The night was dark. The only light emitted into the tiny bedroom was from the door that stood slightly ajar. The room was clean for a four year old little boy. There weren’t any toys covering the floor and no clothes thrown about the room.
The little boy slept soundly; light snores could be heard coming deep from within his chest. His arm twitched fervently, but became still after a few seconds. The sound of his breathing rang out across the silent room.
Seeing the child deep in his slumber, the tiny little man clambered out from under the boy’s bed. He was a short fellow with a quirky mustache set above his crooked lips. His eyes, which were enlarged, set close to his forehead. He had no nose, but his ears made up for that. On top of his head, sat a velvet black top hat with fifteen little red cards sticking out of the band wrapped around it. He stood up on the haunches of his feet and stretched his tiny body out, a sigh leaving his parched lips.
The little boy stirred, but didn’t wake. The tiny man giggled lightly and stepped back from the bed a bit. His eyes glanced around the small room, but slid back onto the little boy after mere seconds. He smiled a crooked smile and allowed his fingers to glide across the soft down comforter. The boy’s eyes jerked open at that motion and he nearly screamed if not for the calming manner of the man standing before him.
“H-hello. What’s y-your name?” the little boy stuttered out, gazing at the awkward little man.
The man merely smiled and clutched at his hat. “My name is Hat Man Williams, but you can call me Hat Man,” he paused a second and the boy continued to stare at him in wonder. “I’ve never seen you before. What’s your name, my dear boy?”
“My name’s Jake. We just moved here.”
Hat Man smiled crookedly and sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Ah, that would explain why I’ve never seen the likes of you before.” His mouth twitched a little as he said this.
Jake sat up in his bed and rubbed at his eyes. His light brown hair stuck up in odd angles around his head. He curiously moved closer to the odd man sitting on the edge of his bed.
“Why were you under my bed?” he asked, his curiosity getting the best of him.
Hat Man stood up soundlessly and paced around the room. His expression stayed happy, but his mood turned somber. They always had ways of getting to him. This one, with his innocence.
“I was hiding. If your parents saw me, we couldn’t be friends and I really like you, Jake. Don’t you want to be friends?” He turned and looked at Jake’s innocent face as he beamed with happiness.
“Of course I want to be friends with you, Hat Man.” His cheeks turned a rosy red when he smiled.
A noise in the hallway startled the two and Hat Man clambered back under the bed. Jake’s eyebrows rose in confusion, but lay back down in his bed. He closed his eyes just as his mother peeked her head in the doorway. Her blonde hair fell like a curtain across her face as she leaned a bit farther into the room, and satisfied that her child was fast asleep, retreated from the room, leaving the door cracked just a little.
Jake picked his head up from the pillow and whispered for Hat Man, but he never showed up again, that night anyway.
The next morning after Jake had woken; Hat Man stepped out from under his bed and smiled that crooked smile of his. Jake smiled warmly up at him.
“Do you want to play with me today, Jake?” Hat Man asked, his dark eyes sparkling morosely. His top hat sat askew on his head, the red cards flashing dully in the morning light that shown through the windows facing to his left.
“You bet I do!” Jake exclaimed heartily. He jumped up and down with joy.
Hat Man smirked and ran his lithe tongue across his crooked lips. He’d play a game, alright. A game that only he had won.
“Let’s play hide and seek. If you win, I’ll go away. But if I win, you get to be my friend forever.” At that he started counting.
Jake smiled and ran from the room. His parents were downstairs, and he remembered what Hat Man had said about his parents finding out, so he hid in the bathroom underneath the sink.
Hat Man stopped counting and spun around, making sure to check every spot in the room before heading out of it and down the hallway. He cautiously made his way from the boy’s room to the spare room, where he found no one, but a bed and a dresser. He crept out of that room and into the bathroom. He smiled knowingly as he put a tiny hand on the cabinet door under the sink. Slowly, he opened it and found Jake cowering in the corner. His time was up.
Hat Man descended on him and pulled him from the cabinet. His nails slowly came out further and he ripped the boy’s throat out. The blood splashed across the mirror and walls and Hat Man licked it up. His tongue lapped at Jake’s throat as he cleaned the wound and then he ripped Jake’s skin off of his body and compressed it into a little red card; of which he stuck up into the band of his top hat, sixteen now.
Jake was found later that day, skinned in his bathtub. And Hat Man was never seen in that vicinity again.