Not a lot of things scare me, for I am Brave, and Filled With Courage, and Nigh-Fearless. I can also be Blissfully Unaware Of Danger, and Naïve, and Slightly Dim-Witted. All of which adds up to not many things scaring me.
I mean, sure, I’m not a fan of the open water. I’ve seen Jaws far too many times to fall for THAT particular trick. Oooh, let’s go swimming, they said, and POW! Instant shark attack. And sharks won’t just attack you once, oh no. If I have learned ANYTHING from movies, it’s that sharks/wild animals will always make it personal, and they will continue to hunt you down and pick your friends off one by one until you find a way to destroy them.
Attacked by a shark? Escape? Yeah, it’s not over, buddy. The shark is now STALKING you. It has tasted your blood and it wants more, and it will go to any length to get it. If that means it has to wait for a great big truck to pass your house, lugging a huge tank of water behind it (for some reason), then that is what the shark will do. And the moment you step out of your front door the shark will SPRING from the tank and eat you.
One of these days I’m going to be eaten by a shark, I just know it.
Apart from shark attacks, though, not much scares me. In fact, the only thing guaranteed to creep me out on every occasion is my own imagination. Well, that and serial killers.
Last night, Zodiac was on TV. It’s a David Fincher film, about the Zodiac killer that stalked San Francisco back in the 60’s and 70’s. He was never caught. The film is brilliant, and you really have to stay alert to keep up as it follows the cops and journalists through years of leads and clues and false hopes. And three or four times, we see the Zodiac killing, and those scenes are horribly real and terrifically scary. Movies like Saw or Hostel don’t scare me. They might make me wince, but they won’t scare me. I saw the remake of The Crazies the other night, and I loved it, and even though it got me with a couple of “BOO!” moments, it didn’t scare me. But those scenes in Zodiac got to me because they were so, so real, and so horrible, and you can put yourself in the shoes of the victims and try to figure out how you would acted differently, and you’ll come up empty.
So there I was, watching Zodiac alone in my house, late at night. I live outside of a small town, surrounded by fields and meadows and horses, and what that means on a practical level is that there are no street lights. So every single night, my house is surrounded by darkness. Look out a window you can see NOTHING except your own pale reflection against the black.
So Zodiac finished, and I laughed to myself to dispel any nerves, and I changed the channel and, in my infinite wisdom, began watching a program about serial killers on the loose in America. By the time THAT was over, with its tales of hitchhikers going missing and people vanishing off the face of the earth, I really didn’t want to walk through the house turning off all the lights.
The moment I flicked the switch and the room plunged into darkness, I just knew that the serial killer who had been hiding behind the couch all day would emerge, and slowly creep up behind me... Well, it would either be him or the shark, one or the other.
So I stayed where I was, watching the credits roll on the serial killer program. And I was aware of the window to my left. I generally don’t close my curtains at night. I like to be able to see if cars are approaching- I don’t like the idea of being cocooned in a house with no idea of what’s happening outside. So I sat there, with the curtains open, and the pitch black outside, and I had this eerie feeling that if I turned my head, if I looked, I would see a face at the window, looking back in at me. And that creeped me RIGHT out.
Naturally, turning my head is exactly what I did, because I hate being defeated by fears that my own imagination conjures up. So I turned my head quickly, so if there WAS a face at the window I’d catch it before it withdrew, and then I’d be able to charge out of the house after it, screaming and bloodthirsty and violent.
But there was nothing there. Obviously. Naturally. There was no serial killer out there, spying on me. After all, if a serial killer wanted notoriety, there are far more famous writers to kill before he'd ever get to me. Eoin Colfer, for example. Or Darren Shan.
(I am not advocating that serial killers go after either of these two nice people. I’m just saying, if you had a CHOICE...)
Ooooh I’m probably going to get in trouble for THAT comment.
So, satisfied that no one was watching, I changed the channel again, and I accidentally flicked onto a repeat of Two And a Half Men and I SCREAMED.
So what about you, my Minions? What ridiculous things scare you? And I’m not talking about spiders or moths or terrible sitcoms, I’m talking about ridiculous, unlikely things that could KILL you. (Yes, fine, Two And a Half Men could kill you, I’ll grant you that.)
My good friend Laura, for instance, has a terrible fear of being buried alive. Because of this, I can see such a fate befalling Valkyrie one of these days, I really can...