March 26, 2015
By Daniel Skye
It was just after nine o’clock when Melanie Stark tucked little Georgie into bed.
“Mom, do I really have to go bed now?” Georgie whined.
“Yes, Melanie said with an assertive tone. “It’s Sunday night and you have to wake up on time for school tomorrow. No more missing the bus.”
“You don’t like driving me?” Georgie asked, sounding a little insulted.
“No, it’s not that,” Melanie assured him. “But you’re getting older now, Georgie. Too old to have your mom driving you to school every day. You need to start taking the bus and be with kids your own age.”
“But I don’t like kids my own age,” Georgie wailed and moaned again. “They tease me and make fun of me.”
“Son, it doesn’t matter what age you are. You’re always going to meet people in this world who are rude or unfriendly. It doesn’t matter what a bully says. What matters is how you deal with it. And remember, if their lives were perfect, they wouldn’t tease you or make fun of you, would they? They do it to make themselves feel better because they have such a low opinion of themselves. Just remember that and don’t let what they say get to you. Okay?”
“Okay, mom,” Georgie sighed, fidgeting under the covers, trying to get comfy.
“Now, no more arguments,” Melanie said. “It’s time for bed.”
“But I don’t want to go to bed,” Georgie told her. “I’m scared.”
“What on earth is there to be afraid of?” Melanie asked.
“The boogeyman,” Georgie said, his voice failing to rise above a whisper.
“Oh, not this again,” Melanie sighed.
“The boogeyman is real, mommy,” Georgie said, still whispering. “Reggie Miller told me all about him.”
“Yeah, well, Reggie Miller probably won’t graduate the fourth grade. Look, if you want, I’ll leave your nightlight on. But you need to go to bed. No more excuses.”
“A nightlight won’t keep the boogeyman away. He’s real, mommy. I’m telling you. I’ve seen him, standing in the corner of my room when I’m all alone. He waits for me to fall asleep so he can get me.”
“Oh, yeah,” Melanie said, playing along. “So what does the boogeyman look like? I’ve always been curious.”
“Oh, he’s hideous, mommy,” Georgie said, still whispering. Now he was shivering under his covers, shaking like the last leaf of an autumn tree. “He has no eyes. No nose. Only teeth. Sharp teeth, and sharper claws. And he always wears black.”
“Uh huh,” Melanie said, rolling her eyes. At least my son has an imagination, she thought. Now if only he could stop using it to terrify himself.
Georgie gasped and drew the covers up to his eyes. “Mommy, don’t turn around,” he gulped.
“Why?” Melanie asked, her head cocked at an inquisitive angle. “What’s wrong, Georgie?”
“He’s standing right behind you,” Georgie squeaked.
A chill shot up her spine as she felt a cold breath fall on the nape of her neck. She turned and saw a tall figure, cloaked in black, towering over her. No eyes. No nose. Only teeth. And claws. Sharp, prodigious claws that slowly crept their way towards her.
Georgie winced and averted his eyes. And Melanie Stark’s screams were heard several blocks away.