By: Kiki Couger
I was a terrifying child. In fact, I feel really bad for my parents because they had to put up with me. I was scrawny and had a rat’s nest of hair that resulted in a lot of people calling me ‘Scarecrow.’ I would stay up late, leading to large, dark circles under my eyes that would seem even darker because of my basically translucent skin. During the day, I would stay to myself mostly, talking to my imaginary friend, Izzy, and playing in the woods behind my house. I would pretend to find some terrible things: heads with sunken eyes from soldiers who had died in wars years past, ghost children, and a multitude of dead animals with rotting corpses. These were not the only reasons why I could have starred in my own horror film.
Similar to Frankie in The Bees, I experienced what are called Night Terrors. This is actually a surprisingly common phenomenon among children, but it is not something that should happen every night. Even when a parent is accustomed to their child waking up, screaming hysterically, it is still quite a shock. It is even worse when your child is in a trance and is unresponsive to external stimuli. I do not remember having these episodes but my parents tell me, like Chaon, that it is one of the worst sounds a parent can imagine. The first time that it happened, they apparently ran into my room thinking that there was an intruder violently stabbing me. Fortunately, for me, that wasn’t happening. My parents describe my first night terror, which happened when I was 6 years old, as me frantically rolling around in my bed, tied up in my sheets, screaming with my eyes wide open. That reaction, in itself, could be the basis for the next exorcism film.
I have wondered why I am so drawn to horror. Maybe there is a certain personality type that is just attracted to things that are repulsive, that cause one’s heart to beat incessantly. I stopped having night terrors around 10 years old. Interestingly enough, this was around the time I started watching horror films. I remember at my friend’s 10th birthday party we all sat around watching The Ring while other kids our age put in The Lion King and ate ice cream. Perhaps when something so horrific in my life (the night terrors) went away, I felt the desire to replace it with something else horrific. This is plausible to me. Even after the night terrors went away and I had to actually search for things that legitimately scared me, my horror-like tendencies remained. Anyone who sits next to me in class can attest to the fact that I draw eyes all over my notes. I didn’t even realize that this was weird or possibly horrifying until someone pointed it out to me. I taught my pet bird, Pika, to sing the Kill Bill whistle song, Twisted Nerve. Apparently, it’s unnerving to some people to walk into my apartment and hear this ominous song being whistled by a cockatiel. I guess horror is something that I just subconsciously (and actually, consciously) immerse myself in.