“Don’t close your eyes, don’t sing your last lullaby.”
Kix – Don’t Close Your Eyes
Several years had passed now since the demonic hag had come to the front door and frightened the children. The boy was now in his middle teen years and closer to being an adult than he was the very little boy that the hag had first visited. The visits had never stopped, but something about that front door incident had changed things.
Oh sure, the hag was still coming to the boy, but the terrifying visits were now in his dreams instead of the waking world. The boy guessed early on that her failure at the front door must have weakened her in some way. He just wished he knew how it was done. Maybe this was the way to finally get rid of her altogether.
The fact that she was now only in his dreams was no relief. Oh, far from it. The hag’s threats and evil promises made him as afraid as ever in the waking world because, even though she wasn’t in the waking world now, she knew things and seemed to be able to affect things there. But even though this torment seemed to be never ending, the boy was glad it was only in his dreams now.
The problem though was that he still had to go to sleep at night. The boy never tried to stay awake because there was no use. He wasn’t stupid. He knew that a person had to sleep sometimes. So now while he was in bed, even though the fear and worry were causing him to have trouble getting to sleep, he eventually would drift off to face the inevitable. The nightmare of the hag.
He found himself in a basement. It wasn’t his house. The boy looked around at this familiar place that he had never seen before, and knew he was in a dream. He also knew what was there waiting for him. He tried to find a way out, but there was only the stairs leading up, and they were somehow blocked by an invisible barrier. There was only one direction to go; to the back of the basement.
That’s where he found her, sitting in a big chair and surrounded by a dull light, waiting expectantly for him with a cruel grin on her face. “Don’t ever think you can escape,” she said in a mocking tone. “I always know where you are and what you’re doing. Come forward, boy!"
The boy knew there was nothing to do but to move towards the hag. But not too close. It was a compromise he had discovered long ago. He could appease her anger without giving in completely. He could never give in to that unasked question she always had. “Just say yes, boy. Then it will all be over with. You know you want to end it,” she told him.
The boy did want it to end, but not in the way she intended. He knew that giving in would be the worst thing he or any person could ever do. He wasn’t exactly sure why that was, but he knew it no matter how much she tried to hide just what would happen, or what that question was.
After a pause, the hag glared at him and abruptly said, “This little game is becoming tiring. It’s time I taught you a lesson in what I will do if you don’t give in to me. You know I can hurt your family, don’t you? I’ve been kind to you so far. Do you know that? Now I’m going to show you that I can make you pay for your hesitations.”
As soon as those words were out of the hag’s evil mouth the air just to the right of the boy began to shimmer and distort. Slowly an image of a person began to form in that spot. As it coalesced, the boy was shocked to find out that the image was now his mother! There was something different about her though. She didn’t appear to be quite really there. It was as if the boy was seeing her on a movie screen because she didn’t seem quite three dimensional, and her color was a little dull.
The boy tried to talk to the image of his mother, but even though she moved like a normal person, she didn’t seem to know he was there. Still, the boy knew this was not just some doppelganger; this shadow image somehow really represented his mom. The boy wondered what this was all about.
“I’m going to kill her,” the hag announced to the boy in a matter of fact tone of voice. “That should make you understand my power over you, dog!” Then there was a flash of red and yellow around the image of the boy’s mother, similar to a the way a match looks at the moment it has been struck. With that, his mother fell to the floor, dead in every appearance.
“NOOOO,” the boy screamed. He quickly knelt beside his mom to see if there was any way of saving her, but he knew there was no hope. The boy looked up at the hag and said, “Bring her back! You have to bring her back! Please!”
The hag gave an evil sounding chuckle and said to the boy, “Oh, she’s not really dead. Yet! This is just part of a demonstration to show you that I can really do it. You thought I was weakened, but I’ll show you that I’m as strong as ever, and I can hurt any one of your family if you don’t do as I say. And don’t you think this demonstration is over! This is just a dream right now. Just wait until you see the results of this.” Then the hag began to laugh.
As the boy looked on in horror at the evil hag, the image of his mother regained consciousness. Soon she was back on her feet. The hag looked straight at the boy and said pointedly, “Leave this dream! Take your mother and go! You will answer the question the way I want you to when I ask, because you will know my power!”
The boy found himself laying in the dark in his own bed. This had been the worst encounter with the hag yet, and it was because he truly believed her this time. He had no reason to doubt she could do this. The boy was terrified. He wasn’t able to get back to sleep that morning, and he went through the rest of the day tired, but wide awake and just glad this latest incident was over.
When the boy got home from school that day, he was greeted by his father, but his mother wasn’t there. Something had happened. His father told him that his mother had to be taken to the hospital. She was okay now, but it had been a precarious situation. She had, for some reason, had a seizure. When they got her to the hospital, her heart had stopped. It was all the oddest thing, but she was okay now. They could find nothing else wrong.
The boy’s dad explained that she would have to stay in the hospital for a few more days under observation to make sure she was really fine. But he made it clear that after they determine there’s nothing else wrong, she can come home. He said the doctors claim to understand the problem and think it’s all over.
The boy knew the real problem. The hag did this to her. And when his mother got back home the boy was very protective of her, staying by her side as much as he could, even though he knew he could do nothing. But eventually as time moved on things had to return to normal, even though the boy knew the hag might abruptly strike again at any time. He wondered if there was anything he could ever do.