Hide And Seek
They say there is no such thing as the Bogeyman. But I know different. And right now we are playing hide and seek, only there is no 'I'm coming to get you, ready or not', just 'I'm coming to get you'. But I am ready. This time...
Teddy didn't want to come. Teddy thought it was a bad idea. Teddy said we couldn't beat him. Teddy thought we should just stay at home and watch TV. Teddy thought we should tell a grown up, but that didn't work, so I don't listen to Teddy so much anymore. Besides, if we didn't come back then the Bogeyman would have won, and I hate losing.
I have a plan. I think it's a good plan, but it might not be. Teddy doesn't think it is good, but as I said I don't listen to Teddy now. I glance round the tree at the Bogeyman, then back at the lady sitting reading a book. She is part of my plan, but she doesn't know it yet.
I step out from the tree and wait, shaking. The Bogeyman spins round. His eyes narrow, his lips tighten. "There you are, you little monkey!"
I scream and run, run as fast as I can to the lady, run, run. But the lady is further away than I thought and my tummy hurts and I can't breathe properly. So I try shouting "Help! Help!" The lady looks up, frowns, and then returns to her book. No! No! I can hear the Bogeyman right behind me, feel his fingertips as he tries to grab my ponytail, but can't get a grip. "Help me!" I scream one last time, as I trip and fall.
The Bogeyman is standing over me, I can hear him breathing. I lift my head a little. The lady! She has put down her book and is getting up. She is coming over!
"Is everything ok?" She asks the Bogeyman, not me.
"Yes fine, just playing a game of tag with my daughter, aren't we Sophie?"
I kneel, tears beginning to run down my face, but I'm not defeated yet. I glare at the Bogeyman. "My name is not Sophie, it's Isobel," I say. Then I look at the lady. "My name is Isobel and this man is not my father, he wants to hurt me, please help!"
The Bogeyman laughs. "Ah Sophie, she is such a dramatist! She loves her games of make-believe too. One day she is Katie, then next Amelia. Come on then, Isobel, it's lunchtime. Mummy will be cross if we are late," and he grabs my arm to pull me up.
The lady hesitates. The Bogeyman already has me to my feet and is pulling me away. He is strong. I drop Teddy. Sorry Teddy, I know you weren't part of my plan but now you are.
The Bogeyman stops, growls, then straightens, putting on a smile as he turns.
"Your little girl, what was her name? She dropped her Teddy," says the lady.
"Oh Isobel, so clumsy, always dropping things," the Bogeyman says. Then he pauses. I begin to smile. Gotcha!
"I thought you said her name was Sophie?" The lady is definitely suspicious now. I hold my breath, unsure what will happen next.
"Well it is, but I'm playing along with her game." He holds out the hand that isn't gripping me, for Teddy. The one that is holding me is slimy with sweat. With a sudden jerk, I slide my hand out and run and hide behind the lady. She has her phone out now.
"I think we better call her mum, just to check. What is your number?"
The Bogeyman hesitates. His power is fading, yes!
"I'm sorry, but why is it any of your business? Why do I somehow have to prove to you that this is my daughter?" The lady is hesitating now, beginning to put her phone back in her pocket. No! No!
"Do you want me to show you the picture I carry of my daughter, Sophie?" The Bogeyman almost sneers out the name as he starts to reach for his wallet.
"No, no. She just seemed distressed that's all."
"If you must know she is diabetic, and right now she needs some food." What? What is die-a-be-tik anyway? "But if you want to delay us further..."
"No, no. Sorry. She just seemed upset, that's all." The lady's voice trails off, her phone is away, she is turning back to sit down. As I watch her the Bogeyman grabs my hand, thrusts Teddy into the other, and pulls me away in the opposite direction. "We can watch that film later if you want," he says loudly, so the lady can hear, "the one with the monsters in that you love so much. How it doesn't give you nightmares I'll never know!"
I let myself be pulled along, but glance back one more time at the lady. She is looking at me, but, when she catches my eye, she looks away.
You were right Teddy, the Bogeyman won again.