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The Boogeyman cometh

February 24, 2019

It all started the night of the blizzard - a bitch if ever there was one, with winds howling so hard the very roof trembled, and w’all  thought the last days’d come.

Ice had covered our crummy cottage [barely big enough for the five of us] and we all felt frozen to the bones...

Pa had called to say he’d stay in town, 'cause the roads were so bad that he didn’t trust himself to drive safe [even though Ma thought he was just too drunk anyway, and he should’ve left earlier, before the storm...but we all knew he liked booze better than home...so, what’s we to do...?  At least he wouldn't be beating Ma again...]

 

And so w’all huddled in front of our little pot-bellied stove to try 'n stay warm, or maybe just to snuggle together...y’know, for that thing they call ‘human touch’ - not that we’d ever spoke about it, “We’s no sissies”, as Ou’pa used to say.

 

Ma had made this thin soup, with just a few bones and carrots and things, so we’d have some dinner, but there was no meat, no bread, no nothing else, and that’s when little joey started to fidget - hungry he was, though his belly looked full and big around, still he kept whining and mumbling and rocking from side to side, like he had something crawling inside of him that wanted to come out...

And soon jenny started too - prob’ly cause joey did; she always copied him, y’know...the awful twins, they called them, and a truth that was...always finding mischief, and testing Ma’s patience.

 

So first she just looked at them - that look that told you’d better behave, or else...

 

But did they stop ? heck no, they just got louder and more fidgety ...now pushing and shoving each other, and their voices grating to a shrill... Noisy - too noisy for Ma....

So she smacked each a good one 'round their ears, just to calm them down a little...burn off their excess energy like...

Well, it’d worked before, but tonight seemed like everything was off, 'n J 'n J started crying, 'n slobbering, 'n making an even bigger noise than the storm out there...so I just thought I’d help and held each by the arms and shook them a little  “If you brats don’t shut up, I’ll call the Boogeyman to come 'n eat you, skinny bones ‘n all”...

Well, that didn’t seem to work so good...Joey turned his red little face at me with a big angry frown, squinted his eyes and took a big breath, about to cry even louder...

 

And would you believe it, just at that moment there was a loud knocking at the door, a boom, boom, boom... and this horrible sound, loud but twisted, garbled like...

Joey stopped in mid-breath, Jenny started to tremble, and even Ma was shook up, with eyes getting big and round... and as I started for the door she held me back, shaking her head...

 

Boom, boom, boom... “Open up, or I’ll f***ing kill y’all

 

 

Well, that did it for us - we all crawled together, with Ma holding us in her arms, shaking her head, like she had a nervous tick or something...

All you’d hear was us just breathing like... with mouths open, so not to make a sound.

 

Boom, boom, boom ...the door rattled and shook... and at that point the storm raged louder and louder, like an angry dog, fighting you for his bone... snarling and scratching like mad...

 

The whole house felt assaulted, as branches tore off, bashing against the shuttered windows...

Boom, boom....crash....it felt like parts of the ol’ tree upfront didn’t survive no longer, and must have smashed against the house...

The wind got louder and stronger, rattling against the roof... hail pelting the house...and we all trembled, but quiet like... waiting for the boogeyman to come in, and kill us all...

 

It was a long and cold night, but none moved from the floor in front of the little stove, and whatever little warmth we could glean...

 

Hours passed, and so did the storm...and in the chilly morning Ma stood up and went to the door , opening it just a little, still maybe afraid of what she’d see...

Yes, the big ol’ tree had split and crashed just outside the door...smashing onto something...no, someone ...  sure was dead by now...

 

Ma’s eyes got bigger, as if she saw ...something...

In a quiet voice she looked straight at me and told me to shut the door firmly behind her, and keep the young’uns quiet for she had a lot of cleaning up to do.

 

Hours later she came back in, looking like it had been all hard work...but she was calm, almost smiling... like the storm had cleaned up something that had been stuck for a long, long time...

 

Time passed, months and months... we never saw Pa again, maybe the boogeyman got him too...

 

Pete, the young neighbor has been coming around, helping us clean up the yard, saying he’ll help put in a garden once the weather changes...help with the roof too, maybe...

 

... and Ma is smiling a little again...so, who knows...

 

[I like Pete, he brings us apples... we never had no money for apples before...]

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