Marley’s fur stood up and a shiver went down her body. It was so slight that no one noticed but Barnabus and Montrose. The former from holding her hand and the latter because he was watching them carefully. A sound caused all six bears to focus on the clearing ahead of them.
It was the center of the nightmare. Lengths of string draped through the trees, a black spider web that stretched off into the distant trees. The near ends draped down into a bundle that was enveloping an ornate box, incongruous to the surroundings. It was surrounded by giggling figures.
Boogeymen always reflect something of the nightmare they inhabit. Here they were a corpse-white, their mouths filled with rows of pointy teeth and long pointed ears. Their eyes were a black-red. Their appearance mimicked that of the bogey. The creature was alabaster, the skin blemished with little knobs under the skin. The lips were slit to the mandible and when it opened the space was an abyss of teeth. An ululating laugh emerged from that throat.
Laticia was wide-eyed and shuddering. Sonny wasn’t in any better condition. Even Ambrose and Montrose looked sick. Baranbus and Marley snarled in unison.
“How do you want to approach?” Barnabus looked to marley from the corner of his eye.
“Let’s do this your way for once. Namely charge in and strike hard.” She said.
Barnabus looked to the other bears. “You heard her. Find yourselves and get ready. We cut a path through for her.” He nodded at Marley to punctuate his statement.
Marley furtively caught his eye before saying, “Sonny and Laticia, go in on my left, Montrose and Ambrose to Baranabus’s right.” She hoped to keep the younger bears on the fringe of the battle. Montrose seemed to hold himself up rather well.
The bears rearranged themselves and hesitated only a moment when Marley and Barnabus leapt forward without a sound. They formed a wedge that speared into the assembly. Marley succeeded in herding Sonny and Latricia to the edge, guaranteeing that Barnabus was the leading bear into the chaos.
Barnabus abandoned skill for brutal efficiency, hacking through one boogeyman after after. Montrose and Ambrose swung out wide, attempting to herd the creatures into the thick know of targets for the bear to their left.
Marley and Barnabus moved in side-by-side, quickly moving into a synchronised slashing motion, mowing through as fast as possible.
Latricia and Sonny were struggling through, but found a natural frame of motion that worked off of each other’s strengths and guarding their weak points. The bears were closing in on the bogey when the ambush rushed in from the shadows.