"Mother? Mom?!” I cried out into the darkness. The hands of the clock on the nightstand read 9:05. My legs were pulled up to my chest, making the sheets bunched up.
The next moments were awful, with just me holding my breath while beyond the closet door the Bogeyman made his horrible noises. I was afraid I would wet myself again. Finally, Mom arrived.
The door opened just a crack, but even that was enough to let in the night light from the hall, the long yellow triangle of light cutting across my floor. The border between my bed and the closet was once again a safe zone.
“What’s the matter, dear?” she asked. Her voice helped me in the dark to think of other things… of cotton candy and ice cream, kites at the beach and Christmas gifts.
“It’s the Bogeyman. he’s back again!” I said, breathing fast and quick.
She came over and sat down next to me on the bed. She took my hands in her big, dry ones. “There, there Charlie. I thought I told you the bogeyman was just a fairy tale?”
“he’s real! I can hear him. He waits until I'm alone, until the lights are out.”
Mom stood up suddenly. “Is he in here, Charlie? Do you want me to open the closet and scare him away?”
“No!” I cried out.
“Please Charlie, get some sleep. You have school early in the morning.”
She sat down again and messed my hair. I know I'm supposed to be too big to like that, but it still makes me feel better.
“Can we leave the door open? Just a little bit so that I can see the night light?”
She pulled me close, and her hair reminded me of strawberries. “Whatever you want, hon. I'm just down the hall.”
“That’s what I want.” I replied.
“Okay,” she answered, pulling my sheets up and kissing my forehead. “But someday you’ll have to get over your fear of the dark.”
“It’s not the dark I'm afraid of. It’s the Bogeyman.”
“Goodnight, Charlie,” she said, standing in the doorway on her way out.
“Goodnight,” I answered. She kept her promise and left the door open a little.
I moved to the edge of the bed, and looked over. The triangle of light from the hall stopped just short of the closet door. Sometimes it made light, too, an awful green-brown light like the water in the creek behind my house where we catch crayfish. It was dark right now.
I felt less scared because suddenly I was dreaming. First, I dreamed about things I like: cowboys and Indians, airplanes and spaceships, baseball and cookies. Then the dream didn’t feel so good.
I was on my bed floating in the middle of space. I mean, it felt like space, but there weren’t any stars or anything. Just a lot of dark nothing. I knew I was no longer in my room because I couldn’t hear the neighbor’s dog barking and that dog is always barking. Actually I couldn’t hear anything, not even my own breathing or the rustle of the covers as I crawled around to look over the edges of the bed.
I felt pricklies on the back of my neck and sat back quickly to the headboard, clutching my pillow in front of me. If I hadn’t seen the dark purple of its skin, I wouldn’t have known it was coming down at me. Now I wish I hadn’t seen it.
It had four sail-shape wings, swept way back to get me in their folds. Like a manta ray I saw on the Discovery channel. Glowy blue dangle-things hung down from its tummy like a thousand eyes.
My screams were lost in the dark as the slick oily skin ate me…
I was almost asleep when the Bogeyman started making his hungry noises. I think he is part insect, 'cause he clicks and slurps and whirs like a giant spider cricket.
Maybe even a roach. I wrapped the pillow around my head and held it tight against my ears. On the wall, I could see the flicky green-brown. I forced myself to not turn around.'Cause I knew the light was pouring out of the crack around the door.
The light got hotter until my back felt like sunburn. Still I forced myself to stay on this side of the bed and look straight ahead, holding the pillow to my ears, biting my tongue, and blinking out tears from eyes overshut.
Then the Bogeyman broke the rules. I heard the rusting creak of the closet door hinge.
Impossible. He can’t leave the closet!
The creaking got louder, the door almost open…
He was breaking the rules, so what else could I do? And mom said too I was gonna have to face it someday… I spun around to face the Bogeyman.
The nightmare was over. I caught my breath. 'Cause it was just Mom standing there in the open closet.
There was a click and whir when she turned her head to look at me.
“Charlie! What are you doing up? School comes early. You really must get over this foolish fear of the dark!”
I smiled at her and blushed. You'd never think such a baby like me was in third grade!
She smiled lovingly back at me. Then I saw something in her hands. It was round and black, big as a basketball. Its thin glowy green arms worked wire strippers and a soldering iron, on the mess of wires and motors in her chest. It paused for a second and looked at me with one alien, purple eye. Showing off, it ballooned out its sail-shape egg sack and slick black wings.
The clock read 9:05. I screamed and screamed.