Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dark fey: Bugbears

Shhh!  Did you hear that?  That scraping sound - something under the bed, or in the closet?  You heard that because he wanted you to hear it.  When he doesn't wish to be heard, he is as stealthy as midnight's own wings.  He thrives on your fear, savors it like an intoxicating drink.  And there is no keeping him out.  His joints bend every which way you please, and his bones are all of gristle that flexes without breaking.  He can pry doors and windows with his long clever fingers, or squeeze through gaps and hide in crannies you'd never think to check before blowing out your lamp.

 He likes to taunt and tease with little noises, bumps and scrapes and huffing breaths.  He knows you won't dare spring from your bed and flee.  You're in his power now.  Then, perhaps, as you tremble beneath your blankets, praying for the dawn to come, he'll unfold himself, all seven or eight long and gangly feet of him, and let you see the shadow he casts in the moonlight upon the wall, but only for an instant.  The next you'll see of him is his great leering face, with its mad, bloodshot eyes, its straggly hair, and above all its too-wide grin full of gleaming yellow fangs.

No, my lass, don't cry for your father or your mother.  He'll kill them, with nary a thought, with his sharp barbed knife or his strong grasping hands.  It isn't them he wants.  It's you. 

Into his great black sack you'll go, with bones and snails and bits of rats, and then he'll steal back to his dark lair where he dwells with all his brothers.  What will he do with you there?  Oh, fear not, he doesn't want to eat you.  He's far too lazy for that.  The bogey-folk never do for themselves what they could have done by helpful slaves instead, nothing, anyway, except frightening people and stealing naughty, lazy little children.

And so you'll dig and dig and dig in their dank smelly tunnels, and catch rats and toads and worms for their dinners, and you'll grow up there in the darkness among them.  Oh, they'll take a shine to all-grown folk sometimes too, and spirit them away to the dark mines, but for those ones, the toil and the drudgery are all they have to look forward to for the rest of their born days.  Only one in a hundred ever slips away and manages to find his way out of the depths of the lair to feel the warmth of the sun again.

Little children, though...especially little children who whine and complain and won't do their chores as they're asked...those are their favorites, for they remind them of themselves.  They might take a real liking to you, and frighten you extra-special, because that's their way.  And if you amuse them with your cowering and sobbing, and if you eat your slugs and worms like a good little lass, and if in the end you put down your spade in spite of all their frightening and scaring, and show yourself to be as stubbornly lazy as they are...well, you might just grow up to be one of them.


  1. Weird. I've been turning a more "fairy-tale" like D&D around in my mind lately (that or OneDice Fantasy, but I digress) with magical dwarves (as opposed to the Tolkienesque trope we know and love) and giant mushroom forests and things. This fits nicely with what I've been thinking.

  2. I'm liking your "dark fey" series pretty well so far; it's pretty evocative, although perhaps focused more on flavor than gameability, so to speak. (If that's your goal, no worries, and please carry on!) This one kind of reminded me of Septimüs.