I wasn’t a child the first time I saw the Boogie Man. I was 19 and stone cold sober. I was headed back to my dorm after a long and trying confrontation with my soon-to-be ex. It was that time of night which technically constitutes morning and I was wide awake and in a difficult mood. An earlier rain shower had driven any would-be stragglers indoors. It was quiet save for my footfalls and an intermittent breeze that rearranged the evening’s leftovers at random intervals. He was tall and willowy. His erect posture suggested professor, his cowled, bulbous head something altogether unknown. I was struck first by the manner in which he moved without any discernible staccato. He drifted from one end of the parking lot to the other as if suspended by some invisible force. His feet were tilted down and motionless. I followed him driven by something between curiosity and anticipation. We remained approximately the same distance apart for the better part of half a mile and this despite my attempts to gain ground and his consistent pace. Such was my preoccupation that I didn’t even notice the change in location or the time it took to reach our destination.
He stopped suddenly and I, for whatever reason, continued until there was only 5 feet between us. He turned to me in the half-light. His face was featureless but not without structure. His striking jawline confirmed a suspected masculinity and his brooding aura gave the impression of awareness. I held my breath as he slid back the cowl obscuring his misshapen head. His long bony fingers weaponized by pointed black talons. The skull, it turned out, was not deformed at all. He had, in fact, two sets of horns. One set sprouted from the top of his head, the other following the line of his temples. The first set twisted upwards, the second set curled forwards as if in mid gesture. His ears were long and tapered at the ends and I couldn’t decide if they looked elvish or zoological. His skin was periwinkle, a color not quite consistent with animation but not wholly absent of life. His hair was shaved short at the sides and worn long in the middle. I wondered if he usually sported a mohawk and thought, with his bone structure, that it would suit him. His hair was enviably thick and in a shade of purple not at all unlike an aubergine.
My mouth opened in exclamation. He laid one placating hand on my shoulder while the other dipped into the dark folds of his robe. From his vestments he took a small golden pyramid that he affixed to the air above his open palm. The pyramid began to spin followed by a flash of light so bright that I was forced, momentarily, to recoil. His face, when at last arranged, was strange but handsome. His eyes were predatory, jade with flecks and gradations indicative of depth. They gave away nothing of his content but spoke of a steady, insatiate hunger. The sclera of his eye was totally black. His mouth was ambivalent, a straight, unaffected line in a color richer and deeper than his skin tone. His lips appeared soft but the pointed canines behind them gave me pause.
“I am….” His name was not a word but a sensation in the back of the skull, that was simultaneously soothing and shuddersome. I slapped the back of my neck vigorously trying to dislodge it. He sighed.
“What do you want?!” I interrupted hoping to avoid a repetition of that dreadful and disorienting appellation. “I’ll start with your name.” His voice was too deep, excavated from some unspeakable abyss either internal or external I knew not which. He seemed more perplexed by my apparent stupidity than angry. “I’m Anonymous.” I answered abrasively wondering if he’d catch the deception. “Anonymous huh?” His tone was just sarcastic enough to suggest that he understood my slight. “In that case you may call me Incognito.” I nearly choked on my own spit. Was he trying to make a joke? I looked at his mouth but the tilt of his lips was subtle at best.
“To answer your question Anon. I am here for you.”