The writer

Before her corruption, Tessh was originally a human being named Robin Williams. Born in the year 1981, she grew up in the town of Point Pleasant West Virginia. She was well known and loved by her neighbors and friends.

Robin’s true best friend was Robert Anderson, a tall redhead with a love for filming wildlife. Their favorite spot to film was in the woods that outlined Robin’s backyard. There they could film without anyone disturbing them.

They had been working on a documentary on the life cycle of the deer. Robin cataloged each dear they filmed by size, shape, gender, and give each deer a name . The two teens spent a few hours of the weekday trying to get footage. They tracked deer herds to a river where they got the best footage. They worked on the film for six months.

After a while, though, Robin began to notice a behavioral change in the deer. They were no longer calm in their varmint. It was as though they could sense something that Robert and Robin couldn’t see. Robin and Robert began to compare the number of deer at the start of the project to their current number.

The numbers had significantly decreased and it seemed as though all the healthy deer had left the area. They reported this to the wildlife and game officers, who reassured them that they’d look into the matter. Robin or Robert never heard back from them, though.

They finally decided to go back to re-watch the films to see if they missed anything. With each time they re-watched the film certain things began to appear. Robert was the first one to spot a tall figure with elongated arms and legs in their footage. It was there with them the whole time. Robin spotted another figure that was much smaller closer to human size. It had what looked like a mask that was smiling but any other features was just a black blur.

Upon this discovery the two teens were plagued by terrible headaches and bursts anxiety. The project was called off by Robert out of fear of the two beings. Robin begins to have long strips of memory loss over the next nine months. She had vivid visions of Robert committing himself to a painful death by his own hands. A voice followed after each vision, it belonged to the tall being. He would try to bargain with Robin, and said to her, “If you denounce your human form and awaken what lies within you, to serve me, Robert ‘s life will be spared of this fate. Robin refused his offer every time; she believed her friend was stronger than this beings influence. It wasn’t until March 13, 1997, when Robert finally succumbed to its influence. The tall being then used Robert like a puppet so he could pluck Robin’s emotions like a guitar.

Robin finally agreed to the tall being’s deal when Robert was about to jump from a bridge into a dry riverbed. She was snatched from her reality and brought into a realm of despair. Here she was stripped of her human flesh and bones until nothing was left but a bare soul. She was then given the tall being’s mark and put into a new vessel which would serve as a tool for his will. The vessel was much stronger, faster, and more agile than her previous form. From this she lost the memory of her birth and took upon a new name, Tessh.

Even after it all, Tessh still had a few pieces of her previous self and of Robert. These pieces allowed a small amount of humanity inside of her to thrive. The tall being used Tessh to manipulate and implant hidden messages into the minds of man. Through music, computer codes, and many other forms of literature, hence how she got her alternate name, “The Writer”.

As time passed Tessh grew other abilities, reshaping her body to a extent. After decades of being a slave to the tall being, she was set free by an unknown being that can only be identified by having wings. After her chains were broken, the being dropped her back into her once hometown. Just as quick as the winged being came it vanished, leaving Tessh alone . She had only one desire in this moment, and it was to find Robert and give him some closure.

The Bloody Eyes

This is a fictional story meaning this is not a true story.

One day I was just minding my own business washing the dishes and doing some chores. I was home alone at that day so I could do whatever I wanted in the house. My father, mother and sister went to some other town to meet my grandparents. I really didn’t want to go there so I insisted to stay home. They agreed and went to the other town. When I completed my chores I went to my room to play video games. While I was walking to my room, I had a sudden urge to look through the keyhole of my parents’ bedroom. I looked through it and was horrified to see just dark red. I opened the door to check if something is in the other side. Nothing! I looked through the keyhole from my parents’ bedroom and there was no red. I thought it was a trick of the eye but some moments later I heard breathing which was not mine. It was right behind me! I quickly turned and the breathing stopped.

I was sure that this was paranormal and silently went outside the room closed the door and went to my room. I was walking to my room when I heard something in my sister’s room. I went there to see my sister’s dolls IN FRONT OF THE DOOR. They had red eyes with blood coming out of their eyes. I sprinted into my room and locked my door. I heard banging and scratching in my door. Out if nowhere I heard my name being called out from behind me. I screamed and looked behind me and saw I huge man with bloody eyes. My flight or fight response kicked in and I punched it and my hand just went through it’s body. It had no features in it’s face except the eyes. The eyes were as huge as apples. It said “Come with me, I will take you to a better place”. I could not make out how it could speak as it had no mouth. I screamed “Any place is better than your hellhole!” to it. I began to say “In the Jesus, I command you to leave this place”. It slowly tried to put it’s hand around my neck but couldn’t. I told it to leave many times. I heard more scratching, banging and laughter outside my door. They were not just any laughter, they were children’s laughter. Then everything stopped at once. The huge man was gone and the noises outside the door stopped. I didn’t understand anything. I was so scared that I fainted. Later I woke up to hear banging outside my door. I asked “Who is it?” and got an answer saying “It’s us!”. It was my parents’ voice. I happily opened the door crying and I saw no one. I was freaking done. I screamed “If there is any spirit here, I command you to leave. I won’t repeat a second time. If you do anything again, I will make you leave out of MY house.” I heard the front door swing open and close. I was sure that any spirit in my house left and made a sign that it left. I heard the front door open and saw my parents and my sister. I ran to them crying and hugged my mother. She asked me “What happened? Why are you crying?”. I told everything to them and they didn’t buy it. They heard me shouting so they ran from the car to the door and found out it was not locked. I was sure that I locked it when they went. They also said that they got a call from the house number. They heard laughing and breathing from the phone. I swore that I didn’t call them but they thought that I was lying.

They didn’t believe until it happened to all of us. A week later after the incidence we were sitting in the living room, watching something in the T.V. We heard laughing from behind the sofa. I looked behind to see no one. I told my parents and sister that I heard the same thing a week ago. We heard banging in the windows and the T.V switched to the channel ‘666’. We saw the same huge man in the T.V I saw last week. I told my parents that I saw the same man last week. They now believed me and my mother started to chant something. The huge man screamed in terror and disappeared. The noises stopped and my mother told me that she was praying to god and she said “Protect us God! This demon has been scaring us since last week. It would be a great relief if you protected us from this demon”. She heard a very low voice say “You will never get rid of me. I am the Devil”. Then she heard “No! You will never get ri-” and the voice stopped. After this incident nothing scary happened.

I think that God actually helped us and got rid of the demon. I hope I will never see anything like this. Thank you!

Stalked by a Mountain Lion

I was nineteen years old when this happened. I’m thirty-two now but the thought of what happened that night still sends shivers down my spine. I visited my dad in a small town called Rio Grand City, he has a house inside his ranch which is perfect because i love hunting. My dad and step mom were going to be out for a few hours for they were heading to a party. My dad urged me to come but I didn’t want to, later on I regret that decision.

As my parents left I went to my room and grabbed my bow and arrow and my fathers 38 special revolver. I headed out deep into the ranch before it got too dark hoping to find a deer or bob cat, I was an expert with my bow and arrow and wanted to see if i still had it. I go to my usual spot which has a deer blind my dad bought when I was six. There I waited and waited till darkness was upon me. I was quite disappointed no animals had shown up, I decided it was time to head back home.

As I exited the deer blind I could barley see anything except for the moonlight, stupid me forgot to bring a flashlight but never the less I had my phone and it had a flashlight app. I continued my walk home when i got the eerie feeling I was being watched. I brushed it off as it’s probably my imagination its getting dark and i’m all alone out here. Even with the light on my phone I could barley see what was in front of me, all of a sudden I stopped for I heard a twig break. I looked around but saw nothing one again I brushed it off as maybe a rabbit or a road runner we have a  lot of those in my dads ranch.

I continued to walk until I heard the sound of branches being brushed up against something. This time it caught my attention now I know for sure someone or something is following me. I picked up my pace and walked faster, I was getting more nervous by the minute for whenever I moved whatever was following me was moving as well. Then the worst thing happened, my battery died shutting off the light from my phone leaving me in complete darkness. What happened next literally sent chills down my spine.

Something roared at me and I recognized that roar, it was the roar of a mountain lion. I dropped my bow quickly drew my revolver and fired all six shots in all directions then took of in a full sprint back home. As I got home I saw that my parents were home as well. My dad asked what was the matter and I told him what happened. My dad was shocked and skeptical at the same time, he told me he hasn’t seen a cougar in these parts since he was a kid never the less my dad took my word for it and grabbed his rifle and told me to go with him to retrieve my bow.

After five or ten minutes of driving we stopped as we saw my bow lying on the ground. Me and my dad step out of the truck finger on our triggers ready to fire. My dad had his flashlight and was looking around when he found something, tracks, he found tracks. He showed them to me and confirmed they were the tracks of a mountain lion and that i was lucky to be alive.

The Hand

Doors forcibly slammed, while four residents exited the convertible. Two sisters, similar features with the same glossy ocean hues, blonde hair bouncing with such grace despite the absolute no effort put in them. A muscular man in mid-forties, hair barely thinning while the beginning of a beard showing on his facial features, as his blond hair was decently messy. Emerald orbs staring toward the house displayed in front of them all, eyes dull without a spec of emotion. His height like a skyscraper compared to the other three females by his sides. A round women with curly hair similar toward the two younger girls, yet a dark shade of chestnut brown. Face coated with all types of concealers and powder, the strong smell of perfume overwhelming everyones sense of smell.

“We’re seriously going to live here?” The man inquired, eyes shifting toward the plump woman who’s practically beaming with joy. Oblivious to the distaste her husband showed, heels clicking noisily as she sauntered to the trunk, popping it open.

She nodded, hauling two bags over her shoulder, a wide grin causing her dimples to show off. “Yes, we are Robert. The move is great for us, the house is ginormous!” Ignoring the huff of protest, the women ushered her daughters to grab their bags, they did without a hint of protest. The sibling with a curvy figure seemed more uncertain, while the other blocked out all of her worries since her mothers words reassured her.

“Emma, be a dear and help your sister Amanda with her bags, she’s struggling.” Rolling her eyes, though Emma nodded nonetheless before assisting her sibling with the overly heavy bags. Gaping at her eldest sibling, who smiled sheepishly in response.

The house isn’t one of those old, rickety places that look like it’ll collapse any minute. In fact, it practically looked brand new, maybe a few chips in the paint, other than that there’s nothing much that displayed any signs of aging. The white paint practically causing the household to glow, yet the vibe didn’t sit well with the father.

Glancing toward his wife, gaze finally softening to allow the worry to be visible. “Hun, I don’t think this place is the one for us, can we just stay for a few days and see how everyone feels?”

A hushed sigh left the women in her early thirties, debating until finally giving into the males pleas.

He gave his thanks, before taking half of the bags for her, kissing her cheek. “Maybe you’ll be right Mary, this place may surprise us. We’ll just have to wait and see. . .” He mumbled to her quietly, she allowed herself to smile at her lover, before brushing him off to enter the house.

Amanda set down her bags on the floor, glancing around at the room she went into. The walls were a dim shade of pink, while some old furniture remained, an ugly brown rocking chair, along with a pastel pink rug on the floor, she wasn’t a huge fan of the color, though it’s not her main worries. Pushing open the closet, while her breath got taken away by the dust that swarmed around her. Coughing for a moment, swatting at nothing until she could have a deep breath of air.

“The place needs to be cleaned, but it’s decently nice despite that.” She hummed, taking one of her bags to fill her closet with her clothing.

Emma entered her own space two rooms down, setting down boxes, wiping some sweat off her forehead due to the heat of no air conditioner within the house. The rooms walls were an ashen grey, nothing in the room except a small couch which was ebony, made of leather. A frown made its way onto her lips, brows furrowing.

An uneasy sensation caused a shudder to erupt from her, biting her lower lip as she got out a sleeping bag. The moving trucks aren’t going to be here until tomorrow, so this is the best she has. All the family members have one, a thing that assists them to cope with not having any of their things temporarily.

Time continued on, eventually the sun began to lower, allowing the entire house to be filled with darkness. Though, the lights of candles helped them, since the lightbulbs were inside the boxes with the trucks.

Silently flipping through a magazine, eyes fluttering due to sleep starting to get to the daughter. She’s been avoiding sleep, as the watch on her wrist read ‘1:35 am’. Emma bit her lip, pondering for a moment until she finally placed the magazine down, letting herself drift off.

Drowsily the blonde awoke from her slumber, a faint sound causing her to stir at first, until it began to grow more audible is when she forced herself to sit up. Flickering her focus on the watch, seeing how only two hours passed.

She sighed, confused toward why she isn’t hearing anything anymore. Maybe she dreamt it? A minute passed, absolute silence except for the branch tapping against the window a couple feet away.

Shaking her head, before allowing herself to lay down onto her side. Silently questioning her own mind, the sound could have been created due to paranoia of being in a new house. It seemed possible, along with logical as well. Shaking it off, Emma attempted to fall back asleep.

. . Screech. . . Screech. . .

She felt her eyes snap open, the sound of nails scrapping against the walls allowing her to realize it definitely isn’t her mind screwing around.

As soon as it came, the sound came to a sudden stop. Breathing uneven, panic bubbling within her, overwhelming her mind to try thinking of a better explanation.

Yanking her sleeping-bag to cover her entire face, eyes squeezing shut. She began to quiver and quake, petrified of what the horrid sound is. Her lips began to part, about to cry out for her mother and father, the feeling of being utterly venerable was intoxicating.

The sensation of a hand covered her mouth, muffling her shrieks of terror, it began to drag her out of the sleeping bag, not fazed by her squirming figure. She hollered to the point her voice began to get horse, yet unheard by the other residents of the household. The smell of burning flesh was the only thing the hand smelled like, the stench enough to make her vomit. It’s skin black like an eternal abyss, long grimy nails piercing into her face.

She flailed, attempting to escape the claws of this inhumane being. Her own hands attempting to tear the fingers away from her face. Yet to no avail, only murky green ink poured out when she sunk her own nails into the flesh, if one could call it that.

Gagging at the smell, screaming to the high heavens for some help or a miracle. “Help me! Please, oh God! Let go, let go!” Her cries were barely more than a hoarse way of speaking. The crimson liquid oozing from her face, sobbing heavily as the hand yanked her head into the vent, tugging her body down.

“No! No! Stop!” The creature showed no mercy, once her feet were hidden away by the vent, the hand released her. Soft sobs left her, relieved it let her go. Maybe she can get out?

The hands fingers curled around her right wrist, sinking it’s nails into her like butter. She began to shout in agonizing pain, as it began to tug. Her socket popped out of place, causing another shriek from the poor girl with a tragic fate.

Her entire hand got ripped off, showing nothing but muscle, flesh and bone. She stared, ocean blue eyes becoming dimmer by the second. She couldn’t even yell anymore, whimpers leaving her lips once the hand began to do the same thing to her other hand.

By the time her left hand got removed, she was only a soulless corpse. Limp, withering away with such slowness.

Amanda yawned, rising up from her peaceful slumber. Hurriedly rushing to put some clothing on, merely a grey t-shirt with blue jeans before running down the stairs. The faint smell of eggs and bacon taking over her thoughts of checking on her sister.

Seeing her father cooking, she smiled and waved to him. “Morning, dad!” He turned to her, nodding in response before counting with cooking. After getting a plate, she got herself some orange juice, as they managed to bring some in little containers and kept them in a cooler. Sitting on the floor, as the kinky things they have are just counters, cupboards, and an oven with a pan.

The three ate, not discouraged by Emma not with them all. She usually sleeps in, it’s nothing unusual.

Time went on, until things took a turn for the worst. Knocking on Emma’s door, Amanda didn’t get a response. Brows furrowed in confusion, she opened it to find her sibling not there. A few spots of blood on the wooden floor, also on the sleeping bag.

Immediately, panic set in. “Mom, dad! Emma’s not here!” Once those words left her lips, the entire family went in a frenzy, searching high and low, yet the dear daughter could not be found.

Through the mothers sobs, she called the police and filed a report for her missing daughter. The entire atmosphere in the house was eerie, completely hallow without their beloved child. Amanda stayed in her sisters room, hues empty due to already crying her tears away earlier. How could this happen, did she hate it here so much she ran away?

Disbelief set in, as Emma never seemed to be that type of person, could she have been kidnapped? If so, she’d make whoever did it regret their decision for eternity.

Hours went by fast, the despair allowed time to pass quicker. Amanda curled herself up in her own sleeping bag, staring at the ceiling above her. Tiredness began to seep in, until her mind completely decided to shut down.

“. . .Amanda. . . Amandaaa. . .”

Faint, familiar whispers began to fill the females ears, eventually forcing her to awaken. The air around her felt like ice, similar to being inside a large freezer. Goosebumps covered her entire arms, shudders going through her.

The sounds came to a stop once her eyes peeled open, it ended up causing her to wonder if she’s losing it after her sister went missing.

“. . Amanda. . .”

Her ears picked up a voice, though it’s tone nothing but a hushed whisper. Raspy, as if whoever this was hadn’t drank anything in days. However, she could still recognize who’s voice it is. She’s been thinking of all the moments she’s had with Emma, realization set in for her, eyes widening to the point of being bug-eyed.

“Emma? Emma, come out! Where are you? This isn’t funny. . !” She whisper-shouted, relief taking its course, believing her sister returned to wherever she went off to.

One second passes, than five, until two full minutes go by. The elder sister concerned for her siblings safety and health, waited with barely any patience remaining. Right when she got ready to speak, the familiar voice already spoke before she gotten the chance.

“. . . Go to. . The vent. . .” Those words were all she heard Emma say, shuffling out of her sleeping-bag nervously. Why did her sister want to go toward the vent? It didn’t make any sense for her, she crawled toward it on all fours. Ignoring the lump in her throat, at the sight of her sisters watch beside it, stained with red liquid. Taking notice to the screws no longer remaining, she took off the hood of the vent.

Peering in, Amanda spoke quietly inside. “Emma? Are you in here. . ?” Suddenly, a hand grabbed a fist full on her hair, another wrapped around her neck. She gasped, mouth open to call for help, yet her windpipe getting blocked out resulted in her not being able to do so. Her arms and legs painfully scrapped against the vents metal walls, her vision blurring. She could see the hands, they were bloody, bruised, with parts of raw flesh poking out on the knuckles. Despite that, the appearance of the hands isn’t what scared her, not even in the slightest.

It’s the fact that they aren’t connected to anything. Only the ends of the wrists remained, chunks of meat dangling, the bone easily visible.

It didn’t take long until Amanda couldn’t remain awake, passing out due to the lack of oxygen. The last thing she felt excruciating pain in her wrists, before all went dark. For her, she died in her unconscious state instead of from the blood loss of her own hands getting removed. Poor Amanda, if only she knew what fate she’d endure because of the voice she believed was her sibling.

Unfortunately, it was not. Only the soul mended into doing what *it*wants. A puppet controlled by its master, no longer having any emotions or care for family.

The husband and wife wake up, checking up on their daughter, only to find her gone as well. Mary in hysterics at the realization both of her babys were gone now, while Robert choked back his own tears to comfort his wife, before calling the police to report another missing child.

After two officers entered the house, the sheriff shook his head slowly, almost in a saddened manner. “I’m sorry for this, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do except search.” Hearing that along made the mother blow up, grabbing the man by the collar of his shirt.

“You have to do something! Those are my kids out there, lost and alone!” She exclaimed in his face, only to be pulled away by her husband while sobbing in his grasp. The two men left, mumbling their apologizes.

All the parents did was watch past videos of their precious daughters, eyes watering till the point they’re crying without noticing.

“Mommy, daddy. . . Help us. .” Two voices caused them to snap out of their trances, pausing the films. Hope filled the married couple, are their children truly alright? Holding hands, along with their own breaths, the two waited together.

Shakily, Robert spoke in a uncertain tone. “Girls? Are. . Are you here?” It only took a few seconds before getting a response, making the mom gasp at their words.

“. .We want to get out. . . Go to the vents. . Daddy, it’s cold. . . So very cold. . .” The voices said simultaneously, the parents rushed to the vents. Two of them both on opposite sides of the living room, removing the nails from the vents in a rush.

Through her tears, Mary barely managed to mumble. “We’re coming! Hold on!” She pried the vent open, not sparing a single thought as she began to work her way into the vent, struggling due to it being a little squeeze. Robert didn’t utter a word, only glancing at his wife for a moment.

After entering the vent, the woman didn’t hear anything other than the sounds of nails scratching against the mental walls, along with the faint taps. Out of nowhere, a rotten hand with bugs crawling on it was crawled into her mouth, right before she prepared to shout to her daughters. It went down her throat, choking her. Eyes bulging, clutching onto her throat and trying to yank it out, only to feel another hand grab onto her wrist. Gurgles left her lips, though not very loud ones.

“Mary? Sweetheart, are you oka- holy shit!” The male began to move away from the vent he got prepared to enter, only to be grabbed by the ear and dragged back. He screamed, only to be shut up by a slap to the face by another one that’s crawling around him. Going to his throat and beginning to pierce his flesh, blood running down his neck and his shirt stained with it. His eyes rolled back into his head, unable to live anymore due to blood loss and pain.

Nothing more but dead corpses, their hands removed by the larger hand, the one that started all this, only to finish it. The parents hands crawled to the dead bodies, to pull them back into the vents in order to be unseen forever.

The Hand left this house, off to find more victims to feed off of. The souls remained within the house, the entity ignoring their shrieks to be brought with.

Days went by, turning to months, to years. No one questioned the families disappearance, since not a single person remembers them. The once stunningly gorgeous house now old and molded, as fire began to wrap it’s heated blanket around it. Getting burnt down to the ground, no one being able to hear the souls heart wrenching shrieks of continuous pain as the fire burned the spirits of the family alive.

Mr. Googly Eyes

Lila. Where do I even begin with her? If she’s not flashing a toothy grin with lips smeared with chocolate ice cream, she’s prancing around the backyard, lost in a four-year-old’s fantasy of princesses, witches, and fairies. Sometimes she’ll invite a friend or two over for a play date and I’ll watch them run around; her long brown hair blows calmly in the gentle breeze, and there’s nothing better than seeing my daughter beam with excitement as she embraces the wondrous thoughts that fuel her imagination.

Yes, it truly is precious to watch her grow and explore, to live a life as every child should: free from the dangers that threaten the outside world. I wish I could say that Lila’s young life has remained full of joy, welcomed in that fragile sanctuary where bliss and wonder comfort her each day. But about four months ago, she was exposed to a cruel reality that no child should ever have to face. An unnerving danger that shouldn’t exist to begin with. This is her story. Well… more like our story…

For the past ten years, I’ve worked as a traveling businesswoman for a private software company. My occupation often leads me around different parts of the country, but occasionally I travel internationally as well. London, Paris, Tokyo, I’ve been to several global hotspots. As you can imagine, the job certainly has its perks; perhaps the biggest being that the paycheck comes in six figures. My husband owns a law firm so between the two of us, we’re living what most people might consider to be the American Dream. A mansion tucked away in suburban Pennsylvania, complete with an in-ground pool, a tennis court, and a small movie theater… It’s certainly a lifestyle to be grateful for.

But then there comes the disadvantages, or should I say disadvantage? Because there is only one true disadvantage about my job: I don’t get to see my daughter very much at all. It’s a bitter price to pay; no amount of material wealth can make up for the emptiness I feel when I’m not around her. In some ways, I feel like I’ve failed to be a good mother. Whether I’m waiting in the terminal for my flight or remaining stuck in a conference room, listening to some head honcho drone on and on, I often wonder if I chose the right career path. Family responsibilities versus career responsibilities. The great dilemma, am I right?

Four months ago, I had just returned from a trip that landed me in Chicago, then out west to Los Angeles, down south to Phoenix, and then all the way back home to Philly. It was a tedious month full of meetings, long hours stationed in front of a computer screen, and even longer hours trying to solve the problems that, for some reason or another, could not be resolved by those who job it was to fix them. I called Lila whenever I had a chance and hearing her cheerful voice brought happiness into several miserable days. So when I finally came back and wrapped her up in my arms, I decided to take some vacation time. Two weeks, to be exact. Two weeks of family fun, free from any work-related responsibilities.

Spring arrived in time to provide a pattern of gorgeous days filled with sunshine, blooming flowers, and comfortable temperatures. Lila’s day care program was beginning to wrap up in a few weeks, so I figured that taking an occasional day trip or two would be a great idea for her to blow off some steam.

“I’ll take you wherever you’d like, Little Missy.” I said to her the day I arrived back home. “We can go to Sesame Place, Hershey Park, get some ice cream from the Turkey Hill factory. Pick a place and we’ll go there, alright?”
“Mommy, can we go to all those places?” she responded with an excited giggle. How could I say no? I told her it would take me some time to organize our trip, and that we’d be able to leave on Friday, as soon as she was finished with pre-school for the day. She squealed a merry “Thank you!” and gave me a quick hug before resuming her adventures with her Barbie dolls. I couldn’t help but flash a wide grin; for the first time in a while, I finally stepped up to the plate and put my daughter at the top of my world. I was learning how to become a mother again.

Monday marked the start of a new week. Lila attended pre-school every morning from eight until twelve; I told my husband I would drop her off and pick her up each day. He appreciated my help and told me that since he was behind on his work, he’d have to stay late every night that week. Unfortunately he couldn’t participate in our after-school festivities, but a bit of mother-daughter time was not going to go to waste.

When I picked Lila up, I noticed she was in a rather good mood. When she first started day care, she quickly began to associate Mondays with the start of the school week, and having to get out of bed early was not a habit that she readily welcomed. But when she hopped in the car, she was grinning broadly from ear-to-ear and seemed eager to babble on for the whole ride.

“Mommy! Guess what, Mommy?!” she began.

“What is it, sweetie?” I responded with a smile.

“I met a new friend today during playtime,” she announced proudly. “His name is Mr. Googly Eyes and he’s really funny. He told me knock-knock jokes and made really silly faces.” A chorus of high-pitched giggles immediately followed her statement as we continued to drive down the street.

“Oh yeah?” I said with a smirk. Lila always came up with imaginary friends; she began cranking out so many that I could hardly keep track of them anymore. I was never concerned that Lila spent so much time creating a unique cast of characters, but I wanted to make sure that she spent even more time getting to know the other kids at her school. “Did Jenna or Stephanie play with you today?”

“No,” she replied. “They were on the swings.”

“Well maybe tomorrow you can go on the swings with them, okay? I’m sure they’d love to play with you.”

Lila nodded her head and talked some more about Mr. Googly Eyes. Apparently, they had talked about their favorite movies, animals, toys, things like that. The two of them considered Snow White to be their favorite princess. Leave it to Lila to create a spitting image of herself, I thought with an amused smirk. It wasn’t too long though before the chatter died down and we ended up at a nearby Chuck E. Cheese where she raced through the jungle gym, still loaded with a tank of energy and excitement.

The rest of the day went on rather quietly. Lila must’ve been tired from all the running around during the day, and she was in bed by no later than eight o’clock. I decided to check out not much later than her, ending my day by listening to the outrageous banter provided by Sheldon Cooper and the rest of the Big Bang Theory gang. As my head hit the pillow though, I couldn’t help but smile. If today was destined to be similar to the days to come, these next two weeks were going to be a blast.

Sure enough, Tuesday started the same way as the day before: After I dropped Lila off, I ran a few errands, went home, made myself some pancakes and a cup of coffee, watched the morning news, started a new detective novel that I had received for my birthday, and then went back to the day care at noon. Lila was still just as perky as she jumped in the back seat, and it seemed that her grin grew even larger.

“Had fun today, Little Missy?” I asked.

“Yeah!” Lila exclaimed. “I played with Mr. Googly Eyes again. We tried to catch butterflies, and even saw bugs on the trees. I got to touch a ladybug today.”

“Cool,” I responded, trying to mimic her enthusiasm. I glanced at the rear-view mirror and saw that her hands were caked with dirt.

“Tomorrow we’re going to look for birds,” she stated. “He said that he knows where their nests are.”

“Hmm…” I mumbled. Now I found it a bit harder to garner approval towards her new friend. “Lila, that’s great that you’re having so much fun with Mr. Googly Eyes. But you should try to have fun with the other kids. I’m sure Jenna and Stephanie miss you when you’re not playing with them.”

“But Mr. Googly Eyes is my friend too,” she protested with a slight whine. “I like playing with him. He promises to show me magic tricks, and if I’m really good, he’ll buy me a new doll.”

Where does she come up with this? I thought to myself. An imaginary friend who jokes around with her, talks to her about her interests, shows her different insects and animals, promises to perform magic tricks for her, and then… offers to buy her a toy if she’s really good? Now obviously I’m not a four-year-old (and I haven’t been one in quite some time) but it’s my understanding that when children create an imaginary friend, it’s to fill some kind of void that real friends may not necessarily offer them. I remember having an imaginary friend named Mary and we used to spend time together wherever we went. But I never went to pre-school because my mom stayed at home and took care of me and my siblings. I’m sure we did much of the same things that Lila and Mr. Googly Eyes were doing, but I still understood, even at such a young age, the disconnect between fantasy and reality. And if I’m really good, he’ll buy me a new doll… When I was Lila’s age, if I wanted a toy, I’d ask my parents. I knew that Mary couldn’t provide me with anything like that because I knew that she was a fictional character living within my mind. That last statement lingered in my head throughout the rest of the car ride. Even for a four-year-old, that was unusual.

The next morning, I went into Lila’s classroom to talk with the teacher. I wanted to make sure someone had eyes on her, and most importantly, that she was spending time with her real friends. It wasn’t like Lila never had any trouble making friends at the day care either; I was always told about how much of a joy she was, of how the other children really took kindly to her.

“We’ll keep watch over her,” the teacher told me. “It gets hectic when the kids are out running around; if we’re not taking them to the nurse, we’re making sure that they’re all playing fairly with each other. There’s a lot of, ‘He said this’ or ‘She said that,’ you know how it can be… But yes, even if I can’t always keep my attention on her, I’ll let one of my aides know and they’ll take care of it.”

“Thanks so much,” I said. “I really appreciate it. It’s not like Lila’s been in a bad mood or anything, it’s just… I want to make sure she’s interacting with the other children. She hasn’t seemed upset towards anyone, has she?”
The teacher shook her head.

“Not even towards Jenna and Stephanie?” I asked. “The three of them played together all of the time. I hope they didn’t get into a fight or anything like that.”

“I wouldn’t worry, Mrs. Bennett,” the teacher responded. “Children’s imaginations are endless… The eighth wonder of the world, I call it.” We both laughed to each other. “But seriously, if there are any issues, I won’t hesitate to inform you about them. Lila’s been doing very well in class, and she sits with Jenna and Stephanie every day; they each like to draw and compare pictures. Maybe she just wants some time alone to explore things for herself. And if this has only been going on for two days, there’s nothing to be concerned about. There are a few children in the class who are content with playing outside by themselves.”

Her remarks helped to ease my concerns, and I left the school in good spirits. The teachers at the day care were phenomenal, and I trusted that they would keep a watchful eye on my daughter in case anything unusual occurred. Later that day, Lila came sprinting towards me as I approached the entrance of the school, with the teacher closely behind her. To my relief, she had spent all of playtime with her two friends, and they decided to spend the entire period climbing across the monkey bars. Lila was thrilled and when we went out for lunch, she explained to me how all three of them made it across the big kids’ ladder.

“That’s great, honey! Good for you!” I acknowledged with a broad smile. “What do you think you’ll play tomorrow? Hopscotch? Jump rope?”

She told me that she didn’t know, and proceeded to color the cartoons that were on her menu. Not once did she mention anything about Mr. Googly Eyes, and I couldn’t help but slouch back in my chair as I watched her draw. Maybe I had been overreacting a little bit. Okay, maybe I had been overreacting a lot. There was nothing to be concerned with; even if Lila did want to play with her invisible friend, who was I to stop her? Nothing wrong with a kid having an imaginary friend. And since she had real friends to play with, the way I saw it, she was living the best of both worlds. As far as the whole comment about buying her a new toy, that was just some thought she had conjured in her head. I mean, it wasn’t like this character of hers was…

Then came Thursday. A different story. A much different story. When I picked Lila up, I noticed that she wasn’t quite herself. Her head slouched as she walked, almost as if she was trying to cover up her face. She didn’t say a word as we walked to the car; the only noise I heard was from the click-clack of her sneakers. That’s not like her to remain quiet. I may not have always been around her, but I know my daughter. Something was very wrong.

“Lila,” I said gently. “Look at me, sweetie.”

For a moment, her head didn’t budge. She continued to stare at the ground, unwilling to comply. But then, as her neck began to rise, a stream of tears started to flow down her face. Her light blue eyes, now puffy and dilated, began to unleash a heartbreaking chorus of whimpers and sobs. I immediately crouched down and held her close to my chest.

“It’s okay, sweetheart,” I whispered, desperately trying to calm her down. “Shhh… Shhh… What’s wrong, honey? What happened?”

“M-Mr. Goo-Googly Eyes,” she uttered through a broken chain of sobs, “He g-got mad at me. He y-yelled at me f-for not playing with him ye-yesterday.”

I let Lila cry on my shoulder for a few minutes as I rubbed her back. Once her wails began to cease, and the tears stopped streaming down her cheeks, I began to hunt for answers.

“Lila,” I started, “What does Mr. Googly Eyes look like?”

“He’s tall,” she replied. “He wears goofy glasses, and an orange shirt, and purple pants. Sometimes he also wears a ribbon on his shirt. He also wears big clown shoes.”

“Where do you play with him? On the playground?”

“No, we play by the trees.”

My heart stopped. Towards the farther end of the playground, there is a wooded area separated only by an old iron fence. On the other side of the fence, scattered throughout the woods, are several homes. Most of the homes in that particular area are not the safest places, a bulk of them are physically run-down and the crime rate in that neighborhood is relatively high.

“How old is Mr. Googly Eyes?” I asked, even though the answer was dangling in front of me. “Is he your age or is he older?”

“He’s a grown-up,” she stated. “He promised me that if I was a good girl, he would take me to his castle. A magical castle, with ponies and a bunch of ice cream.”

“He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No, but he said he would if I didn’t play with him again.”

It wasn’t much longer until I was on the phone with the local police department, and they instantly surrounded the entire school to search for the son-of-a-bitch who threatened my daughter. As fate would have it, they found him the following morning, a thirty-seven-year-old man who attempted to nestle his way into the bushes along the border of the playground, only to be surprised by two uniformed officers who were there to greet him. I saw a picture of him shortly thereafter online: He was clean-cut, brown hair combed neatly to one side and clean-shaven, certainly not a person that younger children would find frightening. There was another photo of him after he was arrested, dressed entirely in his bizarre getup; Lila was correct in her description: He wore enormous orange glasses with googly eyes wedged in between the plastic frames, undoubtedly the result of winning one of those cheesy carnival prizes.

A neon orange shirt with neon purple pants composed the bulk of his outfit. A checkered bow-tie was tucked into his collar. Gigantic clown shoes completed the remainder of his uncanny appearance. For young children though, he’d be labeled as a welcomed source of amusement and entertainment. A friend. No doubt that this sick bastard knew what he was doing.

Needless to say, the whole situation rocked our whole community. It certainly hit my family much harder than any of the others; we received many letters and phone calls from friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances. The outpour of love and support was incredible, and my husband and I were very grateful that so many people cared about the well-being of our daughter. Lila was certainly shaken by what had occurred that day, but thankfully she was too young to comprehend the seriousness of the situation. It took my husband and I much longer to move on from that horrific day; several times arose where we needed to attend counseling to cope with the emotional distress that we had experienced. It’s hard to fathom the cruel realities that lurk out there, and the fact that it struck on such a personal level made the experience even more unsettling. We were extremely lucky that that man didn’t do anything to hurt our daughter, but if I didn’t do anything to prevent it early on, the story could’ve taken a much darker turn.

The two-week vacation extended until about a month a half. My husband took time off as well so that the three of us could get away and spend quality time together. We spent a week down in Disney World and it warmed my heart to see Lila’s beaming smile again as she looked at me with Mickey Mouse ears strapped on top of her head. Recovering from such a horrific experience wasn’t always easy, but times like those helped the wounds heal immensely. I’m just glad to have her by my side, living the life as every child should: protected in a perpetual state of happiness and excitement.