Friday, October 19, 2007

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Ever since I was a very little kid, I've loved scary movies and books that make your heart race and your blood pressure rise. I've probably seen every 'monster' movie from the 50's and 60's -- you know the ones I mean, they were black and white and on late night TV. Most often they moralized about the danger of radioactivity, which I suppose was natural since that was the 'new' technology of the time. By today's standards, these movies are laughable, the special effects cheesy and not at all believable.

Even then, while I was still young and naive and watching these 'scary' movies long after my parents went to bed, I wasn't really scared. I might have felt a bit of tension wondering if the hero or heroine was going to die that horrible death but that was pure empathy for the character, not fear of The Thing.

Which leads to the movie, The Thing From Another Planet, one of my favorite all time space monster movies with James Arness starring as...The Thing. I haven't seen it for awhile now but I recall the rapid patter of the characters, the rising tension as their danger became clear, the seemingly unstoppable monster who fed on blood. It was terrific. Then I read the short story it was based on, Who Goes There. I was floored! The short story and the movie had very little in common except being set in an frozen wasteland. Years later, I saw the remake of The Thing starring Kurt Russell and was delighted to find that it did indeed follow the original short story and that it was even scarier than either the short story or the old movie.

I love when that happens :D

Well, most of the time I do. When I was first dating my future husband, I remarked that I'd never seen the Exorcist. I'd read the book, certainly, but had never seen the story in its wide screen grandeur. So my sweetie took me to see this movie. In the middle of the week. When we both had to be up bright and early the next day for work. I didn't mind because I was finally going to see the movie that I'd heard so much about. Imagine my delight when I discovered that, although it didn't follow the book exactly, the movie was indeed a scary thing. But, as happens, the movie ended. It was late so he dropped me off at my apartment instead of taking us both for a bite to eat at our favorite restaurant.

I rushed inside, undressed on the fly (I had about 4 hours before I had to be up and off to work) and hit the bed, images of rotating heads and demonic faces rattling through my head. Then I noticed the eerie moaning noise coming from my window. Of course, it was the wind. The apartment complex where I lived had the buildings sort of staggered in a line and I'd left the window open just a smidgen. Just because it was kind of spooky and just because I could hear a soft rustle every now and then, didn't mean I was scared. Not at all. Heck, I'd cut my teeth on monsters and ghouls, on witches and night terrors. No little moaning wind or rustling, dried up leaves were going to scare me.

So I determinedly closed my eyes and ignored what I was hearing.

Then something heavy slammed onto my bed.

I didn't move. Didn't scream. I won't say I was frozen in terror but my heart was hammering like a pile driver. In one of the books I'd read, the heroine had had a scary thing happen to her and she pretended to be asleep or unconscious. She counted to 100, then to 100 again before she cracked her eyes open to see what kind of danger she was in. I did the same all the while using my other senses to determine if I was alone or if Something was in the room with me.

When I opened my eyes, I realized it was too dark to see anything. I counted to 100 again. Still nothing except the ever present wind moaning and leaves rustling. Finally, I reached for the lamp beside my bed, flipped it on and saw...

The mirror from my dresser, situated beside the window, had fallen off. It sat with one edge on the bed.

As my heart began to slow, I realized what had happened. When I'd moved into the apartment, I'd had to dismantle the mirror and when I set it up, I found I couldn't reattach it to the dresser. It hadn't seemed to be a problem because it sat seemingly secure where it was supposed to. Apparently, the moaning wind -- which wasn't even ruffling the window drapes -- had pushed it off balance and it fell.

It didn't even break the glass.

So I got up, put the mirror back in place, closed the window...and turned every light on in my apartment. I spent the remainder of the night sitting in my livingroom. I wasn't scared. Really.

And I never did figure out what had caused that mirror to fall.

-- Lynda

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