Tonight, as I listened to Thing 2 shriek out of terror (and anger and willfulness?) for well over an hour, I was reminded of my own childhood and the dark times that it held.
I have one specific memory that haunts me to this very day. Just stirring up the thought makes my eyelids sweat and the hair on my neck stand up. Just like all nightmarish occurrences in B rated Horror flicks set in Iowa, it happened after dusk on the farm.
Every night in my childhood there was a requirement called "barn chores". The idea of walking into a quiet barnyard to give the animals their evening meal seems like it should be a soul-restorative, soothing activity. For the most part, it was. I would take turns with my sister doing these chores. The path from the back door of the house to the barn was about 200 feet, and when you were headed toward the barnyard in your Carhartt jacket and work boots, you never walked the path alone. Always faithful was my dog, Bobbie Sue. She was directly at my heels for the walk out to the circle of buildings that held hay, grain, horses, 156
The air was always thick with the sweet smell of the Midwest at night. That dewy air clinging to my face and filling my lungs often was refreshing as a conclusion to some long days of schoolwork, sports and teenage drama. The horses were serene once tied in their stalls, and would munch their grain with contentment. The friendlier cats would weave themselves between my legs, hoping for a plate of scraps from the house, and my loyal dog was ever present at my heels.
Once the corral was cleaned and the horses had finished their dinner, it was time to turn them into the paddock for the night. It had also gotten dark during this time. In Iowa it doesn't just transition to nighttime, it gets pitch ass black; so black that you cannot even see your own hand in front of your face. When all the horses were loose for the evening and the halters and lead ropes were hung on the proper pegs, I would close up the barn. When I flipped the wall switch to turn out the lights, that is when the reality of the sticky tar black darkness would set in.....
I would slide the big metal doors closed and start my short trek back to the house. My unreliable, good for nothing canine companion was always mysteriously vanished for this part of the journey. All alone, I would jam my hands in my pockets and attempt to casually saunter back to the old white farmhouse. It glowed like a beacon in the night, with the twin upstairs windows glaring at me like a pair of knowing, warning eyes. I would will myself to walk slowly, as if I was going to enjoy the still, creepy, cursed black night. I would hear a rustle in the grass and instantly I would feel a clammy wetness spring to life in my pores, yet I would force myself to calmly walk as if I heard nothing. Then something else would move behind me, causing me to clench my jaw, my arse cheeks and my fists. As I dug my fingernails into my own palms, I would feel myself start to lose control and my stride would quicken. More noise would follow and I would swear that the gentle rustling turned to heavy footsteps, most likely belonging to a giant, grotesque man with one eye, more hair on his back than on his head, and a mouthful of rotten teeth. He probably had huge gnarly hands, to match the sound of his gargantuan boots, and I was absolutely certain that he was carrying an axe which he intended to throw into my back, or maybe an anvil which he would use to bash in my skull..... or a scythe with which to whack off all my limbs. By this time, my brow was soaked and I was not just speed walking with clenched cheeks, but I was all out mothereffing sprinting. Somehow, probably because of my stellar luck and extreme speed, I would reach the storm door just in time, just before the hatchet fell, and I would lock the bleepity bleeping kitchen door behind me.
Whew. Those cats must have been eating some giant dammed rodents to make that kind of noise.
So.... with that, I hope that Thing 2 adjusts to his big boy bed with sweet dreams and some new found big boy power. I also hope that I can sleep tonight after digging through my own nightmarish childhood. I didn't even tell you about the clowns....
Peace, Love and Don't Let Your Kids Watch Horror Flicks At Slumber Parties,