"I’m the one who growls in your closet; I’m the one who lives under your bed."
Alice Cooper – Lullaby
In the beginning...
The small boy was having fun playing in his grandparent’s kitchen. He always liked it here because there was such a big area to play with his toys. All the rooms in the house were big, but the kitchen was always nice and quiet for him to play by himself this time of night.
He could hear the comforting drone of the TV coming from the living room, where all of the grownups were watching something he really had no interest in. He was content to play out here by himself while the rest of the big family were only a room away.
He was lost in happy thoughts, pushing his toy car back and forth, when he began to hear something peculiar. Very soon, he realized it was a sound he had heard before. A low, ominous hum that continued on and on, unbroken in a continuous monotone. And he didn’t like it at all. It was a scary sound. The boy was sure it marked the arrival of something very bad.
Almost as if on cue, the light in the kitchen was gradually overwhelmed by a darkness that was most definitely emanating from the same place the awful sound was coming from, the door to the back porch. The only light now came from the living room, which all of a sudden seemed very far away to the little boy.
The boy called out in a trembling voice to the adults in the living room, but none of them answered. He was out here in this terrifying darkness, without the safety and protection of his family, who didn’t seem to know that he was in danger. It wasn’t so much the darkness that he was afraid of, or that he was alone. What really frightened him was that he didn’t think that he really was alone out here in this awful darkness.
As soon as the boy gained the fortitude to think of fleeing to the safety of the living room, he began to realize that he felt a pull from the direction of the back porch door, as if gravity itself had been skewed slightly in that direction. He knew if he tried to stand he would be pulled faster towards the back porch, so the boy stayed on his hands and knees, having to use all of his little might to crawl to the safety of the living room, one slow, agonizing bit at a time; his toy forgotten and left behind.
He still felt no safety as he finally made it to the door of the living room. The boy could sense a terrible presence in the kitchen behind him. And it was coming ever closer. He didn’t turn around to look for fear of what he might see there. He had to try to move faster so this unseen horror couldn’t catch him and drag him away, back into the darkness. If only he could make it to one of the adults…
But as the little boy looked at the faces of the grownups, he saw a distance in their eyes, and none of them seemed to be moving at all. They didn’t appear to even know he was there. There would be no safety, even here. And when he finally crawled all the way to the middle of the living room, the boy could sense the evil presence from the darkness standing right behind him, waiting.
After what seemed like an eternity, the little boy mustered up all the bravery he could, and turned to look at his stalker. What he saw was a mask of pure evil staring back at him. It resembled a very ugly old woman, at first, but this thing was obviously not quite human.
She was short compared to an adult, but much taller than the boy. Her clothing was a dreary brown and gray that looked like something that belonged on a peasant from hundreds of years ago. Her dull grayish skin didn’t appear so much wrinkled as it seemed as if it didn’t quite fit right.
The old hag’s teeth just didn’t look like they belonged to a human. They seemed way too sharp, and there seemed to be too many of them. She had what appeared to be fangs like those of a wolf. And the whole set of teeth looked just a little bit too big for her mouth, which was set in a cruel grin.
…And those terrible eyes! Those dark, hollow eyes seemed to bore right through the boy. Some people say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If this evil creature had a soul, her eyes would scream that her soul was violently insane! It was those eyes that made the boy turn his face back to the floor in terror.
“That’s right! Down on all fours with your face to the ground,” the old hag screeched angrily. “Soon I will make you my dog,” she continued. In his little boy mind, the boy thought that last part was very strange. He knew from stories that witches turned people into frogs, not dogs. He wondered why she would say something like that, but he dared not speak up to correct her.
The hag spoke again, “You seem very compliant, so I will offer you a deal, dog. I have a question for you. All you have to do is answer yes to my question, and this will all be over for you forever. Otherwise I will keep coming back, and I won’t be so nice then. I can do very bad things to you.”
Even though he was just a few years old, and he was having trouble understanding most of what she meant, the boy somehow knew even before she asked it, that he should never say yes to the hag’s question. So even though the boy thought it might mean certain death, he looked up and simply said to the evil creature, “No!”
This infuriated the already seemingly angry witch! “You dare say no to me, you miserable dog! Do you think the horror I will inflict will be limited to only you! Your whole family will suffer right along with you, so don’t think they can ever help you against me,” she screamed at him.
The demonic hag, still facing the boy, abruptly began to float backwards towards the back of the house from where she came, as if in a movie being played in reverse. Before the hideous old crone disappeared back into the darkness, she said one last thing, “This is over for now, but I’ll be back! I will never let you go! The rest of your life will be nothing but hell!”
The little boy didn’t care right then if she would be back or not. All he cared about was that she was gone for now. Everything was okay, for now.