The Bogeyman’s Right Hand
“Ox, my friend, I sense a child is ripe for the taking tonight.”
“A doppelganger can’t be trusted. I want you to personally see to it I have the child.”
Heavy footsteps echo up the hallway as a child looks up into his father’s eyes.
“What’s wrong Christopher? You should have been in bed ten minutes ago.”
“I can’t go to bed yet.” Chris said.
“Why is that?”
“I need you to protect me from the Bogeyman.”
Chris clings to a sheet of paper as his father closes his eyes and rubs his forehead in exasperation. He takes a deep breath and focuses his attention back on his son with a sympathetic smile.
“What can I do to help?” He asks.
Chris hands the paper to his father. “I need you to read this.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a prayer.”
“Yes. Please read it. If you don’t, the Bogeyman will get me.”
“And you’ll go straight to bed?”
“Okay, but off to bed right after.”
Oh no, Bogeyman.
You cannot stay, you must go.
Because I say so.
Chris takes a deep breath and visibly relaxes. “Thanks.”
“Your prayer is a haiku?”
“What’s a haiku?” Chris asks.
Hours later, Christopher’s father is asleep in a recliner by the fireplace. A shadow passes over him and he is rudely awakened by a slap to the back of his head. He jumps out of his chair looking behind him.
“What the hell?”
“Sit down Harold.”
Harold spins around trying to find the source of the voice. “Who’s there?”
“I am. Now sit down.”
“Who? Where are you? Am I dreaming?”
“Hmm, if I say yes will you stop rambling and sit down?”
“What’s going on?”
A sigh circles Harold and a weight presses against his chest forcing him back down into the recliner.
“That’s better. Now that you’re seated we can have a nice chat. But I warn you, patience is not something I have in abundance, and I’ve already run out.”
Harold tries to stand up again, but the weight on his chest continues to hold him in place. “Who are you? Why are you here?”
“My name is Ox, and I was here for the child. He ordered it.”
“Don’t you dare touch my son you son of a bitch.” Harold said.
“Please. I am the son of no one, and I’ve already dared. But you fouled up His plans. So, I want to know one thing. Where did you find the prayer?”
“The prayer you read to protect your child from Him.”
“That? I didn’t get it from anywhere. What do you want with my son, and why can’t I get out of this fucking chair?”
“I thought I told you I had no patience left, but if a little exposition will convince you to provide the information I require then so be it.”
Another sigh circles Harold and a hulking shadow of a man appears before him with his foot clearly planted on Harold’s chest. Ox removes his foot and stands upright, barely clearing the ceiling. Harold, gripped by terror, is still unable to move.
“It’s simple. We haunt children while they sleep, feeding on the unconditional terror in their eyes, their cries.”
Ox begins to pace around the room as he continues his tale.
“Unfortunately, the prayer you read tonight has emblazoned itself across the threshold of your child’s room, preventing access, preventing sustenance.”
Harold slowly builds up the courage to reach behind him toward the fireplace as Ox continues to speak with his backed turned.
“This is especially unacceptable this evening. He has ordered your child brought to Him, and this prayer makes that impossible. So, I must know where you got it.”
“You were going to kidnap my son?” Harold asks.
“Surely you’ve heard of the occasional child that disappears right out of their room in the middle of the night? No struggle. No trace.”
“Why?” Harold asks as his hand closes around a fireplace poker.
“It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s like a five star meal for days on end. There’s nothing better, and only He knows when it’s time. That is why I need to know where you got the prayer, so I can prevent this from ever happening again.”
Ox turns back to face Harold, and as he does so, Harold lunges from the recliner driving the poker into Ox’s chest. “Fuck you!”
Ox briefly steps back in surprise and a sinister grin slowly creeps across his face as Harold gasps for breath, trying to swallow his fear.
“Not the best idea.” Ox says as he grabs Harold by the jaw, lifting him off the ground and pinning him against the wall. “I see our chat hasn’t ended well. But at least we’ll be able to get something from the child when he gets up in the morning.”
Ox leans forward to whisper in Harold’s ear. “I am the shadow in the corner of your eye. I cannot be swayed.” He licks the side of Harold’s face and inhales with satisfaction.
Harold’s eyes bulge out of his head and his screams are stopped by the hand pressing against his head as Ox reaches down with his free hand and rips Harold’s genitals off and feeds on them as blood freely pools beneath the two of them.
Ox releases his grip on Harold’s lifeless body and licks his fingers clean as he finishes his meal. “Oh my, it was a jungle down there.” Ox says and he disappears as quickly as he appeared leaving the poker to fall to the floor next to the corpse.
Ox stands in meditation in the shadows as the screams of a child explode from the house and carries throughout the neighborhood.
He takes a deep breath and frowns. “I guess He will have to be satisfied with just an appetizer."