A Bonechilling Pre-Halloween Post

As loyal readers know, I frequently find inspiration in everyday events for spine-tingling tales of suspense and horror.  Well, I recently one of my original bonechilling ideas came back to haunt me.  I had sent my snowblower off for carburetor repairs, and I received a call informing me that they had found two bolts with missing nuts in the auger.  Oh, and I discovered that the other one had fallen off my wheelbarrow.

Okay, now that I see that all written down it seems a bit less terrifying than I thought.

So perhaps I will close with another bonechilling experiece, this one from my childhood, which might just possibly explain why I ended up writing horrifying (and occasionally horrible) stories.  Of course, I’ve written plenty of other kinds of stories (involving unicorns, spaceships, that kind of thing), and if any of the damn things ever get published maybe I’ll reveal some of the events in my background leading to those.

But the story involves the house where I grew up, and a stairway, and a door (spooky already, am I right?)  Anyway, there is a doorway at the base of the main stairway in the house, leading to what at the time was a little library.  I had to pass the doorway every time I descended the steps, which I had to do often since my bedroom was on the second floor, and somehow I’d gotten the notion, as children will, that there was a monster living in the room.  I don’t think I ever had a really clear vision of what the monster looked like, but it was vaguely humanoid, sort of an ape-man I think, and I was fairly sure, on some level, that it would try to grab me when I went by.  Naturally, I formed the habit of clearing the last few steps pretty quickly, and swinging around on the staircase rail so I could make a fast U-turn and hit the ground at a good clip.

This technique worked well enough for quite a while (I never got grabbed, at any rate), but one day, when I was, I don’t know, 6 or 7 years old, I decided that I’d had enough.  I knew, of course, intellectually, that there was really no monster in the room – I’d walked right into it many times with no trouble.  So one evening, as the shadows stretched down the hallway below, I decided that it was time to face my fears, square my shoulders, and walk slowly down the steps in a dignified fashion, mere inches from the doorway.

I didn’t realize that my father was in the room at the base of the stairs that evening, and I have no idea what waggish impulse made him pick that particular night to leap out and surprise me when he heard me coming.  I don’t think he knew about my monster theory, because I assume he didn’t actually intend to give me a heart attack.  That moment, though, when I saw the looming, distorted humanoid shadow on the wall, freakish hands outstretched, really connected me with my inner terrified person.

~ by smwilliams on October 30, 2012.

One Response to “A Bonechilling Pre-Halloween Post”

  1. Unicorns in space!
    Do they fight off the evil corporate herd of My Little Ponies that are trying to enslave the children, and occasional adult?
    You have to post that story!

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