's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Shakara


I’m not afraid of the bogeyman

That is plain to see

I’m not afraid of the bogeyman


It’s part of a rhyme I like to say to myself at night. During the time where I wake up and just can’t get to sleep. It helps. A bit. I came up with it myself one late night. … Oh, what was the last line? I can’t remember… 

I can’t get to sleep right away, it’s slower. I sit on my bed, waiting for sleep to come. Sometimes it’s pleasant to just lie here in the warm covers, not quite unconscious, but not fully conscious. Like half-sleep.

Well, it was calm until the Bogeyman arrived. I could tell when he was there, even in the quiet.

I’d open my eyes, and there he’d be, hiding. Sometimes in the wardrobe, long white face poking out against the black. Sometimes under my desk, his pale, gaunt body pulled close into a ball. I think I saw him under my pile of plush toys, his black eyes like beetles glaring out from in-between the soft animals and ragdolls. And I could’ve sworn he was in the vents once, long claw-tipped fingers poking out, anxiously drumming on the wallpaper.


What could I do? Well, I couldn’t call for my parents, I knew that. If I shouted, then he’d move. If I tried to get up, then he’d move. I didn’t like it. I wanted to get up. I wanted to shoot up out of my bed and go bonkers. I wanted to scream and shout. It was the Bogeyman! You weren’t meant to just stay there, playing dead with the Bogeyman!

I found out that if I didn’t move, if I didn’t speak or… do anything, then he wouldn’t.

Fear dissipated quickly after, and these nightly forays of fear soon turned into silent staring-contests. Some nights, he wouldn’t even come. At least, I thought so. Turns out he just hid himself even better. I had so naively thought that he was gone for good, as I slowly got up to get a celebratory snack from the kitchen, only to hear rattling breath from under my bed.

Cheap trick. I couldn’t see under there. … But I could see his feet. Pale and long, toes flexing.

On and on the nights went. ... The Bogeyman seemed to be waning.


I’d look at him, he’d look at me. He looked less focussed. Tired, even. His eyes no longer shone like onyx, but turned dark and matte, hard like washed stones. Dark blue bags formed under his eyes. His snarling mouth drooped into a mournful grimace. He didn’t stand tall anymore.


I’m not afraid of the bogeyman

That is plain to see

I’m not afraid of the bogeyman


How did that last line go?

Regardless, he may have looked sick, but he was still as scary as ever. Once, I boldly got up to fluff my pillows, and he was there. He’d made his way under the bed and up over the headboard, his bony head poking over, looking down at me with listless eyes. I just gave him a hard stare.

With each passing night, my fears faded more and more. I enjoyed the nights, seeing the Bogeyman brought low. He hardly does anything now. He doesn’t even bother to hide. He simply sits in the corner, legs pulled close to his chest, eyes fixed on nothing.

His bony hands on his knees, long fingers with long claws. Nine fingers in total.

I have his tenth finger-- his pinkie finger, I believe—in my drawer, locked tight. He’d tried to hurt me, back when he was stronger. Less bony. Less pale.

I wouldn’t give him the chance. Using a pair of scissors, I’d taken off that finger. Oh, he howled like a dog! Stinking green-black blood poured from the stump, staining the bedsheet and carpet terribly. I got a bunch of wipes and tried to clean it as best I could. When morning came, I’d told my mother I’d been sick. That finger hasn’t rotted. But it does try to get away, wriggling and scrabbling like a mad white snake.

I had to put it in a box, then cover it with tape.

I don’t think he’ll leave. He can’t, not without that finger. And just in case he tries to get it, I have those same scissors under my pillow.

Sometimes when I’m just too bored to sleep, I take out those scissors and snip them as fast as I can. He shivers and lets out a keening groan, like the night wind whistling through an empty cave. I like it when he shivers.


… How does that rhyme go? Ah, yes.


I’m not afraid of the bogeyman

That is plain to see

I’m not afraid of the bogeyman


He’s afraid of me