Everyone has something they’re scared of when they’re little, right? Whether it’s that dog you’re convinced is out to get you, or a certain room, or the thing that is obviously living under your bed even though your parents don’t believe you and try to pacify you with stupid stuff like ‘he can’t get you if you keep your teddy bear with you’?
I had that with two things. First of all, it was aliens. Yeah, the little grey men with the freakishly big eyes. I read a few books about alien abductions one time when I was about seven or eight, and it scarred me. I went through this whole period where I had to have Big Ted and Gerald (two cuddly toys that were as big as me) sleep on either side of me so that the aliens couldn’t get me. If I heard noises outside, it was a space ship hovering there. (In my mind, the aliens were polite enough to wait till I fell asleep before doing their gruesome experiments on me.)
All that stopped, thank goodness. It’s not let me go entirely, though. Sometimes it’s all too easy to imagine creepy little guys from outer space come running at me from the dark room I’m about to leave behind to go to bed. And typing that sentence made me a little nervous.
The second thing I was terrified of is, if it’s even possible, more embarrassing: dead Japanese people. I dated a huge geek in my teens, and we spent a lot of our time watching Asian horror movies. The one that really messed with my head was Ju-On, the one that The Grude was based on. It reinforced the horrible image in my head that had been planted by the Japanese Ring movies (only the original and the prequel, the others sucked). I don’t know what it is about fragile women with lots of black hair contorting their bodies jerkily, but it’s enough to make me scream like the wimpy girly-girl that I am.
Again, that stopped. I almost miss those times, though. Now the monsters that keep me up at night are much worse because they’re real, and everyone has to deal with them. Everyone in the past has had to deal with them, too, and there’s still no magical remedy. It’s not a case of keeping your eyes closed as you put your bike in the shed at night, or keeping Big Ted and Gerald close.
And that’s why I like writing about monsters. It’s like dealing with real life, but with protective gloves on. I’m not writing about being afraid of my family dying, I’m writing about zombies. I’m not writing about being afraid of what the bloody point of it all is, I’m writing about shoggoths. And I’m just not writing about aliens, because they still sort of scare the shit out of me.