Welcome to Terror Tuesday!
Saying that something by Stephen King is scary is a little like cheating, isn't it? Yet, most of what I've read by him -- and I've read a lot -- I don't find scary scary, just sort of mildly disturbing or kinda gross.
Enter 'The Boogeyman,' a short from his collection 'The Night Shift.'
I can barely think about this story without freaking out, so I'll keep this quick. 'The Boogeyman,' is, at its core, a story about parental fears, the fears all parents feel when it comes to keeping their children safe from harm. I've mentioned before that one of my biggest fears since having children is that I won't be able to protect them from bad things happening, and I feel like this is what King explores so well in 'The Boogeyman.' In a very short story King manages to play upon a very human fear of the dark, a very parental fear of something bad happening to our children, and a deeper, darker parental fear of something bad happening to our children that is our fault, and turns it into one of the most terrifying stories I've ever read; and I used to be a horror editor.
Would I be this scared if I had read this before having children? Maybe. 'Rosemary's Baby' gave me nightmares and I saw that movie long before I had kids. In fact, I read so much Stephen King in junior high, especially his anthologies, that I may actually have read 'The Boogeyman' many years ago and just forgot. But, I read it after having both my children and now if you'll excuse me I have to go hug them both and recheck that the video monitor we have for their room is still working.
You can read 'The Boogeyman' for free in its entirety here, though you have to scroll down a bit.