Friday, January 21, 2011


"Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?"
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

This is the third episode of the story of a very strange little boy. You see, this little boy has the very disturbing thought that he is being visited by a demon. An ugly old hag of a demon. Is that true? Could something like that really be true? How could anybody know that for certain, except for the boy? Maybe even he didn’t know. That wasn’t exactly the question that was on his mind at the moment though.

The real question he had been wondering was, “What do you have to do to get rid of an evil demon when nothing seems to work?” That’s what the boy was beginning to wonder. As the demonic hag had promised, she had come back to him time and time again over the next several years, and in his memory there was never a respite of more than a few days at a time from this psychological assault that made him too afraid to ever think of fighting back. The boy was growing older now. He was no baby anymore, but he could only take so much.

And it usually didn’t matter where or when she might appear. There seemed to be only one rule. It almost always began when he was mostly alone. But it didn’t necessarily end up that way. He could wander ten feet away from another person, and the witch would appear. And then it never mattered where he tried to run. A visit didn’t end until the witch chose to end it. And there was always her unasked question. She promised to end all of it for him if his answer would be yes.

Even when the demon witch didn’t appear to him, the boy thought he could sense something evil hovering near him, waiting to strike. He became nervous at all times, dreading what might happen next. His every thought was shadowed with fear and worry of the bad things the hag would tell him. He could never repeat those things. They were too scary to even think about. So now she didn’t even have to be there to hurt him. It seems his own thoughts were betraying him.

Another problem was that the boy had decided that he had to pretend everything was normal, to protect everyone else. He was sure his parents expected him to be normal even though they had never said it, so he had to pretend there was nothing wrong. He was sure this wasn’t their fault. How could they know? They could never see the hag. Nobody could… except the boy. And he knew by this time that no normal person could help him stop something that was as invisible as a ghost. They were all normal. But he wasn’t normal. The boy knew that. He wished somebody would tell him if they thought he wasn’t normal.

But what could he do? Nobody ever said anything. But after seeing some of the strange looks he had gotten for trying to tell this story to people, the boy decided that there was only one thing he could really do. He was going to have to trick them. Trick them all. Yes. That was it. That was the answer. He was fine. That’s what he would say. That’s what he would tell them. It would be easy. So easy. The hag had told him so many times now that they wouldn’t believe. Sometimes she had dared him to tell them, and other times she had warned him to be silent. He thought she was wrong that the others would never understand… until now.

The boy also decided that he didn’t want anyone else in the family to be as afraid as he was. He needed to protect them somehow. His parents. His two little brothers. His new baby sister. The hag had begun to make threats against them too now. She told the boy that she would hurt them if he didn’t do as she told him, if he didn’t listen to the things she said. How could he do that without agreeing to her unasked question that he somehow knew would be the very worst thing he could ever do. Ever. Agreeing to smaller things sometimes seemed to appease the evil creature enough though.

But the boy wondered what would really happen if he were to answer yes to the question? It had been made clear to him that he would learn the question only after he answered with a “Yes.” That always seemed so backwards to him, but he was afraid to ask why it had to be like that. The hag always told him that it would all be over if he were to answer yes, but how could he know for sure? He thought maybe she was trying to trick him. He didn’t think he had ever caught her in a lie though. He listened very closely for lies. Maybe she wasn’t lying about this either, but he still thought this was something very bad.

And there was still his family to think about. They already thought he was a bit strange. He could tell, every time he mentioned anything about the hag. What would they think if he seemed fine all of a sudden? Would they think he was crazy for being okay? He wasn’t crazy! The boy knew the things he had seen! He didn’t care what anyone else might think! But he wished they would tell him, because sometimes he felt like he was being tricked by their silence. He didn't like being tricked. So what if nobody else saw the hag but him. That didn’t make him crazy. He was sure it was all true! He… wasn’t… CRAZY!!! No no no… No!


Monday, January 3, 2011

In The Mirror

"When you smile, I don’t know what to do."
Concrete Blonde

What was that thing? The little boy spent his days trying to understand what the awful creature that had visited him really was. Was it a witch? Was it some kind of hag? Maybe it was a ghost of one of those things. The boy wasn’t old enough to really understand it much better than that. But what he did understand was that the thing was scarier than anything he had ever seen before.

He remembered trying to tell his mom and dad about the witch, but they both assumed that he had just had a bad dream or something. Bad dreams were something that he used to have plenty of. But those involved things like gorillas sneaking into his bedroom to scare him, and other such nonsense. Just dreams. And the dreams had slowed considerably once his tonsils had been taken out.

Well, after the strange story he had told them, the boy understood why the grownups didn’t believe him. He was no baby after all. He’d be old enough to go to school in a few years, so he was old enough to be able to take care of this problem with the mean old hag on his own. …But he wished he just wasn’t so scared.

And besides, that scary witch hag hadn’t come back in a few days. Maybe the grownups were right; maybe it was all just a dream. There weren’t really things like ghosts or monsters anyway. His mom said so! And his mom and dad knew everything. If there was really a bad thing, they would catch it and beat it up! The boy was feeling better already. Now it was time to go to the bathroom and get his drink of water.

After taking care of a little business, the boy turned to the sink and reached up to turn on the water. As he did, he noticed his reflection in the mirror above the sink. He liked the way everything in the mirror was the exact opposite of all the real things. It made it seem like a completely different place; a place that might be fun to explore. He wondered if his real face looked different to other people than this mirror image, because, after all, he was seeing it backwards. He smiled about that one.

But then something strange happened. The smile on his reflection began to widen, which didn’t match the expression that was now on his own face. At the same time, he heard something. It was the sound! That awful sound! That deep monotonous single tone that pervaded everything and went on and on. As the boy took an involuntary step backwards, the lights quickly dimmed, darkening the shadows on the face of his reflection in the mirror. The reflection hadn’t taken that same backward step.

The boy looked on in shock and terror as the widening smile on his mirror counterpart turned into an evil grin, showing an ugly, fanged row of teeth that were just a bit too big for the mouth. Lines began to form all over the face, and the area around the eyes became dark and sunken. The eyeballs, which now looked dark and cloudy except for a pinpoint of yellow light in the center, glared at the boy with a look of fanatical hatred.

The monstrous image in the mirror continued its horrifying metamorphosis, growing larger and changing even further. The ugly features became more pronounced as the figure grew. All resemblance to the little boy was long gone. What was now glaring back through the mirror at the cowering young boy was the hideous hag that the boy had hoped would never come back!

“I told you I’d be back,” she chuckled in a maliciously teasing voice. “This will never be over, and it’s only going to get worse. Telling the adults didn’t work, did it? They can never help you. No one can help you against me. And I’m going to make you wish you were dead.” The boy was now crouched against the opposite wall, trying to make himself as small as possible.

In a split second the hag’s tone of voice changed. She began to angrily scream at the little boy. “Do you think I ever really left! I’m always with you! I know everything you do! There is nothing that can protect you! You are my dog! I’ll never let you go, and there’s only one thing you can do to make this stop!”

With those last words, the mirror became cloudy and the image of the hag faded away. When the lights finally began to illuminate the room properly again, all that was left was the little boy sitting against the wall softly crying.