She kidnapped me one dark Friday night in Salem. My parents were powerless to stop her. They seemed charmed or perhaps my father was angry that I'd sat at the table for two full hours without eating my sweet potatoes and this made it easy to give me up. In the car she offered me treats. I didn't refuse them but the absence of my sister made me wary. When we reached her home she wrapped me up in a blanket and set me on the couch in front of the television. This is when the true terror began because she made me watch Salem's Lot with her. Yes, Stephen King's Salem's Lot—the one featuring the Nosferatu vampire with the fire eyes.
Of course, the Salem we lived in was Winston-Salem, NC not King's Jerusalem, Maine—but you can see how a child could confuse the two. The wicked "she" I'm speaking of is my beloved godmother, Peggy. The woman absolutely loves horror movies but can't stand to watch them alone. Thus, my torture. And torture it was to be sure.
My god-sister, Joy, and I not only had to endure Salem's Lot but The Howling, based on a novel by Gary Brandner. One look at the painful transformation leading to demented-serial-killer-werewolves and I was cured of ever visiting a cabin in the woods again. Heck, I even started looking at German Shepherds and Huskies funny. I didn't know what they were plotting behind those wolfish grins and I couldn't tell whether they were licking or tasting me (I'm a southern woman and I bet I taste like peaches). "Get thee back ye hounds of hell!" <-- I actually said that. I read a lot of books. I had my own key to the library.
But by far the horror of horrors came on Saturday nights when Peggy made Joy and I watch Elvira's Movie Macabre. =crickets= What the hell was I watching? One time there was a hillbilly pig farmer who mysteriously got a new pig every time he killed someone. Yep. We still talk about the "murder and a pig" incident to this day—[massive sigh] Sorry. I needed a moment...but I'm not complaining. Today I have a love for the paranormal. Give me the heroines of urban fantasy or paranormal romance and I'll gleefully read or watch them beat the monsters senseless. I even write paragraphs like these:
The monster tilted its shaggy head to regard her with the face of a hyena gone terribly wrong. Strips of coarse white fur framed its jowls and continued down either side of its body. Its darker maw, closer to gray, housed yellowed fangs ripping through vivid pink gums.
All this led to scared-shitless territory, but the monster’s gaze did the most damage. Its too-blue eyes were large, cruel and…human—not the eyes of an animal at all, but those of a psychopath.
So it all worked out. This is me laughing maniacally as I take my revenge. I love you, Peggy!
Shirin Dubbin is most often funnier than she is scary but she also writes a mean action scene. If you're interested in her brand of Halloween creepiness you can download WHIPSTITCH, set in her CHAOS TRYST WORLD, for free.