When I was very little, I met my very best friend.
I was quite the fearless little child, so I wasn’t afraid of him. Though, I do think most little kids might’ve been. But, I was a boy, and by my logic that meant I wasn’t supposed to be scared of anything. Even if I was little, I was still a boy.
I met him when I was five. I was at a park with my twin sister, Abby. I had just made my way down the slide. That was one of my favorite things. Feeling the wind in my face, the thrill of the fall, even if it were just a gradual slope that lasted two seconds at the very most. I popped right back up after getting to the end and whirled around to run right back to the ladder that would again lead me to my second long thrill.
That was when I saw him. He lingered in the shade of a tree at the edge of the park, peeking out behind the trunk. Everything my mother had told me about not talking to strangers flew out the window as I turned to look at him.
“Hi! My name’s Tyler. I’m five whole years old, and I can count to fifteen all on my own!” I cheered, giving a typical five year old’s greeting. Something about being little, you just want to be the biggest show off you can.
He was very quiet. He didn’t say a word in response to me, which to me at the time was pretty rude. Maybe he was just shy. Yes, that must’ve been it. I looked to the slide and then back to him. He was still there. In fact, he seemed to have come out a little more. I could see most of him now, when before I’d only seen his head and his shoulder.
“Do you want a turn?” I asked calmly.
He didn’t say anything, but he did respond with a very slight shake of his head.
“No, huh? Well that’s your loss, I guess.” I considered turning back to the slide, but that’s when I got a great idea.
I would ask this fellow to be my friend! Yes yes! That’s just what I’d do. I didn’t quite know why I wanted this man to be my friend, or why I felt so drawn to him. Maybe it was that his skin, slimy looking from what I could see, was pitch black. Maybe it was that where his face should have been was just a smooth surface. No dips for eyes, not a bump for a nose. A blank template, is what I could best describe it as. As for the rest of him, he didn’t seem to be clothed. He didn’t seem to have any genitalia, but I knew he couldn’t be a girl. He didn’t have those bumps on his chest that my mom and all other mom’s seemed to have. And his skin, just like that on his face was smooth and slimy.
“Weeelll.” I lingered on that word. “Do you wanna be my friend?”
He seemed excited by my question. He stepped out from behind the tree. He was nodding vigorously.
Looking back on it, I’m fairly sure other kids would’ve either cried, or have pissed themselves. Most probably would’ve done both. But I didn’t. I felt quite the opposite of either of those things. I just knew me and this man would be very good friends.
My sister and I had always been very, very close, so logically I was thrilled to introduce the two.
I beckoned my new friend to follow me with a wave of my hand, and I turned to run across the park to the swings, my sister’s favorite spot. When I got there, though slightly out of breath, I spoke quickly. “Abby! Abby! I want you to meet my new friend!”
Abby looked up to me. “Where is he?”
“Right here!” I exclaimed happily, turning around to face my friend. It was then I discovered he wasn’t behind me like he should’ve been. She giggled. “We’re gonna be in first grade soon, Tyler. You should know imaginary friends are for babies.”
I furrowed my brow. My friend certainly wasn’t imaginary. But where could he have gone?
Ah. There he was. Back behind his tree. His head poking out had given him away to me. He must’ve some how seen I was looking at him, as he raised one hand, shiny with slime, and waved at me.
I waved back. “I’m gonna play with Abby now, okay? I’ll see you next time I guess!” I called to him. I don’t know if he heard me, but I was pretty sure I saw him nod.
When I turned back to Abby. She simply rolled her eyes at me before giggling. “C’mon. Lets go play on the rock wall!”
I smiled and nodded. “Yeah!” With one last look back, I didn’t see my friend anymore. But I was sure he was still somewhere near, and so, satisfied with that feeling, I went to go play with Abby.
That night I saw him again. He visited me while I was climbing into my bed. My sister and I shared a room at the time, so I was very thrilled that he was there. Certainly she’d be able to meet him now.
She rolled over so that she could face me, and she brushed her blonde hair out of her face with a hand, red with a sunburn. “Yeah?”
“Look, Abby! My friend’s here! Say hi to him.” I grinned.
My cheer turned to confusion as she looked around the room, clearly oblivious to my friend standing there. “Tyler,” she murmured, her voice fairly heavy with sleep, “just go to bed.”
Too late now, she’d already rolled over. I waited a moment, giving her a few minutes to fall asleep enough so that my talking wouldn’t wake her. I turned to my friend and jumped a bit, finding him at the foot of my bed. Don’t get to thinking wrong, I wasn’t scared. I’m a boy after all. But I hadn’t heard him move, nor had I felt him sit down. So you could say I was a little surprised.
That was when he talked to me.
He told me if I wanted to I could call him The Dripping Man, and that he wanted so badly to be my very best friend. I was puzzled at the name, but I managed to figure it out on my own. It must have been because he was so slimy. Surely that gunk proved quick messy. I told him that’d I stick to just calling him Drippy, if he didn’t mind. The Dripping Man just seemed too formal of a name for little five year old me to call him. The name has stuck throughout the years.
I then asked a question that I was sure would throw him off. Why couldn’t my sister see him?
He wasn’t as stumped as I’d hoped, as proceeded to explain how you had to be super special to hear him, even more special to see him. Since I was now his friend, I guess it made me pretty special, ‘cause I could do both of those things. I asked him a few more questions. Another little kid thing, I guess. Adults, unless really confused or just stupid, never asked that many.
That night I certainly hadn’t been expecting him, but I didn’t mind him showing up either. Little did I know this was a good thing, ‘cause he’d be showing up every night for a very, very long while.
Skip a few years. My sister and I were now turning 10.
Abby were still very close, and I relied on her a lot. She didn’t seem to mind my clinginess. I also noticed that though she was used to it, she seemed slightly annoyed whenever I brought up Drippy. That was another person I was still very close to. I was still very best friends with Drippy.
I’d learned so many things about Drippy over the years. I learned that I’m not his only friend. He has many friends all over the world. A lot of them were kids, but there were some adults too. He just found the children so much easier to make friends with. So many friends in so many places, I couldn’t help but to feel like I wasn’t so special to him anymore. But he ensured me I was his favorite. That made me feel better.
I also learned that some of his friends didn’t even know they were his friends. In fact, some of them had never even seen him before. I was baffled as to how that worked, but I didn’t question it. I trusted him.
But, I did want to know just how he kept in touch with these friends. I learned these friends weren’t special enough to see him but they could hear him.
If you’ve ever heard your name called out, but no one you could find was the source, don’t worry. If you’ve ever found something that wasn’t where you left it, don’t worry. If you ever heard knocking on the walls or footsteps when no one was there. If you’ve ever seen a shadow in the corner of your eye, but when you looked it wasn’t anywhere to be found. Don’t worry. It was just Drippy.
I also learned that Drippy was very close to me. He really did care. Whenever kids bullied me for still having an imaginary friend I’d always get upset. Drippy made sure they’d leave me alone, and sure enough I never had anymore than just one run in with my long line of bullies.
Abby bullied me too time to time. Drippy didn’t like that. He also didn’t like how close I was to her. I think he was jealous. But I told him it was okay. She never meant it when she teased me, and he was still my very best friend. I think that worked.
Lastly, and most importantly I learned you should never, never ever make Drippy mad. Never. Because when Drippy is mad, he is very, very scary.
I saw him mad once. He had just come to visit me, but he was furious, and with his different mood, his appearance too was different.
His mouth seemed to have torn itself free of his slimy face, the top lip dripping, and sticking to the bottom whenever he closed his mouth, causing him to have to rip it open again, a tearing noise as gruesome as the sight.
His fingers seemed knife-like, and his arms never seemed to be the same size. Looking back on it, his whole body seemed to grow and lengthen at will. He looked so thin when he stretched out like that. You could even see the shaped of his bones if he went far out enough.
And his screams. Oh god his screams were more terrifying than the shrieks of a dying animal. All of this mixed with the sound of constant dripping.
To calm him down, I had to hide a lot and shout from my hiding spot, telling him, begging him to “please please please, calm down Drippy! It’s okay now!”
It took me almost half an hour to calm him down, but I finally did. I only had a scratch on my forearm to show for it.
He pleaded for my forgiveness. He said it wasn’t my fault. His other friend had gone and broken his heart. He had only come to me because he knew I’d calm him down. I was just that special I guess.
Truth be told, I was still shaking when I agreed to forgive him. That was the first time I’d ever been scared of Drippy. The first time I’d ever been scared at all. He promised me he’d never be mad at me. Somehow, I doubted it. But, for the next few years, he stayed true to his word.
Today, Drippy broke the promise he made to me six years ago. He is very, very upset with me.
My mom’s on a business trip right now. She left a week ago and won’t be back for another three weeks. So in the time she’s been gone, I’ve felt the need to be very close to Abby.
Last night Abby and I got into a fight. She accused me of being clingy. Too clingy. She demanded time to herself. Snapped and said she didn’t want to be associated with some baby who still talked to himself. She said she didn’t want me to be so close to her. To go away. To leave her alone. To shut up. To just fuck off.
I think she made Drippy mad when she said those things.
After the fight I retreated to my room, sobbing. I was always very emotional, the emotion I’d felt the least in my life shining out. Fear. First I had been scared of Drippy. Now I was scared my sister didn’t want me. Little did I know how soon I would be scared again.
I woke up this morning and I got up with an aching head. I was sure it was from the crying. I staggered to my sister’s room. I wanted to apologize to her. For everything I guess.
I knocked on her door. She was an early bird and it was 9:30 in the morning, so surely she’d be up. Oddly enough she didn’t respond. Maybe she was still mad. So I opened the door slightly. “Abby?”
I peeked inside, and I wanted to throw up. Had I eaten before, I would’ve. Before me I saw Drippy, calm looking but surely furious before. He stood over a heap. A combination of soft, pale flesh and splatters of crimson.
I went to talk, my voice hitching in my throat, a soft squeak being the only noise to come from me.
He whirled around to face me. He told me he did this for me.
As a wave of rage washed over me, my voice tore from my throat. “Demon!” I screamed at him. “She was my sister! MY SISTER! You just killed my sister! I hate you! I didn’t want this!” I sobbed, turning away as I watched him twitch in anger. I rushed back down the hallway screaming as I went that I hated him. I hated him. Soon his screaming accompanied my sobbing.
I slammed the door behind me. I locked it and got my laptop. I need to write this. I need to.
I need to write this now because I want to warn you while I have the time. Drippy is very mad at me. I strongly believe I’ll be joining Abby soon. But I have one more thing to tell you.
Please, be careful of Drippy.
Please, if you see him, please be careful of my old friend.