Cathryn waited until her young Joey had left the kitchen to crumple up the piece of paper with his latest drawing on it, the one he had so reverantly stuck to the refrigerator with her magnets. She thought she heard something, like the tiniest scream coming from the wad of paper in her hand, but laughed it off, knowing it was just her imagination.
The reason she crumpled the paper was because her son, a gifted drawer in both his mother's and his teacher's opinion, was obsessed with drawing the same character over and over again. Not normally a bad thing, except, in this case, that character happened to be hideous. It looked like some kind of troll, with ragged blue skin, ogling yellow eyes, and long, sharp, pointed daggers for teeth. A gold earring hung from one Spocked earlobe, and the troll wore some kind of robe outfit clenched at the waist with a hemp rope. The worst part, however, the part that made her shiver, was that Joey insisted on writing "He's coming!!!" at the bottom of every page.
Now, she knew that kids could certainly do some strange things, she had been no exception to the rule, with her fantasizing about being Barbie and meeting her dream Ken. But this had disturbed her enough to sit down and talk with her son about the drawings.
"Who is this supposed to be?" she had asked him, holding the latest drawing in her hand, and showing it to him.
Joey shrugged. "The man who comes to me in my dreams."
"You dream of him?"
Cathryn sighed. "He doesn't scare you?"
"Not really, he tells me that he's coming, and when he gets here, everything's going to be really neat."
"But you know it's just a dream, right?" Cathryn told him. "You know that, don't you, Joey?"
Her son had shrugged once more, and ran off to the living room to watch some TV.
A few weeks later, she came in from grocery shopping, setting the paper bags on the kitchen counter, and glanced at the kitchen door, which now had a new drawing on it. She let out a sigh of relief. The drawing was of an ordinary boy, almost a self-portrait of Joey himself, standing in what looked like a garden with yellow and blue flowers. A yellow sun shone brightly from a clear sky. Cathryn smiled, taking the picture off the refrigerator and calling for her son. "Joey, come here a minute, please." She started to put away some of the groceries while she waited for him.
Footsteps plodded into the kitchen. Cathryn turned to look at him, opened her mouth to scream, and fainted dead away. The paper floated down beside her on the linoleum floor.
The troll smiled a mischevious grin, picking up the piece of paper and crumbling it in one gnarled hand. There was a scream, and then the dark color of blood poured out from the folds in the paper. The troll laughed, a bitter and frightening sound, and bent down over the mother.
"Chew on this for a while," it croaked, prying open Cathryn's mouth and shoving the red-stained paper past her lips, her teeth, and into the narrow passageway of her throat. She came to, gasping for air, her eyes bulging madly, her face a mixture of deepening red and blue. The troll kept pressure on her jaw to keep it shut, pinning her down with the weight of its own body.
Cathryn suffocated to death, her last moments tasting the blood and soft flesh of her young son.
And feeling what felt like very small hands clutching at her convulsing throat.
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