Along with countless others, I love a good scare and this time of the year is perfect for terror and thrills. Halloween is right around the corner. Ghosts, goblins and zombies reign over the land. Witches, warlocks and evil fairies lurk around sharp corners. That bump-in-the-night sound makes your heart beat faster. The skittering across the floor in a dark room gets the blood pumping. What is that shadow outside flitting across the top of the window?
Why do we love to be scared? It’s a rhetorical question because the answer for one person is probably different for another. For myself, I like the rush of the initial terror followed by a reasonable explanation for the scare. That bump-in-the-night was a cat jumping on a chair that lightly hit the wall. The skittering noise was the dog’s nails clicking on the tile floow when she trotted down the hallway. The shadow was a low-flying owl, circling the window as the two animals took turns taunting him from their inside safety.
Blame the inside animals. That’s what I did the other night. While I like the scares while I’m awake, I’m not so crazy about being abruptly ripped from a deep sleep by noises at night. I don’t like lying in bed for minutes that seem like hours, waiting for that thing under my bed to slowly crawl out and grab me. I don’t dare step onto the floor else I’ll be pulled into the under-the-bed void of my childhood.
As sanity and focus slowly descend, we can laugh at ourselves for our fright. A carryover from childhood, I occasionally have a dream of the purple monster rising in my bedroom window. The fright it gave me at six years old is remarkably the same at my current older age. As it slowly rises up, the malevolence it emanated decades ago is just as strong today. In my nightmares, I know it’s no good but I’m as powerless to stop it now as I was in my single-digit years.
The stories I create in my mind from the scary things happening at night become the roux for some of my written works. While I don’t always keep the story line tight with the dream, I can trace a few of my stories and books to their chilly beginnings from the bumps-in-the-night I experience.
I like to be scared. I love scary movies, thrillers, zombies, flying monkeys, and the like. Shadowy things at night give me delicious chills. The supernatural is delightful – as long as I can explain it away, rationally, in the light of day.
Have a chilly, scary, rationally-explained Halloween!
Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch