Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
“That’s not fair!” Jimmy cried, slamming his large, gray Nintendo DS shut. “You cheat! I told you to never use your Blastoise. His level is too high.”
Preston smirked, though Jimmy’s voice made him glance at the metallic picnic table across the playground, where Ms. Hinson sat reading some book. I really don’t want her to take my game away again, he thought. He closed his smaller, blue DS so that the Pokéball sticker showed on the front and tucked it in between his legs just in case she looked up.
“No one likes you, you Pokémon freak!” Jimmy said. His limbs shook and his face turned red. For a minute, Preston thought Jimmy looked like a red version of the Hulk. He felt a smile coming on, but forced it back. Any more attention would alert Ms. Hinson. Jimmy just stood over him, fists clinched, but finally just walked away.
Preston sighed, tucking the game system in his pocket. Kids played ‘Shark’ in the sandbox, and swung one another on swings. Preston sighed, staring at them, but then turned away. He had a lot of friends after all–Pokémon. So, he brushed dirt off his Pokémon shirt with Ash and Pikachu, and sat under the tree nearest the forest on the outskirts of the playground.
Acorns hid in the gold and orange, leaf-littered ground, and as Preston sat his back scraped against the tree’s trunk. The boy cast another glance at his teacher, before he took the DS out of his short’s pocket. He opened it and pressed the power button, but stopped when he caught something out of the corner of his eye.
At first glance, it looked like a yellow speck. Though the more Preston looked at it, the more it looked like a…a–HYPNO! Preston blinked, expecting for the image to be gone, but there it sat, swinging its pendulum–a gray stone with a hollowed center attached to a string–to and fro. It’s cat-like ears perked up, and a long nose was nestled between two squinted eyes.
“Oh,” Preston said, placing his DS on the ground and slowly getting up. The Hypno sat as it was, watching its pendulum go back and forth. Preston crept toward it, making sure that his foot rose high enough and fell gently as not to make a sound. Whenever the Pokémon’s glanced in Preston’s direction, he darted behind a tree.
They are real! I knew it! If only I had a Pokéball.
The closer the boy got, the more he noticed some things about Hypno. The first was that the Pokémon’s face looked rough and paper-like, almost as though it were made of–what was it Ms. Hinson helped us make our Halloween masks out of?–paper mache, and its eyes were more set back, as though Hypno wore a mask. His skin looked more like a yellow long-sleeved shirt and pants, but he wore no shoes.
He kinda looks like a Hypno, Preston thought. But no more had he thought than he realized that everything looks different in a cartoon than reality–like how Tom and Jerry looked goofier than a regular cat and mouse.
Preston foot fell on a twig. The piece of wood broke with a resounding snap. The Pokémon looked up at the boy, it’s pendulum coming to the halt. Preston froze. A breeze seemed to carry the sounds of the other children off, so it seemed that only the boy and the Pokémon remained. He expected the Hypno to run, but all it did was tilt its head to the side.
“Come, little child, come with me. Safe and happy you will be,” the Pokémon sang, though it’s squeaky voice hardly higher than a whisper.
Preston’s eyes widened.
“You can talk?” The boy said. “You don’t even move your mouth.”
“I’m a psychic-type Pokémon,” Hypno said. “I don’t need to speak to talk.” With that, he raised a hand and poked his head.
“Oh,” Preston said.
“Away from home, now let us run,” Hypno sang once more, extending a hand. “With Hypno, you’ll have so much fun.”
Preston smiled, taking a step forward. Finally, he had a real, live Pokémon. He could live with Hypno and help train him. Maybe I can even catch more Pokémon with Hypno’s help–
Hypno’s eyes narrowed within its deep eyeholes. Ms. Hinson had her hands around her mouth, calling for the boy. Preston raised a hand and turned to follow the other kids back into the Primary school.
When he glanced back, Hypno was gone.
Preston grabbed his DS and rushed back to class with his classmates, though his thoughts remained on the playground. When the class moved on with the day, taking turns doing activities like drawing or playing math games, Preston snuck over to the window and stared off into the woods. There was nothing but the swaying trees. Dumb Ms. Hinson, the boy thought. She scared Hypno away. The thought made his eyes water, but he forced them back. He wouldn’t cry. Preston blinked a few times, though when he opened his eyes again and focused them–just at the edge of the trees–he notices Hypno standing with a slight stoop, swinging his pendulum back and forth.
“You are such a fucking idiot!” Preston heard his mother through his bedroom walls. He turned up the volume on his game, laying on his bed and holding the console above his head.
“Why? Because I want to leave this place?” His dad said.
Preston placed his DS aside and glanced over at the clock on his bed-side table. The clock in the grip of a plastic Pikachu said 10:34 in glow-in-the-dark numbers. Music blared from the game, though he still heard his parents as though they were in the same room.
“So, you want to take him away?! The one place he’s grown up in?! You want to take him away from that?! He’s only eight years old, for fuck’s sake!”
Preston rolled off his Pokémon bedspread, allowing his eyes to adjust after playing his video game for close to three hours straight. Pokémon posters covered the walls. The only thing that separated them were slivers of light-blue wall. He thought of putting in a movie. Maybe that could be louder than the fighting. But then again, he was supposed to be sleeping. Maybe he could draw, but he would need light. Play with his action figures? Made too much noise and needed light. So, he just sighed, hopped back into bed, and tucked himself back into bed. Preston held the DS back over his head–the light of the game allowing him to see the cuffs of his fleece, Pokémon pajamas.
Tomorrow will be better, he thought. It’s Halloween and the field trip to the Caves!
A smile crawled across his lips. Then he noticed that his game was the only noise he heard, and his tense little body relaxed. As though on cue, he felt his eyelids get heavy. Preston moved his hand to turn off the DS, but stopped. He put his game on pause and then opened his Pokédex–the compendium of all the monsters he had caught in the game. He scrolled down the long list until the cursor highlighted Pokémon number 96. A Hypno appeared on the screen, with its yellow skin, squinty eyes, and pendulum. Preston read the description–It carries a pendulum-like device. There once was an incident in which it took away a child it hypnotized.
“I wish you would take me away,” Preston said. He turned off his game, placed it on his bed-side table, and closed his eyes.
“Alright, everyone,” Mrs. Hinson said. “Be careful. These caves can be very dangerous, so stay behind me and watch where you walk.
Preston took to the end of the line of children, looking around at the towering pines around him. The gold light of Autumn shined though the leaves, and the smell of grass and dirt filled him. They walked around a large hole in the ground, which they found as they passed, was a cave. The day shined in from an opening at the bottom, and children craned their necks to see the gray stone a yard away. The ground sloped downhill, and as they reached the bottom the cave mouth stood ready to welcome them.
Mrs. Hinson entered with the others following her. All of them craned their necks up to see the huge hole that they had just passed. Preston smiled. He had expected the caves to be more like they are in his game–brown, geometric, precise. Mrs. Hudson muttered something about noticing how they could see erosion wear the rock down. Preston didn’t listen, though just gazed up and around.
His gaze fell to the cave opening. He thought he saw a flash of yellow in the woods.
Around mid-day, the class took out their lunches. Preston found a particularly leafy piece of ground and plopped down. He laid out the tin, Pokémon lunchbox he had retrieved from the bus and opened it. Inside lay a peanut butter and jelly sandwich–stuffed into a baggie–and a box of Minute Maid apple juice. He sighed. Why does Mom keep making the same lunch? Nevertheless, Preston grunted and picked up his plastic wrapped sandwich.
Preston glanced around, looking for the one who ‘pst’ him, but everyone else paid him no mind. It couldn’t have come from behind, he thought. There was nothing but woods behind him. Again, Preston sighed. Probably just for someone else.
He felt a knot tighten in his chest. Preston looked up, envying all the children who talked or played together. It was times like these that he wished that he had his Pokémon game.
Half behind a tree and half hidden by the green shrubbery stood Hypno, with his stooped posture and swinging his pendulum. Preston smiled, and after making sure no one was watching him, edged toward the shrubbery.
“Hello, little child,” Hypno said, cocking his head to the left like a bird.
“Hi, Hypno,” Preston said, trying to keep his voice down. “Why did you run away yesterday?”
“I don’t like adults seeing me,” Hypno said.
“They don’t like Pokémon.”
“Oh,” Preston said, nodding his head. No wonder why Mrs. Hinson was always trying to take away his Pokémon game.
“What is your name, little child?”
“I’m Preston. Preston Michaels.”
“Well Preston,” he said. “I have something to show you.”
Hypno gestured behind him with his free hand, and then he turned and walked into the forest. Preston glanced back. As usual, everyone’s attention was everywhere but him. He turned and followed his Pokémon into the foliage. The shrubbery clung to Preston’s jeans, making him stop every so often to wrench his legs from the thicket. Hypno walked ahead, his right arm always held out swinging his pendulum. The smell of wet root made Preston’s nose wrinkle every time he broke a large weed. Sweat formed on the bridge of his nose, and he kept having to wipe it away and push up his glasses.
It only took five minutes of walking before the two entered a tiny clearing. Hypno stopped in front of a hole in the ground–one like Preston had seen earlier that day, but smaller–perhaps only a meter in length and width. The boy glanced over his shoulder. He could just see the class and Mrs. Hinson past the trees and foliage. Preston’s shoulders slumped a little.
No one is even missing me. The boy forced back a hiccup that seemed to be trying to force its way up, and then turned to see Hypno still staring down.
Preston glanced down into the hole. It looked deep and dark. The smell of wet earth and something else drifted up from it. Preston wrinkled his nose.
“What is that place?” The boy asked.
“It’s my home,” Hypno said. For the first time, Preston noticed that the Pokémon’s voice seemed muffled.
“Why do you live in a place like that, Hypno?”
“I have no owner,’ Hypno said. “I have nowhere else to go.”
“Me neither,” Preston said, though his voice sounded small. There it was again–that lump in his chest. He wanted to be one of the kids the others played with. He wanted to be one of the kids whose parents never fought and paid attention to them. Tears slid down his cheeks. “No one loves me.”
“Hypno loves you,” Hypno said, bending over to look Preston in the face. The boy could see every ridge in the Pokémon’s mask-like face. Preston’s lip quivered, and he wrapped his arms around Hypno.
“I’m so lonely,” Preston said, hugging the Pokémon tighter. Hypno ‘shh’ed the boy, patting Preston’s head with his free hand.
“Oh, little child, please don’t cry. Hypno wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Hypno sang, his squeaky voice soothing the boy. “Be free to frolic, be free to play. Come with me to my cave to stay.”
Preston pulled away, glancing back into the cave. The sight of it made his stomach churn.
“But it’s so dark,” he said, his voice still trembling. “And it smells weird.”
“It’s alright, Preston,” Hypno said, caressing the boy’s head. “I used my Psychic powers so that it will keep bad people away. But once we’re down there you’ll have so much fun. There are a lot of children just your age down there. We all want to play with you.”
Preston gazed up into Hypno’s muddy green eyes and smiled. He stepped back, wiping the tears away.
“Okay,” Preston said. “Let’s go.”
Hypno held up his pendulum and swung it back and forth.
“Now look to me, the pendant calls,” Hypno sang. The world darkened around the edges of Preston’s sight as he followed the pendulum. The sounds of the other children, the smells of the cave before him, and the wind brushing against his skin died away. It was as though Preston and Hypno were the only two in the entire world. “Back and forth, your eyelids fall.”
The boy’s eyelids fell and he drifted to sleep.
Preston tried to move his arms, but something held them to his sides. He grunted, moving his head back and forth. He tried moving his feet. They too were bound. Preston took a deep breath, but coughed. That bad smell, he thought. It’s so strong. Then he remembered what the smell was.
He remembered a time when he, his mother, and his father were happy together and went to the beach, or theme parks, or on picnics. Once they crossed a dead puppy, and Preston’s father got out of the car and moved it to the side of the road. Preston had gotten out, but had to go back in. He remembered that smell–that sweet smell that made him grimace–of decay.
Preston coughed again.
“Hypno,” he said. “Where are you?”
There was no answer. Warmth ran through Preston’s body. The little hairs all over his body stood straight up. He knew he had to open his eyes, but with that smell and Hypno gone, what was he going to find. The boy shook and whimpered. He took a deep breath, forcing himself not to gag, and opened his eyes.
Very little light lit the cave walls. Where the ones the boy had seen earlier that day looked gray, these looked black. Waters dripped from the rock, making a dip sound every time a drop fell. He tried moving again, though the ropes bit into his naked body. The hard ground made his back ache. Though the air felt warm, Preston still shivered.
“Hel–” he screamed, but stopped when he saw the rest of the cave. Bones and clothing littered the ground –a little girl’s Barbie shirt, a little cap with ‘Seminole’ stitched across it. I just want my Mommy and Daddy. I want to go home. Tears flooded his eyes and he struggled more and more.
“Help,” he screamed.
As he thrashed back and forth, the boy’s gaze found Hypno. The Pokémon’s stooped silhouette hunched over a lit lantern.
“I want to go home, Hypno!” Preston said, his tears leaking into his mouth. “Take me home! I don’t like it here.”
“Oh, little child, you cannot leave,” Hypno said, his voice low, but squeaker than before. His voice made the boy shiver even more. “For you, your families will grieve. Minds unraveling at the seams. Allowing me to haunt their dreams.”
“Please,” Preston said. Hypno stood. He swung his pendulum back and forth, but it seemed to shine in the dim light. Each time it would hit the light, it made Preston squint. Hypno moved closer.
“Don’t cry, Preston,” Hypno said, speaking in the same low, squeaky voice.
Preston tried to crawl back. Blood ran down his arms and legs.
“Do not wail and do not weep. It’s time for you to go to sleep,” Hypno sang. His voice heightened as he sang, making Preston scream louder. Hypno’s eyes widened, though only a bit of them was visible though the eye-slits. “Little child, you were not clever. Now you’ll stay with me forever.”
By An Anonymous Creepypasta Author
Come little children, come with me
Safe and happy, you will be
Away from home, now let us run
With Hypno, you’ll have so much fun
Oh, little children, please don’t cry
Hypno wouldn’t hurt a fly
Be free to frolic, be free to play
Come with me to my cave to stay
Oh, little children, please don’t squirm
These ropes, I know, will hold you firm
Now look to me, the pendant calls
Back and forth, your eyelids fall
Oh, little children, you cannot leave
For you, your families will grieve
Minds unravelling at the seams
Allowing me to haunt their dreams
Do not wail and do not weep
It’s time for you to go to sleep
Little children, you were not clever
Now you’ll stay with me forever
Hypno’s Lullaby Credit: Steven Winters