I was very young and hadn’t started school yet. I remember dreaming of being in my living room, some close family sitting around me. I was playing in the middle of the room when a cymbal-banging monkey started to go off. (Like an old wind-up toy) The toy itself looked worn out and busted and was sat on a stand near the door to the back room.

As I was looking at it, I saw the silhouette of a large man with a wide-brimmed cowboy-style hat, and long coat, slowly looming his way through the darkness of the back room towards the open doorway to me. My family told me to keep playing, and not to look at him, “you can’t look at him, don’t pay attention to him.” They weren’t panicked, though I was near frozen with fear; and couldn’t stop looking from the loud cymbal sound, back to them, back to the ever-approaching duster-clad midnight menace getting closer to us. As he got to the doorway, his silhouette gained some color; though it was extremely dull gray, almost green and rotten looking. From his hat to his coat and what exposed skin I could see, he appeared to be actively decomposing. By the lack of features on his face, it almost says he was wearing a gray skin-colored wrap on his nose and mouth. His eyes though, burned bright red, and when he got to that doorway they were focused on me.

My family never stopped telling me to turn away, pay him no mind, don’t give him attention, and the monkey never quit slamming those cymbals. I don’t remember him ever getting to me, but I remember him crossing the threshold of that door, he had to bend over forward to fit through it, and the air around me getting cold and thin. The cymbals got louder, my heart beat faster and faster, and I couldn’t turn away from him after too long. I haven’t seen him since then, and am grateful for it.