“He’s been bad. He’s been a very bad little man.”
The tiny hand grasps onto my leg. I scour the darkness for the source of this intrusion into my bedroom. I recoil in horror as my eyes finally rest on the tiny face. They are drawn to the frown set below the beady, plastic eyes. As those two icy circles turn and stare into me, I hold my breath and pray that this nightmare will finally come to an end.
Ever have a random memory from your youth that gives you pause? It comes as an epiphany that completely recontextualizes something that perplexed you as a child. Two examples spring to mind. One night, my parents came in and woke up my brother and me. They were laughing uproariously and gathered us into the living room at one in the morning. They made us dance and sing while my father absentmindedly strummed the guitar. The next day the incident wasn’t mentioned over breakfast and in fact was never brought up again. It was only yesterday that I had the stunning realization that my teetotaling parents had gotten wasted and used us for their cheap, drunken amusement.
Then of course there is the other incident that, due to recent events, has made me reevaluate a phantom memory from my youth and cast it in a new and horrifying light.
I had a friend when I was in elementary school. When I moved to Rashosha, WI, we quickly became friends due to our undying enthusiasm for gaming. I had a Genesis and he had an SNES. So, it was a very fortuitous pairing for the both of us. Soon after being introduced, we were spending many a lazy Saturday at my place playing Sonic the Hedgehog.
He was a very strange kid. He had an alarming intensity about him. His eyes were always wild and distant. In addition to this, he was also prone to fits of incredible rage if his character died in a game.