I couldn't sleep again. My insomnia grew worse every night with that unwanted pile of filthy Rags crawling across my hardwood floor; his dirty black nails clicked against my wall over there in the corner. I begged Dad to let me sleep with him, but he keeps telling me I'm almost a man or it's just that I'm hallucinating because of my lack of sleep. No matter, because no one would believe me about Rags.

There would be nights where he would try and climb onto my bed, but I'd scream bloody murder for my Dad to save me. Then after Dad would leave and turn off the lights, Rags would crawl out of the shadows laughing at me, taunting me saying that I'm a crying pansy. Some nights he would lean in the line between my walls staring at me with that glowing white eye of his and that stitched smile that stretched to the sides of his head.

"One day, that flesh covering your meat and bones will be a part of my collection." He would say from time to time.

How I wished I wasn't alone to bear this burden. One day, while going into town with my Dad, he unexpectedly stopped his old red truck in front of a pet store.

"I thought about it for a while, and I've decided to let you get a dog." A wide grin spread across my face, I was practically begging him for months now to get a dog, telling how responsible I would be for my soon-to-be furry best friend.

Once we walked inside, the smell of feed and bedding filled my nostrils. While my Dad was being greeted by the clerk out front I decided to have a look around, completely forgetting about Rags. In the back is where I found my beloved friend, Rusty. A red-heeler barked at me trying to get the attention he wanted. My eyes met his. I instantly knew he was the one. My father found me with the dog trying to lick and nip at my face, my arms shielded him from Rusty's tongue.

He came home with us with a black collar and a shiny and silver name tag around his neck. For hours and hours after school I would play with him. I felt less weight on my shoulders with Rusty at the end of my bed. It was as if Rags stopped coming, I wasn't complaining.

My confidence overwhelmed me, one night like any other Rusty started to growl and snarl. Slowly waking up, half asleep I laid my hand on my furry friend. His hackles were up and his muscles were tensed. In the corner that was occupied by darkness was a glowing eye. The weird doll-like monster with human hands crawled away back into blackest part of the shadows. I patted Rusty's head as a reward, he slept closer to me from that point on, making sure that nothing was going to harm me.

For the past weeks Rusty kept growling in the night, and Rags would retreat back to his hiding place. I kept on rewarding him with bacon treats in the mornings, yet I still worried that something would happen to him when I wasn't home. This time I awoke to a different noise, also Rusty wasn't there beside me. A small whimper was coming under the house, right under my bedroom. It was similar to-

"Rusty! Rusty!" I hollered at my floor board, jumping on the floor I began to hit it with panic, "Rusty!" My Dad rushed into my room, "What's wrong?"

"Something's wrong with Rusty and he's stuck under the house!" We immediately rushed outside in our pajamas and flashlights, we could still hear Rusty's cries for help. There was a rather big gap at the side of the skirting, Dad stuck his flashlight in it looking around. He whistled and called Rusty, but the only response he kept getting were whines and whimpers.

It finally came to the point to where he called the fire department to get him out. 3:13 A.M. in the morning, neighbors were being awoke by the flashing red lights on our street. I never left my place, even when the fire fighters got there. One was under the house searching for my best friend.

My eyes lit up as soon as I saw him crawling back out of the gap, he had something wrapped up in a blanket with dark crimson spots that soaked the cloth.

"I'm sorry, we found him dead." He told my father, "It looks as if he were attacked by something."

Those words made me sick, hearing them come from his mouth. My best friend. Dead. No longer participating in life. Soon after that I fell into a depression, I haven't seen Rags in weeks after that. Another night I laid alone in my bed staring at the wall, I heard a familiar clicking on the floor. The sound of cloth being pulled came closer and finally rested at the foot of my bed.

"I figured that since your mutt wasn't here you grew rather lonely, so I decided to comfort you with my presence."


There was a short silence between us, it was broken by the sound of his nails tapping. I refused to speak to that monster. A piece of metal hit the ground and the sound of clicking nails disappeared back into the darkness, for a while I kept staring at the wall until I turned over to see what he dropped. I wished I hadn't looked, for it was the same black leather and silver tag my best friend wore.