For the last four years, I’ve joined some of my writery friends and their friends in writing a story for 13 Stories Til Halloween.
This year, I struggled. I kinda always struggle, cause scary, creepy, eerie is not my thing. When I was young, I enjoyed horror, but something happened, and now I just don’t.
I’ll tell you what happened — the fiction got too close to my reality.
I was reading a book by Dean Koontz, don’t remember which one, but in that particular book, the villain had gone into the family’s attached garage during the day, while the door was open, climbed up the family vehicle and into the attic to wait for the family to sleep — and then, in the middle of the night, he climbed right back down the family vehicle and walked into the house to kill the girl in her bed. So easy. And y’all, we had a house with an attached garage, and we had an SUV parked right under the attic, and I was, if you can imagine, also a girl.
I started locking that door between the house and the garage to the point that my parents had to yell at me about it, because they’d come home and have to wait for me to let them in. Parental rage be damned, at night, I’d sneak downstairs to lock it so I could sleep. Half the time, I worried the bad man was already in the house.
So my story this year is actually a dream I had, cause without a doubt, I dream the scariest shit that ever there was. I mean, I wake up and I cannot get a grip on what a sick, twisted dreaming brain I have. I often feel cheated that I can’t sell tickets to the show. I know a lot of people who would really love to watch my dreams.
Anyway, for the month or so that I sat around waiting for inspiration to strike, I read Craig’s Idea Mills, I read horror prompts, I asked my family, and I even, in a moment of desperation, considered writing a wee limerick about bats and black cats and witches’ hats. *hangs head in shame*
The Mister, ever supportive, suggested writing about what scares me.
My brain almost short-circuited with the following thoughts from my daily life with anxiety disorder:
what time is it? where is my husband? should it still be dark now? my hands hurt, my head is fuzzy, i’m dizzy, am i dying? where is the baby? is she in those blankets? my god, can she even breathe? THE CHILDREN ARE VERY BIG NOW AND I STILL TURN THE LIGHT ON EVERY MORNING BECAUSE I NEED TO SEE THE BLANKETS MOVING UP AND DOWN BEFORE I WAKE THEM BECAUSE I FEAR THEY HAVE DIED IN THE NIGHT, probably from sneaking popcorn and hard candy and grapes in the middle of the night, choked to death. I HAVE HEIMLICHED MORE KIDS THAN I CAN COUNT, LITERALLY. I KNOW DADDY DOESN’T TURN ON THE LIGHT, I KNOW YOU LIKE IT BETTER THAT WAY, BUT IT’S ONLY BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS I DO. is this coffee really decaf? is the furnace running? what if it catches fire? is it going to maintain the temperature? what if we have to have the guy come out again? what if he says we need a new furnace? has anyone taken the dog out yet? are they happy enough? are they having a nice childhood? are they mad i made them eat breakfast? is it safe for her to suck on a cough drop in the back seat? if she keeps coughin like this after the frost, she’s gonna need a doctor. she never coughs like this after the frost, don’t panic. driving east in the morning is fucking dangerous. they should make special glasses for driving into the sun. i can’t see anything. i’m going to run over someone.
why is that guy in the street? is he a good man or a bad man? i’m gonna get hit by a car and my dog will run off and kill squirrels instead of acting like lassie. lawd why can’t we have more walkways? why the dog is barking? who’s at the door? prolly an axe murderer. she looks like a nice lady, but she could secretly be a witch who cursed my misplaced mail. why is clara eating those flowers? i better see if they’re poisonous to cats. i feel sick. maybe i’m dying. have i slept enough? have i eaten? maybe i should eat. why hasn’t my husband text me yet? omg, did he make it to work? omg, what if he fell in love with the barista? what should i wear? what if i get hot? is there going to be traffic out here? did i leave the iron on? the hair straightener? did i flip the safety switch on the space heater? did i lock the dog in her crate? did i give her a cookie? will she eat shoes? omg, what if she eats my new booties? one day my dog will die and i do not know how i will recover. is she happy enough? is she having a good life? what if a bad man snuck into my house while i was in the back yard? what if mentor isn’t in the office today? will i get my things done? will i get the mail out before the mailman comes? will i have to stop at the post office? why am i always behind the ballet of the gravel trucks?!? one day they’re going to crush me like a bug. i should drive a gravel truck. i’m hot and dizzy. is it the caffeine? am i dying? is this a hot flash? am i dying? should i take off my sweater? should i eat a banana? why does this printer hate me? what if i can’t maintain my manners one more minute? what if i don’t get home in time to pick moo up? is sassy okay at home? what if the alarm is badly wired and explodes when she turns it off? DAILY, I IMAGINE MY CHILDREN HAVE ARRIVED AT HOME, THEIR HOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND, THEIR DOG’S CHARRED CARCASS IN HER CRATE, AND AN AXE MURDERER THERE TO COMFORT THEM. did i turn on the answering service? did i turn out all the lights? did i lock the door? is this pain in my chest, or just sensation?
this intersection is stupid dangerous, one day i’m going to wreck here. do all of these have postage? I MUST CHECK THE POSTAGE AGAIN. merrrrrge, omg don’t brake! are you tryin to kill us all?!? why is this pos takin so long? was i supposed to swipe or insert? omg, what if our account was hacked? where’s the baby? she’s too small. the other children look big enough to eat her. what if she went with a stranger? omg, i should never let her do anything without her sister. i should tie them together like mittens ffs. did anyone take the dog out? did anyone feed the cats? oh no, now clara’s puking because i didn’t look the flowers up! hope my husband makes it home safely. i wonder if he’s takin the interstate today? what is this red spot on my pinkie? omg, my father called, what happened? my head hurts, i hope it’s not a brain tumor. is it better for her to be challenged and make Cs or better for her to be bored and make As? what if they mis-marked this chicken and we all get sick? how do we really know where these chickens lived? omg, is the mayonnaise touching the cheese?!? is he doin that to make me crazy? i’m so dizzy. where’s the baby?
Those are the typical ones.
And here’s the truly horrific part — I’m better than I used to be, by leaps and bounds.
So, no, I don’t think I should write about what scares me. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Happy Friday Everyone! May the weekend bring you peace of mind.