Cassie never came in contact with the boogeyman in her two years of knowing him. All she knew was the personality leaking from his words, the gruff, harsh voice spatting out like a true monster. The red, villanous eyes. But she didn't think he was a monster. Not one bit.
Behind the closed doors of her bedroom, in shelter of the judgement of her parents, was when the night sparked alive with their conversations.
"Is she gone?"
The voice was menacing enough to send goosebumps littering across her mahogany skin. She leaned against her white pillow, traces of exhaustion withering away from her mind. Cassie looked forward to these days. Talking to somebody who understood her.
"I can't believe you," she muttered, shaking her head, "all throughout the closet, you were staring at me with your creepy eyes when mommy was telling me that story."
"Don't call me creepy, Cassie. I'm offended," the boogeyman said. She didn't know what a smirk looked like when it was stretched across his face, but her imagination flew wild as she envisioned.
"You're the boogeyman. You're supposed to be creepy."
"And you're still talking to me, little girl," he retorted.
The arguments fell off her tongue until her mind was a blank slate, a tabula rasa.
"'Why are you talking to me? I'm a monster. Most kids would run away and scream," the boogeyman mumbled. The sorrow was swimming through the edges of his voice.
"I'm not most kids," Cassie said. "You're pretty annoying, but you're my friend too. And friends don't run away and scream from eachother." A smile blossomed across her face as she stared at the dark ceiling hanging aloft. She could see the bright flaming stars that her parents hung up on her walls.
The silence was hesitant, occupied by the white noise blurring in her ears. But then, he finally spoke up.
Surges of warmth danced in her stomach, the swelling of her heart undeniable. Laughter flooded across her bedroom.
"That's the first sentence you've ever said without making fun of me," Casssie noted.
"Oh, shut up," he protested. "Go to bed. You do have a long day tomorrow. First day of second grade."
"That's hardly anything. Hey, boogeyman. I'll go to sleep if you tell me your name."
A name. Something to call him rather than boogeyman, the name that drained the liveliness out of him, the feeling of humanity.
"I don't have a name." There was no emotion laced in his voice. It suddenly became cold.
"We've been talking for two years, I'm tired of calling you just boogeyman. I need something more..."
"Human like? I'm anything but human, Cassie."
"You're human to me," she argued, red rushing to her face, "or you at least treat me better than everybody at school."
"What... What do you mean?"
"They all think I'm weird. They just don't like me," Cassie admitted, a sweep sadness brushing over her.
"It's not that easy, boogeyman. Anyways, you see what I mean? The name boogeyman is too long to say."
"You're so lazy. Aren't third graders supposed to be energetic?"
"I already told you. I'm not most third graders!"
Silence's spell dripped everywhere. She held onto every word that passed through his mouth, every last thought. Thoughts consumed her. The future made an appearance.
"Hey, boogeyman? Will you ever go away?
"When you stop believing, I eventually disappear. And then I move on to the next kid. And the next. And the next."
She frowned through the darkness and it kept her sorrow a secret.
"Will you every forget me? If you move on?"
If, not when. She was determined to hold on to him. To keep her sane through the world of unoriginality.
Her question remained unanswered, and suddenly, self consciousness was a sickly trap encasing her.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I should sleep."
Cassie pulled her starry covers over her head, the cold of her room unwelcomed. But then she heard a voice.
"I won't forget you."
It was a promise that she kept engraved in her cortex, stuck to her mind like glue. Her lips quirked upwards before she knew it, and then she peeked her two round eyes out of the covers.
Cassie made eye contact with the boogeyman from her closet, his two eyes like rubies. A chill struck her spine, but the smile stayed on her face. Slowly, he tip-toed out of the closet. Adrenaline swirled in her stomach, blood rushing in her veins.
They were so close. Practically sharing oxygen.
He opened both of his bony arms for her. It was as if gravitation was pulling her against the hug. She leapt in his arms. His appeareance was cold, but the notion was warm.
His fingertips brushed against her throat. In a fast motion, they gripped around her, squeezing hard. His nails stabbed into her, unbearable pain. Her face grew white.
You're not a monster.
She looked him straight in the eyes. There was an evil glint residing inside the red iris that she tried to repress.
You're not a monster.
She knew that she would die. He kept choking, and choking, and choking, while a protest was a thing long in the past.
You're not a monster.
And then, all aspects of life escaped her body until the world was black and white.