Stephen King’s “The Boogeyman” was my gateway drug

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It’s Stephen King’s birthday. Now, I’m not going to blow smoke and proclaim “HE’S MY FAVORITE EVER” but I’d be bullshitting you if I said he hasn’t made an impact on me.

Because I was born in 1980, I never knew a world of horror that DIDN’T include Stephen King. And I was a pretty early reader. I was probably five or six when I took my parent’s mass market paperback of Night Shift to the storage room in our basement. It was as secluded as you could get in a tiny 1950’s ranch-style house. And I read. And those stories were creepy, for sure.

But holy shit did “The Boogeyman” totally wreck me.

Sure, loads of his stories are pretty horrific, but many of them were about grownups getting the business, so there was a detachment. Not “The Boogeyman.” This was a story about little kids getting mangled by a monster that hid in closets. These little kids were my contemporaries, my peers.

That shit HAUNTED me.

It was the afternoon, sunlight was screaming through the meager basement window, but I was DONE. I shut that book, sat it in front of me, and stared at it. I remember thinking, “Damn. That was terrifying.” And I got up and went outside.

It was days before I could go back and read the rest.

Thanks, Stephen King, for scaring the shit out of me!

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