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Bogey Man

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“Don’t you dare get out of bed before I do,” Riley spat “or the bodies buried under your floorboards with take you under with them.”
I nodded from under my covers. Riley said that the people who lived in this house before us cursed it. They chopped up men from the neighborhood and put them in bags under the floorboards. Riley said that if I touched the ground before Da called us for breakfast the dead men would grab me and suffocate me in a bag.

“I never hurt them!” I said “They shouldn’t get me!”I started crying. That story terrified me to the gut. Riley just grinned maliciously and left the room.

I lay in my bed, trying to cry as quietly as I could. The darkness was everywhere. For all I knew the bodies could be right by my bed, staring at me. I sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed. More than anything I wanted to turn on the light. It was so close, just on my bed side table, but the dead men could have grabbed me and pulled me under. So I lay there, terrified, until exhaustion brought me to sleep.

The horrible stories my brother told disturbed me my entire childhood. They were not only of the dead men, but the bogey man too. All of these were real to me. Finally we moved and Riley matured and went off to college. I was free of the nightmares. Unfortunately we moved to northern Maine. Nothing was wrong with the state, it was gorgeous in the summer, but winters were a nightmare all their own.

Winter had just begun, and it was nose-numbing cold. The thermostat read 30degrees F, perfect for a snowy day. But when I looked out of my window that morning, there was only frost. So I slumped to my dresser to bundle up for a glacial morning of chores.

I was just pulling on my sweater when I heard conversation downstairs. When I got downstairs I saw Da talking Mr. Tyler a large red faced man. I smiled a good morning to both of them, but they were solemn faced.

“What’s wrong?” I asked “The weathers cold alright but I can make us some hot chocolate.”

Da took a deep breath. Mr. Tyler didn’t meet my eyes.

“Sweetie, Ben is dead.” Da said. I knew the name. I realized who he was talking about and the breath was knocked from my lungs. Ben was the handsome paper boy from down the street. I had liked him, of course.

“What? No! Ben’s fine! I saw him just yesterday, he wasn’t sick at all! He must be in a coma or something.” I’d assumed Ben was dead of hypothermia, as was the case with most deaths around here.

“Angie, he was killed in bed with an X-acto knife. It was murder, not illness that killed him.” Mr. Tyler said. Feeling drained from my face. I hadn’t really known Ben but there was a death so close. A death at all is enough to blur a mind. Ben was tall and strong. If he wasn’t safe, who was?

I couldn’t sleep that night, I felt as I had back at the nightmare house. As if it was the Bogey man, or the dead men that killed Ben. The next morning Ben’s face was printed on all of the newsstands. I ripped Ben’s picture from our paper and hung it on my wall. It probably worsened the nightmares but for some reason I needed it.

Then things got disturbing. Every other week a boy, the youngest was eight, and the oldest being nineteen, was murdered in their beds. For three months this lasted. Paranoia spread through the town. People moved away, tourists stopped coming, and X-acto knives were banned from the town. My neighborhood was starting to look like a ghost town. And every week, the boys’ picture was hung on my wall.

Then the murder came to girls. Twelve people from my fifth grade class were killed. I watched as the population was killed off. The government forgot about us, it never helped. Officers were killed.

I wrote to Riley telling him of this hellish town. He replied, checking to make sure that Da and I were still alive. He said he would be there soon to protect us.

That night I heard a bump from downstairs. Although I was terrified of being killed, I went downstairs to see if it was Riley. It was. He had a long cloak on and a sick smile on his face. In his hand he held and X-acto knife. Riley had come home to kill us. He looked at his feet, I looked to. Da’s crumpled body lay there bleeding. Riley was the murderer.

Somehow I smiled.
“Nice one Riley!” I lied “I’ll be right back, my lights on, folks might get suspicious.” Riley looked confused. I ran upstairs anyway. Once in my room I called 911. There were still fifteen officers left. They raced here when I explained the situation.

So I waited downstairs with Riley. I wanted to puke. My brother had killed Da. And I, stupid I, was waiting in the same room as him. Riley was lying on his back on the couch, his eyes were closed. It was grotesque first he killed his father, and then took a nice nap afterwards.

The police arrived. They burst through the door, making a sonic cracking sound. Riley’s eyes whipped open. And the police officers shot him. He was killed then and there. Despite his crime, I let out a cry of anguish, and passed out.

The chief of Police came to visit me at the hospital. He held a bag with the X-acto knife.
“These prints match your father’s, not Riley’s.” He said. “Your Father was the murderer.”

And somehow I felt more love for Riley than ever. And I love him for scaring me to death.




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