This post is a response to Mama Kat’s writing prompt: Describe a time you felt startled.
During my latter years of grade school I was obsessed with being scared...(the fun kind of scared when someone surprises you or finds you unexpectedly at hide-and-seek.) The thrill of the “startle” was addictive and occasionally I'd ask my mom to "scare me". It normally resulted in something super simple but surprising and we'd all laugh. Well one Friday night, I was having a sleepover and my friend and I had been begging my mom to “scare us” for hours. Occasionally she’d give in and jump out behind something when we least expected it or make a loud noise and we’d jump and all get tickled. Unfortunately for her, every new scare brought an even stronger desire to be scared again and by the end of the night my mom had heard “scare us” one too many times.
If it was a movie, our mouths would be blown up screaming “Scare us” in slow motion and our tiny 5th grade voices would be replaced by deep men’s voices.
Needless to say, my mom had reached her limit… but we didn’t know this and as we screamed “scare us!” for the 80th time, she quietly said, “okay” and that was that. My friend and I went to my bedroom, lounged on the twin beds, played school, watched tv… who knows. But after 10 minutes we hadn’t been “scared” yet so I went looking for my mom. Had she forgotten our deal?
But as I looked around I couldn’t find her. I recruited my friend and we both started searching the house. No mom. She wasn’t under the beds… not in the closets... every room was empty… At this point my feisty imagination and serious fatigue became a powerful hallucinogenic and I secretly wondered if she had become a genie and shrunk herself… in which case, it was going to be very scary and difficult to ever come back from. I became so convinced of this possibility that when my friend wasn’t looking, I timidly looked in large vases, planters, and other things I thought genies would appreciate.
Eventually, we were spent. No mom. We were scared. This was different. She had amped up the game. Wherever she was, whatever she was doing… it was for real.
After what felt like an eternity of running back and forth between bedrooms, up and down stairs, (me looking in vaces) we stopped at the top of the landing to catch our breath and reevaluate the situation. Suddenly, we both saw the tiniest spark of light and when we turned to see what it was, we saw my mom’s head floating outside our second story balcony window.
We both screamed out of true, unimaginable, shocking, blood curdling terror. My friend ran into my bedroom and I collapsed on the floor. My little brain couldn’t grasp it. How was her head FLOATING? Come to find out my mom had changed into a black sweat suit and then quietly stepped onto the balcony and then watched us search for her from outside. (Even creepier). Then when the moment was just right she flicked her flashlight on under her chin.
She came inside DYING laughing. She helped me off the floor and made sure my friend wasn’t permanetely scarred. Meanwhile, I thought my chest was going to explode.
Needless to say, we didn’t ask her to scare us again. Ever. Until of course my b-day party the next year when she took all my girlfriends on a midnight ride through the woods on our “mule” (some call it a gator… looks like a mini truck used on farms) and then halfway through the trail she pretended that the vehicle broke down… and that she spotted bigfoot in the distance… But that’s another story for another time.
Enjoy your Thursday :)