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Blackish, reddish blood poured out from the large gash in my four year old brother's leg.
"Ow! Rae, it hurts!" he cried out, flinging his stuffed rabbit against the wall. His thick blond locks flung helplessly as his head shook with frustration.
"Ben, hold still, you'll make the bandages come off." I demanded, focusing on wrapping the bandage tight so the bleeding would stop. What did he do to himself? Hopefully he'd tell me, or I'd have to take him down the mental institution to make sure he wasn't totally insane. I pulled the bandage tight. There.
"All done," I said, finally relaxing as the gauze held his leg together securely. "So what exactly happened, Bub?" I probed, hoping he'd give me something reasonable. Somehow hearing that the bogey man smashed your head into the doorknob just wasn't all that believable. Especially since that excuse was already used up last time. He ended up leaving the hospital with a few stitches on his left brow. Poor kid; i knew what it felt like to be ignored. But I really wished he could get over his fear of bogey men soon, because all of the little accident excuses were getting old.
Ben just stared down blankly to his small little leg, all bandaged up with dry gauze.
I tried again.
"So what did the bogey man do to you this time?"
His face lit up as he stared into my eyes intently. "You saw him too?" he whispered, his voice hoarse with fear.
"Well no-I didn't..." Ben's eyes grew sad with recognition.
"You don't believe me do you?" he droned, his face terribly calm for such a small four year old.
"But Ben, I-"
"He's real." Ben said, his voice slithering its way down my back, chilling me as his eyes glazed over furiously.
"Hun, the bogey man isn't real. He can't hurt you." i tried to convince him, rubbing his four-year-old leg. "Now tell Sissy what happened."
"Rae," he whispered, those big brown eyes gazing just above my hunched shoulders. "He's here." he said, pointing just behind my shoulders.
"Who's here?" i asked, glancing behind me to find nothing but a cool breeze coming from the hallway.
"The man wearing the hat, Rae. The man in my closet."
And before I could tuck his stray hair behind his ears and comfort him with words of solace, large, cold hands grabbed at my ribs harshly, dragging me out of Ben's bedroom, into a blackness that I couldn't escape.