In the story, it is nighttime on every page and the illustrated trees look sickly yet alive. A young boy wanders through those woods alone, when he hears something behind him, a snapping twig. He is scared, and starts to run. On the next page, we see what pursues him. It is a strange pair of green pants; just pants, no legs, but something about the opening about the waist implies much more, forming a mouth of sorts, gibbering. The boy runs and he is pursued. On each page the boy struggles through a different nightmare landscape: a swamp where faces stare up at him from the muck, trees with mossy branches reaching out for him, reptilian animals with grins of triumph. Until eventually, the boy sees his village before him. He runs to it, and waiting by the gates, springing out at him, tackling him to the ground, is the the pair of green pants.
On the next page, the boy walks happily through town, wearing his new green pants, showing them off. And there’s a moral to the story, although it escapes me at the moment. The boy has gained a new friend. Something like that. The problem is, the boy’s face always seemed different to me. I remember looking at it closely. His smile was different than before, than it was at the beginning of the story. His smile looked kind of like the one made by the pants, sloppy and gibbering. And I always thought the pants had somehow swallowed the boy, and now it was those creepy green pants walking around town, morphed to look like the boy, pretending to be kind and friendly, waiting for their next victim.
That’s how I remember the story, anyway. But that’s crazy, right? That just goes to show you how a kid’s imagination can twist a perfectly innocent story. All I know for sure is that I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I was too scared. I’d find myself under the covers, the lights out, the door closed, and I couldn’t help but to imagine those green pants stalking around outside, or coming after me in my dreams if I fell asleep. What if there really were things--like those green pants--that could eat you whole, and then walk around in everyday life pretending to be normal? But they weren’t normal. And all they wanted was to play their little game of eating and eating…