The Boogeyman Knocks Under My Bed At Night
I lie awake in my room, barely lit by the moon replica night-light my Aunt Margie bought me for my birthday. The darkness lurks around the light like a creature waiting to feast. It's edges seem to argue with the orange glow of the light over who has reign over this little corner of my room. I shudder at the thought of who might win.
I close my eyes and try to take my mind off of the thought. It's all I can do not to run out of here and back into my Aunt's bed where I know she will take care of me if anything were to happen. We spend every day together, after all. She homeschools me in the morning, cooks my food in the afternoons and evenings, makes sure I'm washed up at night, even dabbing oils and incense over me to protect me. They make me smell like a princess.
But at night, when she is asleep in her own room and I am left on my own in here, things happen that scare me very much. I call to her whenever it gets too much for me. Some times she comes in and talks me through it until I am no longer scared. But some times, she is sleeping too hard to hear me. So it's never a guarantee when I call out to her.
Three knocks. Every night. I lie there, staring up at the ceiling and the glow-in-the-dark-stars stuck all above me. I'm trying to count my breaths, that's what Aunt Margie tells me to do. I breathe in deeply once and try to think about our lessons and all of the fun activities we do. It calms me a little, but it doesn't take my anxiety away.
Another set of three. I take another deep breath and recite my songs I learned from my lessons in my head. The rhythm is easy enough to follow but it's not distracting enough.
The third set. My heart is pounding like it might burst from my chest and crawl into the depths of the darkness away from me and live there for eternity. I pull my covers over my head, the ultimate hiding place.
I try to take another breath but I can feel the presence of the thing lingering over me, hiding just beyond the shadows. I can't help myself. I cry out, "Auntie! Auntie, come help me!" and I wait to hear the conformational sound of her footsteps coming from down the hall.
I hear them almost immediately. Relief washes over me so much, tears sprang to my eyes and I cry like a baby calling for it's bottle. The door creaks open and now I know it is safe to take the blankets off of my head.
"What is it, Princess?" my aunt lovingly coos the words at me, the syllables falling out of her like whispers. She could almost pass for my mother if I didn't already know better. "It's knocking again," I explain to her. She looks at me knowingly, her lines of wisdom creasing in her eyes and on her forehead. They are testaments to all of her work in raising me.
The orange glow of the night light touches her face, giving way to a few of her best features. It's a comfort to see her. She is a beautiful young looking woman with fiery red hair and sharp but bright green eyes. She dresses her hair up in a bun and pinned together with a special hair stick made with obsidian decorating it's tip.
Her night gown is black silk and looks very much like the dresses she wears every day, all black as well and modest with long sleeves and a collar. Her amulet still hangs low from her neck, a strange geographical shape with runes etched into it's edges. Their ancient meanings foreign to me. We won't have those lessons until two years from now as I just celebrated my sixth birthday. She looks the same as she always does, humbly beautiful.
The familiarity of her only adds to the comfort of her presence. Already I feel better without her having soothed me with kind words yet. She is stroking my hear and smiling sweetly at me. "Now, Lucy, we talked about this. You have no reason in the world to be afraid. Did you do your breathing?" She asked me.
I nod my head and sit up to wrap my arms around her, nestling my head in her neck. She shudders slightly to herself as I do so, a strange thing she does now and then. I think sometimes she is afraid too, but she says nothing. She dutifully continues to soothe me, showing no fear of her own. She would not dare show fear in my presence.
"Did you recite your songs?", she prods further. I nod but I know she sees right through me. Her eyes narrow at me and she tightens her lips in disappointment. She shakes her head and gently scolds me, "You must say them out loud with all of your authority. Your breathing isn't just for counting. Every breath you draw in deep, you pull all of your energy into yourself and allow it to rise into your voice. You are Princess Lucy. Lady of the dark. No one on this earth has greater authority over the darkness as you, little one."
I look down in shame and pout. It all sounds so exhausting and I don't feel as confident as I know she wishes me to be. The darkness strangely scares me. I know in my bones that if you do not respect the darkness, it can consume you. That is what it does. It cloaks. It hides things. It hides intentions and it uses your naivety to decieve you into trusting it. One wrong move and it can swallow you whole. But my aunt says that I am made from light. That always seemed ironic to me.
I hear her giggle now. She can read my thoughts. She presses her fingers under my chin, directing my face towards hers. "Only you can face these things. Only you can claim your power over them. I am going back to my bed now. You do as I've taught you. There is nothing in the darkness to fear for you."
With that, she kisses the top of my head and I watch her leave the room, closing the door gently behind her. I feel better as she leaves. I lay my head back, close my eyes, and begin my breathing again.
One breath in. My chest rises with an electric sensation that seems to pulse through me. The fire in me begins to build from the depths of my body. Every cell obeying me, calm swirling over me in reassurance. Trust in my own self rises and my mind quiets now.
Another breath and I focus the energy into one spot. It swirls in the pits of my stomach. I speak to it with my mind and it listens intently waiting for my next command. The sensation almost takes me by surprise.
A third breath and I command it to rise, feeling it obey. It's swirling up into my chest now. Knocking at the door of my authority, begging me to answer.
Breath four and I push it further up and into my throat. I almost choke on it but I continue. The edges of the night light being to ripple now. The lines that separate it from the darkness communicate with its counterpart. To two parts of myself that make up who I am by birth.
Breath five and it swells in my mouth. I feel the words dancing around my tongue, tickling and stinging all at the same time. It waits patiently with respect for my power.
I open my eyes and on breath six, I chant with all my authority. The energy bursting through the dark like a rocket. The walls begin to breathe like the chest of the Great Beast as it slumbers. My eyes pierce the shadows and I can feel the ancient power scorching through them. My voice makes the change and I sound centuries older than I am. It is the power bestowed upon me through birthright.
"I am Lucia. Princess of the night
All that come must bow their heads in fright.
If you wish to call out my name
There should be a good reason why you came.
For if you seek counsel with me
You seek it, too, with our king."
My father's dark power surges through the room and myself. I hear it again.
"Speak, demon. Make your report. What nightmares have you delivered us this night?" I command him. My father would be proud of the way I command the demons he has given me the same way he has always done in Hell.
The Boogeyman knocks under my bed at night. And I answer.