Alfred C. Bogeyman
Adrian stood in front of the old, ramshackle house. The green mailbox door hung off its hinges on one side. Some of the letters were missing, but he could still make out the last name—Bogeyman.
The memories of that October twenty years earlier when he and his friends joined forces and stood up against the boogieman made him smile. But now that he was older, he had to go back and see for himself. Was Alfred still there? And if so, was he really a boogie man or did he and his friends have overactive imaginations.
He chuckled as he thought back to the night during fall break when it all began.
Sam’s screaming woke everyone at 3 a.m. Mom scrambled down the hall and found him hiding under a blanket with a flashlight.
She flipped the light switch. “What is it, Sam?”
His tiny arm emerged from under the blanket as he pointed toward the closet.
Mom opened the closet door and looked inside. “I don’t see anything.” She sat beside him on the bed and pulled the blanket off his head. The static from the blanket made his hair stand wildly. She licked the tip of her fingers and brushed his hair down with her hand. “You just had a nightmare, sweetie.” She kissed him on the cheek.”
He shook his head and rose up on his knees. “No, momma, he shook my bed, and I went like this.” He rose up and tightened his little fists and shook his head. “… and he ran into the closet.”
Adrian, Ralph, and Sean scurried down the hall and stood in the doorway. “What’s going on?” Adrian asked, yawning.
“Boogieman shook my bed again,” Sam yelled.
“Hon, There is no such thing. Calm down… okay. How about you sleep with me until morning?”
Sam grabbed his blanket and Adrian watched him as he followed on mother’s heels down the hall.
The boys returned to Adrian’s room and slipped into their sleeping bags.
Adrian sighed. “Poor Sam, that old boogieman won’t leave’em alone.” He leaned on his elbow and stared off into space.
“Does he wake up screaming like that every night?” Sean asked.
“Yeah.” Adrian sat up, leaning against the footboard of his bed. “Ever since Dad got deployed, that old boogieman’s been bothering him every night.”
“Reckon he probably picks houses with no dads in them?” Sean asked. “Cause my dad is always home, and I’ve never had a boogie man in my room.”
“Could be. How would that old Boogieman like it if someone went to his house and scared him?” Adrian said, crossing his arms defiantly.
Ralph sprang up to a sitting position. “That’s it!”
“Why don’t we go make sure that ol’ boogie man get’s no sleep… do to him what he does to your brother. “ Ralph said.
“We?” Sean shook his head. “I ain’t bothering nooo boogieman.”
“How we gonna find him?” Ralph asked, ignoring Sean.
“I got an idea.” Adrian ran out of the room and returned with a phone book. He sat in the middle of the sleeping bags. “B-a…B-e…B-i…B-o…” He continued to run his finger down the pages. “Not one Boogieman in the whole phone book.”
“I guess maybe his number isn’t listed.” Sean snickered.
Adrian scratched his head and stared at the page before coming up with an answer. ‘Well, if you were the boogie man would you want everyone to know where you lived?”
Sean shook his head. “I guess not.”
“You can find anything on the Internet.” Ralph pushed his large round glasses up on his nose. “Look here.” He took out his laptop and searched for boogieman. “It says boogie men live in wooded areas.”
Adrian read the page. “Yep, Ralph the brain is right.” He scooted closer to Ralph. “Now ask it how to find him.”
Ralph’s slender finger danced across the keyboard. “Okay, it says a dog can detect evil and can find a boogieman.”
Sean scooted to the others. “So what’cha gonna do?”
Adrian smiled. “You mean we.” He pointed to all three of them. “We’re going to his find his house and tell him to quit scaring my little brother.”
“Oh no, I’m not going anywhere near a boog-ee or burger or whatever it is.” He cowered inside his sleeping bag.
Adrian grabbed him by the arm. “I promised…” He swallowed hard. “I promised my dad before he left that I’d take care of things.” His hazel eyes pleaded with his friend. “It’s for Sam. He screams and cries all night.”
Sean uncovered his head and let out a loud sigh. “Oh…all right, I will go with you, but I won’t go inside his house.” He quickly covered his head again.
“Wait.” Ralph closed his laptop. “Where’re we going to get a dog to track him?”
Adrian looked sat Sean and grinned. “Doesn’t your Grandma Alice have a golden retriever?”
“No, I won’t get Socks involved. He’s an old dog and …”
“Come on,” Adrian pleaded, sticking out his lower lip. “It’s for little Sam.”
Ralph joined in and they both pleaded together. “Pleeease!”
“Oh, all right, but if something happens to Socks, I’ll never talk to you guys again.”
The next morning, Ralph had his laptop open taking in all the information he could find about boogiemen. He shook Adrian. “Hey, listen to this.”
Adrian lazily scooted up out of his sleeping bag. “What is it?” he asked, yawning
“Boogiemen live in wooded places, right?” He turned the computer toward Adrian. “What does this remind you of?” He smiled.
He looked closely. “The woods behind the park.” He turned to Ralph. “You think?”
Ralph nodded his head. “We take Socks there and see what he finds.”
“How do we know when the dog finds something?” Adrian asked.
“It says here he will whine and sniff and act weird.” Ralph closed his laptop. “I’ll go home and get ready. You wake up Ralph, get Socks, and meet me at the tree house after breakfast.”
Adrian nodded. He sat up on his knees and reached over to wake his friend. “Sean…Sean. Wake-up. We gotta go get socks.”
Seam uncovered his head and yawned. “Ten more minutes, Mom.”
Adrian laughed. “You lug head, I’m not your mom. Get up” He picked up the left side of Sean’s sleeping bag and shook it.
He sprang up and looked around.
“Come on, we gotta get some breakfast and get the dog. Hurry up.”
The two raced to the kitchen.
Adrian ate quickly. As milk from his spoon dribbled down his chin, he wiped it with his sleeve.
“Slow down or you’ll have a stomach ache.” Mom sat down in the chair beside him and sipped her coffee. “What’s the rush this morning?”
“Going to Sean’s,” he said through a mouthful of cereal. He swallowed and chugged his orange juice.
Sean ate his cereal and slurped the milk from the bowl.
“You want some more, hon?” Adrian’s mother offered.
Sean smiled and nodded his head.
Sam sat with his elbows on the table and his cheeks squished in his fists—his cereal untouched. The O-shaped cereal absorbed almost all the milk and was three times its normal size.
“Aren’t you hungry this morning, sweetie?” Mom asked.
Sam shook his head and yawned.
Adrian kissed his mom on the cheek, pulled Sean up from his third bowl of cereal and ran out the door.
“What is that boy up to now?”
Sam shrugged. “I dunno.”
The boys jumped on their bikes and rode to Sean’s grandma’s house to get Socks. The dog was originally Sean’s, but when his little sister was born the dog had to go—allergies. He was upset, so his Grandma Alice took Socks in because she lives just three blocks away.
The boys rode up to Grandma Alice’s front steps and jumped off their bikes before coming to a stop, letting them fall in the front yard. They raced each other to the backyard to Sock’s doghouse.
“You put his leash on, and I’ll go tell Grandma I’m taking him to the park.”
Sean didn’t make it to the back porch steps before a small, round women walked out in her pink bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. “You boy’s want some bacon and biscuits?”
“Thanks, but we don’t have time.” Adrian looked over a Sean, his lips still in the “ure” shape.
“Yeah, we gotta go.” He ran up and kissed Alice on the cheek. “Thanks, Grandma. I’ll bring Socks back later.”
“Keep him as long as you want. Lord knows that dog needs to get out and run.”
The two boys rode slowly to Ralph’s house with Sock’s leash tied to Sean’s handlebars. The dog trotted along, panting, as the boy maneuvered his unsteady handlebars.
“It’s hard to keep ‘em straight when I gotta go so slow,” Sean complained.
Adrian stopped. “Here, give him to me, I can do it.”
He stopped and handed him the leash, and they slowly made their way the five blocks to their friend’s yard.
Ralph looked down from the tree house. “Hey, up here.” He let the down the rope ladder.
Adrian climbed up first, and Sean struggled behind him.
Ralph made a hand-drawn map of the park on a piece of Manila paper. “This is the park,” he said, pointing, “and this is the wooded area. I think we should go back behind the fence...back behind the hiking trail.”
Sean’s eyes widened. “We can’t go back there. My mom says there’s raccoons and possums.”
“So,” Adrian replied.
“Don’t you know about rabies and wild animals? My mom says—“
Adrian and Ralph laughed.
“Sean…how many times have you heard of someone gettin’ rabies from wild animals?” Adrian shook his head. “Your mom worries too much.”
“Anyway,” Ralph went on, “we take the dog around this area.” He drew a red circle around the places. “I say we need to go soon, too, ‘cause if the boogieman is up all night scarin’ everyone, then he has to sleep all day, right?”
“Good thinkin’,” Adrian said.
“Wait!” Sean held up his hand. “Are we going to be gone past lunch, ‘cause I can’t miss lunch.”
Adrian patted his friend’s belly. “I don’t thing missin’ one lunch is gonna hurt ya.”
Sean pushed his hand away. “My mom says if I miss lunch, my blood sugar get’s low and –“
“Your mother says all sorts of stuff, Sean, that doesn’t make it all true,” Ralph said harshly, as he rolled his eyes.
Sean stuck out his tongue. His eyes glistened with awaiting tears.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean…I’ll go make a few sandwiches and get some juice boxes.” Ralph climbed down with his friend right behind him. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”
The boys decided to walk to the park because it was faster than riding bikes with Socks attached.
As they walked Ralph filled them in on some boogie man facts. “They poof themselves into a green fog move from place to place real fast, and there’s a bunch a different ways to spell it. “He handed Adrian a paper. “Look, I wrote them down.”
Sean walked closer to Adrian, so he could see too. “That one looks like Bow- gee-man to me.”
“Yeah, I know, but I looked it up and they all mean the same thing.
The rest of the way the trio played eye-spy and told jokes until they reached the park.
The clear sky allowed for unlimited sunshine and an unseasonably warm October day. Kids ran screaming around the park playing tag, while parents sat on the benches gossiping.
The three walked past the playground area and headed toward the hiking trails. Once they made it into the woods, the huge trees blocked the sunlight and the air cooled.
“It looks kinda creepy back here.” Sean’s eye darted toward every sound. “I feel kinda sick.”
“We’re fine. It’s just shady in here.” Ralph said.
Socks sniffed around a small rotting log blocking the trail and stopped to do his business near a clump of weeds.
The boys followed Socks through the woods for what seemed like hours. The dog led the boys to a fallen bird’s nest, a dead squirrel, but no boogieman.
“I’m getting hungry, guys. How long we been walking?” Sean stopped and plopped down in the grass and Socks sat down beside him, licking his face.
“I guess we could stop and have some sandwiches.” Ralph took off his backpack and sat down. Opening it, he handed everyone a sandwich and a juice box.
Sean opened his sandwich and started to take a bite, but stopped. “This doesn’t have mayonnaise, does it?”
“No, it’s a peanut butter and jelly,” Ralph said.
He took a bite. “That’s good ‘cause my mom said that when you don’t keep sandwiches cold that have mayo on them, you can get saplenilla.”
Adrian and Ralph leaned back laughing.
Sean took another bite. “Or something like that.” He smiled.
“It sal-mo-nella and you know what? This time your mom is right.”
The boys finished their sandwiches, and Ralph put the empty bags and juice boxes in his backpack. “I don’t believe in littering.”
Just as they were about to walk a little deeper into the woods, Socks darted off, barking.
The boys looked at each other, their eyes wide.
“Let’s follow him,” Ralph yelled.
The boys ran and found the dog digging in a clump of dirt under a tree. Sean grabbed his leash and pulled him back. Ralph took a stick and poked the clump. They all jumped back when a dark object moved beneath the dirt. Sean and Adrian slowly backed away, but Ralph used the stick to pry the creature out of its hiding place.
“It’s just a mole!” He called.
“Do moles have rabies?” Sean asked, still backing away.
“NO.” Ralph shook his head. “They won’t hurt you unless you’re a slug or something.”
Adrian chuckled and walked over to take a look at the little creature. “Kinda weird looking, isn’t it?”
Socks stuck out his neck and sniffed the air.
“That’s it!” Ralph snapped his fingers.
“What?” The other two asked in unison.
“A dog finds stuff by the smell. We need the boogie man's scent, so he can track him.”
“And how’re we supposed to do that?” Sean asked.
“Simple, we all stay at Adrian’s again…even Socks. Then when that boogie man comes, he can pick up the scent.”
Adrian shook his head. “Won’t work. My mom won’t allow dogs in the house.”
Ralph thought for a second. “What if we slept outside—in a tent?”
“Oh, no way.” Sean shook his head. “I ain’t sleeping outside with a boogieman on the loose.”
“Don’t be a chicken, we’ll have the dog.” Ralph knelt down and let Socks lick his face. “You’ll protect us, won’t ya boy?”
Socks whined as if to answer his question.
“Come on, Sean. We need you.” Adrian pushed out his bottom lip. “Pweease.”
“Okay, but If anything weird happens, I’m gone.”
The boys started back home and made plans to meet later that evening at Adrian’s to set up the tent.
The boys met in Adrian’s back yard at five and set up a tent before going inside to have some supper.
“You boys sure you want to sleep outside, it’s going to be a bit chilly tonight,” Mom asked, setting a bowl of mashed potatoes on the table.
Adrian scooted the bowl closer. “Yep, we’ll be okay in our sleeping bags.”
Mom sat and down to eat. “Well, promise me if you all get cold, you’ll come in. I’ll leave the patio door unlocked.”
“We will,” Adrian promised.
The boys ate quickly and jumped up to go out to the tent. Sean grabbed two rolls and put them in either pocket of his jacket.
Adrian’s mother smiled.
“They’re for Socks.” He smiled.
“Do you think the boogie man’s comin’ tonight?” Sean asked.
“Of course, he’s been scaring the life out’a my little brother every night for months. “ Adrian said.
“Well, we’ll be ready for him, with Socks by our side. I’m sure he can pick up the scent.” Ralph reached over and rubbed the dog’s ears.
Sean yawned. “I’m tired.”
“Me too,” Adrian stretched and yawned. “I say we get some sleep, ‘cause that old boogieman always comes in the middle of the night.
The three boys slid into their sleeping bags and tuned out the lantern. A dim light shone from under Sean’s sleeping bag.
Ralph sat up. “I can’t sleep with that light on.”
“It’s just a small tap light. I can put it behind me like this.” Sean put the light behind him and rolled toward the light.
The boys slept, snoring filled the small tent, until Socks jumped up and began whining and clawing at the tent door.
Adrian and Ralph clumsily removed their sleeping bags as Sean recoiled to the back of the tent.
“Hurry, unzip it,” Ralph said.
“I’m trying, but it’s stuck or something.” Adrian's finger slipped off the zipper.
Ralph pushed him out of the way. “I’ll get it.” He pinched the zipper tightly in his fingers and pulled as hard as he could. “It’s moving.” He got it unzipped.
Socks ran up to the house and barked and scratched at the back door. Adrian and Ralph chased after him and Adrian opened the door. They could hear Sam screaming and followed Socks up the stairs to Sam’s room.
Sean ran up behind them turning turned his head toward every sound.
Mom beat them to the room and turned on the light.
Sam, cried, pointing toward the closet.
Socks ran in and scratched and whined at the closet door.
“Get that dog out of here!” Mom yelled.
Adrian opened the closet and Socks stood at the door, his nostrils flaring.
“He smells ‘em, Adrian. It’s working.”
“I told you boys to keep that dog outside.”
“But Mom, he’s smells him…he smells the boogieman.”
“There is no such thing as the boogieman. “ She pointed to Sam who cowered under his blankets screaming. “Look, you’re scaring your brother to death.” She bent over Sam’s bed and pulled the cover off, lifted him up and hugged him. “I’m taking Sam to my room. You boys get the dog back outside.”
Sean grabbed Sock’s leash, but he pulled and whined, trying to get into the closet.
A green plume appeared and sped away. Socks chased it down the stairs and back outside.
“Come on boys, let’s follow him.” He waved.
Adrian ran behind him, Sean hesitated, so Adrian pulled him along.
They chased Socks as he chased the green cloud that led them to the park behind the hiking trails. The dog led the three deep into the woods to a small cottage.
Socks stopped running and sniffed around an area. The boys noticed a lane, leading to a small house. A green mailbox sat on a post at the end of the lane.
Ralph waved the other two over. “Look…the mailbox…it says, Alfred C. Bogeyman.”
Sean backed away, shaking his head. “I…I’m not going any further.”
“We won’t, not tonight anyway,” Ralph said. “We’re going back but we have to leave a trail, so we make sure we can find this house in the daylight.”
“How?” Adrian asked.
“I’ll bend branches on the trees, then tomorrow we’ll follow the broken limbs back here.”
As they walked back to Adrian’s house, Ralph bent branches on almost every tree along the way to make sure they could follow the trail.
When they reached Adrian’s yard, the boys walked toward the tent. Their tall shadows reached across the yard, as other shows danced around the yard and strange noises tickled their ears.
“It’s getting kinda cold out here, isn’t Adrian,” Sean asked, looking at him with pleading eyes.
“Yeah, it is.” Adrian’s voice trembled. “I did promise we’d come in, you know, if it got cold.”
They both looked at Ralph. “Okay, we’ll go in, but what’ll do with Socks?”
“I’ll tie him up to the back porch railing.” Adrian grabbed the leash and made a secure knot around the railing.
Ralph woke Adrian and Sean at six the next morning. “Come on, we gotta go,” he whispered. “It’s time to confront the boogieman.”
“I should probably take Socks back to Grandma’s,” Ralph said.
“No, you can’t we need to take him, to help us find the boogie man,” Adrian said.
“He’s right, Sean. We need to take him.”
“But I…I…can’ t go. I—“
“Stop being a chicken. We’ll really need you, and Socks, so come on.”
Sean slid out of bed, pulled on his jeans and followed his two friends out the door.
“I wanna hold Sock’s leash,” Sean said untying him from the railing.
“Fine, let’s go.” Ralph walked ahead of the other two taking note of the broken branches along the way.
Socks sniffed the trail and trotted alongside Sean, most of the way, but as they got deeper into the woods, his nostrils flared as he stuck his nose in the air. He whined and tried to pull away from Sean’s grip.
“We must be getting close.”
“I’m tired and hungry…what if my blood sugar gets low?” Sean sat down on a log along the trail to catch his breath.
Ralph rummaged through his backpack. “Here, have a juice box. I got donuts too.”
The boys stopped long enough to eat a few donuts and have some juice before moving on.
Socks bucked and whined and tried to twist loose from Sean’s grip.
“We better go.” Ralph led the way until they reached the lane with the green mailbox. “Here it is. The home of the boogieman.”
“What’ll we do now?” Sean asked.
“One of us needs to go look into that big window and see if he's sleeping. Then, we’ll try to give him a taste of his own medicine,” Ralph said.
“It’s for your brother, Adrian, you go.” Sean pushed him toward the house.
“Oh, you think I’m afraid?” He said his voice a whole octave higher than usual. ‘Well, I’m not. I’m going to do it…walk right up there.”
“Go on,” Ralph said.
Adrian crouched down as he slowly walked up to the house, hiding behind the occasional tree or bush along the way. When he reached the window, he knelt below it and slowly rose up to take a peek inside. It was dark, except for a small candle burning on the mantle.
He did the crouch walk back to his friends “Yep, he’s sleeping. It’s all dark and quiet in there.”
“First, tie socks up to that tree other there.” Ralph opened his backpack. “Here, Adrian, you take this slingshot, I’ll take the whistle and Sean, you use this.”
Sean looked at the stick topped with a piece of rubber. “What is it?”
“I made it myself. You rub it against the window and it makes a screeching sound on the glass.”
“Can’t I do the whistle?” He handed it back. “I don’t want to get close to the house.”
“I’m not afraid.” The boys traded. “You take the whistle and go stand over there by that tree.”
“Okay once everyone is in their places, use your instruments,” Ralph instructed.
The boys took their places. Adrian behind a tree in the front yard, Ralph kneeling beneath the window in the front of the house, and Sean safely crouched behind a tree, not too close to the house.
Ralph rubbed his rubber squeegee against the window.
Sean blew his whistle long and hard.
Adrian aimed the pieces of rock toward the house, but only hit it a couple of times.
Inside the house, Alfred woke covering his ears. “What is that dreadful noise?” He got up and walked to the large window and peered out of the curtains. He saw a small hand with a stick and rubbing on his window.
“What the?” He heard something hit the house, looking out his kitchen window he saw Adrian aiming his slingshot in his direction. “Those darn kids.” He spun himself into a green plume and hovered over Ralph.
Sean saw it, but fear stifled his voice. He just stood, pointing and making inaudible sounds.
It got Adrian’s attention. He stepped out from behind the tree just in time to see the green cloud whirl around his friend, and when it left, Ralph was gone.
Tears streamed down Sean’s face as he raced to Adrian, the two ran and hid behind a row of bushes.
“I saw it, Sean. We gotta go up there and get him back.”
“Oh no, I’m going to back home. I…I’ll get some help.”
“Who’s gonna believe you?”
Sean shook his head. “I, I don’t know.”
“Exactly, so stay here. I’ll go up there. It’s my fault we're here.”
Sean stayed on his hands and knees and scurried over to Socks.
Adrian ran up to the door of the house and even though he felt like sick and his body felt numb, he managed to make a fist and beat on the door.
It opened slowly. A large hand reached out and grabbed him by the arm. Pointy fingernails dug into his skin. He tried to pull away, but the hand pulled him inside.
Adrian stood on the other side of the big window. The candle lit a small area over the mantle. Alfred walked toward him. Even though he wanted to run, he stood watching the creature walk toward him.
Its eyes were large, round yellow orbs with brown specks. His lips were almost not existent, and in the shadows of the candle-lit room, his face appeared almost gourd-shaped.
“Let my friend go!” Adrian trembled as Alfred moved closer.
“Brave little one aren’t we?” Alfred stared into the boy’s eyes. “I can see the fear in your soul.” He held his head back as his nostrils flared in and out. “I can smell fear. Oh, how I love the stench of fear.” He breathed deep. “It keeps me alive.”
“I’m not afraid of you.” Adrian’s voice trembled. “I want you to let my friend go.”
Alfred laughed. “Why, I have. Look outside.” His long slender fingers pointed out the window. Ralph stood outside bobbing and weaving trying to see inside.”
“And…leave little brother alone.” He said with a little less trembling in his words.
“Braver yet,” Alfred searched the boys' eyes and came closer. He sniffed him, his hot breath giving Adrian goose bumps. “Yuck, the smell of bravery, disgusting.” He backed away and coughed. “Okay, okay. I will leave your brother alone, now go…get out of here,” he choked on his words.
Adrian ran out the door and grabbed Ralphs arm, pulling him along.
Alfred stuck his head out the door, raising his head high, sniffing the air. He smiled. He smelled fear and it was a wonderful aroma.
The three boys raced to Adrian’s house and ran inside.
Sean heaved, out of breath. “Look at me, I’m still shaking.” He held out his trembling hand.
Adrian smiled. “I don’t feel afraid. I think he’s afraid of bravery, he smelled me and it made him cough and choke like it was cigarette smoke…like it hurt him somehow.”
Ralph sat down on the back steps, a blank stare on his face. “He did that with me, too and the next thing I know, I was outside the window looking in.”
“I was never so glad to see you guys in my life. I was so scared, sitting there alone. I…I thought you guys were dead.” Sean wiped his eyes before the tears broke free.
Sam opened the back door. “Mom’s looking for you.” He closed the door and yelled. “They're out here, Mommy.”
Adrian’s mom stuck her head out the door. “You three had me scared to death. I was about ready to call the police.”
“We just went to the park to…”
“To walk Socks,” Ralph added.
“Yeah,” Adrian said.
Sean looked away, tears still blurring his vision.
“You okay, hon?” Adrian’s mom stepped out on the porch.
Sean nodded. “Yeah, I just got somethin’ in my eye.”
“Well, I think you boys better head home, and Adrian you need to come inside. Your room is a mess.” Mom ducked back inside.
“I guess I’ll see you guys later. I’ll let you know what happens tonight…with Sam, I mean.”
“Okay,” Ralph said. He turned to Sean. “I’ll walk with you to your grandma’s to take Socks back if you want.”
Sean nodded. “Okay, I’d like that.”
Adrian watched his friends walk away until they slowly disappeared into the distance. He went inside and started cleaning his room.
Adrian woke at five o’clock in the next morning. I didn’t hear Sam screaming last night, he thought to himself and smiled. He slid out of bed, tip-toed down the hall to his brother’s room and peeked inside. Sam’s was curled up asleep, and his blankets were hanging off the edge of the bed, but he was still asleep. Adrian smiled and crept back to his room.
He wanted to tell his friends that it worked. The boogie man didn’t scare his brother, and it was because they were brave and stood up to him. He waited until the sun came up and slipped on his shoes and jacket. He ran down to Ralph’s and pecked on his window.
Ralph rubbed his eyes, yawning. “Adrian, what’s wrong.”
He smiled. “Nothing…no boogieman last night.”
Ralph pushed the window up and Adrian slid his leg over the sill and went inside. “I went to Sam’s room, and he’s still asleep.”
“Wow, I can’t believe it worked.” Ralph plopped down on his bed. “We gotta go tell Sean. He’s pretty scared.”
“Okay, put on your shoes and let’s go.”
The two slid out of the window and went to Sean’s window.
Adrian tapped on it with his fingers. “Sean,” He whispered.
“I don’t think he’s in there,” Ralph said, standing on his tip-toes trying to see inside.
“He has to be…I mean where else could he be. It’s early.”
“I don’t know, but we better go before we wake his parents.”
The two friends returned home.
Adrian attempted to open the back screen door without making a sound, but it squeaked. His mother was awake anyway and on the phone.
Adrian noticed a concerned tone in her voice. “I’ll have a talk with him. I’m sorry, Jane. I don’t know why they’d scare him like that…Okay, take care. Bye.”
He stopped and waited for her to hang up. “What’s going on?”
“That was Sean’s mother.” Mom placed her hands on her hips. “She said Sean was up all night scared to death because he believes the boogie man that lives in the woods was in his room.” She pointed for her son to sit in the chair. “Care to explain?”
His heart racing, Adrian sat down and thought about what to say. “It was just a game we were playing yesterday, and well, you know Sean’s scared of everything.”
“Well, you and Ralph need to fix this.” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Sean’s mother said he didn’t sleep all night, but he’s sleeping now, so when he wakes up I want you to go over there, apologize to Mrs. Thurman and Sean. “
Adrian nodded and walked up to his room. He sat at his window looking out toward the park. “Why is he bothering Sean?” He mumbled to himself, but as he thought back to the day before, he remembered Sean didn’t stand up to the boogieman. Maybe that was the answer. But how can I get Sean to go back there?
The phone rang. Adrian ran to the top of the stairs to listen.
“Adrian, it’s Ralph!” Mom called.
He raced down the steps to the phone. “Hello…okay, I’ll be there in a minute.”
He hung up the phone and turned to his mother. “Is it okay if I go to Ralphs, so we can think of something to help Sean?”
“Alright, but you best be home by supper.”
Adrian walked up to Ralph’s house and heard him yelling from the tree house. “Hey, up here!” He waved and dropped the ladder.
Adrian climbed up.
Ralph had his laptop open doing more research. “I think I know how to get rid of that boogie man for good.”
“Really?” Adrian scooted closer to take a look at the computer screen.
“It says here that they can smell fear and track it.”
“So…that’s why he went after Sean, he’s scared of everything.” He brought up another screen. “This one says that boogie men take in the smell of fear to live and that’s why they like it, kinda like a vampire needs blood.”
“He could live forever off Sean’s fears.”
“I know.” He smiled. “It also says that boogie men hate it when children laugh because it can kill them, kinda like Superman and kryptonite.”
“So, what can we do?”
“I have a plan.” Ralph brought out a stack of cartoons on DVDs. “We’ll go spend the night with Sean and laugh it up.”
“You really think it’ll work?” Adrian looked through the stack.
“It’s worth a try, ‘cause there is no way we’d ever get him to stand up to the boogieman like we did…it’s all we got.”
Later that evening Ralph an Adrian showed up at Sean’s door with the cartoons and their sleeping bags.
Mrs. Thurman met them at the door. “Come on in boys.”
“Sorry, Mrs. Thurman,” Adrian said.
“Yeah, me too. We didn’t mean to—“
“That’s okay, I know how boys are. I just hope you all get this boogie man nonsense straighten out.”
“We’ll try.” Ralph smiled.
“Sean is in his room, go on in.”
Sean sat on the edge of his bed, still in his pajamas sipping chamomile tea. He looked up while blowing the steam away from his cup. “It’s camermill tea…or something like that. Mom say’s it’ll calm my nerves.”
His two friends wanted to laugh but held back.
“Are you ready to get rid of the boogieman for good?” Ralph asked, in an upbeat tone.
“You guys really think this will work?” Sean sipped his tea.
“You can trust Ralph the brain, you know that.” Adrian patted Ralph’s back.
Ralph set up a DVD player and Adrian spread out their sleeping bags.
“I’m staying in my own bed.” Sean slid under his cover and adjusted his pillows.
“Okay, we just watch these funny shows and laugh until we fall asleep. That’ll keep the boogieman away.” Ralph hit play and the three watched cartoons for hours before Sean drifted off.
“He’s snoring,” Ralph whispered.
“That’s good. Now we can sleep, too.” Adrian wiggled down into his sleeping bag.
Ralph turned the cartoons off and did the same.
A few minutes later, the green plume appeared hovering over Sean’s bed and materialized into Alfred C. Bogeyman. He leaned over the boy, taking in his stench of fear, but it was not strong enough. He shook the bed, waking Sean.
Sean’s eyes met Alfred’s. His heart raced.
Alfred’s nostrils widened to take in the strong scent of fear.
“I’ll eat you, boy. I’ll turn you into a boy stew, and you’ll taste so good.” He whispered, licking his lips and once again inhaled the sweet scent of fear.
Sean screamed louder.
This time it woke his friends. They bolted upright and looked behind them.
Alfred turned to them. “I’ll eat you two up as well.” He laughed. “I’ll have boy stew every night. How yummy.”
“You won’t eat me,” Ralph said. He reached over and turned on the cartoons. “Ignore him…Sean looked and laugh.”
Adrian and Ralph laughed, even though there their hearts raced, they laughed.
Alfred covered his ears and curled into a ball on the floor. “No! Stop it or I’ll eat you right here, right now.”
Sean noticed Alfred cowering on the floor. He jumped from his bed and sat between his friends. They laughed at Alfred as he held his ears and shook his head.
“No, I hate happy children.” Alfred’s body shook. He coughed and turned back into a green fog to make his escape.
The boys continued to laugh until the fog drifted out the window and disappeared.
Mrs. Thurman ran into the room. “What’s going on? I thought I heard a scream. Sean, are you okay?”
Sean kept laughing. “I’m fine, Mom.”
The boys continued to giggle.
“Okay, well you boys go back to sleep and keep the noise down.”
Sean took his sleeping bag out of the closet.
Ralph and Adrian scooted to make room between them.
Sean crawled in the middle with his sleeping bag. “Goodnight, guys.” He smiled.
“Goodnight.” Adrian smiled.
Adrian walked up the lane that led to the house and stopped to duck behind the tree where he shot at the house with his slingshot. He looked up toward the house. It appeared dark inside. Did anyone even live there anymore?
He had to find out. Walking up the steps he peeked into the large front window but didn’t see any movement inside, only a candle lit on the mantle.
He knocked loudly and stepped back from the door. Slowly, it creaked open and an old, frail man stood on the other side.
“Hi, are you Alfred C. Bogeyman?” Adrian asked.
“That’s me, young man. What can I do for ya.”
“Do you remember me?”
“Can’t say that I do, what’s the name again?”
“Give me a sniff.” Adrian held out his arm.
“Is this some kind of joke?” The old man scowled.
“No…No. I’m sorry. I won’t bother you anymore.” He turned to walk away and waved. “Sorry.”
As he walked away Alfred’s nostrils flared. He took in the brave scent, he coughed and gagged. “Adrian.” He whispered.
© 2017 Molly Smith