(White pumpkin photo by my good friend and brilliant food photographer, Alicia.)
Angela Nickerson is the author of A Journey Into Michelangelo’s Rome, a highly amusing blogger and the gracious host of a Halloween themed Blogapalooza. Make sure to stop by and read everyone’s scary trip stories! Mine’s after the jump!
The scariest trip I’ve ever taken was when I was about eight years old, late at night, by myself… about a thousand yards. But I was so terrified, I had to turn back.
I grew up at the beach, and during the winter months our town was EMPTY. Luckily my best friend, Francine, lived at the other end of the block from me, so we never got too lonely. I swear, we beat a path down the middle of that street going back and forth to each other’s houses.
One night, we pleaded and begged and pleaded again to our parents to let me go over Francine’s house to watch The Exorcist on TV. To this day I’m not sure why – probably to teach us a lesson, I guess – but they allowed it.
Pardon my French, but that movie scared la merde out of us. We were both in third grade at St. Augustine’s at the time, so the religious angle seemed all the more real. And she was just a girl! Like us! We were seriously freaked out.
Then it came time for me to go home. I didn’t think twice about it until Francine’s mom clicked the door closed behind me, and I was all alone on a dark, empty street. And to make matters worse? I had to pass Mrs. Tyson’s house.
In a town of two-family duplexes packed together 20 to a block, Mrs. Tyson’s house was an anomaly – a single-family ranch style home, with a lawn and large trees on the property. To give you an idea of how big it was, today there stands four duplexes on that same property. Millions of monarch butterflies made a pit stop on those trees every year, and although a Mrs. Tyson sighting was rare, she seemed nice enough.
But on this night, after watching The Exorcist, her property looked straight out of a horror movie. You could barely see the house, as it was set back; it was like death itself had settled over that part of the block, inking out all light and happiness. I don’t recall ever having been so terrified in my life – especially since all the other homes between Francine’s and mine were empty and dark; the only sound was the ocean, a block away.
I inched my way down the middle of the street, hyper aware of every possible sound. I was 100 percent sure I was going to die. Mrs. Tyson’s pitch-black property loomed larger, the darkness seeming to reach out and grab me. I finally stopped, too scared to pass, to scared to turn my back and return to Francine’s. I knew my parents knew I was coming home, and would get worried if I wasn’t there in another minute or so. But I just couldn’t pass that house.
I slowly backed away from the house, never taking my eyes off it, and then ran the last ten feet back to Francine’s door. I rang the bell and her dad answered. “Did you forget something, honey?”
“Mr. S., can you please… um… hi, Mr. S…. I was walking and… um…”
He looked at me for a moment. “Do you want me to walk you home?”
“Yes please.” I was so embarrassed now, but it would be no match for the terror of being caught by the devil who was clearly living in Mrs. Tyson’s trees.
“OK kiddo, let me grab my coat.” He turned to get his coat, and all my embarrassment was gone – having him turn his back even for a moment made me sure that evil was standing right behind me.
Poor Mr. S. I am sure he just wanted to get in bed after he and his wife had entertained two eight-year-olds all night. But he took my hand as we set out, put himself between me and certain death, and gamely thought of a variety of chatty topics to chat about for the block-long trip home. I hid behind his massive frame to avert my gaze from Mrs. Tyson’s house, and when I looked up there was my own father standing at the top of our steps, waving at us. I was home free!
I thanked Mr. S., who ruffled my hair and sent me with a smack up the steps of my house. But before I went inside, I interrupted him and my father and said, “Please be careful when you go back.” He solemnly swore to do so, and I ran inside to recount to my mother the harrowing evening I had.