Fears at the Door

Fear felt different when I was a child.

I remember cowering under the covers once after someone knocked on the door in the middle of the night. I could hear faint adult voices. I think I remember my father telling him that he could not stay here. I stayed under the covers shaking with fear.

Another childhood instance of fear occurred when my uncle first told me the urban legend of "The Killer in the Backseat," where a woman driving on a dark road late at night is annoyed by a truck behind her flashing its lights. She stops at a gas station to get away from her pursuer and finds out that there was a man in her back seat with a knife. The person in the truck was only trying to warn her. Of course, certain details of this story are obviously apocryphal, but it serves its purpose of cautioning people to look in the back seat. I still always do when I get in the car. As a child, this story was very scary to me, and I took it at face value.

Another time I felt true fear was when my friend, Jerry, and I both thought something terrible was going to happen on the same day. I don't know why, but we both had a premonition, and I have seldom felt so afraid, even though nothing really happened.

As an adult, I am not scared of much. I can stay at my cabin at night and watch horror movie marathons. I can walk on the street after dark and chalk up the sounds from the neighboring woods to squirrels or owls. However, once in a while, something creeps me out, the sound of the wind, or a voice from far away, and it takes me back, if just briefly, to those childhood fears. I wonder what might be lurking in the dark or the light, and I shiver.


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