Friday, November 4, 2011

Fright Night.

Short of sitting upright, I awoke in the middle of the night in the same fashion as every movie character victimized by a nightmare has woken up. I gasped for breath, eyes wide, trying to find comfort in the reality of my room. My ears strained to confirm the silence around me. But wait—there was a sound. It sounded like slow, sneaking footsteps on gravel—the gravel that surrounded our window wells out back. While we had neighbors, our house was remote compared to the tight security of a suburb. We were about to brutally robbed, tortured, and murdered, and no one would know for days. Then I remembered that Mom and Meagan were out of town, and tears sprang to my eyes as I imagined them coming home from their trip and being welcomed by the grisly scene. I had no choice but to wake up Dad. I knew he had a gun—I just prayed he could get to it and load it in time.

I counted to three and leapt from my bed, tiptoeing as quickly as I could without making a lot of noise. My parents’ bedroom was on the other side of the house, meaning I’d have to cross in front of the windows where the thieves were operating. I braced myself, waiting for a gunshot or the sound of broken glass, but I still only heard the crunch crunch crrrruuuuuncccchhhhh of the gravel under their feet. I made it into the bedroom and loudly whispered Dad! while shaking his shoulders. When disturbed, my dad always wakes with a start. “What? What?! What is it?” he said.

I burst into tears. “I think there’s someone outside and I heard people walking on gravel and I’m so scared and what are we going to do and will you go check and can you take your gun?”

“What?” he said, cocking his head in confusion. In this interest of full disclosure, this was not the first time my middle-of-the-night frights had interrupted my parents’ slumber. I took a deep breath and described the noise I had heard outside of the window. He got out of bed and followed me to the back doors. Sure enough, crunch crunch crrrruuuuuuuncccccchhhhh. But after a minute, the sound seemed to move, and we followed it to our left, pausing every two feet or so to reevaluate. After a few steps, the crunching was louder than ever. Surely only the wall was separating us from our inevitable attackers.

After one more step, Dad bumped into Shania's crate. She looked up at us with those sweet brown eyes, and we realized that the crunching sound seemed to be coming from a spot much lower than we had originally thought. I squatted in front of Shania, and I heard it again. Crunch crunch crrrrrruuuuuunnnnnnchhhhh. It wasn’t coming from outside. It wasn’t coming from the soles of serial killers’ combat boots. It was coming from inside my dog.

“Is that her stomach growling?” Dad asked.
I continued to stare at my dog and tried to make sense of these new clues.
Crunch crrrrruuuuunnnnnchhhh.
“Um, yeah,” I said. “I guess so.”
Dad sighed. “Did you remember to feed her today?”
My face flushed as the final pieces of the puzzle snapped into place. “No,” I said, shaking my head. “I forgot.”
“Well, give her some food and go back to bed,” he said as he walked back to his room.

I was fourteen years old.

[As a way to thank my indefatigable readers, I'm going to start doing giveaways every now and then.]
YOU COULD WIN a $10 Amazon gift card! Just post a comment that answers this question:
What are you afraid of?
One (1) winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday at 8pm. One entry per person. Make sure your comment identifies you in some way-- email address, website, name, SSN... I'll contact you and we'll figure out the best way to get you your prize! --M
edit: Caitlin W. is the lucky winner! Not so lucky for the whole kidney stone thing, but lucky nonetheless.


  1. i love the picture! i miss the lil stinker :(

  2. Thanks for making me laugh! I needed that today. As for my own fears, I would say that I am very afraid of underwater scenes in movies. I really hate them and I usually can't watch them at all. Embarrassing.

    Keep up the great posts. I read them all!

  3. There's a couple of things:
    1) Spiders. I will act like it's ain't no thing when the ladies ask me to kill them... but just know I die inside.
    2) Waking up to a stranger standing my room! Thought that it happened once but its was a golf bag with a towel over it... It still scarred me.

  4. i am afraid of not meeting the incredibly high bar that my older sister set for me.

  5. I remember that rubber pork chop.

  6. I think I'm scared of the same things as you. As you described in this post. TWINS!

  7. Things I fear or am afraid of:

    1) Kidney Stones: they bloody hurt and terrify me every time
    2) Babies: They are so little and helpless. I don't know what to do with them when they cry

  8. Yes. A world of yes.


  9. the pic! I am afraid of a lot of things. Mostly flapping things. Like birds and moths. They are terrifying. Absolutely evil. I am ok with pictures of them but the real things freak me out.
    Thanks for the great post, Valeska

  10. This post is even more enjoyable when you read it aloud! And I'm afraid that my roommate will suddenly go insane and turn into an axe murderer.