All Black Scribbles

I am 31 years old and I still have trouble reading scary stories before bed.

Actually, I don’t have trouble reading scary stories before bed. I can read them just fine. It’s after I read them that I have the trouble, and that trouble usually involves my dark house and going to the bathroom in the dark or hearing noises in the dark or violently waking up from a nightmare in the dark that I can’t even remember but I know it must have been a big one because my heart is pounding and my legs are twitching like I’m still trying to run away.

This has always happened to me. Always. And I have always continued to read scary stories before bed, all the while knowing that it will happen. Because I’m an idiot.

I just started reading “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill. I feel like I should mention that Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, but I’m afraid that this will detract from his book (actually books since he has several, I just haven’t read any of the others yet). It shouldn’t detract from his book; first of all, Stephen King is a good fucking novelist. Second, Hill’s tone is completely different from his father’s, and third, at least this horror author’s kid is a better writer than Anne Rice’s kid.

My Kindle tells me that I’m only 21% of the way into the book at the moment, but the story wastes no time getting to the good fucked up scary part, as the below was in the first fucking chapter. Basically what’s going on is that the main character is buying a ghost on the Internet, and the seller, who is the ghost’s daughter, is describing why she can’t keep the ghost in the house anymore:

“…Two days after his funeral, my little girl saw him sitting in the guest room, which is directly across from her own bedroom. After she saw him, my girl didn’t like to be alone in her room anymore, or even to go upstairs. I told her that her grandfather wouldn’t ever hurt her, but she said she was scared of his eyes. She said they were all black scribbles and they weren’t for seeing anymore. So she has been sleeping with me ever since.”

They were all black scribbles and they weren’t for seeing anymore.

They were all black scribbles and they weren’t for seeing anymore.


See, the thing I love about reading good work isn’t that it is good. At least, it isn’t that it is just good. What I love is coming across certain words or turns of phrase, and maybe wondering why the author picked them or twisted them just so, and getting to decide if I agree with their choice or not. And sometimes it’s just something so brilliant that of course I agree, but I’m also intensely jealous and, in this case, entirely creeped out. The black scribbles image is enough, but “they weren’t for seeing anymore” as described by an 11-year-old girl to her mother just makes me want to crawl out of my skin it’s so good.

(I do realize that I’ve committed the literary equivalent of explaining why a joke is funny and thus probably ruining the joke. I’m sorry, but this was scary and it’s better when I can share it with people because then maybe I can get some sleep.)

What sucks is that my time zone is two hours behind that of most of my friends, so while I could text them as a sort of “hey buddy, say something to make me feel better,” I’d probably just wake them up and also I’m still inside the book, so I don’t know that I’d be able to carry on a conversation if they happened to be awake.

Which is why I continue to sit friendless on my couch in some fat pants and a pair of slippers, holding a book and being lounged on by a cat, scared out of my wits but unable to ever, ever stop.

About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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1 Response to All Black Scribbles

  1. Becky Lott says:

    I could have written this post. I love reading scary/thriller type books but always get freaked out when I read them at night. So what do I do? Read some more. (I liked Heart-shaped Box too)

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