I’ve often been asked where do my stories come from? It’s funny that a writer friend of mine who is also a horror writer often refers to one of my stories as the scariest thing she ever read. The name of the story is ‘Hidden Within.’ I never quite understood that until today.
My husband and I were talking about some renovating a house we own that the subject of a table came up. It’s an old original Formica and chrome dining set. In great condition. It has been in my hubby’s family for a while. Outside of the fact it doesn’t go with what I want to do in that dinette area, that set has got to go. This is open for debate, there is compromise, this set is going out the door one way or the other. If I have to take an as to the damn thing I will. I hate it.
You might think this has something to do with my decorating style, and actually it does, that doesn’t enter into this. I hate that table. Every time I had to sit down to dinner at that table when my mother-in-law hosted a dinner there and we had to sit at that table I cringed. I did everything in my power to keep my eyes from looking at that instrument of nightmares for me.
Yes, it is something that reminds me of things I never wanted to think about or revisit. Today I did. That table reminds me of my father’s mother and stepfather. To my knowledge the old man was harmless, but he walked with a limp and used a cane. I was terrified of that man. After his death when I was a small child, I had nightmares about him for years. I was told it broke his heart that I was so afraid of him. The sound his limp and that cane made would send me into screaming, crying fits every time I heard him coming through the house.
How bad was that fear? When I was in my thirties, I was having lunch with some friends from work and suddenly from behind me I heard that same sound. I went white as a sheet evidently, tears began to roll down my cheeks, I started shaking, and I had to fight off the almost overpowering urge to crawl under the table we were sitting at and hiding. It scared the crap out of the friends I was sitting with and they thought they were going to have to get me to a hospital.
Yes, it was a man with a limp and a cane; he never had a clue the effect he had on me that day. Can I tell you that I feel like an ass for responding to that man the way I did? It wasn’t something he caused but that fear wasn’t something I caused. This is a memory that goes back to when I was no more than six or seven months old. The poor man died when I was about two and evidently, I never got past that with him.
I was small enough to crawl up under the chair my mom was sitting in and grabbing her leg and holding on for dear life. I think she finally was able to pull me out from under the chair and get me to go to the man, but she didn’t have any luck with that.
The other part of the story was that my father’s mother was sitting at that table when the strongest of those memories come flooding back in on me. That woman I wasn’t just afraid of, I hated her. To this day I can not and will not refer to her as anything other than my father’s mother. She hated me too. She didn’t die until I was about five and the few memories, I have of her are of her being mean and spiteful to me. Actually, it was so bad that my mom and dad did everything they could to keep me away from her and never left me alone with her. She loved my brother, treated them great, but me, that was a whole different ball game.
So yes, I hate that table. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the monsters hidden within I’m about to tell you.
Children, like adults, are capable of hating but at early ages we aren’t able mentally or emotionally understand that emotion, especially when it is that strong. I think it also damages out ids. For those of you who might not know what that is a part of our psyche residing in our subconscious where our instincts and impulses reside. We all have one and from that little part of our psyche we can and will create our monsters. I think that is why that story scares her. Somewhere inside her she understands what that story portrays. The monsters inside of ourselves. Don’t think you do? I tell you what, the next time someone really makes you angry stop and think about what is going through your head at that moment. I promise you it won’t be sunshine and roses.
So where do my stories come from? From that dark corner of my psyche that I keep hidden from the world. You know, hidden within.