Halloween is fast approaching, a time of year when the sun sets a little earlier and the leaves fall from the trees, leaving behind the skeletal braches back lit by the moon.
Strangely enough, that is the same setting in the spring but it just doesn’t seem quite as spooky.
The last half of October is all about being scared, death, thrills and chills, and that’s the way we like it. (Not all of us of course. My son finds plastic rotting corpses and eyeballs on the end of a pen distasteful, but he’s four)
Halloween is my second favorite holiday, (Valentine’s Day takes the number one position), and I thought on what it is that I like about Halloween so much. Is it the candy? Not anymore? Is it the costumes, mmm, somewhat. Is it the fact that everyone sneaks about trying to scare the pants off all the others? Why yes! That’s it.
Okay, so why? Are we adrenaline junkies? Probably.
That would explain why, as a kid, we watched cheesy B grade horror movies at sleepovers before bed then lay in the dark gripping my sleeping with my eyes wide open until dawn.
It also explains why my cousin and I used to stand at either end of our long hallway with heavy blankets over our heads then walk toward each other, all the time tensed and ready for the thrilling moment when we would crash into one another, or why we pushed the limits and occasionally slept out in the woods, far away from the house.
I have an active imagination, which is a handy feature in regards to writing, but not so handy when I’m walking in the dark alone. It’s at those moments I can convince myself that shadow up ahead is a half decayed zombie (one of the scariest ghouls in my mind). My heart starts pumping extra hard, my fingers turn cold, and I struggle to take another step forward. I’m sure we all had had those moments.
It’s times like that when having a pal around is really handy, unless that pal is as scared as you and won’t stop voicing the images haunting their thoughts. My cousin was terrible for that.
I remember one night in particular when we had just watched a rather gory werewolf movie then slept out in the yard inside their camper. We stayed up until three a.m. chatting happily then retired to bed, and everything was fine until she told me she thought she saw something move just outside the window.
I DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW THAT!
Damage done, we lay there, shivering under the blankets waiting for something to pounce, until one of us decided it might be better to sleep in the house that night. Great idea, I thought, but we still had to walk the length of the camper and get to the house.
Dragging blankets behind us, we edged our way down the long aisle, my cousin shining the flashlight out the windows, then when our feet touched the ground we ran shrieking and screaming to the house.
I knew, deep in my heart, she hadn’t actually seen a werewolf, but I simply could not harness my fear and remain calm, and seeing as I woke in the morning stiff and achy because my cousin had slept ON TOP of me told me she couldn’t either.
The idea of werewolves, vampires, and other icky ghouls is an old one but probably came about in much the same fashion. Some ancestor saw something shift among the shadows and let their imagination do the talking. Back then we sought explanations for the unexplained to make sense of things such as rabies, leprosy, ball lightening, and herbalist hermits who cooked tea in a large cauldron, and even though we have scientific explanations now, it’s still hard to convince oneself of the facts in the moment.
And those days when I have stayed up late working on my latest paranormal I can’t help the fear I take back to bed with me. For as logical as I am most of the time, I still leap into bed from time to time, just in case something slimy is lurking beneath waiting to grab my ankles.
Currently I have eight books published. One of those is a paranormal.
Check out my erotic vampire novella (Book One), Awakening the Blood at Amira Press: http://www.amirapress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=229
Special thanks to Feebleminds free fantasy pictures http://www.feebleminds-gifs.com/.