I love being afraid. Horror movies, stories, games. If it makes me afraid to turn off the lights, then I want in.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m really bad at it. Seriously, I’m pathetic. Horror movies have me curled up in a blanket with my hands over my eyes, usually saying “no. nope. nopenopenope. OMG DON’T GO IN THERE!” as the music swells and the tension builds. Sometimes I talk out loud at my computer when I read horror stories. “Yeah. I’m just going to shut you down and pick up this chapter when the sun comes up.” It’s embarrassing and amazing. Because, honestly, no matter how weirdly I react to it, I LOVE being afraid.
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on your view) my husband hates horror anything, so if I watch anything like that it’s after he goes to bed. Only in the dead of night when I’m alone do I finally set my sights on the things that make my skin crawl. It’s kind of cool because it adds to the terror of the experience, but (because no one is there to judge me) it also means I’m more likely to talk during the entire thing. (Seriously. Don’t go in there. Why would you even DO that? Are you trying to get killed? HOLY CRAP HE’S BEHIND YOU!)
Movies aren’t my go-to past time, though. I enjoy horror flicks, but there’s always some level of separation between me and the ditzy blonde that’s on the screen. So…Enter horror videogames where I get to BE the ditzy blonde behind the screen instead. That’s about a billion times better. Suddenly there’s no chance for me to close my eyes or try to separate myself from whatever terrifying thing is happening. I have to pay attention, keep my cool, and NOT scream at the top of my lungs when the creepy F.E.A.R. girl grabs me as I’m climbing the ladder. I love it. Best worst feeling in the world.
Now that school’s out, I’ve started spending even more time being scared than usual. You can find me watching horror movies or reading scary stories during the day and playing horror games at night. I both love and hate it. It’s fantastic. It’s terrifying. Awesome.
And you know what I’ve learned? I can’t switch it off. I’m now constantly looking for ways to freak myself out. I take a shower and imagine someone on the other side of the curtain or an eye staring up at me from the drain. Sometimes I imagine that there’s a clammy hand under my desk, just waiting to stroke my foot or grab my ankle.
My favorite one, though, is the one that slithers into my thoughts basically any time I’m at the computer. I often imagine someone outside the window behind me. Not doing anything, just… standing there. Smiling. Completely still. He has elongated limbs and an emaciated frame, and his hunched body brings that wide, toothy grin right up against the glass. He never blinks. He just stands and stares.
Hell, I’ve given myself the creeps just writing those couple of sentences, and I now adamantly refuse to turn around and look at that window. Because he won’t move if I don’t look. His weird smile only gets bigger for every minute I don’t turn around, and every now and again he gets a little closer to the windowpane, but he won’t move if I don’t look… Don’t make eye contact. Don’t react even though you know his breath is fogging up the glass from behind that terrifying smile. He’s just standing there, grinning at the back of your head, motionless. He knows you know he’s there. Just don’t look. Don’t look.
God, I wish I was talented enough to write horror. I love freaking myself out. I would be absolutely giddy if I was capable of freaking other people out, too. I read through creepypasta like it’s Cosmo and just crave more every time the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Is that normal? Do other people like to be afraid?
If you fit that description, PLEASE tell me how you get your creepy kicks. Because honestly, I’m running out of material. Scary things aren’t as terrifying the second or third time through, so I’m always looking for new things that can get under my skin. Please send me suggestions! And if you’re a horror writer, I’m a decent beta (I think). I’d love to be your critique partner if it means I get a chance to be terrified! Send me something!
Well, I’ve seriously freaked myself out enough that I need to go play with my cats. (I told you that I’m bad at this horror thing, even though I love it). Take care of yourselves.
And seriously, don’t look out your window. He’s always there, just waiting for you to acknowledge him.