Sharon’s Note: I’m currently working on a novel (in the purgatory of editing) starring Addie. I became curious about what she was like as a child. It’s been fun to delve into, so I thought I’d share some of her adventures. Warning: Author showing her love of guardian monsters.
The sun was nearly set, and that was the best time to play. The playground was empty, it being too late for most children to be out. Addie was playing on the swings.
Her house could have a swing set. Her house had most things, including a pool, a small movie theater, and a ball pit. She’d never asked for a swing set, because then she wouldn’t have an excuse to go to the park.
Ink would usually have taken her. He took care of her schooling and kept her entertained. Unfortunately he had a date and would be out of the house until early morning. There hadn’t really been anyone else to ask, since none of her usual tutors were at home and her parents didn’t ever want to take her anywhere. So, it was just her and Buggie.
Most people thought people that Buggie was imaginary. Addie’s parent’s didn’t like him very much and her dad got mad if she even mentioned him or any of her other friends. Ink said that she should just stop talking about her friends and definitely not mention them in school anymore. It made her sad.
Two older boys were approaching the playground. Addie watched them curiously. They had to at least be in high school, far too old to be on the playground. At first they loitered around the jungle gym, only occasionally pausing to glare at the little girl on the swing. She unabashedly watched them. After about twenty minutes, they walked towards her, and Addie stopped swinging out of curiosity.
“Hey, girl, are you lost or something?” The taller of the two boys talked to her first, his hands jammed firmly in his pockets while he bent over a little to be closer to her face.
“Nope.” Addie said, and started swinging again. The shorter boy had to move out of the way to avoid being kicked.
“Hey, watch it.” He grumbled with a sour frown.
“Don’t stand in front of a swing, then.” She shooed them with a wave of her hand like her mother did to her all the time.
“It’s late.” The tall boy grumbled. “Little kids shouldn’t be out alone. Go home.”
“Not out alone.” Addie kept swinging.
“We don’t count. We’re strangers.” The short boy lunged forward and grabbed the chains to stop the swing, spilling Addie onto the sand below. “Go home!”
The little girl’s eyes started to tear up and her lip trembled. “That hurt!”
“Then run home and cry to your mommy!” The shorter boy shouted in her face.
“Jesus, Mike. Leave the kid alone.” The tall boy took a few steps back, distancing himself from his angry friend.
“Go home!” He shouted at the little girl again.
From the woods next to the park there was a great crash like a tree was falling. Both boys jumped, scanning the treeline.
“What the hell was that?” Asked Mike.
“That was a warning from Buggie.” Addie sniffed while she pushed herself to her feet. “You better leave me alone.”
“Who’s Buggie?” The taller boy asked, eyes darting back and forth between the woods and the girl.
“My friend and bodyguard.” She crossed her arms smuggly. “Maybe you should go home.”
“Mike,” The taller boy said, tone plaintive.
“Shove it, Troy. A tree just fell or something. She doesn’t have a bodyguard. She’s just a brat who’s trying to scare us off. What kind of name is Buggie anyway?” Mike scoffed.
“Whatever man. I’m not into messing with little kids. I’m out of here.” Troy shook his head, jammed his hands in his pocket and started walking away.
Mike swore at his friend as he walked away, then turned back to Addie, who was grinning at him like a cheshire cat. It made him hesitate. “What are you smiling about?”
“Buggie Man.” She giggled.
“Buggie’s short for Buggie Man.” Addie looked over at the trees, and the boy followed her gaze. A tall, figure stepped out of the woods. It was large and wreathed in fluttering, ragged shadows that mostly obscured it’s form, but there was no missing the glowing red eyes.
“Boogie Man.” The boy whispered, and turned on his heel to run after his friend.
The shadowy figure crossed the park to stand next to Addie. She grabbed one of his long talons and swung it back and forth while staring up at him with an adoring smile.
“It is late.” He rumbled. “We should head back.”
“Five more minutes?” Addie bounced on her heels while she pleaded.
Buggie sighed. “Fine. Five more minutes.”