The Puppeteer II: Motherly Love by BleedingHeartWorks

It all began when I started to notice quick changes in my mother.

No, it began way earlier than that when I really think about it. Years. Maybe even before I could remember the difference between right and wrong, which is a pretty long time ago. I had always been one of the two brothers in my family. Our mother was single, she always had been ever since I could remember. Our father had bailed out on us when the news about me had arrived. We loved our mother, we really did. She bought us nice clothes even though she couldn't afford it, providing necessary food and making a good home for us. Everything was great, my mom just had some issues with drinking.

It wasn't just a problem, it was a big problem. She stayed single even though she tried to meet others. It would always go well in the beginning until she would change her mind and show the next man out the door. Always the same story with her.

I felt very…alone. My brother wasn't very interested in playing with me, seeing he was about five years older and he always thought of me as the annoying little sibling. But all I wanted was company.

I didn't find any success in making friends in school or during my spare time. I just spent every moment alone. My mom didn't care, of course. She was too busy trying to finish up her work, so she could spend the last hours at home drinking her evenings away.

But I guess every single second of loneliness brought something out of me. I started to…daydream. A lot. Making imaginary friends was one of my favorite hobbies. Yes, a hobby. I made new ones so often it was hard to keep up - even for me.

You see, there was this particular imaginary friend.

He wasn't like the others. This was the only one who gave me more peace than anything. He'd play with me, of course, but he only came around night time. Then we'd talk and fool around making super sure my mom didn't hear my cheerful giggling. He was an expert on many things, but he was the best at crafting and making me puppets. Every day he'd turn up with a new doll, in any design I wanted it to be. That was his thing.

The Puppet Man.

I always managed to escape the fact that I had imaginary friends, but with him…It was hard to deny he was actually there. Because I knew he was. Every night when he said I had to sleep, he stood by for another hour just to watch and make sure that I was actually falling asleep. His golden, glowing eyes observing me from afar in the darkness. I stared back at him. His grey face was keeping me calm as he kept smiling towards me. I fell asleep every night.

But I couldn't talk to anyone about the creature visiting me every night.

It was…odd.

Time went on as it should've. I grew up, so did my brother. Only thing that seemed to stay the same was mom’s drinking habits. My brother moved out around the age of 18, he couldn’t put up with her anymore. I was only 12 at the time and I wouldn't get out of my home for a long, long time. I was waiting patiently though, I suppose that was the only thing I could do when being so…alone.

My imaginary friend never left however, and it started to become a problem. He continued to visit me every single evening, keeping me company. I started to ignore him, I was mad… had to be. At 12 years old the whole imaginary friend deal was ridiculous. I had other things to do anyway. Homework, playing on my playstation 2. I was…content. Not happy. Just neutral. I didn't feel lonely, I left that thought a long time ago. Yet there he was…staring at me with his face hidden beneath the shadows of my room, glowing eyes studying me. Another year passed.

No success.

I eventually got tired of everything. School was being a downer and my mom got worse with her drinking. Even to that point where she started to self harm. She refused to talk to me, even when I tried to. She lost her job, eventually. It was something I had wanted to see happen for a long time, it always seemed like something that might help her realize she had a problem... But no, after that my mom wouldn't do anything but sit there…drinking all her problems away. She became angrier with time, everyone noticed so. Everyone who was…well, me. I did everything I could do not stay at home - sleeping over at my aunt's place or even trying to contact my brother. But there was certain nights I had to stay home and it was hell on earth.

Every single day she would scold me for nothing. It was such stupid, simple things. Forgetting to buy milk on the way home, forgetting to cook dinner…What could I do? I was 13. My mom couldn't even tell me how sorry she was. She just kept on…And one night, she just lost it.

I remember it clearly.

It was something about the dishes. I had to clean after dinner like always and this time I accidentally dropped a plate. It fell to the floor hitting hard, and shattered into tiny pieces. My mom was of course furious with me. I could understand her at some point, get why she was upset with me… but now I blamed her for everything that happened.

But this time she didn't just scream in my face for a minute or two. This time she was acting out violently, throwing a chair across the room. She screamed at me for not being the perfect son, how she'd lost everything because of me and my brother…Everything was our fault. A slap to the face. And then…she was done.

I ran and locked up myself in my room.

And there he was, waiting for me. It was evening after all. And for the first time in almost two years, I spoke to him. He was the only soul I could talk to. Even though he was imaginary, even though I was basically talking to myself. I didn't care. I desperately needed it.

And for the first time…He spoke to me.

He was more calm than I thought he'd be.

"Your mom…she's evil."

I disagreed. She wasn't evil…or was she? She had ruined my life, she hated me but still I shook my head. "Don't cry," He spoke to me. "Big boys don't cry… So calm down, I'll go talk to your mom. Now go to sleep…You'll need it."

I did as he said. No questions, I went to bed. My heart was pounding and my head spinning. My mom never checked up on me…She would probably leave anyway. That's the only thing she ever did. Giving up on us, on everything…On life. It didn't take me long to fall asleep that night. In the morning I would just return to school like nothing had happened and find my same pathetic alcoholic mother the next day.

But…there was never meant to be another day.

I woke up again. It was completely dark around me, the apartment had been lost of all it's power. I didn't wake up all by myself though, there was some kind of noise outside of my bedroom. Warily and insecure, I stepped up from my bed and moved out to the hall. It was a cracking noise. Like someone stepping on ice or on broken glass but it was far more dull than that. My curiosity took over and I continued until I found the source of the breaking and snapping sound. It was my mother's bedroom.

What was going on in there? My mom was supposed to be sleeping at this hour…I came closer, the noise appeared louder. After a minute of listening outside of the room, I decided to go in. I pushed the wooden door and stumbled to my knees. What I saw…No one was supposed to see such a thing.

My mom had been thrown towards the floor. Her face was bloody, and her nose seemed broken. She was kneeling down with her arms extended backwards in an unnatural position, hands cramping out of pain. She looked like she was screaming but only coughed out, wheezing hard. She saw me. And that's when I lost it.

I tried to scream, but I couldn't. I only crawled up towards the bedside, clutching unto it like it was the only thing to save me at that point. My mother's arms were breaking in front of my face, by something I couldn't see or hear. I could only see her, my mother. Scared for her life.

And then he slowly appeared before me. His grey hands and face, emerging from the shadows. His golden eyes were completely focused on her, and then I could see what he was doing. With one foot on her back, His fingertips wept golden threads that had tied themselves to her arms. He was breaking my mother's arms in two.

My Puppet Man.

Then her bones wouldn't hold it anymore. They eventually broke, snapping in a horrible trail of sounds. I tried to scream again but everything was once again muted by my own fright. I tried to calm down, tried to realize I was only imagining everything. But it was real. My own friend, imaginary friend was killing my mom. And I did nothing to stop him.

He wasn't pleased, I tried to call to him, tried to beg for him to stop. But he just wouldn't listen. He only continued to hurt my mother further. He'd take his time, and seemed to slowly break every bone in her body. He forced me to sit there, made me watch as he broke my mother apart. He told me he was getting rid of evil. I wanted to believe him…but I just couldn't. He broke her legs, ribs…even fingers. Bones turning every direction they shouldn't. I screamed and screamed. No one heard me. His golden eyes turned to look at me as he hushed me for one final time.

Then, he strangled her. Beautiful golden glowing strings of death wrapped around her neck, squeezing out the last glimpse of life I could see in my mother's eyes. And it was the last thing I could remember before it went dark, I passed out on the floor by the bedside.

Our neighbors had heard my screaming and had called the police. Everyone pitied the orphan who had seen his mother die in front of her eyes. But according to them, my mother hadn't been murdered. She had been found in the middle of the room, with a noose around her neck. The rope hadn't been able to carry her body after a while and had bursted in two, causing my mother's corpse to fall down on the floor.

I never spoke about her death ever again, neither did I say another word about my imaginary friend. Maybe it had all been horrible dream, and he was always just in my head…

Even at my mom's funeral, I was completely alone. My brother didn't even bother showing up. Only my aunt and uncle was there. Everyone saw this coming somehow. Everyone but me. And I spent hours waiting for him to come and pick me up. The only one who had listened to me all this time. Held me company. Comforted me when I needed it the most.

And when I was standing alone by her coffin, I suddenly felt someone grabbing my hand.

And I smiled. His grey hand on my shoulder.

"I never thought you'd come back."

The puppet man by bleedingheartworks-d742cpv

Art by BleedingHeartWorks