“Timmy…are you okay?” Victoria asked from the hallway.
“I just got up to use the toilet mom and fell in the dark…everything’s all right,” Timmy whispered into Herbert’s ear.
“Yes, mom. I’m okay, good night,” Herbert called out and waited.
“What are you doing? She’ll be coming in and then she’ll give you one look. When they realize I’m not here, they’ll go really crazy and lock you up in prison!” Timmy watched as the door began to open. “This is it. She’s coming in!”
The both of them became very still as they held their breaths.
“Okay then, good night Timmy,” she said pulling the door closed.
Timmy wiggled himself out from under his bed. He’d grown far too much in the past year and wasn’t able to fit under the bed so good anymore. “What do we do now?”
“What do you mean what do we… do?” Herbert wanted to know.
“I mean she didn’t come in and it’s a lucky break, but then tomorrow you’re going to eat breakfast and both of them will see you’re not me. Something you might have thought of before you—you…What about school on Monday?”
“First off, this is the first time it has EVER happened for a human child to get a hold of a hat or anything belonging to one of us. Second of all, have you never heard of the rule that you never take something which clearly didn’t belong to you?”
Timmy immediately felt his anger boiling over again. “What! Do you mean the hat…this hat on my head? Lying on my floor…In my room! I stumbled over it! Just how should I have known I shouldn’t have touched it or put it on my head? Is there any place…on the hat saying it shouldn’t be done?”
“As a matter of fact on the inside of the hat there’s an inscription letting anyone know…You shouldn’t put on the hat or you will become invisible.” Herbert smirked.
Timmy almost danced around his anger was so high but he really wanted with all his might to kick this creature in the shins. “Now, he tells me!” He kept pacing around in a small circle in his room. “Not only do I find out I shouldn’t put on this hat…You just might not be the best person to even have this kind of a hat!”
“First off, you need to calm down,” Herbert warned.
Timmy huffed anxiously while breathing heavily, unable to believe what was going on. Then he danced the angry steps again and lost his footing. He slammed down on the floor headfirst. He jumped back up to yell at Herbert some more when he realized something very important. “I can’t believe it—it didn’t hurt. I fell hard and I felt nothing!”
Herbert got off the bed and walked over to him. He gave Timmy his hand, pulling him up. “You need to listen to me. There’s a few things you need to know.”
Timmy ignored him thinking of all the things he could do now that his body seemed numb as he climbed up on the bed to get ready to launch himself into a headfirst dive-bomber attack on the floor.
“Do you want to stay invisible for the rest of your natural life? As short as it may be?” Herbert asked while peering up at him.
His question got Timmy’s attention immediately. “What do you mean? You can get me out of this by just saying the magic words? Can’t you?”
A light vibration rumbled reaching them inside the room.
“That’s what I wanted you to know about. There’s a thing out there living off fear. So, to balance it out, the imaginary friends sent me to make you happy and stop it from visiting you. It literarily would kill you with your own fear and steal your soul doing it,” Herbert explained as he walked over to the door to peek out. “What is worse, if it got your soul…It can reach into your world and eat everyone it comes in contact with. If it feels fear or joy or anything too intensely, it will come.”
“Wha—what? What is it?”
“Have you ever heard me talk to you in a bad way? Have I ever lost my temper? You’re getting white in the face and you need stop right now. You’re sticking out like a strobe light in the middle of a dark night!” Herbert told him, turning slowly toward him. “If it gets me or you—then the other one would be doomed to stay in his current form—forever! I’m not a real boy, so there isn’t a way I’d pass as one for very long. You need to trust me on this. You need to stay as neutral as possible. For everyone’s sake.” Herbert took Timmy by the hand and they walked to the bathroom. There, Herbert showed Timmy in the mirror that he’d become visible again. “If you do not listen to me it will bring out the fear-eater.”
“So, what do we do now?”
“Whatever you do, don’t think of something silly,” Herbert warned.
“Oh, so I need to smile and tell you a joke for this to change. For it to leave?’ Timmy asked him.
Herbert nodded. “My shadow went to ‘headquarters’ to get someone to come help us. It could take some time, so we’ll have to figure out a way get things back to normal ourselves.” He grinned at Timmy “If it’s at all possible.”
“What are you smiling at?’
“You look like a very strange circus clown just without your red nose and the rest of your outfit. You resemble a ghost even more than a clown.” Herbert let out a chuckle.
“You know you’re not helping. I can’t help it if I don’t look so good. I am invisible you know. I bet I’d be better at it than say…you!”
They both seem to realize how ridiculous the conversation really was and as soon as they both smiled, they could feel the presence to the Fear Eater disappear.
“You have to remember you need to stay neutral. If you’re too happy the monster will come and scare the happiness out of you. Then the children around you would know there are things in the night eating children. They wouldn’t want to sleep. Tired and fearful in itself would bring the Fear Eater faster as well. If you don’t stay neutral, then it’ll find us and which one is left behind would stay stuck forever, not to mention all the children who would disappear if something went wrong. Now, you understand why it’s so important to hold on until the others come to help us?” Herbert then gave a huge yawn for the first time ever.
“You better get into bed. Tomorrow will be a tough day. There might be no Fear Eater, but you’ll be facing something scary anyway. There’s no telling how they’ll react to you.”
Herbert nodded, though he didn’t looked too concerned about it. “One thing to remember, you shouldn’t leave the house and don’t do anything an invisible person would do. If you draw too much attention to yourself, well then you’ll be an invisible boy for the rest of your short natural life. There’s nothing better for the Fear Eater to gobble up than a human boy because children gives it the purest energy. It doesn’t matter if it is fear or laughter. You’re vulnerable until we can figure out how to get both of us out of this mess…You need be extra careful.”
Timmy looked afraid but got his fear under control. He then realized he hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day, so he walked to the bathroom.
Herbert followed while wearing a huge smile on his pasty looking face.
“Do you mind? I’d like some privacy to have a little pee—what I wanted to do—before I fell over your hat!” Timmy told him.
“I know what you want to do. But then I can almost promise you it’s not going to happen. I’ve never ever peed, so there’s a brilliant possibility you’ll not be able to either. Especially in this form.”
Not worried about Herbert right then, Timmy just wanted to show him he was wrong about something…anything! He got ready and stood there having a full bladder with the feeling he’d be wetting himself very soon—Nothing happened. He tried again—Nothing again.
Herbert dropped to the floor, desperately trying to laugh soundlessly.
Graciously, Timmy zipped up, ignored his antics and walked into his room.
Herbert followed looking rather disappointed because he gotten no reaction by teasing Timmy. He climbed into bed and the moment his head touched the pillow, he passed out cold.
“Tomorrow, I’ll work at not cracking your head,” Timmy grumbled. “Being human, you would feel it pretty clearly.
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