I absolutely love this post by Claire McFall. I imagine a lot of us have felt this way at times and Halloween is just the right time to tell these stories!
I am thirty-two year old… and when I go to bed at my parents’ house, after I’ve turned off all the downstairs lights, I still run up the stairs.
So the banister hands don’t get me.
Everyone’s heard of the banister hands. They’re nocturnal, you don’t ever have to be worried about them during the day, or when the light’s on – but at night, they come out. And they’re hungry.
The good thing is, banister hands are shy. If there are two, three, four of you, you’re safe. They only come out when you’re alone. Then, they reach through the gaps between the slats in the banister and grab you! They wrap their fingers round your ankle in an unbreakable grip and they don’t ever let go. They drag you through the gap – never mind that you won’t fit, your bones will break – and they make you their dinner.
Beware the banister hands.
Thankfully, the stairs in my house don’t have slats. There’s a wall on either side, which means there’s no place for them to hide. Ha! Take that, banister hands!
Now, I’m not scared of the dark. If anyone asked me, that’s what I’d say. And I’m not, per se. But then it’s easy to feel safe in the dark when you’ve got a big dog and an even bigger husband who sleeps between you and the door. Take them away, tell me I have to go to bed and turn the lights off…
Okay, so it’s less that I’m scared of the dark, and more that I’m scared of the unknown. Anything can hide in the dark. Evil, nasty things. The likes of which I will freely admit doesn’t exist during the day - such as, for example, banister hands - but that I can’t quite make myself believe isn’t there when I can’t see to know for sure. Before we got our dog, when my husband went away for the night on business, I actually checked under the mattress for monsters before I went to bed. Seriously.
I even got freaked out driving home from a parents’ night one night. It was after ten, pitch black, and I was driving through the countryside. There were no street lights. There were no other cars. There were no houses with lights twinkling in the dark. There was nothing but me and my tiny little flashlight (Okay, the full beams on my car). It was beyond creepy. I kept waiting for some psycho with a chainsaw to step out from the side of the road and get me. How I thought he was going to get in the car I don’t know (I so had all the doors locked!), but my hind brain didn’t care about little pragmatic details like that. It just went: drive faster!!!
Wonderful idea, Claire. End up in a ditch. Injured, vulnerable and all alone. Like that idiot blond in a horror movie who runs up the stairs instead of out the door.
Do you know who else lingers in the dark? Burglars, intruders, murderers! You think your door is locked up nice and tight, you think your dog will warn you so you can call the police, you think your husband will step between you and danger (ha!)… but still. There’s that little, impractical, illogical, unreasonable fear that just won’t shut up. The time when you’re most vulnerable, I reckon, is when you have to pee in the middle of the night. I don’t have an en-suite (it’s on the list when we move house!) and my bedroom is on the ground floor, my bathroom on the first floor. So I have to get up, go through the hall and the lounge, up the stairs and into the loo. And all that time, I’m looking for shifting shadows. Then, when I get up there and I’m, you know, I think: what if they come now? Right now? While I’m up here on the toilet! In my head, the poor dog’s shot, my husband is murdered in our bed (because he probably wouldn’t wake up for an earthquake) and it’s just me, alone, against a deadly team of professional assassins. What do I do? Where do I hide? As God is my witness, I have worked out all the places I could try and conceal myself from burglars slash killers – debating their merits and disadvantages (including whether or not they involve spiders). My current plan? The little door that leads to the eaves in the back corner of the bathroom.
I know, I know… it’s the first place they’ll look. Maybe I should keep a baseball bat in there?
So there you are. Conclusive evidence would suggest that I am, in fact, scared of the dark (and also possibly a little crazy). What a pansy, you’re thinking. I don’t care. Next time you’re going up the stairs beside open slats, in the dark, on your own… tell me you won’t run.
Black Cairn Point is Claire's latest book and an ideal read for Halloween!
Published by Hot Key Books
Two survivors, one terrible truth.
Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she's desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.
One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn't, how will she prove her sanity, and her innocence?
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