Have you ever had anything that really scared you? You know what I mean, that deep down in the core of your soul scared. I’ve been scared. I kinda like to be scared. But the movie kind of scared. What Alfred Hitchcock called “the bomb under the table” kind of scared. The scared where everything is building up to the traumatic event and leaves you looking around corners as you leave the movie theater. The fun kind of scared.
Last night was not the fun kind of scared.
We had just gotten home from a family Halloween party where the kids laughed and played games and danced. It was a lot of fun. But, we all probably had just a little to much candy, cookies, cake, and what not, because we all went to bed with bellyaches.
I slept pretty well until 12:30am when I awoke to hear my youngest daughter, Ally, whimpering in bed. Her room is next to ours. I’m not sure if I’m just a really light sleeper, or if I’m just keyed to certain sounds, but I woke up. Then she called my name, “Daddy!” So I got up. Before I even reached the door of my room she lets out a scream that could have woke the dead. Horrible, blood curdling scream of absolute terror, the kind of scream you hear just before the slasher jumps from the dark shadows in those movies.
So now I’m running and I find her standing in her bed, up against the wall staring at her open closet door.
I don’t need to tell you that my “fight or flight” mechanism is now pumping copious amounts of adrenalin into my system. So I pick her up and she clings to my neck and is just shaking. So I close her closet door, and calm her down. We talk for a few minutes and sing a primary (Sunday school) song and I put her back in bed with her “pinky bear.” Then, I go back to bed, even though I know that I ain’t gonna get back to sleep. That scream shook me. A few minutes later, she calls my name again and I go in to get her. This time she wont let go of my neck, so I took her into bed with my wife and I. At some point, she sits bolt upright and points to the door of our room, she’s clearly scared and said, “there he is!”
“There who is?” asks my wife.
“Evil Chase!” Ally says, and her hand is moving to follow what ever it is she is seeing and is apparently moving around our room. At this point I’m getting scared. The core scared that I was talking about. So I turn on my bedside lamp and she calms down because what ever it is she was seeing is now gone with the light.
I should explain at this point, I have a nephew named Chase. He’s a cute little guy who is about a year younger than Ally. They had been playing together at our family party, she was Dorothy, and he was a Power Ranger. So I’m sure that she had had a nightmare about “Evil Chase,” the memories of which has followed her into my room.
Anyway, we said a prayer, and she calmed down, and at about 2:30 she finally fell asleep and I was able to carry her back to her room where she slept the rest of the night. But I will never forget the feeling of last night, where even I, “the big strong Daddy, fearless defender of the home” was afraid of the dark and what lurks in it.
I feel that I must explain that I do not, in anyway believe in ghosts, shadow people, aliens, alternate dimensions, omniversal quanta, vampires, werewolves, or the boogieman. But I think, that since I’m an Elder in our church, and since tonight is Family night, we will probably be rededicating our home. I think that at least I may sleep better.