Bedtime starts with a running jump to my bed. It is very important that not even one toe touches the blue carpet in my bedroom. 

All of the lights are on. I look around and look again before I give the OK.

Once under the covers, in the dark, I lay as straight as possible in the exact center and try not to breathe too loud. Nothing that lives under there has arms long enough to reach the exact center. That’s where I’m safest.

The small black and white television across the room from me is square-shaped and has an antennae poking out from the top – not from the center but from the side. It leans at an angle. This is how it gets the best reception. 

When it’s time for lights out, it is silhouetted against my sheer curtains and the streetlight outside and then it becomes what I believe is The Boogey Man. 

Yes, I am certain.

He will kill me if he sees me.

I must settle in before he arrives and then stay perfectly, completely still so that he thinks he’s alone in here.

My bedroom door is always open enough for me to see into the hallway. I have to turn my head slowly to peak through the opening. I strain my eyes to see and remember to stay quiet. 

With all of the lights off and the orange glow from outside shining in, I can make out the figures on the brown and rust-colored calico carpet in the hallway.

They are severed heads.

They are not set out in any pattern and there are too many to count. Some of them have beards. Some of them are looking at me. 

All of them are dead.

And if I’m not careful, I am next.


Richmond, VA