There are many shadow creatures that prey on the young and innocent. Some such as the boogeyman are well known others less so. However in each and every culture of the world there is something that is ingrained in the human psyche, some creature that compels parents to recount tales of it to their children.
“If you don’t go to sleep the Bogeyman/Dark Man will get you.”
“If you don’t eat your supper Oude Roge Ogen/Bloody Bones will eat you.”
“If you lie then the Small man/Bua will steal you away.”
These creatures draw their strength from terror. It is the defining trait of the creatures that make up the Family Pavoridae.
The classification literally reads as Night Terrors, Nocturnid(derived from Night) Pavoridae(derived from the latin Pavor, meaning to Tremble or shake). Pavoridae literally draw sustenance from the terror of humans. Repeated experiments have shown our researchers that the most pure form of terror can be harvested from adolescents over the age of 3, but below the age of 14.
Interestingly enough we also discovered that 14 to 21 year olds produce the lowest extractable terror of any age group on average. The cause of this is not known but the most popular hypothesis is that they know just enough to be foolish but not enough to actually be scared.
This does not mean that the Pavoridae will not prey on older victims; however the nourishment they draw is considerably less potent. A way of better understanding this would be the difference between a human consuming a Steak as opposed to a hamburger patty.
While the actual process of converting terror into sustenance is not well known or understood certain details have been uncovered. Different species use different mechanisms to extract the needed essence.
The Pavoridae are divided into four Sub-families. These sub-families divide the Terror eaters into three distinct categories.
Pavorinae: Fear Mongers
The most common variant of the night terrors, Pavorinae do not kill to feed. They are able to absorb the terror that radiates from an individual and consume it without doing any physical act to the victim.
Examples of this include the American Boogeyman (Amarius Putricant) and German Dark Man (Amarius Ater). While creatures of fear many of their victims are completely unaware of their presence. Often the creek in the hall, a thump in the night, or even complete and utter silence is the only signs that one of this variety is around.
Other times an opening door, a feeling of being watched, or even red eyes in the night betray their presence. The actual Modus Operandi differs not just from Species to species, but even from individual to individual. Most major cities can have dozens of Fear Mongers hunting within it at any time.
However while some are relatively benign and can live off of natural radiant fear others need more potent doses. They are the ones that scare and even injure humans in pursuit of nourishment. It should be noted that while Pavorinae do not have to consume their victims for sustenance, many do anyway.
As they get no nourishment from eating, in fact the very act of consuming the victim prevents them from getting any further nutrition; scientists have only been able to conclude that they do it out of spite or pleasure.
Caroninae: Flesh Eaters
Unlike the more benign Pavorinae the Flesh eaters are a vile breed. They are unable to process the fear that a victim generates like the Fear Mongers, instead they must consume the victims flesh to gain the nourishment.
Included in this sub-family are monsters such as the Belgium Oude Roge Ogen(Rubra Canis) and Egyptian Abu Rigl Maslukha (Bipedius Ustolo)
As fear drenched meat is vital to their diet most Caroninae have methods and techniques to keep their victims conscious and aware as they are eaten.
While most Pavoridae are loners and solitary creatures, a distinguishing trait about the Caroninae is that they tend to have large hunting stocks and will not tolerate other Caroninae or Abripinae within their territory although they ignore most non-carnivorous Pavorinae. The territory of a Flesh Eater will have less to do with geographic boundaries and more to do with population.
A prime example of this is the situation in the United States. While only a single suspected and unconfirmed Caroninae hunts Alaska and only three inhabit the state of Washington, recent estimates put New York City as home to nearly a dozen separate Caroninae.
Abripinae: The Child Stealers
Abripinae are thankfully the rarest of the Pavoridae. The Abripinae are only able to feed on fear in their lairs. These lairs are hard to find, some not even being purely in phase with the human world.
The sub-family is the smallest; two examples of these are Chinese Ou-Wu (Potens Femines) or the Bahamian “Small Man” (Potens Parva).
Abripinae share another distinction from Cavorinae and Pavorinae. They are always intelligent, while the other two can often have little more than the intellect of an animal. They have been observed using tools and communicating with not just other creatures but often the ones the victims they steal.
Some of their kind even reproduce using their victims. Those taken by Abripinae may eventually return or be loosed from the lairs as monsters themselves.
These monsters go bump in the night and live for your fear, as with anything that preys on humans they need to be driven into the light and destroyed. Being of the order Nocturnid they are very sensitive to light and as long as the life giving sun is out stay hidden away from humanity.
During night well-lit places offer safety and security from the majority of these beings. However it should be noted that many of the more intelligent Pavoridae have learned from humans to wear hooded cloaks and other garments to hide themselves from lights at night. Strangely these same garments offer them no protection against the scorching majesty of the sun itself.