Friday, December 05, 2008

I Think I’ve Seen Too Many Scary Movies

I gripped the flashlight and stumbled around in the dark of my house last night. I was on the phone with my sister, and suddenly the power went out. The lights in my kitchen went dark, the digital display on the stove turned off, the hum of the refrigerator and the computer in the office silenced. Stupidly I said into the dead phone, “C? C? Are you still there?” I stared up the stairs and briefly thought, “If I go up there, surely the bad guys won’t get me.” You know, the bad guys who just cut the power to the house and were secretly making their way into the foolishly left unlocked slider door.

We live in Rhode Island’s Snow Belt, and I suspect that we will lose power a few times over the winter once the snow falls. It hasn’t fallen in RI yet this season, which made last night’s outage more puzzling. We have a generator and our house is wired to run off gas power so that we can keep the bare minimum running: the fridge, the furnace, the wireless router, and lights in a few rooms of the house. We hadn’t yet bothered to get the gas cans filled for the generator. That is until last night.

I fumbled in the kitchen trying to find the flashlight we keep on hand for going out to the hot tub at night, careful to avoid the block where the knives are stored, lest I cut myself and attract a gang of marauding vampires. I managed to find it and instantly felt a little relieved when I switched it on. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable when alone in the dark. My overactive imagination started to take over, just as it had last spring when we first moved into the house. Visions of crazed, axe wielding former residents of the house lingering just beyond the glow of the flashlight took up residence in my brain. I listened for the tell-take creaks in the floor, as I had no ominous music from a soundtrack available to alert me to any danger. I’d been alone in my dark house prior to last night, but last night I was alone in a dark house that I couldn’t just light up again with a flip of a switch. I shined the light into each room; I decided not to go upstairs after all for fear of being trapped when the guy with the machete arrived.

I walked out the back door and into the night. My LED flashlight lit up not nearly enough of the path to the workshop where the empty gas cans were stored. My stomach turned as I heard a rustling in the woods, and frantically passed my flashlight over the direction of the noise. The beam of the flashlight rapidly passed back and forth until it rested on a rabbit. I had a vision of becoming Jodie Foster and having to turn rapidly and happen to shoot a psychopath wearing night-vision goggles, but realized I wasn’t holding a gun. I let out the breath I was holding and gathered up the gas cans and lobbed them into the back of the truck, a little more relieved at the glow from the headlights.

I drove down our street, which didn’t look all that different with the power out. We don’t have streetlights on our street. The only difference was that all the houses were dark, there were no Christmas lights on, and I saw a few flashlight beams bobbing along as my neighbors also fumbled along in the dark. On the way to the truck stop I never had the occasion to slam on the brakes in the truck to accommodate a bloody neighbor hobbling into the middle of the road in escape from some unseen serial killer wearing a hockey mask. I felt only half-relieved by this thought.

I stood at the gas pump and filled the gas cans, as a man filled his on the other side of the island. I didn’t make conversation for fear that he’d get the idea to follow me to my home, enter covertly and slash me with blades on the tip of each finger on his hand and then hole himself up behind my furnace. Of course he’d find a striped sweater in the laundry on the way, and pull that on over his head.

Twenty minutes or so after I’d gotten back from the gas station the lights came back on. Five minutes after that Todd got home. I put on my best well-adjusted wife face and welcomed him home. Had he gotten home when the house was still dark I suspect I may have swung a rolling pin at him. You know, just in case.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Taoist Biker said...

You were about to make a stereotypical horror-movie mistake: NEVER go upstairs when you suspect the killer is after you!

Say he comes up after you. What are you going to do next? YOU know what you're going to do. Go out on the roof, in the rain, in your filmy nightgown, to fall to a messy death (possibly involving spiked gargoyles on lower floors that you may or may not have even known you had).

In case of psycho, always stay on a floor with a ground-level exit. Thank you, please drive through. :)

December 9, 2008 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Beej said...

TB I can just picture myself climbing out the window in the jeans and sweater I was wearing. Then looking down at myself once on the roof to see myself wearing said filmy nightgown and no shoes. LOL.

December 9, 2008 at 1:39 PM  

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