August 12, 2010

How to Scare Yourself Silly ©

Because I've always had an overactive imagination, as a child and even into my early adulthood, I would imagine the scariest things from hearing strange sounds or seeing things in the dark. For most of us the dark is the perfect opportunity to scare ourselves silly, isn't it? It's in the dark when shadows and sounds can take on a much more menacing quality.

I've heard of children who created a detailed image in their mind about the appearance of the monster that lurks under their bed or in their bedroom cupboard, but for me it was enough to know there was something that wanted very much to nibble and chew on my fingers and body bits. All I imagined was something with very sharp, wicked looking teeth. I didn't need to imagine anything more because its teeth was the only thing I needed to worry about.

I look back on how scared I used to get and wonder how on earth I could have been susceptible to such foolish fears. I can still recall the utter terror I felt and the heart palpitatingly scary images in my own imagination. Nowadays I never consider there might be a monster because I know they don't exist. To me the scariest things in the world are psycho killers, bills and politicians, not necessarily in that order.

When I was studying at University and sharing a home with a girlfriend, I was home alone one night and just started dropping off to sleep when I heard someone at the front door of the flat. Instantly I was awake and alert. Then I heard the unmistakable sounds of footsteps from the front door coming closer and closer to my bedroom door. The footsteps stopped just outside, and the doorknob rattled.

I was terrified out of my brain. Someone was going to come into my bedroom and hurt me! I lay petrified on my bed, my heart thumping like crazy and wondering how I was going to defend myself. Should I leap out the window and run next door to my neighbour in the hope they would be home? What if the crazy killer standing outside my door heard me get up, would they reach me before I could escape?

All of these thoughts went through my mind, and I thought to myself, if I just keep still, maybe they won't know someone is home and they won't come in. Maybe I'll be safe that way.

Waiting in terror, my eyes open wide, I waited with trepidition for the door to open. I imagined the light from the window gleaming on the knife he would be holding up in the air as he entered - but nothing happened. Though I lay unmoving for several minutes, nobody came into the room, and I could not hear anybody in the flat.

"Am I going out of my mind?' I wondered. "Did I imagine it?"

As the minutes passed, my fears began to subside and I quietly got up and crept to the door. Once I reassured myself there was no-one there, I went out and double checked each of the rooms and the locks before going back to bed.

"How strange," I thought to myself as I climbed back under the covers.

A few minutes later, just as I was dropping off to sleep again, the sounds happened again: a rattle at the front door, footsteps to my bedroom, then the rattle at my bedroom door.

Once again petrified, I wondered how the intruder had gotten in through the locked front door.

"Had he seen the light?" I wondered, "And come back for a second go at hurting me?"

Petrified once again, I waited and waited .... but nothing happened. So I got up out of bed again and checked the flat. There was nobody there.

Once again I went back to bed and it happened again. The third time though I began to suspect it was something else other than an intruder. I got out of bed and waited by the front door. A few minutes later, I heard a rattle at the front door, heard footsteps go straight towards my bedroom and then my bedroom door rattled. 

"Is it a ghost?" I wondered, even though I'd never believed in ghosts. "Perhaps I've been wrong all along and there's some spooky spirit here tormenting me."

Talking to myself I reasoned that I was simply over-reacting and there had to be a simple explanation to what was occurring. So, sitting by the front door I turned on the light and waited again. 

Moments later I heard a gust of wind hit the front door which rattled. It entered under the door and lifted up the loose carpet, every 50cm or so lifting up the carpet and flopping it back down onto the floor again, sounding just like footsteps.
My bedroom door was in a direct line from the front door, and as the wind reached the end of the carpet just in front of my door, it struck my bedroom door and rattled it.
Mystery solved! But boy did I feel foolish! ©

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