If you’re a parent, you’re probably dealing with or have dealt with your child’s fear of the dark. Of course it doesn’t help when you crash into their room at midnight, wearing a clown mask and issuing a blood curdling scream. No, I wouldn’t do that to my kid. Now to my younger brother when we were kids, yeah. Come to think of it, that might be why he’s in a mental institution. Perhaps you know him. Name’s Jason.
But we’re all afraid of the dark at some time or another and it must stem directly from our imagination. When the lights go out, it’s like we drop acid. Is that a blanket over there, man? Or is it a dead body. Hell no, dude, I’m not going to go over there and touch it to find out!
Having a very vivid imagination, I was toast from the get go. And it didn’t help that my grandparents lived in a haunted house.
Their home had long hallways with no overhead lighting, no windows, and stretched on for infinity like a black hole. In order to go to the bathroom, or God forbid the further away bedrooms, one had to brave the creepy passage which was essentially an L shaped maze. The bathroom lurked in the dim corner of the L, luring us young grandchildren who really, really had to go potty. Otherwise, we’d been crazy to set foot in there. It was almost as if my grandpa built the house with the intent to repel us from the john. “This’ll keep those little snot noses from dirtying up my fancy new toilet!”
After I’d held my bowels until I thought they’d explode, I would finally work up the courage to thunder down the corridor at break neck speed and frantically grope around to turn on the light in the bathroom. And it always felt like I was slamming the door right before the boogie man got there to snatch me. Incidentally, my grandma never understood why we barreled to the bathroom every time. Those rambunctious rug rats!
Then one day the solution hit me. No, I didn’t grow up. I’ve never done that. But it has everything to do with the fiction I write. It dawned on me that creepy spirits aren’t going to pick on a fellow creep.
So, hands curled into claws, face hideously contorted, limping along like a rotting undead corpse, I’d play like a creep when I had to go take care of business. By the way, that’s what I looked like while I was taking care of business too, but for other reasons.
This trick worked so well that I even got so cocky as to go down to the far bedrooms. And if one of the ghosts stopped me, I’d just whip out the creep membership card that I’d falsified. Like a fake ID. Can you let me in the freaker’s lounge so I can drink a bloody mary with Dracula?
I think to this day, that’s why I always wanted to write horror.