I have a problem. Like many writers, I feel uncomfortable telling people that I write when I first meet them, let alone that I write Horror. You have to know me a little better first, or at least, buy me dinner. My neighbor of four years didn’t know until she stumbled on my Facebook profile and she told me she was shocked.
Shocked? I asked her why.
She stuttered and hemmed and hawed, but eventually she said that I just didn’t seem like the type of person who liked that kind of thing. I had to laugh. What type of person is the kind of person that likes that kind of thing?
My dear cousin sent me this meme on Facebook because she knows. I commented that I would crack up because things just got FUN! It made me think about an experience I shared with one of my daughters, she definitely knows.
It was the night after my favorite holiday, Halloween. I picked up said daughter from a late practice at her high school and we were driving home.
At that time we lived in the western suburbs of Denver, butting up to the Rocky Mountain foothills. Our streets were wide, the houses spaced nicely apart, and the street lights were of the decorative variety, pretty but not efficient in their job. That left the roads alarmingly dark at night.
The street we were driving on was the long straight backbone of the neighborhood, the other streets shot off from it like teeth on a comb. As we drove through the dark we saw a lone figure in the distance standing in the weak pool of light cast by the street light at the only stop sign.
It was slowly formulating in my mind that someone had left a Halloween decoration too close to the road. A dark lower portion made the white top appear to levitate. As we approached, I could see that it was a person. A person wearing dark coveralls and a white Micheal Myers mask.
We slowed down as we got right next to him because of the stop sign. He moved towards our car, reaching his hand out as if to grasp the passenger side door handle.
I pulled away from the stop sign and looked in my rearview mirror. I saw him standing in the road behind us, his white face glowing red in my taillights. He stood motionless, watching us drive away. I thought he looked dejected.
“Holy crap! What was that?” my daughter said.
“I don’t know, but let’s go back! That was awesome!” I said, glee overfilling my heart.
I looked at her sweet face. She really was freaked out.
“Come on. It’s just a Halloween prank. We’ll just drive back around one time, ok?”
“It. Is. Not. Halloween. What if they want to carjack us! Or he just killed all the neighbors and needs a get away car?”
I love her dearly, so we drove on home. She relieved, me disappointed. I was sorry to miss out on that glorious feeling of terror, that thrill that I love so much.
It took the sensible voice of my husband to keep me from getting in my truck and driving back over there by myself. The girl was right, it probably wasn’t safe. You never know about people these days. He joked that if we don’t hear about neighbors being slashed tomorrow, we would know it was a late Halloween prank.
I never told them that I looked in my mirror one last time before turning off on our street. I saw him cross the road and go in between two houses, as if headed to one or other backyard. There was still hope that Michael Myers was creeping around the neighborhood. I peered out into my own heavily wooded and dark backyard hoping for a jolt.
My heart sank a little deeper to see that no one was there.
My current neighbor would probably rethink every interaction we ever had if she knew that story about me.
There you have it. Just like a book, you can’t judge a horror fan by their cover. It could be anyone. Even the people you least expect. Take Guillermo Del Toro, R.L. Stine, or Stephen King. They all look perfectly normal. My neighbor thinks I’m a normal, upstanding, kindly, law-abiding citizen who listens to NPR. While I am all those things, I am a creator and fan of horror. Even little Mikey Myers appeared normal, at first.
My husband was right. You just never know about people these days.
Until next time, Never Turn Off the Lights!