Distance Lost "Mommy..." "Yes son?" He looks at her stares at her. "Could you close the closet door?" he whispers. She smiles. He thinks her teeth, too sharp, too sharp in this pale light. "Of course, son. Can't have the Boogie, Boogie Man come out of the closet, and steal your soul." She goes to the closet door, closes it to a crack, hand still on the knob, turns to her son with that same smile, winks, closes the door completely with a thud. "Thank you," he whispers, laying back as his mom goes to the door, goes to the door on her way out, turns off the light, still smiling, still her son looking at her, staring at her. He is now alone, in the dark, eyes open, then close, open, then close like the closet door. Then open, and so is that closet door, he sees, and he doesn't want to look too hard at it, doesn't want to stare, 'cause how did that door open on its own, why can't he just be left alone, no lectures, he's tired of learning, knowing. The fiend stands in the closet doorway, looking, staring at the boy, mocking in every way. "So little boy, boy, what shall we learn tonite," the fiend asks, its voice full, but behind it, speaking, always behind the speaker, in the closet, tucked away in another dimension. "It's just that," the boy says, "it's that," he continues, voice low, looking, staring, "the job's so hard, very difficult. I don't know, I just..." "None of us ever knew," the fiend's lips moving, voice coming from behind him, PERHAPS AT THAT FAR DISTANCE SCREAMING yet now barely heard. "But it's the way of the world, little boy, little boy. 'Accept and be glad', sayeth the Lord." The boy looks at the door his mother exited from, wishing it was the door she had entered from, at least she would be in the room with him now to say goodbye, but she isn't, she's thinking her thoughts far away, far away, not knowing she's going to lose and gain a son at the same time this night. "All us Boogie Men were once children, and all us Boogie Men will be children once again," the fiend says. "I'm tired of souls, little souls for breakfast, fears for lunch, dreams for dinner. Come, boy, little boy, I've taught you my ways, spells, take my place, nightmare, know my world. I just want a voice for once, one close at my side." The boy, looking, staring, accepts, trades places, and the first soul he has that day, for breakfast, instead of cereal, is his mother's son's impostor.